Pioneer women – Ann Leddin (Mrs William Sinnott)
I spent a very pleasant evening listening to a performance by Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave. Marcia sang her song “Two sisters dreaming” which is in honour of her great grandmother, Mary Leddin and her sister Margaret Leddin. The sisters, Mary and Margaret, arrived in Victoria in 1855 on the “Hotspur”, preceding their parents and siblings, including my great grandmother, Ann Leddin, who arrived on “The Chance” in 1857.
The melody of “Two sisters dreaming” rode the waves of their trepidation, uncertainty and melancholy. Arriving in this wild strange land and helping to build a community with their fellow Irishmen, Scots and Englishmen. A thread of the strength of that Irish community still continues today.
The evocative songs of Rose and Marcia have the power to remind the listener of their connection to our beautiful land and to our early ancestral roots. Like sitting around a camp fire, but there are no flames only the light of their hearts shining out to warm ours.
By a strange twist of fate, Marcia had three Leddin third cousins in her audience at Tyers, Vic. Two descendants of Ann Leddin and one descendant of John Leddin (the sisters’ brother).
The parents, William Leddin and Johanna Condon came from Ballincaroona, County Limerick and had nine children all baptised in townlands bordering County Limerick and Tipperary. On arrival to Victoria Margaret and Mary were met by their Gleeson cousin and escorted to Port Fairy.
William and his family settled in Yambuk, Victoria and his children all married and produced 81 grandchildren and 305 great grandchildren for William and Johanna.
Ann Leddin married William Sinnott and had nine children. My mother wrote, “My father had a great respect and love for his mother. He often spoke of how she used to pray each time she washed her hands, wouldn’t allow them to speak ill of anyone, of her love of cards and company, and her industry.
When Ann and William were living in the heath of St Helens, they often had a dray load of visitors come out from Port Fairy on a Sunday night, and they dined and danced till dawn; no light to go home earlier. Another story told was of their surprise that she could grow such wonderful ‘taties’ in the heath.
Ann died suddenly the night of my father’s birthday in 1912, after a party and dance. My father recalled she laughed and enjoyed herself more than usual that night.” (c) Nance Pye.