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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Nancy (Ann) Butler

Born: 1816; Died: 1895; Married: Dwyer

Ann, like her husband, was from Tipperary, but unlike him, she arrived in Sydney as a free settler - reportedly in 1841. Her application in 1846 for permission to marry a convict gives her age as 30, implying she was born in 1816 (her obituary suggests 1810). She and John appear to have had at least four children -

Patrick (1847)
Margaret (1848)
Maria (
John ('Jack') (1855)

Ann Butler was said to have been a woman of 'robust condition', known for her hospitality. Hefferan records a personal communication from Lyall Gillespie, that Ann smoked a clay pipe. However she was feeble for several years before her death on Friday 6 September 1895. She died at 'Malton' the residence of her son John and his wife Phoebe (nee Gillespie).

Mrs Ann Butler, relict of the late Mr John Butler departed to 'that bourne from whence no traveller returns' at the ripe old age of 85. The deceased lady who was a native of Tipperary, Ireland, arrived in the colony in 1841 and had resided in the district over half a century; she had been ailing for some months and quietly passed away at 12.15 on the above date, at the She possessed the national trait of her country, hospitality, and was a general favourite. The deceased leaves two sons, Mr [Patrick] Butler and Mr [John] Butler. The remains were interred in the RC Cemetery in Queanbeyan on Sunday. [Queanbeyan Age 11.9.1895]

She was buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Queanbeyan on 9 September 1895. The procession comprised 'a large cortege of mourners who desired to pay their last tribute to the good old woman whom most of them had known and esteemed since childhood'. She was described as 'an old resident of Ginninderra' where she had lived for over fifty years.

Heffernan observed: The building of Malton was also a substantial achievement for John Butler, who was a farm servant from tipperary before 1836, lost many years as a convict and was around 49 years old when he began to build the family home. The raising of a family while shifting from Palmerville to Yarralumla and then to the small dwelling at Malton is a great tribute to Nancy Dwyer (Ann Butler) who was no doubt appropriately eulogised as a woman of 'robust condition'.

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