Nolan Family Stories

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Families in New South Wales

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1790 : Michael Nowland : Wilberforce, NSW (via Norfolk Island)

[48] Michael Nowland (c1761-1828) – from Dublin?, IE
[49] Elizabeth Richards (c1775-1852) – from Ireland
Children: William (1792), Michael (1794), Henry (1796), Elizabeth (1798) b. on Norfolk Island; Ann (1802), Edward (1806), William (1808), Mary (1809), Sarah Jane (1814) born in NSW

In 1783, Michael Nowland (c1761-1828) was imprisoned and sentenced to death for, supposedly, stealing a horse. However, his sentence was later commuted to life and, in 1790, he was “transported” to Australia on the ship “Scarbourough”.

Michael is also believed to have been the son of a William and Ann Nowlan whose son Michael was baptised in Dublin December 31, 1758.

After his arrival in Australia, Michael married Elizabeth Richards. Elizabeth had also arrived in 1790 but on the “Lady Juliana” having been sentenced to 7 years transportation. Michael and Elizabeth had 9 children, the first 4 being born on Norfolk Island and the others in the area of Wilberforce, NSW, where the family had resettled around 1800. Michael and Elizabeth are buried in a cemetery in Wilberforce, NSW.


  • William (1792-1792)
  • Michael (1794-1854)
    m. 1846, Jane Greentree
  • Henry (1796-1863) m. Harriet Farlow (1805-1880)
  • Elizabeth (1798-1878)
    m1. 1814, Henry Richardson,
    m2. 1850 James Rochester
  • Ann (1802-1819)
  • Edward (1806-1842) m. 1829, Christiana Farlow (1811)
  • William (1808-1884), Cattle Breeder,
    m. 1831, Mary Ann Farlow (1813-1895)
  • Mary (1809-1881)
    m. 1828, Alexander Johnstone
  • Sarah Jane (1814-1878)
    m. 1831, William Adnum

1839 : John Nolan : Sydney, NSW

[50] John Nolan (1791 – ????) – from Limerick, IE
[51] Mary Glynn (1801 – ????) – from Limerick, IE
Children: Bridgette, Mary (1821), Michael (1823), Margaret (1825), James (1826) and John (1828)

John was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1791, the son of Patrick and Bridget Nolan.

Around 1818 still in Limerick, John married Mary Glynn who, like him, had also been born in Limerick. After their marriage, John and Mary stayed in Limerick where their 6 children were born. In 1838, the family set sail from Limerick bound for Australia on the Barque Charles Kerr, arriving in Sydney, Australia, on January 8, 1839.

Children of JOHN NOLAN and MARY GLYNN:

  • Bridgette (1819-1901)
    m. William Wales in 1840 at Bowning, NSW;
    they had 8 children; in 1843, Bridgette was living in Waregal Creek, NSW and, in 1901, at her death, she was living in Wambanumba, NSW.
  • Mary (1821)
  • Michael (1823)
  • Margaret (1825-1897)
    m. John Horton (1805-1877) in 1843 at Yass, NSW;
    they had 1 child; in 1897, at her death, she was still living in the area of Yass, NSW.
  • James (1826)
  • John (1828)

1840s : Christopher Nowlan : Cassilis District, NSW

[472] Christopher Nowlan (c1806-c1860) – from Trim, Co. Meath
[473] Mary Edwards (c1824-c1870) – from Ireland
Children: Thomas (1842)

Christopher NOWLAN (aka Nolan, Nowland) was born in Ireland sometime around 1806 and, as a young man of 20 or so, is believed to have been tried in Trim, Co. Meath, for murder or manslaughter.

Sentenced to life, Christopher was transported to New South Wales, Australia, arriving on the convict ship PHOENIX on 25 December 1826.

Mary EDWARDS was the daughter of Matthew EDWARDS, a convict who had been transported to Australia from Co. Roscommon in 1833, on the ship PORTLAND. She, her two sisters and their mother Came Free to Australia some time after 1833.

Mary became Christopher’s partner and was thought to have married him, though no proof has been found as yet. Together they had one known son, Thomas, born in 1842 in New South Wales. There may have been others but none have been found so far.

1841 : Matthew Nowland : Hawkesbury area, NSW

[203] Matthew Nowland (???? – ????) – from Rathsallagh, near Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow
[204] unknown-wife (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: ???

Matthew Nowland and his brother John arrived in Australia in 1841. They were the sons of Martin and Bridget Nowland of Rathsallagh townland, Co. Wicklow. Matthew settled in the Hawkesbury region,and John at Palmers Island, in northern New South Wales. Another brother(Edward) arrived later.

1842 : James Nolan : Braidwood, NSW

[52] James Nolan (1814-1893) – from Tyrone, Co. Fermanagh, IE
[53] Roseannah O’Brien (???? – ????) – from Co. Fermanagh, IE
Children: Peter, John, Thomas (1841), Patrick (1846), James (1847) and Mary (1848)

James Nolan was born in 1814 in County Fermanagh, Ireland, the son of James and Bridget Nolan.

As a young man, while still in Ireland, James married Roseannah O’Brien and their first two children, Peter and John were born there. However, before the birth of the third child, Thomas, the family moved to Glasgow, Scotland, and, from there, in 1841, sailed for Australia on the ship “Broom” arriving in 1842. In Australia, James and Roseannah initially settled in New South Wales and had three more children, Patrick, James and Mary.

At one point the family moved from NSW to the goldfields of Victoria and many of their descendants still live in this area. On the other hand, Thomas Edward, one of the sons, returned to NSW settling in the area of Braidwood, NSW.


  • Peter b. in Tyrone, Co. Fermanagh;
    m. Julia Quinlan (1834-1911);
    Children: Mary Ann (1861-c1893), Julia (c1862) m. William BROADHURST
  • John b. in Tyrone, Co. Fermanagh
  • Thomas Edward (1841) b. in Glasgow, Scotland;
    m. Susan Mary Smith b. 1860 in Wellington, NSW;
    Children: William Frederick, Susan Patricia, Ellen Mary, Thomas, Albert, Roseannah m. Arthur BOURKE, John m. Kathrine Marion PARSONS, Patrick, James and Edward (1877).
  • Patrick (1846) b. NSW
  • James John (1847) b. in Braidwood, NSW;
    m. Eva Walden (1851-1934) of Windsor, NSW;
    Children: Elsie Ellen (c1895) b. in Burren Junction, NSW, m. Ernest John CONNOLLY
  • Mary (1848) b. Goulburn, NSW

1843 : John Nolan : Sydney, NSW

[488] John Nolan (1820 – 1885) – from Co. Wicklow, IE
[489] Bridget Doherty (1823 – 1893) – from Ramelton, Co. Donegal, IE
Children: Bridget (1844), Frances (1845), John (1847), Mary (1848), Catherine (1849), Ann (1850), Catherine (1852), Ellen (1853), Susan (1854), Rosanna (1856), Martin (1857), Philip (1860), Mathew (1861), Margaret (1863)and Elizabeth (1865)

John Nolan, son of Martin Nowlan and Bridget Young, born 1820, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. John arrived in Sydney aboard the “Berkshire” on March 13, 1844, and died October 1, 1885, at age 65.

John married Bridget Doherty, daughter of Philip and Mary Doherty nee O’Dougharty, in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, East Maitland NSW on the 14th May 1843; Rev. Edmund Mahony officiated and witnessed by Bernard Doherty of Williams River and Mary Gallen of Millers Forrest. Bridget born 17th April 1823 in Ramelton, Co. Donegal, Ireland, arrived in Sydney, with her parents, aboard the “Herald” on the 15th July 1841 and died 28th March 1893, age 70, at Maclean NSW.


  • Bridget Nolan, b. 1844
  • Frances ‘Fanny’ Nolan, b. 1845
  • John Nolan, b. 2-Jan-1847; d. 2-Feb-1847
  • Mary Nolan, b. 17-May-1848
  • Catherine Nolan, b. 8-Oct-1849; d. 18-Jan-1850
  • Ann Nowlan, b. 3-Oct-1850
  • Catherine Nolan, b. 1-May-1852
  • Ellen Nowlan, b. 16-Dec-1853
  • Susannah Nolan, b. 14-Nov-1854, Williams River, NSW;
    m. Thomas CAVANAGH, a farmer from Cowper, in 1878 in St Mary’s RC church, Grafton, NSW; one of the marriage witnesses was Susannah’s sister, Rosanna.

Sometime before 1849 Thomas’ father, Edward Cavanagh, b. 1803 in Ireland, was accused of sheep-stealing in Co. Wexford and sentenced to 7 years transportation arriving in Australia in 1849 on the ‘Havering’. Thomas’ mother, Catherine, born 1813 in Co. Wicklow followed 4 years bringing with her Thomas and two siblings James and Sarah, all born in Parkmore, Co. Wicklow, according to the immigration document. Thomas’ parents settled in Clarence River, close to the Grafton/Maitland area and, sometime around 1881 moved to the Ulmarra area. In 1916, during the First World War, Thomas and Susan seem to have been living in Grafton proper, on Queen street. In 1920, when Thomas died in Brisbane, it is likely that he and Susan lived with their daughter Catherine at the corner of Water and Hipwood streets. This is where we find Susan, in 1925, helping with ‘home duties’, according to the electoral role. It is also likely that she was still living there when she died in Brisbane on November 29, 1927.


  • Catherine CAVANAGH (1879-1891 , Ulmarra)
  • Sarah Mary CAVANAGH (1881-1939, Grafton)
  • Edward CAVANAGH (1882-1942, Brisbane)
  • Susanna CAVANAGH (1887-1901, Ulmarra)
  • John James CAVANAGH (1892-1973, Adelaide)
  • Catherine Bridget CAVANAGH (1897-????)
  • Rosanna Nolan, b. 9-Jul-1856
  • Martin Nolan, b. 16-Nov-1857; d. 10-May-1860
  • Philip Nolan, b. 1-Mar-1860
  • Mathew Nolan, b. 22-Aug-1861
  • Margaret Nolan, b. 7-Sep-1863
  • Elizabeth Nolan, b. 1865

1845 : Edward Nowlan : Paterson & Singleton areas, NSW

[403] Edward Nowlan (c1810-1880) – from Dublin, IE
[404] Mary Anne Cunningham (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Thomas Edward (1846), Ellen (1847), James (1850), Francis (1852), Edward (1854), John (1855), Mary (1857), Patrick (1859), Frances (1861), Elizabeth (1863), Margaret (1866) and Catherine (1868).

Edward Nowlan was born in Dublin Ireland c1810 to Thomas Nowland & Frances Duffie. He was a blacksmith for 6 years before being sentenced to 7 years for house breaking. Arriving in Sydney, Australia on the convict ship Andromeda II on 18th December 1830, he was assigned to W. Ogilivy of Hunter River “Merton”. In 1835 he received his ticket of leave and on 12th October 1839 his Certificate of Freedom.

On the 21st of April 1845 Edward married Mary Ann Cunningham at St. Mary’s Church in Sydney and sometime thereafter they moved to Paterson in NSW.

As a young man, one of Edward and Mary Anne’s sons, Patrick, went to work at Goorangoola near Singleton where he married Katherine Sattler. There are many descendants of Patrick living all over Australia.

In the late 1870s, Edward moved to the Singleton area where he lived with his son Patrick at Goorangoola.

Many descesdants of Edward and Mary Anne Nowlan live throughout Australia and there is a park in Singleton named after the family. Cherie Nowlan, a descendant, is a renowned film director in Australia, the UK and the US.

1852 : David McCool Nolan : Bathurst, NSW

[136] David McCool Nolan (1828 – ????) – from Londonderry, Co. Derry
[137] Mary Burnside (???? – ????) – from Co. Derry
Children: James Wrey (1854), Robert Howard (1855) and Sophia “Cushla”

Born February 9th 1828, the eldest son of Robert Howard Nolan and Martha Adams of 16 Fountain St., Londonderry, Northern Ireland, David McCool Nolan, joined the Merchant Navy as a young man and worked in the service of the East India Comnpany before marrying in 1852.

On June 29th 1852, David McCool Nolan married Mary Burnside at Fanghanvale, Co. Derry, and shortly thereafter set sail with his wife, three sisters and a brother for Melbourne, Australia.

On May 24th 1854, David and Mary’s first child, James Wrey, was born in Bathurst, NSW. Two other children would soon follow, Robert Howard born in 1855 and Sophia, also born in Bathurst, NSW.

Sometime between 1865 and 1867, David and his family relocated to Auckland, New Zealand.

This Nolan line is perhaps best known for David’s second son, Sir Robert Howard Nolan (1855-1923), K.B.E., who became an auctioneer, racing administrator and patriotic worker in New Zealand.

NOTE: Matt Crowther, the contact person for this Nolan line, is a descendant of Sophia “Cushla” Nolan, daughter of David, who married Arthur Sydney Tonks. If you know more about this Nolan line please do not hesitate to contact him.

1853 : Owen Nolan : Sydney, NSW

[296] Owen Nolan (1826 – 1899) – from Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow, IE
[297] Ann Gosling (???? – 1854) – from Ireland
Children: ???

Owen and Ann were married in Ireland in 1850, in Co. Wicklow or in neighbouring Co. Wicklow. In 1853, they emigrated to Sydney, Australia, aboard the Earl of Elgin, leaving behind a young son. Ann was pregnant at the time and, after giving birth aboard ship, both she and the baby died and were buried at sea.

Owen stayed in Australia and eventually remarried, marrying an older women, and sometime around 1865 returned to Ireland to bring back to Australia his son and another male called Andy Lyons.

Owen’s parents were Matthew Nolan and Marcella Byrne of Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow (see Leinster webpage for more information) and he had two known siblings, Ellen and Simon. Ellen (1831)married a Marcus William Lyons and also emigrated to Australia in 1853. Simon (1834) remained in Ireland and resided in Dublin.

1860 : Elizabeth Nowlan : Balmain, NSW

[205] Elizabeth Nowlan (???? – ????) – from Baltinglas, Co. Kildare, IE
[206] Patrick Whelan (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Anne (1830)

Elizabeth and Patrick were married on June 18, 1828, in Baltinglas, Co. Wicklow, close to the borders of both Co. Kildare and Co. Carlow. Given that Elizabeth and Patrick’s daughter, Anne, was born in 1835 in Co. Kildare, it is quite likely that the family lived in Co. Kildare.

Anne (1835)emigrated to Australia around 1860 and married Patrick HOGARTY (1830) of Co. Kildare in Balmain, NSW, on October 7, 1861.

Elizabeth and Patrick were married on June 18, 1828, in Baltinglas, Co. Wicklow, close to the borders of both Co. Kildare and Co. Carlow. Given that Elizabeth and Patrick’s daughter, Anne, was born in 1835 in Co. Kildare, it is quite likely that the family lived in Co. Kildare.

Anne (1835)emigrated to Australia around 1860 and married Patrick HOGARTY (1830) of Co. Kildare in Balmain, NSW, on October 7, 1861.

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