Thomas, Bridget, Mary, Catherine CAIN

Thomas Cain               1796-1878

Bridget Cain                1811-1889

Mary Cain                    1859-1868

Catherine Cain           1877-1877

Thomas Cain was born in Galway, Ireland in about 1796. His parents were Patrick Cain, a farmer, and Mary O’Donnell. At the age of 27 Thomas snr married Elizabeth Kenny. They had the following children: Mary, born about 1828, Patrick, born about 1832, John, born about 1834 and Thomas, born 23rd February, 1838. Elizabeth obviously died soon after the birth of Thomas as Thomas Snr. married a second time when he was 45. He married Bridget Cain, daughter of Martin and Johanna Cain, in Galway, Ireland. Thomas and Bridget had one child, Martin, born about 1844, three years after their arrival in Australia.

Thomas and Bridget arrived in Port Phillip on the ‘Alexander’ on 27th December, 1841 along with three children – Mary age 13, Patrick age 11 and John age 8. They were listed as assisted immigrants with their occupations listed as carpenter and housekeeper respectively. The bounty for the passage was £68 [£19 per adult and £10 per child]. They were assigned to, and employed on, a station near Kilmore, owned by Mr Mollison, who was a relative of the Mollison who had Bullengarook Estate.

Thomas Snr. farmed at Coimadai until an accident caused his death in 1878. Bridget had a substantial headstone erected on his grave at Hopetoun Cemetery.

The Bacchus Marsh Express on Saturday, 28th September, 1878 carried the following article: ‘Those of our readers who are not already aware of the fact will hear with regret that Mr Thomas Cain Snr., a very old colonist and quite a patriarch, was accidentally killed on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, by falling into a gravel pit at Darley on the banks of the Lerderderg River, and within a few yards of his own residence, which adjoins those of two of his sons (Messrs. Thos Cain and Martin Cain).

The deceased had been in the township on Tuesday at the County Court, and was last seen alive at nearly twelve o’clock that night by Mr Henry Worthy, who parted with him at the corner of the Gisborne road and the main street. He lit his pipe for him and Mr Cain seemed well able to care for himself. He was a very active, strong little man, notwithstanding his great age (82 years), and being somewhat self-willed he was left more to his own care than a man of his age usually is. His absence from home on Tuesday night did not create any alarm, but when Wednesday wore away and he did not return, enquiries were made and subsequently a search, carried on during the whole night by about a score of neighbours and by the local police. They searched incessantly, making minute examination of the river and its neighbourhood and also of several growing crops. The gravel pit in which the poor old man was lying dead all the time was not overlooked, but the body was not seen until daylight on Thursday, when the pound keeper (Mr Hansen) found it. Some time before, the hat of the deceased had been found some distance off, and it appears he wandered about for some time on the bank of the river, and was making his way for the Darley bridge when he fell into the gravel pit, a distance of eight or ten feet. He was found with his head buried in the sand and his arms folded in front of him. Apparently he had not moved after his fall, which had stunned him and the shock had caused his death. Dr Nolan’s evidence was to this effect, as no bones were broken.

It is general opinion that the gravel pit should be fenced off, as an old track leads to it, and there is also a dangerous place where a metalled track leads to the site where the Darley bridge used to be. Of course the whole locality is, unavoidably, a dangerous one, owing to the banks of the river being precipitous in places, but the dangers ought to be reduced as much as possible.

Mr Cain had outlived his compeers, and was necessarily but little known to the present generation, but he enjoyed the respect of everyone, not only on his own account but as head of a family filling a large space in our district. He is reported to have died worth a considerable sum of money.  He left a widow and four sons. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, when a long procession wended its way to the burying ground at the old unused Catholic church situated at the east end of the Marsh valley.’

His eldest son, Patrick, married Catherine Bourke. They had nine children. John married Bridget Kelly. They had seven children, one of whom became premier of Victoria. Thomas married Mary O’Connell, daughter of Edmond O’Connell and Margaret Quirk, in 1865.  Mary was from Tipperary.  No births have been located for this couple. Thomas and Bridget’s only son, Martin, married Mary Fitzgibbon. They had nine children.

Thomas Cain junior was Shire President on three occasions. He was the owner of ‘Green Lodge’ which later became ‘Lerderderg Park’.

Mary Cain, who died as a nine year old in 1868, was the daughter of John Cain and Bridget Kelly and a grand-daughter of Thomas Cain Snr and his wife, Bridget.

Catherine Cain who died in 1877, when she was only six months old, was the daughter of Martin Cain and Mary Fitzgibbon. She was also the grand-daughter of Thomas and Bridget.