Tomas Herlihy was born in Dingle, County Clare Ireland in 1826. By the age of 30 he had married Catherine O’Donnell at Inch County Kerry and one year later their first child Mary Josephine was born.
Whether it was the birth of their first daughter that prompted the couple to immigrate to Australia we don’t know but five months after her birth they arrived in Australia.
The family travelled on the British ship, “Trident” leaving Liverpool on the 12th, September 1857, accompanying the family were Thomas’s cousin Julia and friends from Dingle, John Foley and Michael Sheehan, coming to “pan for gold”.
On the 17th, April 1859 a second daughter was born now at Sunbury, Catherine Maria, at this time Thomas was a storekeeper at Gooleys Creek in the Victorian Gold Mining area near Woods Point. On December 12th, 1861, another daughter was born at Sunbury Ellen Maria followed in 1864 by a son, John Joseph O’Donnell, this child was born at Woods Point.
By 1864 Thomas was listed as a miner still residing at Woods Point, where yet another child, a son, Daniel was born. Daniels life was to be a short one as he died three days after his birth.
At age 40 his sister Julia who had accompanied the couple on the journey from Ireland passed away in Melbourne. Two more children were born while Thomas and Catherine lived at Woods Point, Julia Frances was born five months after sister Julia’s death and Bridget Gertrude in 1868.
Between 1868 and 1870 the family moved to Wandong, they had a small farm and Thomas also took up employment with the railways. The home was called” Tralee” a nostalgic reminder from whence the family came. While living in Wandong several more children were born, Thomas in 1871, Johanna Florence in 1872, Michael Thomas in 1874, Edward Lake 1876. At the time of Edwards (Ted) birth Thomas was listed as a farmer. More children were to follow, a daughter Alice Loretta in 1878, a son Eugene in 1881, another son Patrick in 1883 completed the family.
Several of the children died young, Ellen died in Melbourne in November 1883 just a few months after the birth of her brother Patrick. Catherine passed away in 1886 in Richmond. Patrick passed away in 1904 in the Alfred Hospital Melbourne.
Julia died in 1914, she had come from Western Australia to Wandong to care for her ailing mother and had a heart attack and passed away in the arms of her brother Ted. She is buried with sister Bridget in Kilmore Catholic Cemetery
Thomas was appointed the registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages at Wandong in 1888 and had been appointed to the role of Deputy Electoral Role Registrar for Kilmore in 1885.
Thomas passed away at Wandong in August 1904 at Wandong, he was still listed as the Deputy Electoral Registrar of Kilmore on his death. Son Ted continued to live in Wandong up until his death in1953. He was well loved in the Wandong community and continued to record the births and deaths of local children. After Teds passing his brother Eugene came from New Zealand to clear out the house and it is believed all those early records of local births, deaths and marriages was burnt in a bonfire at the property.
So ended the Herlihy connections with Wandong, however the family left a lasting impression. It was Thomas who pressed for and organised the first meeting to establish the Catholic Church at Wandong, money was raised and eventually the church established with the locals helping to build the church. The Herlihy family were a big part of the local social life and well respected and loved members of the community. The children took part in the local sports, even hosting sporting events at their property as Wandong had no sporting facility in those early days. Ted Herlihy never married and lived his life at Wandong, it was a sad day for the local community when news of Teds passing became known.