Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Edward Killalea

Edward Killalea was born in County Galway, Ireland in c.1816. When Edward was 19 years old he was involved in a brawl in which two men were killed. On 17 March 1836 he was charged with Manslaughter at Galway and sentenced to transportation to Australia for the term of his natural life.


Edward was transported on the ship Captain Cook 3, which    arrived in NSW 13th November 1836. Edward was described on arrival as being 20 years of age, could read and write, was single, Roman Catholic, farm servant, no former convictions and was 5'5 ½ tall. Edward was issued a ticket of leave 11th January 1845 with a Conditional Pardon granted in 1850.

In 1847 he married Maria/Mary Rolwright/Molright at Jamberoo NSW. Edward acquired a leasehold on the Bassett-Darley Estate in the area we associate with Killalea today. He also had land at Kiama and Foxground. Edward and Maria had 12 children.

Edward became a major pioneer of Shellharbour and an enterprising settler. He was an Alderman on Shellharbour Municipal Council from 1870-1872 and was on the committee to form the Shellharbour Steam Navigation Company. In 1868, Edward became involved in a gold prospecting venture at Killalea Beach (The Farm) with Thomas Henry, after  discovering alluvial gold in the beach sand. The enterprise eventually failed and Henry left for the goldfields at Nerriga NSW. In 1872 Thomas A Reddall and Killalea reopened the mining operations, however Edward Killalea died later that year and mining ceased.

Edward died suddenly at the Commercial Hotel in  Wollongong in 1872 after enduring several seizures. An article in the Kiama Independent stated ‘The late Mr. Killalea, an old resident of Shellharbour an Alderman of the borough, the father of a large family of seven sons and five daughters, very generally, indeed we may say universally, respected for the kindliness of his disposition and integrity of character’ .

The Coroner and jury found ‘that deceased, Edward Killalea, came to his death by strychnine, taken by him whilst labouring under the effects of excessive drinking’. A bottle marked ‘Poison’ was found in his pocket. He was buried at the Shellharbour foreshore cemetery.  Maria lived to 86 years. She had left Edward several months prior to his death.

 
Shellharbour Municipal Alderman c.1870. Edward Killalea third from right.
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

The Farm Killalea and lagoon 1987.
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

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