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Patrick Kiley: the Irish Convict

Updated on December 28, 2016

Patrick Kiley : an Irish convict

Patrick Kiley was a convict transported to Australia. I would like to share his story with you.

The stigma of having a convict in the family would have meant that families hid this fact from their descendants. In my family we were not aware of this fact until we started researching into early records.

These days, in Australia, it is considered that having a convict in your family history makes you "Australian Royalty". So I am quite pleased and proud to have a convict in the family line.

I have included some links to resources if you wish to find out more about a convict in your family.

Photo of convict built sandstone buildings on Cockatoo Island by ashroc


Patrick Kiley

Patrick Kiley was born in Ireland in approx 1799. His father was Sheamus and his mother was Catherine.

Patrick was tried for larceny in the county of Tipperary in 1819 and received the sentence of 7 years transportation to Australia.

On the shipping list, Patrick is described as a labourer, 5 foot 6 inches tall with a pale complexion, black hair and blue eyes.

Plaque at Cobh, Ireland
Plaque at Cobh, Ireland | Source

The Minerva

Patrick was transported on the ship Minerva, which sailed from Cork on the 26th August 1819.

They would have sailed from County Cork's port, Cobh (pronouned Cove).

The Minerva arrived in Sydney on the 17th December 1819. Around 170 male convicts were on board and one convict died on the voyage. This was the second voyage for the Minerva to Australia as a convict ship, she sailed by direct route which took 113 days.

The master of the ship was Captain John Bell. The surgeon was Superintendant Charles Queade. Lieutenant Harrison of the 45th Regiment was in charge of the soldiers on board the ship.

The Minerva was built in Lancaster in the year 1804 and weighed 530 tonnes.

The plaque refers to the 1798 upsrising, but many more Irishmen and women left the shores of Ireland from Cob since that date. and indeed"... they subsequently influenced the development of the democratic and egalitarian ethos of the Australian nation".

Convict assignment

Captain Bunker of Argyle is given as Patrick's employer in the 1822 muster records.

Captain Eber Bunker, a mariner and master of a convict ship, the William and Ann, in the third fleet, was an important man in the colony.

He was granted land at Liverpool, which he named Collingwood. Captain Bunker lived at Collingwood until 1823 raising cattle.

Many convicts ended up working on his house and land.

The house, having served many purposes since its construction. including a golf clubhouse, is now a heritage listed site.

Life as a free man

On the 6th April 1826 Patrick received his certificate of freedom. A Certificate of Freedom was a document stating that a convict's sentence had been served and was usually given to convicts with a 7, 10 or 14 year sentence

After his sentance, Patrick lived at Bongarry, Goulburn Plains and according to the 1828 census he owned 75 head of cattle.

In 1833 Patrick married Judith Moriarty (of the ship Woodman) at Carryyone (Kuriong station) 200 miles from Sydney, in the parish of Sydney, St Mary's. This information comes from the priest's journal. It is possible that the actual name of the station was Kuriong. Kuriong Run is located near Binalong, NSW

Patrick and Judith settled at Coolac, NSW. In 1839, Patrick's younger brother William and his wife Margaret came out to Australia and joined the Kiley's at Coolac. Patrick and Judith were godparents to William's second son named Patrick.

In 1848 Patrick claimed a lease to Benangaroo Run (near Junee).

I am unsure as to what happened after that to Patrick and Judith as they seem to disappear from the records. I am unable to find any records of their children, if they had them, or when they died. It is possible that their names were recorded with variations of the spelling for Kiley, I have found records which pertain to Patrick with the spelling of Keely, Keily and even Hurley.

Where is Coolac?

A markerCoolac, new south wales -
Coolac NSW 2722, Australia
get directions

The Kiley family and Banjo Patterson

Patrick's nephew, also called Patrick, was said to be a mate of famous Australian bush poet Andrew Barton Patterson, nicknamed Banjo. Banjo Patterson is believed to have spent some time on Red Hill Station, owned by William Kiley and sons and to have used it as the model for his poem "On Kiley's run". Banjo had many roles in his life, not only a poet, he was a solicitor, journalist, soldier and war correspondent.

Under the shadow of Kiley's hill by Banjo Paterson

In the family it is said that this poem was written with Patrick Kiley in mind

Under the Shadow of Kiley's Hill

This is the place where they all were bred;

Some of the rafters are standing still;

Now they are scattered and lost and dead,

Every one from the old nest fled,

Out of the shadow of Kiley's Hill.

Better it is that they ne'er came back --

Changes and chances are quickly rung;

Now the old homestead is gone to rack,

Green is the grass on the well-worn track

Down by the gate where the roses clung.

Gone is the garden they kept with care;

Left to decay at its own sweet will,

Fruit trees and flower-beds eaten bare,

Cattle and sheep where the roses were,

Under the shadow of Kiley's Hill.

Where are the children that strove and grew

In the old homestead in days gone by?

One is away on the far Barcoo

Watching his cattle the long year through,

Watching them starve in the droughts and die.

One, in the town where all cares are rife,

Weary with troubles that cramp and kill,

Fain would be done with the restless strife,

Fain would go back to the old bush life,

Back to the shadow of Kiley's Hill.

One is away on the roving quest,

Seeking his share of the golden spoil;

Out in the wastes of the trackless west,

Wandering ever he gives the best

Of his years and strength to the hopeless toil.

What of the parents? That unkempt mound

Shows where they slumber united still;

Rough is their grave, but they sleep as sound

Out on the range as in holy ground,

Under the shadow of Kiley's Hill.

A B Banjo Paterson

"Twelve thousand eight hundred acres [estimated area]. Estimated grazing capabilities, five hundred cattle. Bounded on the west by a range of mountains running from tho Murrumbidgee River towards the Port Phillip road, which divides it from Mr. O'Brien's run; east by the main range running into the river, about two miles east of Kiley's hut, which divides it from Mr. Flood's run; south, the Murrumbidgee River; north by the ranges between the river and Port Phillip road."

— the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 3 October 1848

Convict Poll

Do you have an ancestor who was transported to Australia as a convict?

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The Irish in Australia

To be Irish, Catholic and a Convict! "Irishness" is a big part of the Australian psyche...

This video also shows footage of Tipperary, where Patrick and his family originated from in Ireland.

Do you have some information on an Australian convict that you would like to share?

Reader Infomation on convicts in Australia

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