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Deportation of Famine Orphans from Omagh, Gortin & Strabane, Co. Tyrone Workhouses to Melbourne, Australia, October 1848

Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia
len_swindley[at]hotmail.com

A little-known consequence of the devastation caused by the Great Famine (1845-50) was the large numbers of young orphans admitted to workhouses across Ireland and a scheme of emigration to the Australian colonies devised in Westminster to alleviate overcrowding: approximately 5,000 female pauper orphans emigrated 1848-50. Passages were paid by the colonials who were in great need of house servants, farm servants and dairy maids and potential brides for the many emancipated transported convicts desperate to marry. The girls disembarked in the ports of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Moreton Bay (Brisbane).

Many of the girls had a living parent, but being unable to provide food and shelter, had no other recourse than to seek admittance to a workhouse.

Extracted from the Tyrone Constitution, October 5, 1849

The Omagh girls arrived in Melbourne on board the Diadem, disembarking January 10, 1850

 

OMAGH & GORTIN WORKHOUSE

Surname

Given Name

Age

Residence/ Workhouse

Religion

ABRAHAMS

Eliza

16

Barnscourt, Tyrone

C of E

ADY

Eliza

14

Drumgorman, Tyrone

C of E

BLACK

Sarah Anne

16

Tyrone

C of E

CALDWELL

Margaret

18

Omagh, Tyrone

C of E

COWLEY

Margaret

16

Duffley, Tyrone

Presb

DEVELIN

Margaret

17

Glenoch, Tyrone

RC

FOREMAN

Catherine

17

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

GEATINS

Isabella

15

Milecras, Tyrone

RC

GIVINS

Jane

16

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

GWYN

Jane

16

Omagh, Tyrone

Presb

HALLADAY

Catherine

18

Tyrone

C of E

JOHNSTON

Catherine

16

Cooke Town, Derry & Cookstown, Tyrone

RC

KEAN

Catherine

17

Crosly, Tyrone

RC

KEAN

Mary

18

Tyrone

RC

MARSHALL

Eliza

17

Tyrone

Presb/ C of E

MAYNES

Margaret

18

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

McCONWAY/ McCONONNONY

Isabella

16

Drumraw/ Drumrain, Tyrone

RC

McELHILL

Jane

16

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

McGAWLICH

Catherine

16

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

McKOWN

Jane

18

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

McLOUGHLIN

Elizabeth

17

Tyrone

RC

McNALLY

Margaret

15

Crosk [Crosh?], Tyrone

RC

MULGREEN

Catherine

17

Asbon, Tyrone

RC

MURDOCK

Martha

16

Tyrone

Presb

QUINN

Jane

14

Addstow [Ardstraw?], Tyrone

RC

QUINN

Mary

17

Tullymuch, Tyrone

RC

SHARKEY

Elizabeth

17

Omagh, Tyrone

RC

TAYLOR

Elizabeth

17

Creevin, Tyrone

Presb

THOMSON

Mary

15

Glenargh, Tyrone

C of E

(State Records and Archives New South Wales 4/4817, Reel 2145)


 

A fortnight later, the Strabane, Co. Tyrone, workhouse was cleared of a number of girls who arrived in Melbourne, February 25, 1850 on the Derwent

STRABANE WORKHOUSE

Surname

Given name

Age

Occupation, Residence/ Workhouse

Religion

ARBUCKLE

Ann

18

Houseservant, Tyrone [Strabane]. Taken home by her brother-in-law George Hunter of Flinders Lane [Melbourne]

Presb

ARBUCKLE

Mary

23

Housemaid, Tyrone. Taken home by her brother-in-law George Hunter of Flinders Lane [Melbourne]

Presb

ARBUCKLE

Sarah

16

Never in service, Tyrone [Strabane]. Taken home by her brother-in-law George Hunter of Flinders Lane [Melbourne]

Presb

GORMELY

Helena

18

Houseservant, Strabane Tyrone

RC

PATTERSON

Mary

16

Houseservant, Tyrone

Presb

SHARKEY

Sarah J.

17

Houseservant, Strabane, Tyrone

RC

TAYLOR

Isabella

16

Houseservant, Newtownstewart, Tyrone

C of E

TAYLOR

Mary Jane

19

Houseservant, Tyrone

C of E

WASON

Jane

16

Farmservant, Barnscourt, Tyrone

RC

WOOLAGHAN OR OULAGHAN

Elizabeth

17

Houseservant, Strabane, Tyrone

Presb/ C of E

WOOLAGHAN OR OULAGHAN

Martha

20

Houseservant, Strabane, Tyrone

C of E/ Presb

(State Records and Archives New South Wales 4/4817, Reel 2145)

There has been much research undertaken in Australia regarding the origins and circumstances of each orphan, especially by Dr. Trevor McClaughlin. His seminal publication, Barefoot and Pregnant? Irish Famine Orphans in Australia (Genealogical Society of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) was published in 2001, containing a complete register, but has regrettably been out of print for many years.

NOTE: This submission is an abridged version of my article submitted to the 2017 Directory of Family History Research (Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild, Belfast) where the complete text may be consulted.