Spelling of Learnihan surname
There are multiple spellings of the Learnihan surname. The Irish and Australian sources (1901 Ireland Census, Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958 and Ireland, Select Marriages, 1619-1898, original Queensland Marriage Certificate) show there are three known variants of the Learnihan surname: - 1. Learhinan 2. Lernihan and 3. Lerhinan
It is not certain which is the correct spelling but the oldest Learnihan person for whom there is some information is for Thomas Joseph Learnihan. The Learnihan variant seems to be the most common and for that reason only it has been assumed as the correct one.
Bridget Delia Learnihan's Parents
Her parents were Thomas Joseph Learnihan 1842-1930 and Maria Learnihan (his first cousin) 1848-1879
Thomas Learnihan's Marriages
Thomas Joseph Learhinan married twice. Thomas and (his first wife) Maria Learnihan (his first cousin) of Kilmihil, Clare, Ireland had nine children of whom seven survived into adulthood. Maria died young in 1879 aged 31 (of premature labour).
Thomas married again on 22 July 1879 - his second wife was Catherine "Katie" Molly and they had a further 10 children of whom only five survived into adulthoold.
Learnihan Family Immigration to Northern Queensland
Six of the surving seven Learnihan children from Thomas Learnihan's first wife as well as the first born child (Annie) from his second wife, immigrated to Townsville, Queensland in the 11 years between 1889 and 1900, on three ships - SS Juman, SS Dorunda and SS Duke of Portland.
The first two children to immigrate were Susan and Mary in 1889 on the SS Jumna. Next was Patrick, 2 years later in 1891 on the SS Dorunda Then James, 7 years later in 1898 on the SS Jumna. Finally 2 years later, Bridget, Norah and Annie in 1900 on the Duke of Portland
First Name Born Died Arrived Ship Married
Patrick 16 Mar 1869 18 Jun 1911 Abt Mar 1891 Townsville SS Dorunda Did not marry
Susan 24 Nov 1870 18 Sep 1900 5 Dec 1889 Townsville SS Jumna Did not marry
Mary 10 Sep 1873 16 Apr 1957 5 Dec 1889 Townsville SS Jumna John Martin West
Bridget Delia 6 Dec 1874 18 Aug 1984 5 Feb 1900 Townsville SS Duke of Portland Thomas W G Blackburn
Norah 11 Mar 1876 26 Mar 1922 5 Feb 1900 Townsville SS Duke of Portland 1 John Joseph Hughes and 2 Henry Albert James
James 15 Feb 1878 8 Sep 1961 2 Jan 1898 Townsville SS Jumna Did not marry
Annie (step sister) 12 May 1880 16 Nov 1951 5 Feb 1900 Townsville SS Duke of Portland Vincent Rowland Jackson
It is suspected that all of the six siblings and their step sister travelled as remittance passengers – fares paid by someone else.
On 10 December 1859 Queensland was formally separated from the colony of New South Wales. Some 13 years later, the Queensland Government enacted an Immigration Act in 1872 that allowed residents in Queensland who wished to obtain Passages to the Colony for their friends or relatives in Europe, to purchase shipping passenger tickets, by paying to the Immigration Agent in Brisbane, or to any of the Clerks of Petty Sessions in the Colony, amounts varying in cost from £1 to £6.
Passengers who arrived under this scheme were called Remittance Passengers. This arrangement was advertised in local press including on page 3 of the 10 December 1872 edition of the Rockhampton Bulletin newspaper.
"IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1872 - REMITTANCE PASSENGERS”. PERSONS resident in Queensland wishing to obtain Passages to the Colony for their friends or relatives in Europe, can do so under the provisions of the New Immigration Act, by paying to the Immigration Agent in Brisbane, or to any of the Clerks of Petty Sessions in the Colony, amounts in accordance with the following scale:-
- Males and Females between 1 and 12 years each 1 pound
- Males between 12 and 40 years each 2 pounds
- Females between 12 and 40 years each 1 pound
- Males and Females above 40 years each 4 pounds
- Infants under 12 months Free"
Who paid the fares for Susan and Mary Learnihan ?
It is unknown who paid for the fares of the Learnihan children. Perhaps the initial fares for Susan and Mary were paid by a friend or relative who could have been in Queensland already and Susan and Mary went on to pay the fares for the subsequent siblings Patrick, James, Bridget Delia, Norah and Annie. Another possibility is that a publican looking for workers may have paid the initial fares but to date no evidence of this has been identified.
In 1904, Bridget Delia married and migrated to Vancouver, BC, Canada where she and her husband had 2 daughters and they all remained there for the remainder of their lives.
All of Bridget Delia's 6 surving siblings and her step sister (Annie) remained and died in Queensland, Australia.
Bridget Delia's Learnihan's Step Siblings
Delia's oldest step sister Annie migated to Queenland in 1900. Five of the ten step-siblings survived into adulthood. Of these five, three migrated to and died in three separete states in the USA and the other two remained and died in Ireland.
 Source: IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1872. REMITTANCE PASSENGERS. (1872, December 10). Rockhampton Bulletin (Qld. : 1871 - 1878), p. 3. Retrieved January 6, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51791219
|Date of Birth||6th Dec 1874||VIEW SOURCE|
|Date of Death||18th Aug 1964||VIEW SOURCE|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Thomas Learnihan b. 1842-d. 1930|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Mary Learnihan b. 1848-d. 1879 (Mary and Thomas Learnihan were first cousins, with a shared grandfather, Michael Learnihan b about 1770 )|
|Townland born||Kilmihil (Cill Mhichíl) , Kilmihil Civil Parish, Barony of Clonderalaw, Co. Clare 831 A, 1 R, 27 P|
|Names of Siblings||Siblings Susan 1870 - 1900 Mary 1873 -1957 Patrick 1869 -1911 James 1880 - 1961 Norah 1876 - 1922 Step-Siblings Annie, Thomas, Jeremiah, Matthew, Catherine, Michael *, Ellen *, John *, Alice * and Joseph* * = died young|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Thomas Wordsworth Gavin Blackburn|
|Place & Date of Marriage||St Aidans Church, Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia. 19 Nov 1904||VIEW SOURCE|
|Number of Children||2|
|Names of Children||Dorothy "Dot" May Blackburn - born 16 Feb 1908 Vancouver, BC, Canada - died 20 Feb 2003 Vancouver, BC, Canada Gladys Mary Blackburn - born 12 Dec 1912 Nelson, BC, Canada - died 10 Dec 1984, Vancouver, BC, Canada|