We are grateful for the generous assistance given by Ray Gavan, Paul Crotty, Una Wilson and Michael Gavan, all descendants of Michael Delaney, who have helped us tremendously and without whom we would not have known where to begin our research. Special thanks also, to our daughter Glenis, for scanning the photographs used on the site.
MICHAEL DELANEY, son of MICHAEL DELANEY and ELIZABETH BRENAN, came from Kilkenny, Ireland in 1835 as a convict and settled in the Yass area.His siblings in Kilkenny were Mary, baptised 1803,and her twin brother John,Bridget, baptised 1804, Thomas, baptised 1810, Catherine, baptised 1813, William, baptised 1815, and another Catherine, baptised 1818. We assume the earlier child by that name had died before 1818.
The Delaney family lived in Green Street, Kilkenny, and the children were baptised in either St. Canice's or St. John's churches, in Kilkenny city.
Michael was sentenced for "assaulting habitations" and was brought to Australia on the convict ship "Forth", which came to NSW in 1835.
Taken from the newspaper, the Kilkenny Moderator, Saturday, 15th March 1834.
"The next prisoners given in charge to the same jury were- Edward Kenny, Owen Conville, Michael Delany, Alexander Cody and Michael Brophy, indicted for assaulting the dwelling-house of James Bradley, at Clinstown, taking his arms, and administering unlawful oaths, on the 16th Nov, 1831.
The first witness produced in this case was also the approver, Martin Kavanagh, who was examined by Mr Scott, K.C. - Witness about 10 or 12 days after the attack on Neale's house, in October 1831, met Kenny, John Neale, Owen Conville and Alexander Cody, by appointment, at the engine in Clough colliery; Kenny asked them to go to Aby Cody's to get possession of four acres of ground for Sandy Cody's father, and also said he had 8 or 4 guns "set" if they'd rob them that night, and promised them their day's wages for being idle, they said they would go without being paid: they met at the Widow Large's that night, where were Owen Conville, witness, Denis Loughnan, and the other nine men; they had arms; John Neale had a pistol and witness had a gun; the cock of witness's gun was "disobliged" [ out of order ] ; it had an old charge in it, and being afraid of it he gave it to Edward Kenny who put a live coal into the barrel; it went off and frightened the widow; they were first trying to draw the charge. [ Here witness identified the 5 prisoners ].
They were all at the widow's house that night; the whole party went to Corcoran's, a herd of Lady Ormonde's, and asked for arms; they got 1 gun there; it was loaded and Corcoran told them so; from thence they went to James Bradley's, within about a mile of Castlecomer; they raised the latch and went in; they saw Bradley, his wife, a lame boy, and two men in the house; they made the two men turn their faces to the wall.
They then demanded arms; Bradley said he had none; they swore the lame boy, who told them the arms had been repaired and sent home; opened a box and got two locks of a gun or blunderbuss; it was Kenny who swore them. Kenny had on a large blue coat and witness another that night; after going out they returned and swore Bradley again not to let the men out till morning or until 12 o'clock, he was not certain which.
Then they all went to Aby Cody's, and beat him and his wife, and swore them to give up the 4 acres of ground to Sandy Cody. Had Corcoran's gun in Bradley's house; they also visited Isaac Bradley's, in Fedora, and another house that night. [indistinct words] was the man who ordered James Bradley and the lame boy (McDonald) on their knees, and pointed a pistol at the latter [words not clear] Cross- examined by Mr Hatchell - Got the coat now on him from Mr Farrell; is allowed to go where he pleases in Dublin; kept no "book account" of how many guns he took; was not Captain of the party on the night in question; sometimes he was when he'd take them to a place himself; can't say when he began at the work himself; often fired out of guns but did no harm that night; it was a live bit of Kilkenny coal was put into the barrel of the gun. It was not witnessed who transported Neale at the last assizes; witness was by trade a miner, (perhaps an under-miner observed Mr Hatchell); lost his finger about 20 years ago by fire. Witness beat one of the women in Cody's house with the butt end of his gun (butt to butt, I suppose, added Mr H.)
John McDonald, (the lame boy) was next produced. He said - James Bradley was his uncle, and he was living with him when he was attacked in November 1831. (He here described the party entering the house, the swearing of him and his uncle, and the other particulars exactly as former witness.) Thinks some of them were unarmed; saw guns and but one pistol; was in the habit of borrowing guns to shoot rabbits; swears he knew Corcoran's gun and saw it that night in his uncle's house with one of the party whom he did not know; knew two of the party; Kavanagh was one of them; (identifies Michael Delany) : it was not either of these who had Corcoran's gun.
This witness was cross-examined by Mr Brewster, but there was not the slightest variation in his testimony.
James Bradley ( the uncle) was next called and examined - Recollects living in Clinstown in Nov. 1831, when a party of Whitefeet went to his house between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening; considered by the noise he heard there were about a dozen persons; saw a cavalry pistol and a large gun with those who entered his house. They asked for his arms; he said he had only the King's arms and they were called in: had been in the yeomanry; they then called his nephew and [......] him; one called out swear Mr Bradley; they swore witness afterwards at the door not to let any person out of his house after 12 o'clock; doesn't know any of the party.
Cross-examined - Knows Edward Kenny, as he was his neighbour; thinks he would have known him if he had to come into his presence that night; the man who swore witness held a candle in hand; didn't know him.
Martin Kavanagh re-examined - The last witness was put on his knees but was not sworn the first time: he was sworn at the door. The case closed here for the Crown.
For the defence James Delany was the first witness called - Was in Mr Aher's employment in November 1831; knows Sandy Cody; he worked with witness at the Colliery; the night of the attack on Bradley's he slept with witness, Billy Walker, and another; the four slept in the one bed; it was on a Wednesday night in November, the fair night of Ballinakill; heard afterwards that was the night of the attack.
Cross-examined-Slept with those persons that night; they all worked in the colliery; Michael Delany and all the other prisoners used to be working there; Tom Cody only was in the habit of regularly sleeping with witness, but the three slept with him that night; never slept together before or since; it was several months after he heard of Sandy Cody having being charged with this business.
Arthur Williams examined- Lives in Castlecomer, heard of the attack about 8 days afterwards; met Edward Kenny about 4 o'clock on the evening of the 16th November; he returned with witness and remained in his house that night until after the clock struck two.
Cross-examined- Remembers the night of the 16th November well; it was on that night in the year 1823 he was married; Edward Kenny met him returning from the fair of Ballinakill and told him his daughter was dying; they then went to witness's house together and Kenny remained with him that night; if his wife was here she could tell the same story; knows Bill Walker and Tom Cody and saw them in the Court House that day.
Mr John Brenan was called in as to the characters of Michael Brophy and Owen Conville: Richard Goss as to that of Edward Kenny; and Ambrose Williams was produced on the part of Alexander Cody for the same purpose. They each received a 'good character', no charge having been even made against them before, to the knowledge of these witnesses.
The Judge then recapitulated the evidence, and the Jury retired for a few minutes, after which they returned their verdict, acquitting Kenny, Conville, Brophy, and Cody, and finding Michael Delany, guilty. To be transported for life.
The document, no. 39/2050, stated that the prisoner's number was 35/818, the ship was the "Forth" (3), the master of which was Hutton, the year 1835. Michael Delaney's place of trial was Kilkenny, on 15th March, 1834 and his sentence was 7 years. He was allowed to remain in the District of Yass. Dated July, 1839.
His Certificate of Freedom, no. 41/1547, dated5th November, 1841, gave the following details. Prisoner's number 35/818, ship "Forth" (3) Master Hutton, Year 1835, Native Place Kilkenny, Trade or Calling was Labourer, Place of Trial, Kilkenny, date of Trial, 15th March 1834. Sentence 7 years. Year of birth 1806, height 5 feet 6 and 3/4 inches, complexion dark, ruddy and pock pitted. Hair brown, eyes grey. Michael had a scar on the left side of his upper lip, scar on the back of his right wrist, another below left knee.
Michael married Ellen COLLINS in 1842 at Bogolong, who died after giving birth to Mary Ann. Michael DELANEY remarried in 1845 to Catherine HANNON at Yass and the issue from this relationship was Ann, Elizabeth, William, Michael, Nancy, Catherine, James and Thomas.
In the name of God, Amen.The Sixteenth day of February, 1878, I, Michael Delaney of Wargeila, Sheep Farmer, being very sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling you to mind the mortality of the body knowing that it is appointed unto all men to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the almighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and bequeath the same in the following manner and form.
First I give and bequeath to my beloved son Michael Delaney two thirty acre farms situated on Spring Creek one thirty acre farm on Thumawalda Creek one thirty acre farm on Barlow Creek and seven hundred and fifty mixed sheep. Also I give and bequeath to my well beloved son James Delaney one hundred and thirty acres situated in Wargeela thirty purched one hundred selected and six hundred mixed sheep. Michael Delaney and James Delaney to support their mother not give her twenty pounds sterling per year during her life. Also I give to my daughter Mary Boyd one shilling. Also I give to my well beloved son William Delaney one shilling. Also I give to my well beloved daughter Elisabeth Delaney one hundred and fifty mixed sheep. Also I give to my well beloved daughter Ann Yeats one hundred and fifty mixed sheep. Also I give to my beloved daughter Catherine Delaney one hundred and fifty mixed sheep and I do hereby utterly disallow revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments wills legacies bequests and executors by me in any ways before named willed and bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament.
In witness whereas I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Michael X Delaney (his mark)
Signed and promised and declared by me said Michael Delaney his mark as his last will and testament in the presence of us