A MARRIAGE IN THE PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT


I was interested to read the article regarding the Rev. James Forbes in the last newsletter, for it jogged my memory that he had officiated at the marriage of my great aunt, Catherine Kelly. Catherine, and my great-grandfather John Kelly, were two of the five children born to Private James Kelly of the New South Wales Royal Veteran No. 3 Company, and wife Bridget Burn, who were stationed in Van Diemen's Land from 1826, until migrating to Bearbrass (an early name for Melbourne), Port Phillip in January 1837.

Our family records indicate that Catherine became a governess to the children (see note below) of John Pascoe Fawkner in 1838, and it was here she met William Murphy, gardener of the John Pascoe Fawkner property. William was a man with an interesting history. He was born in the United States of America, became a whaler, and on a work trip of the southern oceans jumped ship in New Zealand, finally wending his way to Port Phillip.

In "Historical Records of Victoria" (Volume 3, page 694 - Presbyterian Marriages - Entry No. 15) is the marriage of Catherine Kelly to William Murphy on 25 February 1839, performed by the Rev. James Forbes. The pair are noted as being members of, or holding communion with, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. One of the two witnesses was a Richard Tancred. His marriage to Catherine Keating (Entry No. 5) dated 5 June 1838, was also performed by the Rev. Forbes. I was fascinated to note when scanning the records of Roman Catholic marriages at St. Francis Church, which only begin in May 1839, that Richard and Catherine were again married, this time by the Rev. Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan on 1 September 1839, the fourth marriage performed in that church. Apparently, in the early pioneering period, it was not uncommon to do so in a church of another religion, until such a time as there was a facility to solemnise the ceremony in a church of your own faith.

Contributed by Raymond Kelly (PPPG Member No. 1267)

( Note: John Pascoe Fawkner did not have any biological children, however he and his wife, Eliza, did have foster children, one of which belonged to John Lancey, Captain of the "Enterprize." There are Fawkner descendants from John's sister, Elizabeth. - Newsletter Editor )


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