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Home: Surnames: McDonnell Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: McDonnells from Cork on the Victorian goldfields
Posted by: ian mcdonnell (ID *****5759) Date: June 12, 2004 at 19:42:07
In Reply to: McDonnells from Cork on the Victorian goldfields by Sue Ellis of 1104


My grandfather Samuel Leonard McDonnell was born in Heywood Victoria in 1881 (according to my father's birth certificate). However his parents never registered him and there is no record of his birth, unfortunately.

However, there is a family story (myth probably) that his father made Ned Kelly's armour. In case you don't know Ned Kelly is a famous or infamous, depending on one's perspective, Australian outlaw. The story of Ned Kelly, his body armour and the shoot out with the police are firmly embedded in the psyche of Australians. Ned came from Glenrowan, so I was intrigued to read your post that a McDonnell had the pub in Glenrowan

Ned Kelly was hanged in 1880, so it could be possible that my great grandfather made the armour as a young man, then moved to Heywood in Western Victoria to escape police persecution because of his relationship to the Kelly gang. My grandfather was a blacksmith, so if he followed in his father's footsteps it is possible that he too was capable of making this armour. All conjecture of course, but?

I found it fascinating that in Heywood and its environs today 15 McDonnell's are listed in the telephone book. It is not a very common name in Australia - only about 30 in the Sydney telephone directory - so there must have been quite a family settlement.

On my next summer holidays I plan to go to Heywood and see if I can find any trace of my grandfather and his family, as he is a complete mystery to me, and my 84 year old mother has only sketchy details of his past.

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