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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Mary Ann McAuliffe

Married: Flourence McAuliffe

At this stage, the ancestry and origins of Mary Ann Flanagan, have not been clearly identified. Her death certificate indicates she was born in Marulan NSW, about 1841, the daughter of Michael Flanagan, labourer, and Mary née Brennan. In 1860 Mary Ann married young Irishman, Flourence McAuliffe, with whom she was to have eleven children. By 1870, the McAuliffes owned three small blocks around the Ginninderra blacksmith's shop.

In 1867, fire destroyed their residence and most of their possessions. Fortunately, the blacksmith's shop was saved and Flourence was able to keep working. The Ginninderra community also rallied around them and donated goods and helped them rebuild.

Tragically, Mary Ann was afflicted throughout her life from mental illness. In May 1869, it is reported that she had been suffering badly for about six months; failing to respond to medical treatment or the efforts of her immediate and extended families. She was brought before the Queanbeyan magistrate as a 'dangerous lunatic'. According to the Queanbeyan Age "The unfortunate young woman ... had been brought into town for protection ... and ... had been carefully watched at Mrs Lee's inn, as she continued to manifest a strong propensity to self-destruction ... Her cries on the way to the court house were distressing, and the manner in which she clung to her husband, as if apprehensive that she was about to be separated from him." 'Mrs Lee' was in fact Margaret Lee, née McAuliffe, and by that time the widow of St Patrick's Inn proprietor William Lee. She was Flourence's older sister; Mary Ann's sister-in-law.

We don't know exactly what happened next, but Mary Ann gave birth to their fifth child in the following year and must have been able to recover. She went on to have another six children with Flourence over sixteen years.

In 1877 her husband was declared bankrupt. His financial woes and Mary Ann's illness may well explain the family's decision to leave Ginninderra by 1876 and to settle in Cooma, where she died of typhoid fever on 23 Jan 1885 aged 44, leaving eleven children.


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