1885 Newman Family arrive

Jane Newman and her family left England in 1885 bound for Australia. Jane was just 8 years old. Her parents were Irish and decided that Australia offered better opportunites for their family. Jane was to meet and marry an Australian, Robert James Hood and have seven children the youngest of whom was Laurie, John’s father. This is her story of coming to Austrlia.

Jane Newman


The Voyage

New Beginnings

Pat and Anne Newman

Patrick Newman and Anne Collins were married 31st August 1872 in Dublin. They were Roman Catholics.

I believe it was in Dublin as the addresses of the pair were Blackrock and White Friar St both of which are in that city.

In the 1870s the situation in Ireland was dire. Employment was difficult to find, and rents were on the rise. They couple made their way to Liverpool as that was the closest port, easiest to get to and promising work. Most Irish migrants worked in the worst-paid, lower classes of employment, surviving on a typical poor Irish diet comprised of potatoes, buttermilk and occasionally herring or bacon.

In 1873 Patrick and Anne had a son, Patricius (the Irish spelling of Patrick). He was born 14 July and Baptised on the 29th. His godparents were Joseph Newman and Carolina Cavanagh. The following document is from the Liverpool Record Office; Liverpool, England; Liverpool Catholic Parish Registers; Reference Number: 282 OSW/1/3

1873 Baptism of Patricius Newman

Later the couple had moved to Salford outside Manchester where their daughter Jane was born in 1879

1879 Jane’s birth certificate

 In 1881 the family was living in Salford. Pat was working as a railway porter, supporting his wife Annie and two daughters, Eliza M 4 and Jane 2. Their son, Pat, does not appear on the Census. He may have been with other relatives.


Voyage to Australia

The Newman family made their way to Australia as part of the Remittance scheme. This was the Queensland -IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1872 – Remittance Passengers. Persons resident in Queensland wishing to obtain Passages to the Colony for their friends or relatives in Europe, can do so under the provisions of the New Immigration Act, by paying to the Immigration Agent in Brisbane, or to any of the Clerks of Petty Sessions in the Colony, amounts in accordance with the following scale:-
Males and Females between 1 and 12 years each 1 pound Infants under 12 months Free
Males between 12 and 40 years each 2 pounds
Females between 12 and 40 years each 1 pound
Males and Females above 40 years each 4 pounds

This suggests that they had family or friends living in Queensland who invited them to join them. I may have found that family. They sailed from London on 10 February and arrived in Brisbane 8 April 1885. They travelled aboard the R.M.S Merkara.

The Merkara – a Three Mast, Iron Screw Steamer

I believe this is the ship that Pat Newman and his wife Anne, originally from Dublin, arrived in Brisbane with their children, Pat, Eliza, Jane and John Henry.

The following is an article from the Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Thursday 9 April 1885, page 6


The B.I.S.N. Company’s R.M.S. Merkara, from London, via ports, arrived off Cape Moreton at midday yesterday, and came up the river in the afternoon, with the assistance of the tug Boko. The Brisbane contingent of her immigrants were speedily transferred to the Boko which landed them at the depot shortly afterwards.

The Merkara sailed from London on the 10th February with a total of 387 immigrants, equal to 342 statute adults, who were placed under the charge of Dr. Woodward as surgeon-super-intendent, and Mrs Turnbull as matron.

Occupations: 82 female domestic servants, 98 farm labourers, 20 general labourers, 2 gardeners, 4 miners, 1 bricklayer, 1 engineer, 9 carpenters and joiners, 1 wheelwright, 1 painter, and 15 others whose trade or occupation is not specified. Social condition :31 married men, 27 married women, 156 single men, 92 single women, 37 male and 35 female children, between the ages of 1 and 12 years, and 9 infants. She landed immigrants as follows: — Cooktown, 25; Townsville, 25; Bowen, 3, Mackay, 26; Rockhampton, 63; leaving 290 for Brisbane. She landed 38 tons of cargo at Cooktown, 730 tons at Townsville, 25 tons at Bowen, 18 tons at Mackay, 180 tons at Rockhampton, and has 78 tons for Maryborough, 6 tons for Bundaberg, and 1440 tons for Brisbane.

Captain G. Phillips reports that the R. M. S. Merkara left Gravesend at 4 p. m. on the 10th February, and experienced foggy weather in the Channel; arrived at Malta on the 19th at 8 p.m.; left next day at 8 a.m.; arrived at Port Said on the 23rd at 8 p.m.; entered Canal next morning at 7.15; left Suez at 3.45 p.m. on the 25th; arrived at Aden at 7.20 p.m. on the 2nd March, and left at 8 a.m. on the 4th, the mails being delivered one day late; reached Batavia on the 19th March, at 9 a.m., and left at noon on the 20th, arrived at Thursday Island at 6.30 a.m. on the 29th March, and left at 2 p.m. on the 30th; reached Cooktown at 6 a.m. on the 1st April, and delivered mails to S.S. Wentworth to date; left Cooktown at noon, and arrived at Townsville at 7 a.m. on the 3rd, and left at 12.30 p.m. on the 4th; arrived at Bowen at 3 a.m. on the 5th, and left at 7 a.m.; arrived at Mackay at 6 p.m. same day, and left at 11 p.m.; arrived at Rockhampton at 8 p.m. on the 6th and left at 5.30 a.m. next day. Fine weather was experienced during the voyage out, but we were unfortunate in having head winds. The health on board was excel-lent. Several entertainments and concerts were got up and were much appreciated by everyone. The weather along the coast and until arrival in the Bay was stormy and wet.

On Tuesday last one of the single emigrant girls died from brain fever and was buried at sea. One birth occurred during the voyage.

The Boko took down a number of visitors and friends of the passengers to meet the Merkara, and had an opportunity of visiting the German man-of-war Stosch, lying in the Bay. The officers of the ship were very hospitable, and the band played some lively airs during their stay. The Merkara is now berthed at South Brisbane, alongside Messrs. Parbury, Lamb and Co.’s wharf where she will discharge her inward cargo, and load again for London.

I believe this is the Newman family who travelled from the UK to Queensland arriving on 8th April 1885.

The family consisted of

Pat 32 his wife Anne (Collins) 36, and their five children – Pat 11, Eliza 8, Jane 5 and twins Anna and John, not yet one.

It seems strange that Pat, 11 years was not on the 1881 Census. He would have been 7 years old. He may have been elsewhere on the evening of the Census. There is a record of John Newman but I can’t find anything on his twin Ann.


New Beginnings

As they were ‘Remittance’ passengers bound for Brisbane, they must have had relatives or friends who would vouch for them in Brisbane. I have not found out who they were but I think I am on to something.

Family Group Record for Newmans

In 1887 the family were still in Queensland when a daughter, Mary Theresa was born 30 August. However they moved to NSW where she died aged 13 In Coraki. Patrick and his wife Anne also died in Coraki.  Patrick in 1918 and Anne in 1926. This is a significant gravestone and would not have been cheap. I wonder what they did for a living.  

Caboolture Connection

The obituaries of Pat’s children, John Henry Newman and John Patick Newman, mention Carboolture and the Newman family there. James Newman, an Irishman and his wife Elizabeth, formerly Irwin, were initialy residence of Caboolture. They were the parents of James Malcolm Newman who was born 1880 and became a very successful mining entrepreneur. His biography can be found at this site https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/newman-james-malcolm-11228.

Possible Qeensland Family

I have also discovered a James Newman who came to Queensland on the Legion of Honor in February 1866. He was 25 years old at the time. This meant he was born 1841 and considering Pat was born 1843 it is quite possible that James was his brother. It is a lead I need to explore. This also gives James time to establish himself as a farmer and encourage his brother, Pat, to come to Australia to join him. James arrived in 1866 and Pat in 1885- 19 years later.

According to the obituaries of John Patrick and John Henry, the family most likely settled in Caboolture firstly then moved to Coraki in the Richmond Valley. I think Patrick, Eliza, Jane and John went north before the turn of the century. They were interested in mining. Jane married Robert Hood from Tolga in 1903, her sister, Eliza married George Young in 1905 and settled in Mt Garnett. The brothers Patrick and John both went to Western Australia for the gold rush probably in the mid 1890s around Kalgoorli. They returned to North Queensland and Patrick married Margaret McCormack in 1909 and later Kate Bulmer in 1917 and John also married in 1917 to Bridget Whelan.



Cairns Post Qld 10 Nov 1947 P5


John Henry Newman HERBERTON, Nov. 7.—A well respected citizen passed away last Monday, Nov. 3, in the person of John Henry Newman, who died at the Herberton District Hospital at the age of 63 after an illness lasting several weeks. He was born in Manchester (England) and came to Australia with his parents at an early age. They took up residence on the Richmond River and his youth was spent in that locality. As he grew up he took a determined interest in minerals and the fortunes to be won by mining, and manhood found him following up mining in the different mineral fields bf Australia. He was in several big rushes, including the gold fields of Western Australia. In 1906 he came to North Queensland and during the first world war married an Irvinebank girl and settled in this district. He leaves a widow and nine sons and daughters to mourn their loss. The sons are John, Pat and James. Joe predeceased him. The daughters are Bridget, Annie, Elizabeth, Margaret, Teresa and Kathleen. He also leaves a brother in Atherton, a sister in Mt. Garnet (Mrs. G. Young), a sister in South Johnstone (Mrs. J. Hood) and another in Sydney (Miss A. Newman). Mr. Ray Hood, manager of Messrs. Jack and Newell, Herberton, is a nephew. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Rev. Fathers Clifford and Muldoon officiated in the church and at the graveside. Many beautiful floral tributes were received.


The following is the Obituary of John Patrick Newman who I believe is the brother of John Henry Newman. I think somewhere along the line the John is not quite right. Probably John Patrick.

Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Saturday 17 October 1953, page 6


John Patrick Newman ATHERTON, Oct. 13.-The death of John Patrick Newman, an old and highly respected resident of the Table land, took place on September 29 at the Atherton District Hospital after a short illness. The late Mr. Newman was born in Liverpool,’ England, and as a very young child. spent his early days with his grandparents on their estate in Ireland. At the age of eight, with his parents and two sisters. he arrived in Australia. The family first settled in Caboolture but later took up a selection at Coraki. N.S.W. He left home at an early age and travelled all over Western and Northern Queensland, and then went to Western Australia where he owned a butchering business in Greenbushes and Kanowna. After a stay of some years there, he returned to Queensland and took up tin mining, being the owner of the Ivy tin mine in Emuford, for many years. In 1905, he selected land in the Yungaburra district and carried on dairying and mixed farming there until 1947, when he was compelled to leave the farm for health reasons. He purchased a home and land on the Herberton Road, Atherton, and had resided there for the past 61 years. He leaves a widow, three daughters, four sons and two sisters-Mrs. Hood (South Johnstone) and Miss A. Newman (Sydney). His three sons, Arthur, Jim, and Ned. saw service in the A.I.F. World War 11, and during that time Arthur was a prisoner of war for 3.5 years in Changi prison. One son. Bob who was in the navy, died from an illness in the Naval Hospital, Melbourne, in 1933. Many beautiful flowers from friends and residents from all across the district were piled high on the bier. The funeral left St. Joseph’s Church. Atherton. where Rev. Father O’Donovan- officiated at the church as well as the graveside. The pall bearers were Frank and Jim, sons of the deceased. Viv Chapman (son-in-law). Ray and Arthur Hood, the deceased’s nephews, and Mr. M. P. Fox.


It seems very odd but there seems to be a John Patrick Newman and a John Henry Newman who were brothers. Very confusing. I think the former was Patrick, the first born. He would have been born 1874 and died at the age of 81 whereas, John Henry was born 1884 probably in London or just before the family departed for Australia. He had a twin sister Anne as described in the sipping lists. He died in 1947 and he would have been 63.