Dennis, James McNAMARA

Dennis McNamara                   1814-1854

James McNamara                     1850-1851

Dennis McNamara was born in Co Clare, Ireland.  His parents may have been Dennis, a farmer, and Johanna.

Information passed down from the late Jean Oomes, Bacchus Marsh librarian and Historical Society member, was that Dennis McNamara, in October 1841, took his two motherless children to Melbourne and had them baptised.  This suggests Dennis had lost a wife and the mother of his children.  Two days later he appeared at Williamstown when the ship ‘Agricola’ arrived.  On board was a blacksmith, Michael Hogan, his wife, Ellen (Glasheen) and their daughters, Bridget (aged 19), Elizabeth, Mary and Catherine.  Did Dennis know them or was it a practice to meet ships if you were looking for a wife?  The latter, I believe.

Dennis and Bridget were married on 6th February, 1842 in the District of Port Phillip and settled on ‘Broadlands’ at Bacchus Marsh.  Bridget’s sister, Mary Hogan, married Cornelius Mahoney of Bacchus Marsh.

With the discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851, Dennis McNamara and James Mahoney, brother of Cornelius, carted supplies to the goldfields.  Arriving home after one very rewarding trip to Ballarat, Dennis called at the Woolpack Inn for refreshments where ‘he was hocussed’.

After the death of Dennis, Bridget ran the farm with the help of two Irish farm workers, Michael Costello and Jeremiah Ryan.  One day Michael Costello said, ‘Jerry, would you help me with the writing of a letter. I’d like to propose to the widow’.  Jeremiah composed the letter to the widow and signed his name.

Bridget accepted him and there appeared a notice at ‘Broadlands’.  ‘Prime oats for sale.  Apply Jeremiah Ryan, Late Mrs McNamara’.  The Mahoney family across the river found this very amusing.

Bridget had six children by Dennis and nine by Jeremiah.  Her sister, Mary, produced twelve children.  These two daughters of Michael Hogan and Ellen Glasheen contributed well to the early population of Australia.  Bridget erected a fine tombstone to her beloved husband, Denis McNamara, and to her son, James, who died at age fifteen months.