Pioneer women – Bridget Shalloe.
The second of my pioneer women is Bridget Shalloe (Mrs Patrick Devereux). Bridget Shalloe was the last of my great, great grandparents to arrive in Australia and one of two of whom I have photographs. There are two photographs featuring Bridget. One is a photograph of her son-in-law’s butcher shop, with him standing in front of the shop and his wife, children and Bridget Devereux standing on the balcony above.
It is a distant shot and very little can be seen of the women and children. The second is a studio photograph of the family with Bridget, seated holding her first grandson, son-in-law and daughter. The original photograph had been stained right across Bridget’s face, but it gives an idea of her features.
I like her maiden name ‘Shalloe’ – it is unusual. My father would often say ‘Shalloo’ like an exhalation of “I’d like to stay here, but I must return to work”. It amused my mother and I when we discovered this name in her family tree as we did not know where Dad had picked up this expression. Dad did not say why he said it. It was years later that I learned from Mum’s sister that Bridget’s grandsons would walk around saying, ‘Shalloo’. Perhaps Dad had heard one of my mother’s uncles saying the name and it’s unusual sound had appealed to him and he adopted it for his own appellation.
Bridget Shalloe was born about 1847 in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare and was a daughter of wine and spirit merchant James Shalloe and his wife Bridget Brody of Ennis, County Clare.
Bridget’s name was variously recorded as Bridget Maria or Brigid Maria, and her surname as Shallue, Shallow and a number of phonetic spellings. The surname is said to derive from the ancient Gaelic O’Sealbhaigh, meaning “the descendant of the land owner” or similar, “one who held possessions”.
Bridget arrived in Victoria aboard the “Shalimar” in May 1865 and within a month of arriving she married Patrick Devereux, who was also a County Clare man, on 2 June, 1865 at Warrnambool, Victoria. Bridget was 18 years of age and Patrick was 37 years old.
Bridget and Patrick Devereux had six children: Mary Alice, Catherine, Bridget Beatrice, Margaret Clare, Michael Kinnaird and James, who died at 2 years of age. Though four children married, the eldest, Mary Alice, was the only one to have a family.
Bridget and Patrick Devereux had a farm initially at Crossley before settling on a farm at Port Fairy North and lived there until 1907 when Patrick died. It is possible that Bridget then spent a number of years with her married daughter Mary Alice Barker in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, after which the family moved back to the western district about 1912.
I assume that Patrick Devereux was the influence behind his daughters’ shrewd business acumen in their property dealings and that he was a good and stable provider for his wife, Bridget, and his daughters.
As the homes of their daughters were named in remembrance of County Clare towns I believe that Bridget had often told her family stories of her birthplace and inspired their homes to be named: Varnadoon, Derrymore and Lahinch.
When Bridget Maria Devereux died on 27 June, 1931 at Port Fairy, her obituary stated she was “of a very kindly and charitable disposition, and numerous are the neighbourly actions she performed.” “She watched the gradual growth and development of this part of the State and did her share towards the foundation of better conditions for everyone.”