Michael and Margaret Byrne

Birth and childhood

Michael Byrne was born c 1818 and came to Australia from Dublin in 1841. He moved to Victoria a year later.

Margaret Ann Maroney came to Port Phillip on the 29th March 1841 aboard the Neptune with her parents Denis Maroney and Mary (Bourke). Denis was 38 and a Shepherd, Mary was 38 and a servant. Margaret was 17 and a dairy maid. Also aboard the ship were Judy age 21 and John aged 21, Mathhew, 19 and Helena 15. The family was Roman Catholic and from Tipperary according to shipping records. Denis is listed as a farmer on Margaret's second marriage certificate. On her second marriage and her death certificate it states she came from County Wicklow.

St James
St James opened for worship in 1842, so Michael and Margaret were among the first couples to be married there. It is a bluestone church, now located in Batman Street West Melbourne. It is a beautiful church, boasting cedar gated pews which were rented out. The stained glass sanctuary window was a later addition. St James was demoted to a church once St Paul's was opened.


Michael and Margaret marriedin St James Cathedral (CE) near the corner of Collins and William Streets Melbourne on January 13th in 1843 (4680; marriage vol v1843716 27C).

The marriage was witnessed by Margaret's father Denis Maroney and her mother Mary Bourke. Both Denis and Mary lived at Mercavale (Beveridge, North East of Melbourne). At the time there was no church in Mercavale. Michael could write his signature but Margaret, Dennis and Mary signed with a mark.

Michael worked as a Station Manager at Clunie station near Harrow and later worked a shepherd at Pearson’s station (or Retreat) near the Hummocks north of Casterton.  

Children of Michael Byrne and Magaret Maroney

1. Denis Byrne 1847-1909, aged 62
2. Jimmy (James) Byrne 1848-1934
3. Edmund Byrne - listed as deceasedon Margaret's death certificate in 1896
4. Mary Jane Miller nee Byrne, birth unknown, died 1935, aged 81
5. Michael Byrne - aged 37 at time of Margaret's death
6. Margaret Byrne was born on the 4th November 1855

Death of Michael

Michael died on the 19th  May 1856, aged 38 years of age, from long standing liver disease. He is found as John Burns in one instance and the death certificate is as James Burns. He died at Pearson’s station (also known as Retreat), north of Casterton. Michael was buried at the Old Casterton graveyard, without a minister, with the police as the informant and in an unmarked grave. According to the death certificate, Dennis was 11 years, James 9 years, Mary Jane 8 years, Michael unknown and Margaret 1 year old when Michael died. Edmund was not mentioned.

Pearson’s Station was owned by William & George Carmichael. It was later foreclosed.

The Death notice in the Argus on the 19th June.
Michael Burns died at The Hammox (Hummocks) near Casterton.

Margaret's Second Marriage

Margaret was widowed on the 1st February 1856 and remarried under the name of Burnes to Stewart Miller from Sandford in the All Saints Church in Portland 1857 (728). At the time she was working as a general servant and her age was stated as 27. This is probably incorrect because she was 17 in 1841 and would have been around 31 in 1857.

Stewart and Ann (Margaret) lived in Sanford and had one child Bestsy in 1858 (18112)

Child of Stewart and Ann (Margaret) Miller

1. Betsy McConachy nee Miller. She married William James McConachy in 1881 (59). Their children, all born in Sanford, were:

i. Margaret Isobell McConachy born 1882 (5320), died at 3 weeks in 1882 (3235).
ii. Marion Florence McConachy born 1883 (12081)
iii. Annie Beatrice McConachy born 1885 (13302)
v. Stuart Laurence McConachy born 1887 (14681)
v. Samuel George McConachy born 1889 (7221)
vi. Eva May McConachy born 1889 (34815)
vii. Thomas John McConachy born 1891 (6719)

Death of Margaret

Margaret died at Sanford in 1896, aged 72 according to the death certificate (3790) but aged 65 on her gravestone at Sanford. The gravestone reads:

In Loving Remembrance
Margaret Ann
The Beloved Wife of
Stewart Miller
Who Died Springview 9th January 1896
Aged 65
Also the Above
Stewart Miller
Died 1st January 1922
Aged 93 Years
Margaret Isabella
Infant Granddaughter of the Above
Also Betsy McConachy

Daughter of Ann & Stewart Miller
And Mother of Margaret
Died 26th October 1930
Aged 73 Years

More on the Children

1. Denis Byrne

Go to the Byrne-Bertram page

2. James Byrne

Go to the Byrne-Burgess page

3. Edmund Byrne

Edmund probably died in infancy. He is not listed on his father's death certificate or his mother's second marriage certificate. He is listed as deceased on her death certificate.

4. Mary Jane Mitchell nee Byrne

Born in Harrow 1851 or 1853 and lived and worked as a Gum Creek as a domestic servant. She married William Mitchell from Willbrook on the 28th March 1877 at the Weslyan Church in Merino. The Mitchells were a big family in Sandford.

Henry and Mary bought a farm at Karnak and had two children. Tragically, their two young children died in 1882, four days apart.

  1. Herbert Richard, born 1878 in Sandford. He died aged 3 at Harrow in 1882 from sunstroke. His father took him to Harrow and as he was returning he met Mary and learned that Mary Elizabeth had also died.
  2. Mary Elizabeth was born in 1880 in Merino. She died aged 2 in 1882 from diarrhoea, vomiting and exhaustion after eating green grapes.

They were buried at Harrow but were apparently removed in 1899, most likely to Sandford.

After this Henry lost interest in farming. The couple moved to Casterton and later to Trevallis in Melbourne. Trevallis was a name from Cornwall.

Mary Jane and Henry Mitchell

The house at Casterton

Mary Jane Mitchell


Mary and William both died in Elsternwick but the gravestone is at Sandford.

In loving memory of
William Henry Mitchell
Died at Trevallas Elsternwick
July 15th 1929
Aged 73 years
And his wife
Mary Jane
Who died at Elsternwick
2nd Jan 1935
Also his children
Herbert Richard
Died 23rd March 1882
Aged 3 years
Mary Elizabeth
Died 27th March 1882
Aged 2 years
Thy Will Be Done

5. Michael Byrne

According to his mother's death certificate, Michael was still alive, and aged 37 in 1896.

A letter found in the Mitchell's papers mentions a Mick Byrne inspecting land at Karnak with Henry Mitchell (Mary Jane's husband). This was most likely him:

"1878 Nov 28th
Henry left home at Gum Creek with Mick Byrnes to inspect land at Karnak, got as far as Jim Byrne's at Pine Hills
Nov 29th 1878
Inspected the land, returned to Pine Hills and arrive home on the 30th"

Mary and William bought property at Karnak.

5. Margaret

Margaret was born on the 4th November 1855 at Pearson's Station. She must have died early as she is not mentioned on her mother's second marriage certificate or her death certificate.

Possible Family Connections

George BYRNE b. ca 1804, Ireland, son of George BYRNE and Mary MURPHY was married in Ireland to Elizabeth COSTELLO b. ca 1806 Ireland. George and Elizabeth married in Dublin and emigrated to Tasmania, arriving in November 1833 on the "Eliza" with John (aged 4) and Mary (aged 1). It appears that Mary subsequently died as they had another daughter Mary born c1837. Sometime between 1834 and 1845 George and Elizabeth arrived in Portland. George was buried in the Digby Cemetery in 1857 and currently Elizabeth has not been located. George and Elizabeth had the following known family:
1. John BYRNE b. 1828, Dublin, Ireland, mar. Mary Ann PEMBURY, 1850, Portland, Vic;
2. Mary BYRNE b. ca 1831, Dublin, Ireland (probably died in Tasmania);
3. George BYRNE b. 1834, Hobart, Tas, m. Elizabeth BUCHAN in 1859 at "Lemon Springs", Wimmera;
4. Mary BYRNE b. 1837;
5. Elizabeth BYRNE b. 1841;
6. Stephen BYRNE b. 1845, Portland, Vic, d. 1866;
7. Benedick BYRNE b. 1851, Portland, Vic, d. bef 1857.

More Byrne Possibilities

Any relation to Alice Maud Mary Byrne who married Frederick James Guthridge in 1896 and lived in Edenhope district. Their children were born in Harrow, Edenhope and Goroke. A relative of ours was told by one of her aunts that her family was related to the Guthridge's in Edenhope.