John Farrell

Occupation: Railway Worker, Farmer, Contractor
Birth: 2 February, 1836 Hollyford, Tipperary, Ireland
Immigration: 3 September, 1864 General Caulfield arrived Brisbane from Southampton
Land Purchase: 15 May, 1868  40a Walloon Homestead Application Accepted
Land Purchase:  4 November, 1870 153 acres 2 roods Ferguson accepted
Death: 22 December, 1918 Rosewood, Queensland, Australia
Burial: Ipswich Cemetery
Religion: Roman Catholic
Father: Thomas FARRELL
Mother: Mary BREEN (BRYAN)

Spouse: Margaret MCKEW
Birth: c. 1843 Anacarty, Tipperary, Ireland
Immigration: 9 April, 1863 Queen of the Colonies arrived Moreton Bay, Queensland
Death: 19 November, 1925 at her residence in John Street, Rosewood
Burial: 20 November, 1925 Ipswich Cemetery
Religion: Roman Catholic
Father: Lancelot “Lanty” McHUGH/MCKEW (1800-1873)
Mother: Catherine “Kate” BREEN (BRYAN) (1817-1905)
Marriage: 10 September, 1864 Ipswich, Queensland

Catherine (1863-1942) = Bernard Jeremiah SLOANE
Michael (1865-1940) = Mary Ellen SLOANE
Mary Ann (1867-1956)
Margaret (1869-1955) = Joseph Patrick WALSH
John Andrew (1871-1927) = Ann Jane SMITH
Johanna Agnes (1874-1952) = Walter Edwin THOMAS
Thomas Francis (1876-1946) = Alice Bridget HANLON
Ellen (1878-1957)
Patrick James (1880-1896)
Maud Ethel (1883-1969) = Hugh RAFTER
Evelina (1885-1886)

John Farrell arrived in Australia in September, 1864 and immediately gained employment working on the construction of the railway line, Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp. He arrived in Rosewood the same year, when the present township was a dense scrub.

Mr John Farrell, sen, who is 73 years of age, landed m Rosewood in 1864. At that time there was in Rosewood only one house and that was the hostelry The Sun Rise. The rest of the people lived in tents. Mr Farrell is very proud of the fact that he worked on the first railway bridge erected. He also was flag-man for Peto, Brassey, and Betts for a year before the Government took the railway over. He was then engaged as a lengthsman in the Rosewood district, and worked for twenty-one years. During these years he secured 500 acres of land where his family carried on dairying and today there is no better known man in the district than John Farrell. He always meets the mail train for his paper and to use his own words he is as happy as a king. [Brisbane Courier 27 March, 1909]

He claimed to have been the first resident of Rosewood Gate. After the line went through he was appointed to the Gate as keeper. He built a small gate house in the corner of the school yard facing the railway line opposite the hotel which would later become the site for the Rosewood School of Arts.

On the 15th May, 1868 John Farrell took up a block in a rich area of scrub land in the vicinity when the Macallister Homestead Act came into force (40a at Walloon). He went to live on his selection.

His wife’s brother, Thomas McKew and his wife Ann, came to live at the gate-house. Their daughter Ellen Mary McKew (born 1868) married Matthew Fraser. In 1945 Ellen Fraser’s obituary said:  The late Mrs. Fraser, who before her marriage was Miss Ellen McKew, was born at Rosewood 76 years ago, her home being where the School of Arts now stands.

After retiring from the Railway Department he became a successful contractor in the local shire.

While on the subject of roads, I might mention that the residents of Rosewood have been much pleased with the way in which the main street is being formed, and which, when finished, will be a credit to any town ship. Our Divisional Board has certainly made a happy choice in allotting the contract to our old friend and neighbour, Mr. John Farrell, who is making a really good job. I would say to the Mutdapilly Board and others, “‘Come and see for yourselves; and, if you make your roads after this fashion, you will not be going in for patchwork from month to month, for, when the job is completed, you have a road for years.” [Q. T. 2 June, 1888]

A severe accident occurred to John Farrell, a farmer and contractor, of Rosewood, on Saturday afternoon last. He rode into town on that day, and put his horse into Messrs. Cribb and Foote’s stables. After transacting some business, he went back for his steed, and through some blunder mounted the wrong animal. This action appears to have been resented by the horse, which started at a great pace up Brisbane-street. In its mad career it ran against a Chinaman’s spring-cart, and finally threw its rider off into the water table . He was picked up. and conveyed to the Ipswich hospital, where he arrived about half-past 4 o’clock. The sufferer was attended to by Dr. Thornton, who found that his left hand was very severely injured, the flesh being completely torn off the back of the hand, and most of the tendons ruptured and hanging out of the wound, in fact, one of the muscles of the forearm was protruding from the back of the hand between 6in. and 8in. It is rather difficult to account for this (as it appears more like an injury done by machinery than anything else), but it is thought it was sustained when Farrell came into contact with the Mongolian’s vehicle. He is also greatly bruised all over, from the results of his collision with the ground when the steed left him, but he is now doing fairly well considering the nature of his hurts. Farrell is a married man, about forty-six years of age, and is well known about Rosewood and the surrounding district. [Q.T 6 December,1887]

Advance Rosewood is evidently the motto of some of our citizens, as new buildings are constantly being built. A shop in John street is now being erected to the order of Mr. John Farrell, the contractor being Mr. J. Thompson, and it is said that two dwelling houses are to be put up in the same street to the order of the above-named gentleman.  [Q. T. 10 February, 1903]

John Farrell had land adjoining the Post Office and is believed Margaret may have planted the Bunya Pine which stands there to this day.

DEPARTURE Mr. John Farrell, an old and respected identity of Rosewood, is about to take a trip to the old country, and leaves Rosewood shortly. Mr Farrell’s friends of whom he has hosts wish him “bon voyage” and a safe return from the Emerald Isle to sunny Queensland. [Q. T. 12 February, 1907]

Researched & compiled by Jane Schy

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