Mary Clements



The first information I have been able to obtain about the family is from Boru Boru Heritage Centre at the Rock of Cashel. They searched their records and discovered the marriage of Maurice Fitzpatrick to Ellen long in Ardfinnan Parish Church on 8th February 1835. Ardfinnan is a village only a small distance south of both Cashel and Clonmel in the south of County Tipperary. lt is the site of a monastery founded in the 7th Century by St Finan the leper . In 1186 the Earl of Morton, afterwards King John of England, built a castle there which was an important stronghold until the the 17th century, when it was taken by the Cromwellian general, lreton.


Ardfinnan Parish Church

For whatever reason, possibly the need for employment, the Fitzpatrick family moved to Clashaniska, a town near Clonmel. The
word Clashaniska is from the Irish 'Clair an Uisct' meaning water trench. lt comprised only 240 acres in the parish of Rathronan in the Barony of Iffa & Offa East. Clonmel is a very historic town, its name coming from the Gaelic 'Cluain Meala' or meadow of honey. The town was first mentioned in records in 1211.

St Patricks well at Clonmel

In 1975, Father Hanrahan, parish priest at Rathronan, Kilsheelan, whose parish included Clashaniska, searched his parish church records for the period from1834 to1845. He discovered the following baptisms of children of the couple:

  • Maurice Fitzpatrick on 11 Mar 1836
  • James Fitzpatrick on 22 April 1838
  • Michael Fitzpatrick 011 5 Oct 1840
  • Elizabeth Fitzpatrick on 24 Nov 1841
  • Richard Fitzpatrick in Dec 1843

Strangely enough there is no record of the birth of our great-grandmother, Mary Fitzpatrick.

Mary Fitzpatrick

However, in1997 the present parish priest at Rathronan issued a certificate saying that a Patricia Fitzpatrick was born to Maurice Fitzpatrick and Ellen Wall on 5 March 1834. Patricia would have been about the same age as Mary. lt is of interest to note that Maurice was married in 1835. To add to the confusion, it is known that on at least one document Mary gives her birth place as Kilkenny, not the Clonmel area. lt appears that all the baptisms (except perhaps that of Mary), took place at Powerstown church, which is very close to Clashaniska.

St John the Baptist church at Powerstown which was built in 1810 and reconstructed in 1992

Powerstown graveyard

The only remaining farm at Clashaniska is owned by the Hurley family who have not heard of Fitzpatricks living in the area. This is not surprising as it is a long time since the Fitzpatricks lived there and were baptised nearby. The farm is almost surrounded by recent housing development.

Looking towards the Hurley farm at Clashaniska (1996)

There is a famine cemetery at Callan which is not far from Clonmel . I gather these are spread throughout Southern Ireland as many died during the potato famine. It was not surprising therefore that Mary decided to come to Australia. Her parents had many mouths to feed and the cost of immigrating was only 1 pound.


Mary left Plymouth on the 'Bermondsey' on Boxing Day, 1854 and arrived in Sydney on 29 April 1855. She gave her age as 20 and stated that her father Maurice was dead and her mother Ellen was living in Cashel. Her occupation was 'farm servant ' and she was a Roman Catholic. She could neither read nor write and had no relations in the colony.

Mary must have gone to the Victorian goldfields for on 9 June1856 she married my great-grandfather Joseph Clements at Carisbrook in central Victoria. There were many men from County Tipperary in the region and it is possible that Mary may have known some of their families before she left Ireland.

Carisbrook Church of England - Joseph & Mary were married at the minister's home there.

Joseph and his brother George were originally from Gloucester in England but had decided to try their luck with gold mining, firstly in California and later in Australia. Joseph came to Victoria on the 'Florida' in 1853 . He is known to have owned land at Heathcote before going to Adelaide Lead.

Joseph and Mary settled at Adelaide Lead where they owned a cottage and three and a half acres of land. All that remains on their property is a very large peppercorn tree!.

The 1866 Rate book shows:
Rate No 151 -Joseph Clements owning a cottage and garden in the West Riding. Its Net Annual Value was 5 pounds ten shilling.

The couple had a very large family which included: Geoffrey, Joseph, Alfred, Charles, Richard, Ellen, Frederick, Alice, Maud and Albert.

The Clement's children

Joseph Clements kept very poor health and died at Adelaide Lead on 26 November 1885. He was buried in the Church of England section of the Maryborough cemetery. There is considerable conjecture as to the exact location of his burial as grave markers have disappeared.


Adelaide Lead was a goldfield discovered by South Australian miners, in 1855 near Amherst. lt was named after their capital city. (See, Blake, Les. Place Names of Victoria) Gold was first discovered at Maryborough in June 1854 .

A large rush to the south of Alma in January 1855 was the start of the Adelaide Lead field. The sinking on Adelaide Lead, Waterloo Flat, lnkerman and Slaughteryard Hill was similar-yellow clay on the surface ,then gravel to slate at the bottom. The washdirt from 6 inches to 3 feet, yielded 1 to 4 ounces to the load

(p.72 Willis, Barbara. (1988) Footprints: A History of the Shire of Tullaroop. Shire of Tullaroop)

Mr Drummond's Camp at Alma is shown on a map of the Adelaide Lead, “Alma Diggings”, drawn by W.A.Taylor in August,1855. It was on the west bank of Timor Creek, near where Alma village was surveyed in 1865 On about 10 May 1855 the Balaclava Rush occurred on the flat below Moonlight Gully, about one and three quarter miles south west of the Alma Camp. lt was very rich and extra claims were granted to the unknown discoverer. ln the following June, lnkerman Lead was discovered, behind the Camp and not far from the Lord Raglan Hotel at the Alma. This Lead spread south and the area covered all the rich ground between the Alma and Adelaide Lead. The Lead was struck a half mile from the Alma and was rich and 30 feet deep. A 324 ounce nugget was found there soon after. The Adelaide Lead began as a rush of sixty diggers who pegged the whole of Oppossum Gully, on the high ground north of Amsherst, about seven miles from the Alma. The continuation of the Lead north, as Adelaide Lead, followed the Timor Creek on the east side, and about two miles below the top there was a village and two pubs, the Adelaide and the Junction. A camp was established here in July 1855 under the charge of Phillip Champion de Crespigny, (Flett, James, (1975)Maryborough Victoria - The Goldfields History.Glen Waverley, Poppet Head Press.)

Black Douglas, the well known bushranger, the scourge of the Black Forest, who held up teamsters between the Bush Inn and Harpers Inn at Woods End in 1852, and whose name had become a legend, was caught at the Adelaide Lead near the Alma on Sunday, 5 May 1855. A carrier who had been robbed by Douglas recognised him and hit him on the head with a meat cleaver. Douglas and about 6 of his mates were taken to the Alma, escorted by about 200 diggers. He received a two year sentence.” (See Ch.6 Maryborough Victoria - The Goldfields History).

What became known as, ‘the Alma Riots’, started early in June 1855 as a small dispute over a claim and nearly became a racial riot. lnvolved were the vigilante English groups formed to deal with criminal gangs, but which unwisely involved themselves in a dispute with Irish diggers. The affair began when a digger named McCrea was awarded a claim in dispute with an Irish party on the Adelaide Lead on June 16 1855. The Irish drove him out of the claim and repeatedly knocked him down with sticks as he ran. He drew a revolver, fired three shots and wounded one of his assailants, variously known as Sweeney or Melloir. A fight between the English -also called the 'Allies' or 'True Blues'- and the Irish, took place and fourteen 'Tips' were rounded up and taken to the camp Governor. Hotham viewed this matter seriously, perhaps fearing the makings of another Eureka, and sent S. de Vignoles S.M., with 50 police from Richmond Barracks, to Carisbrook, these to be in reserve in case of real trouble. The Irish sent a messenger from Daisy Hill to Ballarat to bring back all the Irish, as the English, Scottish and Americans were trying to turn them off the diggings. The situation at Adelaide Lead was tense.

The local warden, with much tact, managed to quell the situation before Vignoles arrived. However, Vignoles aggravated the situation by arresting people and matters were tense for a period. Eventually the Leaders of the factions agreed to submit to the law. The local warden had been outraged at Vignoles’ blunderings into his territory and Vignoles’ attempt to ,make another 'Eureka' out of the Alma Riot. He made his position clear and was transferred to Castlemaine for his trouble! (See Maryborough Victoria - The Goldfields History pages 48-50) (For a further report of the Alam Riots see, Osborn, B. & Du Bourg, T. (1985) Maryborough: A Social History 1854-1904 Maryborough, Hedges & Bell. pages, 42 ,43,46,47.)

Adelaide Lead formed its own Mutual Protection Society to look after the miners’ interests but Caroline Chisolm had her own answer:

"…and in August (1855) there was a rush to Coppernose's Gully, a branch of Opposum Gully, near the head of Adelaide Lead. Some large nuggets of gold also came to Iight' (p63, Maryborough Victoria - The Goldfields History) By October 1855 there were 3 camps of Chinese at Adelaide Lead. They had come to the area from South Australia overland to avoid paying the Victorian poll tax.

On 30 October 1856, the Herald reported that the notorious robber, Turner, had been arrested at Adelaide Lead. His gang had murdered one policeman and wounded another at Mt Ararat. Gipsy Turner was caught at Coppernose's Gully at the head of Adelaide Lead. He was given ten years jail for robbery whilst his offsider, who had killed the policeman, was hanged on 11 March 1857. (p. 67, The Goldfields History) In November 1857 the population of Adelaide Lead was 210.

On 16 October, 1856, the Argus reported that even though diggers were making fair wages at places such as the Alma, Blackmans Lead, and Adelaide Lead, they deserted these fields for new rushes elsewhere. They wanted to make a quick 'pile' but were often disappointed. lf they had stayed where they were before they could have found plenty of gold!

In 1869, Adelaide Lead had a fine pottery run by an English immigrant, Mr Plumridge.

Only a few nuggets were found in the Maryborough area including a 25oz nugget at Adelaide Lead in 1862.

"On the small holdings vines and fruit trees were often planted and the area had a number of wine-makers even in the 1860's and 1870's. Mr Rubrum of Adelaide Lead, Mr Mark Brewins of Havelock and Mr Alderson, also of Havelock, were among the early winemakers" (p. 115, Footprints)

Cricket began in the district in 1857 and clubs blossomed including teams from both Lower and Upper Adelaide Lead .Adelaide Lead was still fielding a cricket team in 1901. (Footprints pages 150 & 151) Adelaide Lead was included in the Maryborough mining district. Later the area changed from shallow reef mining to deep reef mining. Water in the mineshafts was a problem! Tonnages were small at many reefs. A 'Clement's reef' is mentioned but not its exact location.

Two diggers at Adelaide Lead identified the bushranger, Turner, who was later arrested, heavily ironed and taken to Maryborough jail by a large body of police. He was evidently a man of immense physical strength who had twice previously escaped from custody.

What was called “Maryborough's blackest page”, occurred when what was known as the 'Tipperary Riots ' occurred over a dispute about claim jumping. There were several fights but eventually the fracas was sorted out peacefully.

The Church of Christ opened at Adelaide Lead in 1866 as well as a Post Office in 1868. The 1868 Shire of Tullaroop rate book shows that Adelaide Lead had a billiard room, ,a store, ,a smithy, and stables. The Shire was established on 24th January 1865.

During the depression year of 1931 men were employed by fossicklng for gold at various places. Several of the men were quite successful in gathering 'quite a bit' of gold, especially after heavy rain. According to one interested observer, “on the Alma and Adelaide Lead he saw gold in lumps which had to be left there." (p. 240, Osborn, B. (1995), Against the Odds - Maryborough 1905-1961 Central Golfields Shire Council.)


Adelaide Lead School

The school opened on 1st Jan 1862 under John Blyth as Head Master. lt had an average attendance of 15 boys and 16 girls at this time and during 1862. It received 100 pounds in government aid and 75 pounds three shillings and sixpence in school fees. The 1873/4 minister's report shows that the school was conducted in a building which was the property of the Primitive Methodists. During that period, 489 pounds was spent by the Education Departmkent on the erection of a new building.

It seems that, in 1887, Joseph William Clements was secretary of the local school committee for he and E. Bursill wrote to the Local Member complaining about conditions at the school. Their complaints included:

  1. Unsafe drinking water
  2. Burying of night soil in the grounds. In some cases it is not buried properly but lies on the ground
  3. Too many relieving teachiers in the last 18 months. They do not live in the area so do not have great interest in the school. Attendance has dropped from 100 to 75 in the time they have been there. Children are being sent miles to schools at Alma and Maryborough instead of Adelaide Lead. A resident head teacher is needed.
  4. School should be fenced as cattle, sheep, goats and even pigs make a camping ground in the school area.
  5. Young gum trees are being ruined by mischievous person who strip bark off them.

A petition was sent to the Board of Education by parents in 1887 asking that the school tank be cleaned. The petition was signed by Richard Sanders, Frederick Parker, Alexander Cruikshank, Charles Hallard, Edward Bursill, Sargh Nevitt, and J.W. Clements.

Many parents signed another petition, obviously written by J.W.Clements. Parents were seeking a local teacher, a clean water tank, and the replacement of the shingle roof with iron.


After her husband's death, Mary left Adelaide Lead and spent her time with various family members in remote areas such as Bulumwaal, near Bairnsdale, and Cassilis, which is near Omeo. Most of the family searched for gold, including the Walhalla and Bulumwaal areas in Gippsland. The extract below is fromt he 1921, 'Gap' magazine which was produced in Bairnsdale.

As mentioned previously, Mary also lived at, 'The Springs', near Cassilis, where here son Charles and his family lived for some time whilst he was endeavouring to find gold in the mountains.


The Clement's family and friends at 'The Springs'.
Back Row: Annie Clements, Ed Clements (baby), Mary Clements, Unknown men.
Front Row: Dick Clements, Carl Clements, Dan Clements, Unknown, Kate Clements.

Mary had her own hut in the hilly gold mining village of Bulumwaal where most of her family lived. Almost nine years after Mary's death, one son, Richard, and his wife Catherine Agnes (nee Ryan) were brutually murdered. It was February 1928. Richard had owned a store and butchery, as well as being a gold buyer.

There was a long legal battle over the estate with the result that the Clements family , who were extremely poor with large families, received nothing - whilst Mrs Clement's family (the Ryans), recieved everything. As part of the Clement's claim to the estate, Ellen Guihenneuc (nee Clements) stated that:
"6. Some years after my father's death my mother established a store at Bulumwaal and was assisted in the conduct of the business by myself, this deponent. The said Richard Clements deceased had at this time a small holding at Bulumwaal under a garden licence which adjoined the land upon which the sotre was erected and which was also held under a garden licence.
7.Some time after the store had been established by my mother and myself as set out above, my mother handed over the sotre to the said Richard and it was maintained by him until his death in February 1928. The land on which the said business was being carried on at the time of his death was originally held upon garden licence in the name of my brother Charles prior to my mother's handing over of the business to Richard as aforesaid.
8. For many years prior to her death my mother was supported by different members of her family for varying periods and just prior to her death was living with my sister, the saied Alice Hargraves."

It is apparent from the above deposition that Mary Clements not only brought up a large family under poor conditions at Adelaide Lead but also, in later life, worked hard at her Bulumwaal store. She was obviously generous in handing over an established business to one of her sons. Unfortunately, little else is known about our Irish ancestor who bravely crossed the world on her own to face an uncerain future. Mary died penniless on 29 December 1919. She was buried with her first son Alfred who pre-deceased her by a few days.


A reunion of some of the Clement's descendants was held in November 2000.


This material was prepared by John Clements with assistance from his cousin, Elizabeth Litaize, Nerida Ellerton, and the late Jim Clements. December 2001.

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