Pioneer women – Mary Farrelly (Mrs John Lane).
The following has been largely extracted from the family history book, “The family of Charles and Maria Lane in Australia 1840-2004” p 145-148, and I acknowledge the un-credited writers of the story of John and Mary Lane. The other source of details in this article has come from my sister’s research.
Mary Farrelly is my great, great grandmother.
Mary was born in County Cavan, Ireland about 1833. It is not known who her parents were and it is assumed that she was the Mary Farrelly who arrived at Adelaide, South Australia aboard the ship Nimroud on 1 January 1855. There were also four other female and two male passengers with the surname Farrelly from County Cavan aboard this ship who may have been Mary’s siblings or relatives.
Mary Farrelly married John Lane on 21 April 1856 at Willunga, SA.
John Lane was born on 13 February 1834 in West Harnham, Wiltshire, England and was christened on 9 March 1834 at St. George’s Church of England. John Lane was the tenth child of Charles Lane and his wife Maria Adlam of West Harnham, Wiltshire, England. John was 6 years of age when he migrated to Australia with his parents and siblings aboard the ship Orleana. They arrived in Holdfast Bay, South Australia on 10 June 1840.
John would have lived with his parents at Kensington, SA until about 1850 when the family moved to the Mount Torrens area, at this time he was aged 16 years.
After their marriage John and Mary Lane lived for several years in the vicinity of Mt. Torrens, northeast of Adelaide. This is where their first two children were born – Anne in 1857 at Mt. Torrens and James in 1859 at Blumberg (now Birdwood). John leased property consisting of Section 6388 Hundred of Talunga and Section 5213 Hundred of Onkaparinga, County of Adelaide. This land was a short distance from the land leased from the South Australian Company by John’s elder brother Edward, namely Section 6512 Hundred of Talunga.
In 1859 John traveled to the lower Southeast of the State in search of better prospects for his family. He was suitably impressed, and later returned to his wife and two small children. They first settled at Mt. Muirhead (Millicent) where their third child, John, was born in 1860. There was no town nearby and most of the area was swampland. Their next child Thomas was born at Mt. Gambier in 1862.
They moved to Benara (closer to Mt. Gambier) for a few years, where it is known that John assisted William Matheson to build a shearing shed on Coola Station. John and Mary’s son Robert was born here in 1864.
The family eventually returned to an area where they had first settled, John gained employment with Mr. George Glen of the Mayurra Station, a considerable holding of around 110 square miles. John was a shepherd and he and his family had to make their home on different parts of the run, moving frequently according to season and requirement. Consequently only two of their children were born at the same location – Eliza at Mt. Burr (Millicent) in 1866; Walter at Lake Bonney (Millicent) in 1868; Richard and Mary at Mayurra (Millicent) in 1870 and 1873 respectively. During the greater part of John’s employment there, Mayurra was almost entirely unfenced.
As the population in the district grew, it was realised that a business centre was required. In May 1870 Mr. James W. Jones surveyed a 26 acre site in preparation for the proposed centre. The new centre and its location were specified as being ‘a township about 3 miles north east of Glen’s homestead Mayurra’. Mrs. George Glen, nee Millecent Short, allowed her name to be given to the new town in 1870, but with a slight change in the spelling. She was the daughter of Augustus Short, the first Anglican Bishop of Adelaide.
The first Town Allotments were advertised for sale on Thursday, December 7, 1871 at the reserve price of £10 per acre. There was little demand for town allotments at this time and the original allotment in George Street, number 16, had been passed in. However, John Lane of Mayurra (shepherd) bought it privately on January 1, 1872, at the reserve price of £10. The George Glen building presently stands on the site of the old bank on the corner of George Street and Glen Street.
At another sale on January 18, 1872, John Lane of ‘Mayurra’ (shepherd) purchased one acre for £1 5s. This is believed to be Parts 20 and 21 of Section 541, on which he paid rates in 1877.
In the latter years of his employment at Mayurra the Lane family lived in the old residence previously occupied by Mr. Charles Prior when he was overseer and acted as manager during Mr. Glen’s absence in England. It is therefore reasonable to assume that it was here that John and Mary’s two youngest children, Richard and Mary were born.
When new land in the district became available for selection in 1879 John took up a section in Green Hill, now Hatherleigh, north of Millicent. The land was offered at £2 and was sold at auction in Adelaide on August 12, 1879. John paid £4 per acre for Section 43 Hundred of Mt Muirhead, a holding of 240 acres on which a two room ‘tin’ hut was erected. It is not known when the property was disposed of, but his wife Mary continued to pay rates on it until 1885, four years after John’s death.
John Lane died on 9th February 1881 aged 46 years and was buried at Millicent. The ‘cause of death’ was heart disease. The Millicent correspondent a Mt. Gambier newspaper recalled his death shown below.
The South Eastern Star – February 11, 1881
“Quite a gloom was cast over the place this morning, when it was known that Mr. John Lane, an old and much respected resident in the district, had died very suddenly last night at his farm near Green Hills. A few days ago Mr. Lane was to extricate a bullock from a bog and hurt himself, and had not felt quite well since, but nothing serious was apprehended. The deceased was much respected, he has left a wife and large family to mourn their loss. …”
The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Tuesday 21 November 1916
“Mrs. Lane, aged 82 years, widow of Mr. John Lane, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Ann Marks, Millicent, on Friday. She was the oldest living resident of the district having arrived in the locality in 1850. Her husband was for many years in the employ of Mr. George Glen, owner of the Mayurra station, when that estate included the range upon which the town of Millicent was subsequently surveyed. Mr. Lane died 35 years ago; and since then his widow had resided continuously in the town. She was widely known and popular. Her family consisted of six sons and three daughters, and there are many great-grandchildren.”
For thirty-five years after John’s death Mary lived in the family home opposite the Millicent Railway Station. She had many friends, and, as she retained her faculties until a week before her death, she was an interesting conversationalist, and could relate many incidents of the life of the ’good old days.’
Mary died on 10 November 1916 at Millicent. She left the house and land on the corner of Glen Street and Railway Terrace to her eldest son James, £50 to her daughter Anne Marks, £10 to her daughter Mary Beaton, with the residue also going to her daughter Anne Marks.