Riordan Family history


[Letter written by my cousin Frances]

April 9, 1981


Dear Roger,

Having told Sally on Monday that I would write immediately and tell you the answer to the mystery of our great grandmother, I just haven't had a minute to spare since then. Forgive me.

Fortunately I first broached the subject with mother who told me the story and then I asked father's permission to tell you and he gave me the background details. He has all the birth certificates, etc. and will show them to you if you wish. In fact, I rather think he might write to you and his details will probably be more accurate than mine.

As I understand it, Rosannah Grady was the granddaughter of Felix Carney who was transported to Australia with his wife in 1806. He had served four years in Dublin prison and arrived in Sydney on a ticket of leave. After a further three years servitude he was “pardoned” and became “free by servitude”. He evidently then set up a business in Pitt Street and became quite successful. Those are the sort of details father will have to tell you about. His eldest daughter married a John Grady and Rosannah was their eldest daughter.

She married, as you say, one Capt. Hawkins and they had three children. One died in infancy, nothing seems to be known about the son but the daughter lived at Salisbury and was known as Aunt Sissy. Hawkins evidently deserted Rose (Rosannah) and went bush where he raised another family. Timothy had known Rose as a child when he lived in Yurong Street and was evidently very fond of her and she became his de facto wife. They went to Queensland where Walter, Rose and grandfather were born (I think that's right). Eventually Hawkins died at the age of 53 and Timothy and Rose were free to marry. We think Aunt Mary was born after this but are not sure. Evidently the law at the time stated that the subsequent marriage legitimised the children if at the time of their conception there was no impediment to the marriage. Of course, this did not apply to them - so, there you have it.

The children knew nothing of this until they were quite old - grown up and married or whatever and it came as a great shock to them. In fact, Aunt Rose could never bring herself to tell her solicitor and that was one of the complications with the family estate and the reason it took so long to sort out.

I hope that solves the mystery for you even if it may not be entirely accurate. I must admit that I didn't think such a simple question would unearth a skeleton the the family cupboard!


Love to you all,


 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Skeletons in the family cupboard

2. Letter from my cousin Frances