In this story I have made certain assumptions based on historical data and presumed that what was happening to the majority of irish tenant farmers at the time also happened to the Noone family. All the personages are real people with whom Martin and Catherine Noone would most probably have come in contact, and all the events were actually happening at that time.

I have undertaken extensive research but make no apologies for the large tracts that have been shamelessly pilfered and flagrantly plagiarised from other works more scholarly than my feeble efforts.

The attempt to chronicle the likely events in the lives of Martin Noone and his sister Catherine, has been made more challenging by the fact that in the whole of existing archives Catherine rates only four mentions; once as a passenger on the “Tipoo Saib”, and again when she paid her brother’s passage to Sydney, a surprise advertisement in the SMH of 25/6/1864 requesting Martin Noon (last direction Dingo Creek) to write to his sister, Catherine, Post office, Parramatta. And then a very credible fourth mention on the death certificate of a Kate Noon(e). Martin gets a few more mentions; as a passenger on the Stebonheath, in the passenger list published in the SMH of 2/3/1858 after the his arrival, on the marriage certificate with Anne Quigley, on the purchase of land at Belbourie from his father-in-law, the subsequent sale of that land, on the electoral roll of 1878-9 for Manning, and on his death certificate.

The rest of the story has been ‘concocted’ from events of the period.

Catherine was shipped out as an Irish female orphan, who were all drafted from the workhouses. All living members of a family had to enter the workhouse by law, so this means that Martin was also in the workhouse. Both were orphans at the time Catherine emigrated in 1850.

History of the Boyle district has it that, more than in any other area, people resisted the workhouse, dying in ditches rather than suffer the indignity and ignominy of it. For this reason I have assumed that their parents were already dead before Martin and Catherine entered the workhouse.

There is oral history (from Leo Noone) that Martin was involved in shipbuilding, so from his initial address at Belbourie (Wingham), and his subsequent addresses as gleaned from the birth places of his children, all timbergetting regions, I have made the assumption that he was a timbergetter first, and a shipbuilder second. These were the most common trades for that area, and the argument is reinforced to some extent by the fact that one son, John, was killed at Bennett’s Head when a log rolled on him, and another son, Alfred, was the founder of the present Heron’s Creek Timber Mill. And the milling tradition was carried on by a couple of his sons. There is also the connection with Leonard Steinmetz, a shipbuilder of the time. His time in Sydney and meeting with the other Martin Noone are pure, but credible, fiction. Interestingly, it is not until he signs his marriage cerificate in 1865 that we see Noone with the final 'e'! Was this always the correct spelling or an affectation? There again, it had been anglicised from the gaelic.

In Catherine's story, she is very probably the Kate Noon who died a pauper in the Hyde Park Asylum on 23/6/1880 of "Chronic Meningitis". There is not enough information on the death certificate to confirm this, but immigration and other shipping records do not reveal any other Kate or Catherine Noon(e) arriving in the colony in the period under scrutiny. There is a case for believing that she lived a life of domestic servitude, never married (or lived in a de facto arrangement), and could possibly have resorted to prostitution for survival.

The infamous voyage of the “Stebonheath”, and the shocking events surrounding the conduct of the doctor and the matron were voluminously recorded in the newspapers of the day, and can be read by following the link.

I'll now let you get on with the story.

Peter L Noone.


HOME Martin & Catherine in Ireland