The Brabazon History Project

BHP BULLETIN - Issue No. 54 - May 2006
Compiled and distributed by (Mrs) M.Ann Shevill (nee Brabazon)

The merry month of May is with us and at last I seem to have caught up with my home and domestic responsibilities. This is a very pleasant time of the year for us in Australia and I hope you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying your spring.
I was busy indeed when I last compiled a Bulletin in February, and right through March. There is always lots of correspondence after I distribute a Bulletin; people sometimes accidentally lose contact but like to catch up again when circumstances change and opportunities arise eg Dot Morrison of Skye, Victoria and Patricia Smith of Brisbane, Queensland.
The highlight of March was the visit to Queensland of Jack and Xenia Meath (Brabazon). The luck of the Irish was certainly with them as regards the weather and they brought much needed rain to the drought-affected areas that they visited - thanks be for that. All who met them here were not only impressed by their engaging personalities but by their interest and enthusiasm for everyone they met and everything they saw and did. I know that we sent them back home feeling weary, but I trust we have been forgiven by now; no doubt they have been very busy since returning to Killruddery, catching up having been away for about a month. Here are Notes, which I made about
The luck of the Irish came with Jack and Xenia when they visited Brisbane, and the Central Queensland 'Outback' towns of Longreach and Winton at the time of our long hot summer of 2005/6. They just missed the intense heat of February and then, the week after their visit, the much-needed rains, which came and caused flooding and the closure of some roads! When we were out there, some light showers were about - enough to get our 'city' type car firmly stuck in the black soil! That was one of many Outback Experiences, which came the way of the visitors! I doubt whether many more sights, sounds or experiences could have been fitted into those eight days.
Jack and Xenia were welcomed with legendary Queensland hospitality by kinsmen and friends galore as they moved about, relaxed and always with genuine interest in an environment so different to what they are accustomed.
We flew QANTAS from Brisbane to Longreach - the highly respected international airline which Grandfather Charles James Anthony Brabazon assisted to found in 1920. We spent quite some time there at excellently presented facilities and tourist attractions: the much appreciated School of the Air, the celebrated Stockman's Hall of Fame and Heritage Centre (opened by The Queen in 1988), the more modern QANTAS Founders Outback Museum. We even attended an exciting cattle sale with active horsemen and women and impressive state-of-the art electronic facilities.
Our spacious, air-conditioned accommodation was at Dundee homestead, a nearby sheep and cattle station. This provided a glimpse of country living in the Outback; visitors from near and far, hearty beef or mutton meals, splendid gardens and modern conveniences including modern electronic communication facilities.
A short visit to Maneroo station where six of the seven children of our Grandparents were born was a much-appreciated surprise thoughtfully arranged by our local hosts.
The special focus of the Meaths visit was the town of Winton where our Grandparents and their seven offspring were so well known, respected and loved; many of my generation have lived in Winton or in the District at various times. It is a small dusty, truly Outback town which is much enjoyed by visitors, due in particular to the friendliness of the locals as well as the character of the town; QANTAS was born in Winton and so was Australians' favorite song Waltzing Matilda. There is lots to see in and around the town, particularly in Elderslie Street with its much acclaimed Waltzing Matilda Centre, Qantilda Museum and Library and the Outback Regional Gallery.
We all spent lots of time there watching, reading and listening about the history of the town, the district, our forebears and other pioneers, and of course Waltzing Matilda. The hub of Winton, even in the off-tourist-season months, is the widely known and enjoyed North Gregory Hotel where we stayed, again in cool comfort. The existing Hotel (the third building) has an enterprising history of over fifty years and has played host with distinction to the rich and famous on many occasions. For the evening meals we enjoyed the company and shared stories with various invited local guests who represented a variety of town and country interests. Another highlight for the visitors was a (long) day tour led by a local widely experienced pastoralist to admire the beauty of the escarpment and the flora and fauna of the bush, an award winning keyline flood-flow irrigation system, and to enjoy "smoko" at another station homestead Carisbrooke; a visit to the internationally renowned Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackway was included. There was time to attend a service in St.Pauls Anglican Church where my twin sister and I were baptized so long ago, to give thanks for the past and the present and to seek God's blessing.
Then it was back to Brisbane to catch a glimpse of some of our special places of interest in the city and its environs including the soon-to-be-completed St John's Anglican (Gothic style) Cathedral, Art Galleries, Queensland University precincts and Brisbane Forest Park.
Lord and Lady Meath and I were received graciously for morning tea at Government House by the Governor of Queensland Mrs Quentin Bryce AC.
There was more home hospitality and a very memorable, relaxed, happy gathering of forty family members at the home of Charles and Michelle Brabazon in Brisbane. This was a highlight for the assembled kinsfolk, not only for Jack and Xenia before they prepared to fly back to their onerous responsibilities at Killruddery.
(A disc of photos, which I took that night, proved popular and I was grateful for the monetary contributions from family members. I presented Jack and Xenia with a disc containing photos taken "all over" during their visit - sure to bring them happy memories when they have time to view)
We all hope that they enjoyed our part of the world and the people they met here, as much as we enjoyed having them in our midst. Long will their visit be remembered with affection.
NB Organization of the visit of Jack and Xenia was a team effort and I am immensely grateful to my cousin Wendy Brabazon, her cousins Helen and Ron Button of Dundee near Longreach and Charlie and Ann Phillott of Carisbrooke near Winton - Charlie ran the excellent Lark Quarry Tour especially for us. At Maneroo we were welcomed by the Managers Greg and Caroline Jarmey. Also, in Winton, my appreciation goes to my school friend Jean O'Connell (of Camara near Winton) who was an ever-present font of hospitality and local knowledge and mustered people of interest for drinks and meals - and to Rob McQueen who offered to drive us to the nearby Bladensburg National Park. In Brisbane Frank and Edna Rudd were home hosts and escorts for the visitors. Charles and Michelle Brabazon and their daughters Alice, Lucy and Sarah hosted at their home the much enjoyed Brabazon Gathering which will long be remembered for the happiness and interest which it generated for young (there were ten youngsters) and young-at-heart
For Wendy and I it was a joy to accompany the visitors when they were Outback, to be with our bush relatives and friends once again and to see for ourselves the present condition of the country areas in which we were born and will always cherish. About Longreach there was then an attractive green tinge, even if not much grass. As we approached Winton, the country looked drier. It is wonderful that goods rains have fallen since and just now that country would look beautiful.

I also want to tell you something about my visit to the COMMONWEALTH GAMES which were held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from 15 March 2006
Many months prior to the commencement of the Games, a neighbour of mine at Iona Village, and I decided that we should accept a special offer from QANTAS for low fares and excellent central City accommodation to visit Melbourne over the early days of The Games. We had high hopes of being lucky in the Ballot for reasonably priced tickets to the Opening Ceremony, but missed out - twice. We were not deterred, and in the end we felt rewarded!
Despite predictions of unseasonably cool weather (for Queenslanders anyway!) and possible showers, there were no problems in that regard and we soon found our way about with the assistance of Volunteers whose presence everywhere was almost overwhelming and certainly helpful during our visit. Crowded trams and buses, but free transport for Games Ticket holders helped. Security was tight at every venue, but soon everyone got into the way of things that had to be, and patience and goodwill prevailed.
On the Opening Day there seemed to be lots of uncertainly about might be going to happen in the principal (MCG) arena and on the Yarra River. We decided to trust to luck and head for a place on the grass overlooking the head of the 71 "Fish Floats" on the river, towards the central city and a huge TV screen. It turned out to be a fortunate choice. We were there much longer than we anticipated (five hours!!) but it was worth some discomfort. The Yarra River (so narrow!) eventually became alive with people, gaily lit and decorated floats, action and entertainment. The display of fireworks from the river floats and the city high-rise buildings was truly fantastic, and will be imprinted on our memories for many a long day. The crowds were vast, orderly and good humoured.
On following days we attended events at two splendid venues - the Rod Laver Arena for two Gymnastic/Artistic sessions and the Sports and Aquatic Centre for a swimming session and nearby to watch some Table Tennis. All events were well organized and interesting, and even though early in the Games programme, surprisingly exciting with keen crowd involvement. Exits and transport were well managed and orderly.
Not like the "old days" - such as at the time of the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982 when we would know exactly where the Queen and the Duke would be at any time and could see them easily and often if we so wished. In Melbourne 2006, the noise of a helicopter overhead usually indicated a convoy of VIPs but their presence was well removed from the populace.
Unless one attends such a global event, it is impossible to comprehend the enormity of the undertaking for such a city as Melbourne and I have the highest praise for the organizers at every level and at every venue and exhibition. The city should be proud of the endeavours of the thousands of people involved - paid or unpaid. The athletes from all over the world are of course "tops of the pops", proud to be so and hopefully would have enjoyed the very special occasion in many ways.
Our spare moments were taken up with some mild city exploring and shopping, thoroughly enjoying the 360o views from the Rialto Tower - a quick way to get to know the city - and Exhibitions specially mounted for the period of the Games. Needless to say it was all a considerable effort and tiring for two 'old ducks' like us and once back at the Hotel we had feet up and TV on to watch Games events - and no energy left to contact the friends we had had good intentions to phone if not to see! We felt we would have had their understanding as they were probably just as busy, if not more so. For us the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 came alive and we were delighted to have the opportunity to be there for a short but memorable time.
That's enough about my doings in this issue. In the next I will comment more on the future of the BHP BULLETIN or a similar communication. I might just say here that I have not been overwhelmed with your thoughts in this regard, as a result of my mention in the February Issue. Thank you to those who have commented. I am learning what I can about 'blogging'.
Barbara Mills wrote: " I will have to find out from our eldest grandson, who started university this year studying computer programming, all about 'blogging' - I know that he talks to his friends via the computer"
Cousinly love as usual, Ann Shevill

Mention in the February Bulletin about the happy gathering of female descendants of Mary Violet Brabazon, brought a response from another near relative Barbara (Babs) Maddox who lives in Cunnamulla in south west Queensland; Babs went to Boarding School with and was a good friend of Phillippa Booth (nee McManus - now of Bribie Island - one of my regular correspondents) and was pleased to hear news of her as well as the others. (I note that you are trying to retire Babs!)
Connecting families - here is an interesting story from Jeanette Bergman of Brisbane
"At the Engineering Challenges Day last month I recruited the support of part-time student engineer Klarchen Cameron. While we were witnessing young maths & science kiddies tackling engineering challenges all day, little did I know Klarchen would take me back to my own childhood? How?
Whilst waiting for a cab we were chatting about how we get to/from work.
Klarchen said, "I live in Graceville, so I get the train."
JB: Graceville, huh, I used to live in Graceville. I went to Graceville Primary School.
KC: Did you? So did I.
JB: Really? Cool. What side o' the tracks? What street do you live on?
KC: Molonga Terrace.
JB: Oh, I know Molonga Terrace; I used to know someone who lived there.
KC: Who?
JB: Oh, you wouldn't know them, kind of an old family friend.
KC: What was their name?
JB: I don't remember, we used to just call her Aunty Toody. One of those family friends that you call your 'Aunt' that isn't necessarily your Aunt. She died a couple of years ago I think…
KC: Aunty Toody? Her real name wasn't Doreen Cameron was it?
JB: Um, yeah, that sounds familiar, but we used to just call her Aunty Toody.
KC: Yeah, I've heard that and I've always wondered about that. She's my grandmother!
JB: What the…..?
KC: I'm living in that house!
JB: Noooooooooo. The one at the end of the street that backs onto the river, low-set, with the hut out the back and the custard apple trees? And the chooks?
KC: Well, the chooks have gone now, but yes.
JB: Holy Moly! I used to spend so much time there! More often than my 'closer' relatives who lived elsewhere, because it was just down the road… I used to spend every other afternoon after school there!"
Jeanette continues: "We reminisce for an hour or so about 'Aunty Toody's' obscenely buttery 'peanut cookies', ladies tennis days, the toy room, the 'small gymnasium' sign above the laundry, the always immaculately shiny, dark polished wooden floors, the 'stuffed' armadillo, and the list goes on…
Being the youngest of my siblings and Klarchen's Dad being the youngest of his, we figure he'd know my older siblings more than I'd remember them! The following weekend I told my sister the story who informed me that Aunty Toody wasn't just a friend of my mother's that we'd call Aunty, she was in fact, my Mum's aunt! So that, I think, makes Klarchen and I second cousins once removed, or third cousins, or something! "
(Isn't that a nice story - thanks Jeanette - and it supports my theory that everyone in Queensland seems to be related, or knew each other at school, or church, or sport, or Guides/Scouts or something!)

It always pleases me particular to hear from a younger family member who is taking a keen interest in the history of his/her family. Such is Toban Wild, grandson of Lorna Brabazon, son of John Raymond Wild, all of Wodonga, Victoria.
(Good to have you on the distribution list for the BHP BULLETINS Toban - keep asking any questions; someone is usually able to supply answers!)
Another addition to the List is Jane Fulton who is a stepdaughter of Geoffrey Brabazon Holt who resides in Sydney. Geoffrey and his wife Elizabeth were delighted to have lunch with Jack and Xenia Meath when they were in Sydney late in February and to catch up with family news from Ireland and UK.
(The Meaths told me how much they enjoyed seeing you both Geoffrey)
Jane and her husband Mark have moved from Sydney to New York Jane wrote in March:
"My son Matthew (now 15) has Brabazon as his middle name; he is currently attending a boarding school in Connecticut, USA called Hotchkiss. There his academic advisor Charlie Bell (related to Albert Goodwin) asked if Matthew is related to the nineteenth century British Watercolour painter Hercules Brabazon. It turns out the Goodwin and Hercules Brabazon were contemporaries and today their work is exhibited together - see web sites below. What a small world. I now know about Hercules, obviously the Brabazons are a very talented family!
(Welcome Jane - and I hope you are all enjoying New York. Perhaps family members there would like to get in touch with you by asking me for your email address. As you say, the world gets smaller every day!)
Paul Brabazon of Perth tells me that he is a Captain in the Army Reserve...2IC Admin Coy 11/28 Battalion. "I look like doing four weeks at the Royal Military College at Duntroon from 13/5....doing admin for a course being conducted there. Hopefully I will get some time off & will be able to catch up with my nephew teenager Ryan Brabazon - of AFL fame, now playing for the Swans Team in Sydney". Ryan is the son of Geoff & Cathy Brabazon who live in Albany WA. The Sydney Swans flew them to Sydney to attend the official launch of the Swans 2006 season & Jumper Presentation to players. (Thanks for keeping me in touch Paul. I watch for jumper No 34 on a short snowy-headed youngster when I sometimes watch an AFL game - go Ryan!)
Brenton Taylor also of Perth sent me a few wonderful photographs of relatives of his mother Phyllis Edith Beatrice Brabazon born 31 March 1908, known very affectionately as "Aunty Beattie" (Many thanks Brenton - I would love to have been at that 98th Birthday Party - congratulations and good wishes to Aunty Beattie)
Barbara Kane of Melbourne, Victoria would like to have accompanied her mother Gwynneth Brett and her daughter Kim Kane to Brisbane to attend the Brabazon gathering. However Barbara was awaiting the birth of the first grandchild for herself and husband Kevin.
Baby Angus Peter Owen was duly born to Tamsin and James King.
(Congratulations to all - and good wishes to the parents and baby)
Elizabeth (Pixie) Carvosso was the third family member who flew from Melbourne to meet cousins in Brisbane on 6 March.
(It was specially appreciated that the three came all the way from Melbourne for the Brabazon Family Gathering - thanks cousins - we hope you enjoyed the gathering as much as we all did)
By the way, Pixie told me that she had recently been to a meeting of the Cornish Association of Victoria where she heard a talk on the Public Records Office of Victoria. "The current director who came down from Queensland State Archives three years ago, described a much more extensive source, with sophisticated electronic searching availability with hyper links. She urged us all to try for information on Victorians"

Rita Robinson reported that her move to Pietermaritzburg at Easter time went well. Rita was looking forward to the completion of alterations to her new home - and has a new laptop!
(Good news Rita - enjoy your new location - and the new computer)
Rita has been trying to find a connection with the Brabazon line ever since finding out that "her 3rd Great Grandfather was named Brabazon Saunders, he was born in Dublin in 1789, his father being a William Saunders born ?, died 1809 and his mother was Eleanor Henshall born 1760 died 1819. They were married in Dublin 11 August 1789. I have not been able to find William's
parents. Eleanor Henshall's father was a James Henshall, Eleanor's mother died, and James Henshall married a widow some years after Eleanor's birth. I have never been able to find out who she was.
The Christian name of Brabazon went down the family tree, and one of my Great Uncles even had the second Christian name of Bray. All the Saunders and Henshalls were either Linen merchants or Printers/Stationers and were on the Freeman rolls of Dublin and the Guild of Merchants, on some documents they were down as 'gentlemen.'
I was wondering if there was a Brabazon connection somewhere either with the Henshall side through Eleanor's mother, but of course it may be also through the Saunders side that I haven't found as yet. I think the period to look would be the early to mid 1700's."
(Rita I sent some information to Shauna Flynn but I am not sure whether you have been able to find answers to some of your remaining queries - keep trying when you have time)

Barbara Mills (Northern Ireland) sent a splendid photograph of John and Honor Brabazon of Buenos Aires.
An email was received in February from Anthony Durnford De Gray Birch of Vancouver.
He wrote, "I am a family historian and I need your help.
My gr-gr-gr-grandmother was Barbara Brabazon, daughter of Hon. William Brabazon (2nd son of the 7th Earl of Meath). Barbara, b. 24 July 1769,
d. 4 December 1845 shows up everywhere as does issue from her marriage to John Moore. Apparently though both John and Barbara had second marriages and I descend from Barbara's second marriage
This past year I've been able to obtain documentation of all this including these occurrences:
(1) 10 July 1805, the House of Lords passed the John Moore Divorce Act;
(2) 17 August 1805, Barbara Brabazon married Anthony William Durnford
(Anthony William Durnford was the grandfather of Anthony William
Durnford of Zulu War fame!);
(3) 19 February 1809, Arthur Gifford Durnford, son of Anthony William
Durnford and Barbara Brabazon, was baptized.
The names of Barbara, Brabazon, and Gifford (Barbara's grandfather) pop up often in the subsequent generations of Durnfords. Interestingly, Anthony William Durnford of Zulu fame had a daughter named Julia Brabazon Durnford (she died in infancy).
In any case, I am trying to achieve some acknowledgment that Barbara had children other than named "Moore" and that the Brabazon family bloodlines continues through the Durnford marriage.
Where do you suggest I start with this quest? In other words, how can I establish that the many noteworthy descendants of Barbara and Anthony William Durnford are also part of the larger Brabazon family?"
(I know that Shauna Flynn has been in touch with you Tony and I hope this request may result in more contacts to your email address Good luck and welcome to the distribution list for the BHP BULLETINS)

That indefatigable researcher Jan Barnes of Auckland reported as follows:
"About Richard Brabazon: He sub-leased Crown Land at Ballykilcline Roscommon which had come into the possession of Lord Hartland as the main leaseholder. Richard collected rent from the occupiers who had small holdings. They later complained that he had charged excessively high rents because each of the three lessors had added a premium. When Lord Hartland declined to buy the land from the government about 1834 it was revalued and the rent was collected by a government agent at a similar rate. Bit by bit all the occupiers except the Vicar refused to pay rent. They were evicted and sent to America. I got this off the EPPI. (There is also a Ballykilcline website but he isn't mentioned on it).
He would have been about the right age to have been Richard (1806-1887) who was buried in Rathcoole, son of the 10th Earl.
The Bringham Young University has more old books on line now. I found quite a few references to Brabazon, yesterday.
To find a family in the text of the books use 'Search All' at bottom of the page with the
'Search Full Text' box checked"
Jan also sent information relative to the Revised Tree of Brabazons of Roscommon
"I have now seen the pedigree of Brabazon of Ballinasloe. It is incorporated in the Magan Tree in Ms 179 Genealogical Office - 'O'Ferrall's linea antiqua' . The information there confirms the last bits of information that I sent and also adds some extra stuff, which will interest you.
Basically the information in Ms 179 agrees with the tree that I sent previously but adds a father to Edward Brabazon who married Rose Daton. The father was Edward Brabazon of Kilurebegg and Beagh Roscommon.
The other main thing of interest was that Anthony Brabazon (high sheriff of Galway d.1724, who left legacies to his kinsman Anthony and kinswoman Mary) actually did leave the legacies to members of the Beagh branch"
Jan enclosed a copy of her transcription from the film and an updated version of the previous guff which is in more logical format. (Thanks Jan - for anyone who would like more information you could contact her at

The mail which I receive from family members gives me much pleasure; such did a message in late February from Barbara Mills of Broughshane, Ballymena. Extracts are:
"We have had a 'too-good-to-be-true winter' - surely we will get some winter blasts before Spring.
The snowdrops are looking wonderful, with so little rain they are so perfect, the crocus are coming into bloom and the daffodils are showing their flower buds, but it is still officially winter. Another thing: the birds are starting to build their nests, I reckon three weeks early. There is an old saying here: 'A dry February curses every other month of the year'
Ann I know that you like to travel, would you ever think of coming to N. Ireland, you would be made very welcome, we would have so much to talk about. What about your Spanish? I received a copy of John Brabazon's memoirs in the mail today, from Edmundo Murray, which I had requested, but it is in Spanish, I will have to find a translator!
There was a photocopy picture of John Brabazon, and it is amazing to see the likeness in the ancestors of today"
(Barbara, how I would love to visit you and Bobbie, and many other family members around the world! I would need to travel in more comfort that I have been accustomed to in earlier years, and the cost of such is beyond me. But one never knows, and I will keep your invitation in mind with others. Many thanks for your mail)

You will have received and read with interest about the Brabazon Family Reunion Cruise being developed for November 2007 by Chris Brabazon Sr of Deltona, Florida. Chris tells me that many of his extensive 'Penna' family have indicated that they are interested in registering for the cruise, indeed have already done so.
(I have had indications of interest from US, UK and NZ; so that is an optimistic start Chris.)
A reminder that the "locked in" prices quoted are only guaranteed to those who send a deposit by 20 May 2006. ( I am hoping for a Lotto win to finance such a wonderful event)
Chris is a very keen researcher and correspondent. With the help of Shauna Flynn the Ultimate Brabazon Family Tree is being much expanded by the names of the vast 'Penna Clan'. I am very happy to say that Chris has just had some positive word about his Great Grandparents; he wrote on 27 April: "The good news is that my Great-grandparents names were on the birth certificate of my Grandfather; their names are Michael and Francus Brabazon. Now that I have their names I can begin to search for more information on them through the web site ''. I know that they were both born in Ireland, and that my Great-grandfather was a shoe maker and my Great-grandmother was a house keeper. I don't know exactly what area of Ireland they came from,
Can you help me with locating that information?
Now, I am going to send for the DNA kit; am ready to roll up my sleeve and have blood drawn so I can find out as to what branch of the Brabazon Family Tree I belong."
(Your enthusiasm and energy are an inspiration Chris - thanks and keep up the good work)
I got the impression that there was very cold weather in north America in February; many correspondents mentioned that. Betty Chapman of Wyoming wrote "We are experiencing very cold weather for February. It has been twenty below plus and not even warming up to zero during the day time; also, we have had very strong winds. During the last storm there were 145 traffic accidents that were reported on the highways due to ice and blowing snow. Many accidents, where people can get out and going by themselves, are not reported due to increased insurance costs. We bought ourselves a new wood stove for Christmas so have been staying home and enjoying it"
(Whilst we were having intense heat here in the tropics, it was hard to imagine the opposite weather conditions that were being experienced elsewhere. I would have enjoyed that wood stove too Betty!)
Did I ever mention that Shauna Flynn of West Chester, Pennsylvania discovered a daffodil named 'Brabazon'. To find out moreopen

On that happy note I will conclude this issue of the Bulletin. Should you have any comments, clarifications, suggestions, amendments etc., please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ann Shevill 1 May 2006