James Joseph Pluck was born on 19 August 1873 at Barna, Co Galway, the eldest child of Patrick Joseph and Julia (nee Luff) Pluck. At the time of his birth, the family was living in the gatehouse of Barna House, where Patrick was the head gardener. A few years later, the family moved to Shantalla where Patrick operated a Plant Nursery.
The siblings of James, who were born in Ireland, were Daniel (24 Aug 1875), John (29 Oct 1877), Patrick Christopher (6 Jan 1880), Esther Mary (12 June 1882), and Kathleen Mary (16 Sept 1884). Sadly, Daniel and John died within two weeks of each other on 1 Feb 1879 and 15 Feb 1879, respectively. Three more sisters were born in Australia, Charlotte Mary (29 Sept 1887), Eileen Julia ( 1 April 1890) and Mary Margaret (21 April 1893)
The family migrated to Queensland in 1886, travelling on the sailing ship "Roma", which departed London on 28 March 1886 and arrived in Brisbane on 19 May 1886.
Before he left Galway, James was presented with an "Address" from the Galway Branch of the Young Ireland Society, whose Hall was situated on Cross Street. The Address was printed on silk by the Galway Pilot Office, Eyre Square. It is still a treasured memento and held by a member of the family, although some of the words are now difficult to read.
The wording of the Address is very lyrical and it is hard to imagine that the sentiments expressed refer to a twelve-year old boy. It may have been a tribute to his father, an ardent nationalist, but in the circumstances of the time, could not be presented to him.
James became a Nurseryman like his father and grandfather before him. He then worked as a Landscape gardener at a six hectare garden on the banks of the Brisbane River. Later he became a curator at the Exhibition Grounds of the Royal National Association. As well as for the annual Agricultural Show, the grounds were used for a wide range of sporting events, including the First Cricket Test held in Brisbane between England and Australia in November 1928, when Don Bradman made his debut. James was involved in preparing the wicket.
He was also a Bombardier in the Irish Volunteer Rifles, an important part of Queensland's civil defence before Federation. He remained an excellent rifle shot, even into old age. He was a very good dancer and ran Ballroom dancing classes in Brisnbane. He tried in his luck on the goldfileds of the Palmer River and at Charters Towers, in North Queensland and we know that he found sufficient to have an engagement ring made for his fiancee Margaret Grehan, the fourth daughter of Jeremiah and Bridget (nee Dunne) Grehan who were married at Kilclonfert, King's County in January 1865 and who emigrated immediately on the "Sunda", the last ship sponsored by the Queensland Immigration Society.
James and Margaret married at the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Brisbane on 10 September 1902. A few years later the family settled on a 16-acre farm at Bunya about 20 kilometres from the city and which was quite isolated at the time. They were largely self sufficient with their own cows and chickens and they grew a wide range of fruit and vegetables. They had four children:
Kathleen (25 June 1903), Margaret Bridget ( 15 July 1905), Thomas Joseph (11 January 1909), John Patrick (4 March 1911)
Margaret died on 11July 1949 and James died on 26 June 1964. Both were buried at Nudgee Cemetery in Brisbane.
|Date of Birth||19th Aug 1873|
|Date of Death||26th Jun 1964|
|Townland born||Barna, Co Galway|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Patrick Joseph|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Julia (nee Luff) Pluck|
|Names of Siblings||Daniel (24 Aug 1875), John (29 Oct 1877), Patrick Christopher (6 Jan 1880), Esther Mary (12 June 1882), and Kathleen Mary (16 Sept 1884)|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Margaret|
|Place & Date of Marriage||at the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Brisbane on 10 September 1902|
|Number of Children||4|
|Names of Children||Kathleen (25 June 1903), Margaret Bridget ( 15 July 1905), Thomas Joseph (11 January 1909), John Patrick (4 March 1911)|
|Place of Death||Nudgee Cemetery in Brisbane|