Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in Australia
Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1863 (circa)
Date of Death 22nd Aug 1942


  • I don't yet know the names of Mary Coyne's parents or where exactly she was from.  Birth and death certificates in Australia give both Mullingar and Multyfarnham as her place of birth.  Her year of birth was approximately 1863.

    She had at least one sibling, a sister named Anna or Annie Coyne, who had migrated to Philadelphia and married Thomas Cavanaugh there in 1881.  The family story is that Mary was "sent for" as a bride when Patrick Egan, who worked for Thomas and Annie at their hotel in Philadelphia, asked if there were more like Annie back at home in Ireland.  Patrick was also an Irish emigrant, from Roscommon. 

    Mary arrived in Philadelphia in about 1883 and she and Patrick Egan were married there in 1884. Their first child John Patrick (Jack) was born the following year.  Tragedy beset the family when both Thomas and Annie Cavanaugh died within a year of each other, leaving two young children, Honoria and William, who then became part of Patrick and Mary's family.

    The next major move for Patrick and Mary was to Argentina. By 1886 they were living in Rojas, in Buenos Aires province.  Here five more children were born over the next ten years:  Thomas (Tom), Mary Lucy, James (Jim) Vincent, Margaret (Maggie, my grandmother), and Ellen Josephine.  There was a further move to Paraguay, but attempts at farming proved unsuccessful. Additionally, there were the deaths of two children, Honoria Cavanaugh and Ellen Josephine Egan, who died in Paraguay.

    The family retreated to Ireland for a time, sailing from Montevideo on the ship Orellana and arriving in Liverpool in June 1897.  For at least the first six months they were  staying in Longford near where Patrick's family lived on the Roscommon/Longford border. Here one more child, Joseph (Joe), was born and another, William Cavanaugh, died.

    Patrick went ahead of the family to Australia to investigate opportunities.  Mary and the rest of the family followed later, embarking on the ship the Duke of Portland in London on 15th December 1899, arriving in Townsville, North Queensland on 5th February 1900.  All of the family were described on the ship's passenger list as being from County Westmeath, which implies that it may have been their place of residence before departure.

    The family settled in Mareeba, North Queensland.  One more child, Agnes, was born there.  The family prospered over the following decades, with Patrick working for the Queensland Railways. 

    Their son, James (Jim) Vincent Egan enlisted in the Australian Army in July 1916 and served on the Western Front.  He was wounded in France in September 1917, while his company, 4th Machine Gun Co., participated in an attack at West Lock Ridge, near Ypres, on the first day of the battle of Polygon Wood. James was evacuated to hospital in England and recovered sufficiently to return to France in May 1918.  After the war ended, he was shipped back to Australia and discharged in September 1919.  Less than a year later he was killed in a sawmill accident in Mareeba.

    Mary died in 1942 in Mareeba, with her age given on the death certificate as 84 (but more likely 79). Patrick had died in 1929, at the age of 76. They are buried together in the Mareeba Pioneer Cemetery. 




    Tuesday 28th September 2021 12:51PM

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