NOTES RE SPEECH BY ANN SHEVILL IN RESPONSE TO A PRESENTATION TO HER BY THE EARL OF MEATH AT THE BRABAZON FAMILY REUNION GALA DINNER HELD AT KILLRUDDERY ON THE 13TH SEPTEMBER 2003
 

I was born a Brabazon in the small dusty town called Winton in outback Central Queensland - as were two of my first cousins Judge Charles Brabazon and Wendy Brabazon who are both with us tonight taking part in this memorable Brabazon Family Reunion. Our great grandfather came to Queensland, Australia from Westmeath County, Ireland in 1860. You may not have heard of Winton but you will be interested to know that the town 'gave birth' to the great international airline QANTAS. Our Grandfather Charles James Anthony Brabazon was one of the creators of QANTAS. And it was at Winton that a favourite Australian song, with which I would be surprised if you were not familiar, 'Waltzing Matilda', was written and first sung.

During the World War of 1939-45, my Grannie Brabazon took pains to explain to two of my female cousins and to me - all of us in our early teens - the significance of our family name Brabazon. She told us that the unmarried only son of the thirteenth Earl of Meath was fighting in the war with Germany. Grannie suggested that we might include that soldier in our prayers.

Should he be killed, she explained, when his father died without a male heir the Meath title would devolve on her husband, our Grandfather. We were then too young to realize the significance of this information, but in later years we did so.

Thankfully the soldier Tony, who would become the fourteenth Earl of Meath, survived the war, married Betty and had a family - much to the relief of our Grandfather we heard later.!

My Grandmother ended her short lesson to us by saying: "You girls must take a special interest in your family name and your ancestors and the Brabazon family, because the boys probably will not do so.

I must have been even then a mild feminist, because I took that suggestion very much to heart - and as a result what wonderful experiences have opened up to me over some fifty years!

I have had the pleasure of meeting Brabazons in many countries and of visiting 'Killruddery' on many occasions since 1952. Kindness and hospitality have abounded.

Now, many Brabazons have gathered for yet another Family Reunion - the last in Ireland was in 1993 - to meet and to get to know each other and to share family stories and histories.. What a happy, interesting, fabulous time we are having!

I am truly honoured and appreciative to have received from Jack words of thanks for what has been for me labour of love over the years, for the handsome engraved silver salver heirloom and for the manner in which you have supported the presentation.

In turn, on behalf of those present I sincerely thank Jack and Xenia, supported by all the Killruddery family, for the tremendous effort, which they have made to make this occasion so enjoyably memorable.


May God bless you all.