Dennis Maher was born in Kilkenny and baptised St Mary’s, Kilkenny on 22 May 1807 according to the Catholic Parish Registers. His parents were Thomas Maher and Mary Lawler.
He joined the 16th Regiment of Foot in 1825, aged 18, having worked as a labourer previously. He servied in the East Indies from 22 November, 1828 until 19th April, 1841 thus having served overseas 12 years and 5 months.
His record states that he was of very good character, being tried only once for irregular conduct at Chinsurah in India. He was court marshalled on 21st October 1833. For the offence he was demoted from Lance Sergeant for a time. He was found drunk in barracks in Dinaporon on 7th September 1840 and his rank was once again reduced to Lance Sergeant for a time.
In 1833 he had contracted rheumatism when marching in unusually heavy rain from Chinsula to Campore (near Calcutta). Varicose veins had developed from this and these two complaints continued to trouble him prior to his discharge in Dublin. He was discharged in 1844 having been found unfit.
At time of discharge in Dublin on 15th May 1844 he was aged 36 years and 8 months. He had attained the rank of Corporal and his occupation was listed as labourer. When his discharge was finalised on 24th May 1844 he was described as 5'9" tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.
Dennis married Catherine Hewitt, daughter of James Hewitt (Blacksmith) and Catherie Neal by banns on 3th November 1842 in the Church of England, Gosport, Alverstoke, Southampton, two years prior to his discharge from the Army. Catherine was born in 1823 in Gosport, Alverstoke, Southampton, Hampshire.
As a Chelsea pensioner, his wife, Catherine and 3 children arrived Hobart in Van Dieman's Land on the ship 'Cornwall' on 29th June 1851. Dennis acted as guard to convicts on the way to Van Dieman's Land, thereby no doubt having gained free passage for himself and his family.
The family resided for some time in that town, where the fourth child James was born in 1852. In 1854 when the next son, William Henry was born they were living in Oatlands, although the details for the grant of Allotment 29 there and PPS (meaning unknown) of 15 shillings a quarter were not finalised until 6th September. In the 1858 Valuation Roll for Oatlands, Dennis Maher was given as living in a cottage on 5 acres and 1 rood of land at Oatlands, the value of which is given as 10 pounds and 5 shillings. This was possibly the cottage now called "Maher's Cottage" which is on the banks of the originally much larger Lake Dulverton at the end of Chatham Street.
Dennis was made a constable in the Oatlands Municipal Police Force soon after his arrival in Oatlands. He resigned on 14th November 1856 before the land grant was finalised. He subsequently joined the Tasmanian Police Force on the 1st March 1857 and was discharged 22nd January 1859 for "allowing" Elizabeth Gerrard to escape from custody. Two more sons, William and John were born during this time.
However when Matilda was born in August 1859, Dennis' occupation was recorded as bootmaker, so by this time they would have moved in to the allotment.
In the 1852 Valuation Rolls, Dennis Maher was the proprietor of a shop owned by Thomas Burbury in High Street. This was most likely a shoe-makers establishment. Dennis and Catherine were living in a shop and in High Street.
In 1873 Dennis Maher is living as living in Wellington St and in 1884 they had returned again to a house and garden in High Street.
In total Dennis and Catherine had ten children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. They lived all their lives in Oatlands where they died and are buried in St Peters Cemetery.
|Date of Birth||22nd May 1807 (circa)|
|Date of Death||17th Nov 1894|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Thomas Maher|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Mary Lawler|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Catherine Hewitt, daughter of James Hewitt (Blacksmith) and Catherine Neal|
|Place & Date of Marriage||Church of England, Gosport, Alverstoke, Southampton 3th November 1842|
|Occupation||Military (British), Policeman (Tasmanian Police Force) and Bootmaker|