Catherine Cardiff was born in 1850 at Graiguenakill, Glenmore County Wexford and emigrated at age 18 to Australia aboard The "Hougoumont" leaving Plymouth England on 29th January 1869 after sailing from Ireland to Plymouth. Many unaccompanied young women came to Australia at that time.
She arrived in Melbourne Victoria on 19th May 1869 and worked as a domestic servant until her marriage to John Callanan/Calnan a "marine Stoker" from County Cork who also immigrated to Australia around the same time on 25th January 1873.
John & Catherine lived at 8 Leveson place North Melbourne in a tiny two roomed cottage,
My grandfather Michael John 'Jack" Callanan was born on 27th April 1874.
At this time her sister Ann Cardiff Kelly and husband James and children Mary Ann, Catherine and Margaret and settled in a nearby suburb Footscray.
John Callanan died tragically on 28th May 1875 leaving a 13 month old son and pregnant Catherine. Her second child Mary Ann was born 8 months after her father’s death on 8th Dec 1875. She lived only 3 months before dying from gastroenteritis.
After this tragedy Catherine was next found at a little rural settlement of Muddy Creek located about 120 miles north of Melbourne in the Goulbourn Valley. There she married Arthur McMahon Pattison on 29th September 1877.
On 1st December 1879 they applied for and were granted a Government land grant of 195 acres of virgin bush at Caniambo, 10 miles east of Arcadia. They worked hard over the next 15 years to clear and develop their farm alongside Arthur’s three brothers Andrew, William & George Pattison who also had been granted land
Catherine and Arthur had 10 children Ellen Maria (1878) Alice Louisa (1848) William James (1882) Catherine Ann (1883) Margaret (1885) Florence Mary (1886) Arthur Lawrence (1887) Teresa Bridget (1889) Esther Hannah (1891) and Nicholas Francis (1893)
Life was difficult but Arthur and Catherine built a slab & bark hut on their property at Caniambo and took up residence in May 1883. Life was hard as they made improvements to their property throughout the 1880's
In the early - mid 1880's Catherine's youngest brother Nicholas also emigrated to Victoria Australia Sadly he died of Gastric Fever in December 1885 in Melbourne Hospital and buried in The Melbourne cemetery.
On 21st February 1888 Arthur applied and received a lease of 195 acres of his land for fourteen years at the rental of one shilling per acre per year.
He had fully fenced his property, had 82 acres under cultivation growing wheat and oats with a poor yield of only 3 1/2 bags per acre. The remaining 115 acres were being cleared for a vineyard. He had re roofed his house, built a separate kitchen, shed, stockyard, cow yard, pigsties and a dam.
Leaseholders had the right to mortgage their properties and Arthur did so on 7th May 1889 and later second mortgage rights to the Commercial Bank of Australia on 18th Feb 1891.
Catherine and Arthur worked hard and developed their farm, their children attending Caniambo State School. The Pattison family were close knit and loving families.
Sadly tragedy was lurking in the wings and infant Esther Hannah Pattison died on 26th January 1892.
By 1890 The Great Depression had struck and by 1893 Arthur and Catherine had fallen hopelessly behind in their mortgage payments. They managed to scrape together the money for the rent for 3 months and went to pay the owner one Mr Forge. He demanded a year’s rent in advance and they were unable to pay.
Tragedy again struck the family on 27th February 1893 when three of the children were killed as a result of this severe and tragic turn of events when Arthur Pattison cracked under all the strain. The three children were buried with their little sister in little Gowangardie Cemetery. Catherine and Arthur's youngest son Nicholas also died in March 1893.
Arthur was found not guilty on the grounds of temporary insanity and sent to Beechworth and held in custody at the Governors Pleasure.
Catherine found strength to go on and know her loving husband of 16 years was a kind, good and loving man,
At age 19 Michael John “Jack" Callanan, my grandfather became the breadwinner for his mother and 5 young siblings taking on his stepfather's mail run and became known in the district as "Postman Jack"
In the mid 1990's Jack also took work at the local Creamery _ Kennedy's Creamery in Caniambo. This hardworking intelligent young man earned his Engine Drivers Certificate over the next three years. His boss encouraged is to go West as Gold had been found in Western Australia and he left circa 1899 to work on the mines in WA. He only kept enough money for his keep and sent the remainder home to his mother. Jack stayed in the Goldfields until 1916.
By then Catherine and her remaining children had moved to a big old house at 11 Rowe St Shepparton which she turned into a Boarding House. All her children had to leave school at 14 and go out to work William to Furphy's Iron Foundry. Nellie became an apprentice tailor and Alice took Nellie's old job as a domestic servant.
Catherine Bridget and Annie lived at the Rowe St property. Arthur was released from gaol in the late 1890s but did not live with the family again. Arthur died at Jindera on May 7th May 1912.
By then Catherine was 62 years old and still running her boarding house with her girls who had qualified as tailoresses and Bill as a fitter at the foundry.
Meanwhile Jack set about educating himself in the West sending letters home via steamer to his brother to help with the understanding of new words.
Jack returned home in February 1916 and the family began celebrating many marriages. Bill, Nellie & Tess all married in 1916 and Alice in 1917. Two grandchildren were a great Blessing to Catherine
Sadly she contracted tuberculosis and her health gradually declined. Our brave Catherine died on 3rd January 1920 at home at 11 Rowe St Shepparton and is buried in the Shepparton Cemetery
Jack married Lucy Maud Hogan on 24th April 1920 just 4 months after his mother’s death and my mother Kathleen was his only daughter. Jack and Lucy had four sons as well and we are all a close-knit and loving family. I am one of 8 daughters.
The Pattison tragedy was left in the past with no family member ever disclosing it. My cousin Pat Rossi who researched our family history only uncovered the story via court documents and archives in the 1990s.
We are proud to be members of a family of such courageous and enterprising people.