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2. To thine own self be true

I continued to visit him two or three times a year up until his death in It came from somewhere deep inside him. There was this eagerness to create, and it was certainly outside the establishment. I got snippets of his life from family, but I believe everyone was dead by the time I met Burgess except one or two sisters who lived down the road. They told me that he had always played with mud.

Burgess told me that his brothers and sisters made fun of him for playing with mud. He had never left the county he was born in until he had a heart attack and was taken for surgery. One time he told me third grade and one time he said second grade. He grew up on this farm in a fairly isolated environment and had always kind of played with mud. That's what he did. He never really made this art to sell it to make a living off of.

He never considered himself an artist. I mean this came from somewhere totally different. As far as I know, he grew up with these siblings on this farm and just did farming. They weren't plantation owners by any means, but everybody would have a small cotton field in those days. And they had enough for the family to pick and sell to make money to survive on. They lived off the land. They fished. They hunted. They had woods behind the house. And they grew what they needed. Burgess was married to this woman named Effie. And he was married to her until she died in the mid 90s.

Burgess lived in the house there on that property that his dad had built in the mid-to-late s. And so most people agree that he probably made four to five hundred pieces of art. RH: And the clay that he was using was all from the family property?

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TN: At the beginning yes, until he got older and couldn't get down there to get the clay. He dug from three pits on his property. One right by the driveway, probably the earliest pit from what I can find. The mud is distinctly different from each one. And then the timeline of the pit, especially the big one down there by the creek, the mud changes as he went into the clay. Pure kaolin has a certain property to it, whereas at first it had a lot of iron in it. So you see a lot of pieces oxidize over the years and turn dark, which I love. RH: You knew Burgess fairly well. What was he like as a person?

TN: He was the most jovial, sweetest guy and he had this great little voice. He was always jovial, he was very nice and he told really fantastical stories. He had a very vivid imagination as his work shows. But it came through in conversation. He would tell me these wild stories. The greatest part of this to me was being able to spend time with these people. Burgess and I would occasionally sit there and not say anything.

We would sit there sometimes for ten, fifteen minutes and never say a word. RH: Was there a tradition of making mud sculpture in Mississippi? And there must be more. And Juanita Rogers from Alabama. And then Burgess. It consisted of many projects in addition to constructing the asylum itself, including The Gatehouse, the hallmark cottage at the Charles Street entrance to the campus. Finally, after 34 years of construction, on December 6, , The Sheppard Asylum opened its doors, in Towson, MD, on a acre campus where it still stands today.

According to Dr. Edward Brush, the first director of the Asylum, it felt like a hotel with grounds like a park. In that first year, The Sheppard Asylum treated 53 patients. Pratt mandated that his bequest be used to complete any construction in progress, enlarge the facility to house additional patients, and serve the indigent. Edward Brush following the principles instilled by its founders.

As the hospital grew, it also focused more on providing meaningful treatment rather than mere custodial care; expansions included laboratories for research and libraries for learning. By , annual admissions increased to patients, having a variety of diagnoses. The hospital environment was said to be structured and disciplined, with privacy a top priority, something that is still respected to this day. Patients enjoyed many activities as components of their treatment, including golf, shuffleboard, lectures, and music.

As admissions increased, many young doctors who wanted to study psychiatry came to the hospital to learn, as there was no formal training for mental illness at the time. The hospital prided itself on becoming a leader in the teaching field. It soon became clear that nurses were a crucial aspect of psychiatric care, especially since patient care and compassion were core principles of the hospital. With quality nursing care hard to find, in , a specialized psychiatric nursing school was created at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital.

Doctors from nearby Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland helped support the robust nursing curriculum. Expansion continued; leadership believed that patients needed additional therapeutic options. The hospital continuously increased its offerings, including building The Casino, a recreational building designed to lure patients out of their rooms. It included a bowling alley, billiards area, reading room, and a gymnasium. Sheppard Pratt is renowned as the birthplace of modern occupational therapy, a practice founded at Sheppard Pratt by Dr.

William Rush Dunton. Early occupational therapy at Sheppard Pratt took place in the Casino, and involved participating in work tasks such as farming and gardening on the hospital grounds, as well as engaging in leisure activities such as art, dance, sports, picnics, and music. Sheppard Pratt was also the home to occupational therapy education, and training and classes were offered from — The hospital continued to grow, and by the 20th anniversary of the hospital, 2, patients had received compassionate care.

A typical day consisted of reading, exercise, carpentry, occupational therapy, walks on the lawn, crafts, clinical observation, tonic baths, and conversations. Hospital staff believed that active patients were healthy patients. More rooms were built to accommodate the swift growth. Over the years, the hospital faced challenges, especially during wartime. Leadership thrived, making changes as needed, and always stayed true to the mission of Sheppard and Pratt.

In , Dr. Brush resigned as president, and Dr. Ross Chapman took the helm in As the country faced the Great Depression, the hospital continued to treat patients with new and innovative techniques. Electroconvulsive therapy was introduced during this period, and drug therapies began to gain favor.

Once again, wartime was difficult for the hospital, but the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital stayed true to its mission with student nurses and doctors working long hours to help patients heal. Following the War, closed areas reopened. When our military personnel returned home, our country first noticed the need for treating service-related psychiatric disabilities, and the government was willing to spend money to take care of its heroes.

Chapman understood there would be a need for more psychiatrists and psychiatric services. Trying to meet the need for additional staff, the hospital moved forward with an expanded training program for doctors and nurses, as well as allowing its staff to live off campus for the first time. Chapman led the hospital successfully, but died in Harry Murdock took over as Medical Director.

He also increased the use of social workers in patient care. Another area where The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital was at the forefront of psychiatric care was understanding that there was a need to provide specialized care for certain age groups, including children and the elderly.

In , a Child Guidance Clinic began operations, seeing anywhere from two to 10 adolescents at a time. Although many did not feel that psychiatric hospitals were appropriate facilities for children, hospital administration believed these complex cases needed care that could only be provided by trained psychiatrists. Gibson, who took over as Director in , believed that the elderly deserved equal treatment when it came to their mental health.

He was a leader in the field, advocating that Medicare should cover mental health treatments just as it did physical health. The diggers' grievances thus extended beyond goldfield matters to include proposals for the new Constitution-full and fair representation, manhood suffrage, no property qualifications required to stand for the Legislative Council, payment of members of parliament and limited terms of parliament. In the event, a democratically elected legislative assembly was established in Victoria, with secret ballot introduced for the first time in the world.

But democracy did not extend to the upper house, the Legislative Council. There, electors and voters were required to have property qualifications. This provision ensured that the squatters had the numbers in that House. Legislation passed in the Lower House, the Legislative Assembly, had to be endorsed by the Upper House before it became law. Consequently any proposal contrary to the interests of the squatters had little chance of success.

In addition, parliamentarians were not paid, so potential members needed to have private means of livelihood. Opposition to the squatters' monopoly over most of the rural land in Victoria increased with the flood of immigrants to the Colony. The Argus led a campaign to "Unlock the Lands" as early as The squatters fought back claiming that their licences, although annual, implied a guarantee of long term occupation with a pre-emptive right of purchase.

Proposals to dismantle their privileged arrangements were seen as a threat not only to their interests but also to the interests of the Colony. Democracy the squatters called it 'mobocracy' was not to be won easily. Land reform was bitterly fought. Charles Gavan Duffy see Turbulent Tipperary page 9 arrived in and set about seeking election to the Legislative Assembly as a member for Villiers and Heytesbury, which included the part of western Victoria where the Delaneys lived.

Duffy's election and subsequent appointment as Minister for Lands and Works would have been acclaimed by the Delaneys and all seeking to farm their own land. The cry to "Unlock The Lands"15 intensified as the gold rush subsided and immigrants sought alternative means of livelihood.

The squatters were in a powerful position. By , a little over 1, squatters controlled under licence 1, stations totalling 35 to 40 million acres see table. Ten million of the acres licensed to the squatters were to be made available for selection as agricultural blocks of 40 to acres at one pound per acre. The squatters saw that the Bill was seriously flawed and allowed the legislation to be passed by the Legislative Council.

Duffy decided to open four million acres for selection as a first stage of his land reform proposal. The squatters sabotaged this policy by arranging dummies to apply for blocks, and to transfer them back to the squatters. By , two thirds of all land sold was bought by about squatters-they had been spectacularly successful in corrupting the intentions of the Act. In the Western District the success of the squatters in holding and extending their properties was almost complete.

Wealthy squatters built huge mansions on their runs, which were now secure in ownership. They held positions on the boards of the banks they had helped to establish, and had ready access to loans at low interest because of their privileged position and the security provided by their huge holdings.

As the Age thundered,16 the objective of the Land Acts of the s to open up the squatters' lands to selection by a large number of land-hungry immigrants who would form a strong diverse basis for a democracy had failed. Of these, 2. Such land had passed out of the hands of the State to a few powerful squatters who became the landed gentry. The resulting outcome, according to the Age, was little different to the "plight of the land-ridden population of England and Ireland"-and it all happened in a decade or so.

The squatters were able to become legal owners of vast estates through the systematic corruption of the land reform process legislated by government. The Age continued: "what aggravates the evil, moreover, is the fact that these enormous properties contribute literally nothing to the support of the burdens of the State. On the contrary, these owners received benefits of protection to their property secured by the machinery of government at huge expense, to a far greater extent than other sections of the community.

Subsequent Land Acts, though, did provide some opportunities for many small farmers. Duffy considered the area around Nirranda as of inferior quality and not suitable for even pastoral purposes, let alone for agricultural purposes, being classified as "dense scrubland". Such inferior land was of no interest to the squatters and the story of these small selectors was generally one of hardship and frequent failure.

Lack of finance not enough security for the banks or heavy borrowings high interest loans because of low levels of security , bad seasons, distant markets mostly England with prices set to favour England , pests and stock disease made the lot of even the most careful and industrious a burdensome one. Many of the Irish were not worried about a move towards conformity and anglicisation in their new land.

They wanted to be free of the troubles of the old country. Others were perhaps looking forward to developing a New Ireland in their new land, free of English oppression. But the hope that Australia would be a substitute home was not realised. The differences were too great. In the s, the situation in Ireland was changing. The Fenian movement of Irish extremists had emerged challenging British rule in Ireland, importing arms into Ireland to enable physical force to be brought to bear against their English oppressors.

This potential threat caused panic in Australia. Melbourne went on to virtual military alert in March All Irish came to be feared as Fenians, and there was strong and growing opposition to Irish Catholics in the community at large as Irish migration threatened to outstrip English migration. This attempt sparked a strong backlash against Irish Catholics the Duke's bodyguard on his visit the following year incidentally was Detective John Christie, who two decades later would set about trying to catch the Delaneys in their whiskey making exploits.

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Senior police wanted to blow up Irish houses and to boil down priests. The fear of the Fenians was refuelled when Fenian prisoners were sent from Ireland to Western Australia and released progressively over the next 10 years. Membership of Orange Lodges increased tenfold over this period, thereby changing the character of the Lodge from Ulster Irish to anti-Catholic. Parkes pursued this situation for his own political ends and linked it to the controversial issue of teaching religion in Catholic schools.

Consequently, in , the Victorian Government withdrew state aid to denominational schools, whilst fully funding state schools for 'free compulsory and secular' education with religious teaching excluded. The impact was to wipe out practically all of the denominational schools except Catholic schools, and others supported mainly by the wealthy squatters and city merchants.

The Catholics were still mainly Irish and were the poorest group in society but they strongly supported the decision of the Catholic Bishops to maintain the Catholic school system. For the next 90 years not a penny of government funds would be spent on the education of children in Catholic schools. A powerful perception developed that the Australian Irish were a victim people, persecuted souls and heroes whose socio-economic subjection was due to old wrongs, and whose suspicions about their hostile environment were amply justified. There was no Catholic school in Nirranda and the Delaneys went to the local state school.

There were many Orangemen in the district also and one can imagine a growing tension in this environment especially as the size of Catholic families grew at double the rate of the rest. The rise and fall of Ned Kelly the bushranger and his gang aroused unprecedented interest and intensity in the s, especially among Irish Catholics. Ned was the son of a Tipperary man who had been transported to Van Dieman's Land. Ned grew up in the heart of a low-key land war, fought out between squatters sheep and cattle barons and selectors small farmers that the colony's government was trying to settle on squatters' holdings.

In this conflict, police were supposedly playing the role of peacekeepers, but inevitably favoured the men with financial and political muscle-the squatters. Many Irish farmers, remembering home, thought they could make a living on acres of land. But so often the selection, including that of the Kellys, was too small and the soil too poor. Remember that the squatters had left only marginal lands for these selectors.

The squatters despised these settlers as poor farmers, destined to failure because they were not industrious. As the family of a convict, long since dead, the police hounded the Kellys at every complaint laid against them by the squatters. Like other small selectors, Ned took to cattle and horse-stealing to survive. This activity was not simple criminality, but was also seen as a protest by the landless and the unsuccessful against the large squatters. Ned also became involved in the occasional brawl as he defended his family's honour. The Kellys were becoming a nuisance in the district.

But the Kelly saga may have passed into history as a series of local incidents if the Legislative Council had not withheld supply from the government in The Council was said to be the most powerful upper house in the world. The democratically elected members of the lower house claimed further that Government was run from, or frustrated by, the Melbourne Club where squatters and city merchants belonged.

The Council refused to endorse legislation providing for the payment of parliamentarians.

Such a law would have allowed many people without independent means to stand for election against the property owners. The Council refused supply to the Government and in the ensuing constitutional crisis the government sacked judges, police magistrates, coroners and others. The Police Commissioner, "Captain Standish, who incompetently ran the police force from the comfort of the Melbourne Club", had been under pressure by the squatters to finish the Kelly Gang.

What better way to prove his value to society than by "picking off the Kellys". Bad police work eventuated, which escalated the conflict. The arrest of Ned's mother with a three-day-old baby and her subsequent gaoling for three years was followed by police pursuit of Ned. Three policemen-all Irishmen-were killed in self defence said Ned; cold-blooded murder claimed the police. The Kellys were outlawed, but they outwitted the police for nearly two years, robbing banks with consummate ease and gaining sympathy from their victims through their courtesy and charm.

Finally they were surrounded at the Glenrowan Hotel, which the police burned to the ground, but not before Ned had emerged clad in a huge suit of armour which he had made from ploughshares, scaring hell out of the police. He was captured, summarily tried and hanged at Melbourne Gaol on November 11 The Kelly saga caught the imagination of the public-the contest, the drama was fascinating even to those who despised their ruthlessness.

But coming as it did at the time of the constitutional crisis, which emphasised the control of the squatters and their banks, many landholders in the north east willingly supported the Kellys, withholding help from the police. Their own experiences made them hostile to the banks and "they possibly cheered, beneath their breath, the daring robberies of rural banks by farm boys who, but for the grace of God, could have been their own boys". Castieau's son of the same name was to edit and publish, in , The Reminiscences of Detective Inspector Christie which describes the exploits of Christie in pursuing the Delaneys in their whiskey making ventures.

In the eyes of the many, no less the Delaneys of Nirranda, Ned Kelly was a courageous hero. The saying 'as game as Ned Kelly' entered the idiom. Songs were written and Ned became a legend. The farmers of Nirranda on their small marginal properties were struggling. By the s, John and Bridget Delaney had 48 grandchildren under 21 years of age. Prospects of getting further land remained slim. The exploits of the Kellys encouraged some of the embattled Delaneys and others to increase their efforts in whiskey making, an activity that continued for the best part of two decades.

Sure, it was against customs law, but there was no shame in breaking an English colonial law, especially one designed to protect the whiskey empires run by the City of London and their agents in Melbourne. Three days after arriving in Port Fairy, on January 15 , the Delaneys were on the move again, hitching a ride on the Geelong-bound wool schooner, Elizabeth, as far as Warrnambool. They met up with John's brother Thomas and joined him at his home in nearby Dennington.

Eventually they moved to Dennington and no doubt their account of life in the new land had encouraged John and Bridget to migrate to the district. Thomas and John soon took an interest in the governance of the new colony. They enrolled for the first elections to be held in Victoria. The list of electors classifies each of them as farmers and as leaseholders and their name was spelt Delany. In , Thomas bought a block of land in Lindsay Street, Dennington.

The electoral roll was altered showing Thomas as a freeholder and the spelling of his name was changed to Delaney. Thomas's wife, Ann, was in indifferent health and died in January , and became the first of the family to be buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in Grave 16, Row On September 9 , widower Tom married again, to Mary Wilson, and they had a daughter, Catherine, in No trace of Catherine after her birth can be found. Thomas himself died on May 21 , leaving his wife, Mary, with child. Mary gave birth to a son in January and he was named John Thomas.

Sadly the baby died in infancy. Mary remarried on February 5 to John Carmody and they had seven children. Mary died in Warrnambool in John and Bridget had the last of their children, Thomas, on 10 July , eighteen months after arriving in the new colony. They were probably at Dennington at that stage. The Delaneys and Dunnes came not to look for gold but to seek land to farm, as they had done in the fertile Golden Vale of Tipperary.

They left a crowded Ireland containing six million people. Here in Victoria, they found barely a quarter of a million people occupying a land area three times greater than the whole of Ireland. They expected to be able to select land readily. But they found that the squatters had grabbed all available land-there was little left for the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants.

The choices available to John and Bridget, with their family of seven, were limited. They could lease land for farming from the squatters, work on their stations as labourers or work in the towns.

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There were few opportunities in the s for immigrants to select or purchase their own land. After the death of Thomas, it seems that the family moved further north along the Merri River to the "Rosehill" estate of Gilbert Nicol in the Parish of Purnim, either as tenant farmers or labourers. In an advertisement in the Warrambool Examiner, April , a John Delaney of Eagle Tavern Farm on the Purnim road was nominated to receive tenders for the lease of Eagle Tavern, a room stone house and outhouses. We do not know whether this man was "our" John. The exact location of the Tavern is not known.

The Delaney children would have attended a nearby school, possibly Woodford School, which had opened in July The first of the children to be married was Catherine, in November , to James Farrell. Patrick was next married, to Ellen Kilmartin, in February Patrick's residence was given on the marriage certificate as Purnim and their first child was born at Woodford in November In , a Duncan Hoyle applied for a licence to commence a pastoral run, to be known as Buckley's Creek.

The run comprised 70, acres stretching from Allan's Run at Allansford-the boundary of which appeared to be Buckley's Creek, near Buckley's Road-to beyond Peterborough as can be seen on the squatting map of Victoria page In , the Board of Land and Works classified the district as "land of inferior quality not used for pastoral purposes". Accordingly, Buckley's Creek Run was not included in the 10 million acres that had been thrown open for selection under the Land Act of But a few years later, against the principles laid down by Duffy, a portion of the Run, west of the Curdie's River in the Parishes of Mepunga, Nullawarre and Nirranda, was subdivided and opened for selection in The family was successful in gaining three allotments in the Parish of NirrandaA, 76B and 76C-taken out in the names of Patrick Delaney the eldest, Margaret Delaney the second eldest and James Farrell, husband of the third eldest Catherine Delaney.

Each allotment was about acres. This inferior quality bush and scrubland was vastly different from the 55 acres of fertile land John and Bridget had rented in the Golden Vale of Tipperary. But it was theirs-the selectors received full title to the three blocks on January 31 They were the first selectors to own land in Nirranda. The location became known as Delaney's Corner and can be found today on what is known as the Great Ocean Road. This chapter concentrates on the struggle of the fast-growing Delaney family to survive in the virgin Nirranda bush, and the part that illicit whiskey distilling played in its life.

It draws on the reminiscences of Detective John Christie; John Lahey's book on Christie; Mary O'Callaghan's work; various histories of Victoria and the Western District; land, school and court records; newspaper reports and stories and the oral history of the family. Margaret Delaney was the selector of Allotment 76B, but it seems that her father John was in fact the owner. On the other hand, the Farrells remained at Delaney's Corner during the s. On arriving in Nirranda, Pat soon became active in the community. He purchased two acres from the Government-part of Allotment 39, two miles west of Delaney's Corner-as a site for a Catholic Church.

The founding of this Catholic Church so soon after the first settlers selected land is surprising. The strong anti-Irish Catholic backlash, with the rise of the Orange Lodge and the withdrawal of state aid to denominational schools occurred at this time-as reported in Part Two pp Perhaps the founding was a response by the Nirranda Catholics to this perceived victimisation of the Irish. Pat soon realised that his selection at Delaneys Corner was insufficient to provide for the growing family.

So at 7. He applied for and was granted the necessary licence. By January , Pat had found it difficult to develop the two farms, and applied for his land, held under licence, to be sold by public auction. Pat would be reimbursed the cost of improvements he had made, namely fencing log and chock and log and a timber hut with a shingle roof. Incidentally the Land Bailiff, Constable James Drought, who reported on the application, was involved as a constable in the attempted capture of Thomas Delaney 20 years later.

This application was viewed favourably by the Land Court but "to spite Delaney", as John Lee claimed, four neighbouring farmers put forward an alternative proposal. Pat did not take this proposal lying down. The Irish had been denied their land rights at home for generations. And so he set about defending his rights in this new land. The subsequent Government file on Pat's land comprises pages.

It reveals much about the problems faced by the small selectors and, in particular, about the tenacious way Pat pursued his attempts to provide for his family against incredible obstacles. I will try to condense the files into a narrative of this miniature "Land War". They claimed that Pat had made no improvements on the land except for a hut and therefore was not eligible to receive any compensation for improvements. They proposed that the land be cut up into quarter or half acre blocks to form a centre for a town. They pointed out that a RC Church, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith's shop and a store already existed as the core of a new town.

They made the extraordinary claim that Nirranda Town would eventually become bigger than Koroit, the soil being superior. Pat would lose the value of his improvements were the township subdivision approved. On May 12 he wrote to the Lands Office emphasing that he was deeply in want of the money spent on the improvements which "would help me materially in working the balance of my acres which I retain" at Delaney's Corner.

But the Land Board had to take the town subdivision proposal seriously and called for further reports. John Lee, the Nirranda school teacher, supported Pat and organised a petition, dated May 28 , with 33 signatories against the proposal for subdivision. The petition claimed, among other things, that these allotments were a series of rises overlooking swamps-a much better site for a township being located four miles east on the Curdies River.

Patrick followed up with a letter to the Minister for Lands on May 29 Pat claimed that Russell:. Neither Allwood, Russell, Arnell nor Bradley has his land fenced and of course if these acres of mine were reserved for a township it would be a run for their cattle, which are always roaming about, as their projected township would never be inhabited. Pat argued that a township at Curdies River would be more central as "when the river is bridged the country will be open to the river Gellibrand". The Council agreed that a bridge be built there at a cost of 1, pounds.

This decision strengthened the case for any township to be located at Boggy Creek.

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Delaney's opponent, Allwood, was not yet done. He organised a counter-petition of 34 people-"all ratepayers and free selectors of Nirranda". The fight was on in earnest. A hearing by the Land Board was scheduled. Pat continued to defend his position. He wrote again to the Minister for Lands on June 3 emphasising the availability of unimproved land at the "Curdie".

Then on June 9 Pat played his trump card. He wrote to the Minister for Lands requesting that his land be withdrawn from sale and that he be allowed to resume paying rent for the acres. If approved it would put an end to the Nirranda Township proposal. But the hearing had to go on. John Lee, who had organized the petition, wrote independently to the District Surveyor on June 9 expressing his disdain for the Allwood proposal:. On consulting a plan of Nirranda you will remark two water courses laid down-these supplemented by a drain two miles long, six feet wide and two and a half feet deep emptying itself into the proposed site will give the people of Nirranda town opportunities of becoming expert gondoliers.

As the originators of the scheme were "Messrs. Allwood pere et fils" Lee suggested two names for the new town-"Allwood or All Water Town-heaven knows it is densely wooded and copiously watered". The District Surveyor reported strongly against the proposal to cut up Delaney's land for a township, and the Board accepted the recommendation on August 5. But Allwood, Frazer and Russell came back with another proposal. They proposed that the land be subdivided into acre farms-claiming among other things that members of several denominations could then select land for church purposes as was their birthright.

The introduction of the denominational issue is interesting, coming at a time when sectarianism was on the rise. Perhaps they were sore that Pat had succeeded in establishing a Catholic Church as the only church in the district. They claimed further that Delaney had breached the terms of his licence by not residing on the land and accused him of playing games against the Publick sic and the Government.

Antagonism against Pat Delaney was unabating. Their latest proposal was dismissed, but Pat's request to resume paying rent was still not dealt with.

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In some desperation it seems a senior official noted on the file: "What shall we inform Delaney? Pat maintained pressure on the Department, forwarding a copy of his June letter to the Minister and again requesting that his licence be resumed. Finally, on September 19, the Minister of Lands and Agriculture approved the recommendation of the Land Bailiff, Constable James Drought, that the land not be subdivided and that Pat Delaney's occupation not be interfered with. On October 3, Pat again asked in writing that he be given the clearance to resume the improvements on the land and asking for permission to resume paying rents.

John Lee forwarded a long supportive letter saying among other things "the poor fellow should have the chance to benefit from the work he has already done". There was one last shot in the locker of the opposition. Thomas Frazer wrote a lengthy letter to Mr Casey chairman of the Board of Land and Works repeating the case for subdivision, this time into acre blocks. How right he was.

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Imagine Pat's surprise when the Board of Land and Works informed him, on December 29 , that the Board intended to declare his licences for acres and an adjoining 10 acres forfeited and giving him a fortnight to submit a detailed appeal. Pat responded on January 11 with the required sworn statements that he had paid his rents for three years and that he was presently engaged in completing the improvements.

The Board dropped its threat against Pat. At last it seemed the land war was finished. The Department did reserve land for a township, but on the eastern bank of Curdies River, not at Nirranda. The preferred name of Boggy Creek had already been taken elsewhere in the State, and so it was called Nirranda Township. Pat continued to improve his freehold land at Delaney's Corner and his licensed land at Nirranda. On October 18 he applied for a lease of his Nirranda selection. The paperwork associated with the application describes the extent of work undertaken during Pat's first seven years in the district.

On the freehold "home" allotment 76A at Delaney's Corner the area given by Pat as acres must have included half of allotment 76B , a residence, and 44 acres cultivated. On allotments 38 and 39, three miles of chock and log fencing, half a mile of drain, acres rung and 50 acres scrub and saplings cut down and sown with rye grass to a total value of pounds. The Lands Bailiff agreed that the land was not fit for cultivation. Pat claimed "what portion was fit for cultivation the Shire Council flooded with water by draining on to me and about which we are now disputing". John Delaney, the father of the clan and wife of Bridget, died on May 22 at the great age of 82 years.

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He had been born in the 18th century in New Hill Tipperary and died 20, kilometres away in Nirranda Victoria. His time in the new land had been hard, and with his death, Pat became the head of the clan. Financing the improvements to the farms at Delaney's Corner must have strained Pat's resources as on September 21 he applied to transfer his lease on Allotments 38 and 39 to R. Patterson "to give collateral security for advances-leasehold to be held on declaration of trust". Six weeks later Patterson applied to transfer the land to the original owner Delaney for him to mortgage the same. This proposal fell through.

Hon Sir as I have heard of your goodness in such cases I know you will do your best for me". At the time of writing of that letter, Pat and Ellen were expecting their ninth child, the oldest was nine, and three weeks previously their eighth child had died at the age of seven months. This could explain the emotional nature of Pat's letter. The Minister may have helped others in similar circumstances but Pat's plea fell on deaf ears. Little wonder that the prospect of making whiskey for sale became attractive. As we have already seen in Part Two, the system under which the early selectors struggled had been described by the Age as evil.

At Nirranda not only was the land of inferior quality as classified by the Lands Board and unfit for cultivation according to the local Lands officer but also the allotments were far too small. As a result, small selector was pitted against small in a struggle for survival. In the meantime in squatting circles, there was much discussion about the minimum size of a financially viable block-was it 10, acres or 20, acres?

Life in the bush was harsh and difficult most of the time. But social, sporting and cultural activities developed along with the growth of the Nirranda community, as can be gleaned from the pages of the Warrnambool newspapers. One of these occasions which turned out to be not so social was a ball held on April 18 , at the store of Elizabeth Trew at Nirranda.

Her husband Charles, a blacksmith, was a signatory to the petition four years earlier in favour of cutting up Pat Delaney's land into quarter acre blocks. It seems that things got a bit out of hand and a haystack was burnt down. On April 26 , shortly after the Ball was held, a letter appeared in the Warrnambool Guardian signed "Timboon" of Mepunga. He hid in the bush and watched. There was music coming from the house and the sound of stomping feet-people were dancing. He felt that the police should be present to stop such wild behaviour.

Clearly the happenings on the night of the Ball were providing a sensation in the district, and a long string of witnesses were produced on either side at the Belfast trial of Dinan and Delaney in October. Mrs Trew gave evidence that the charge for admission was 3s 6d. They were afterwards let in and were very quarrelsome.

Dinan went outside, stripped to the waist and wanted to fight. He said he was a good fighting man and could do 36 rounds without taking a drink of anything. He cried out: "There's bound to be a murder tonight and I might as well start now". At about 10 o'clock a fire broke out in a haystack. The Trews claimed Dinan and Delaney started it. They denied any involvement and other witnesses agreed with them. The charges were not found proven. Charles Trew's replies to questions during the case as summarised in the Guardian provide interesting insights about nightlife at Nirranda at that time. Trew claimed that his wife kept a store:. We have certainly sold some drink there. Sometimes we have cordials or a drop of spirits. I have only sold these during the last few months.

That particular night I gave away drinks. Trew charged 3s 6d for the supper and the drinks were given in. McDowall supplied the music, playing the concertina and the dancing was held in my wife's bedroom. I never struck Delaney, but I wish I did. He was too strong for me. The ball was kept up to daylight. In view of happenings some three years later, one wonders whether Dinan and Delaney had manufactured some of the "refreshments" and they could not see why they should be asked to pay for grog that they had made.

The fact that the fire was at The reference by Trew in his evidence to the sale of spirits "only in the last few months" suggests that whiskey distillation for sale may have started about this time-i. One can imagine the anxieties, frustrations and passions building up in these harsh circumstances, which in many respects were not much changed from their native Tipperary.

Grain was grown locally and pure water and firewood were available in large quantities. Distilling knowledge would have been carried with the immigrants from Ireland. In addition the Delaneys gained access to expert knowledge on whiskey distillation from an unexpected source. It was said that the Delaneys had used it in their whiskey years-the thumb-marked pages are evidence of frequent use. The book gives details on how to make whiskey and every other conceivable spirit.

The cover and the first 12 pages were missing, and so the names of the author and publisher and its year of publication remained unknown for some time. Recent research has shown that the author was Dr Marcus La Fayette Byrn and that this 8th edition was published in Philadelphia in Therefore, it could have come into Delaney hands as early as It is a puzzle how a copy got from Philadelphia to Nirranda. Fortuitously, this edition was republished in in the USA and Delaney descendants in Australia have obtained copies.

The stage was set to produce good quality whiskey. But there was still the matter of the law. About this time Ned Kelly and his gang were in full flight, and their sensational exploits may have removed any lingering reluctance of the Delaneys to defy English Colonial law. And so it came to pass that the production of whiskey at Nirranda got underway and the legend of the Whiskey Delaneys unfolded over the next decade or two.

Not surprisingly, the potential loss of revenue to Treasury from these illicit activities soon came to the attention of police and customs. In March , Warrnambool police received information that there was a "Whiskey mill" at work somewhere in the Nirranda wilds. They arrived at Delaney's Corner on Monday March 7 They arrested John Delaney and Denis Dinan each of whom had been involved in the dispute at the Nirranda Ball three years previously and charged them with being on premises where illicit distillation was going on.

John was a 27 year old bachelor at the time-the second youngest child of John and Bridget Delaney. The police gave evidence in the Warrnambool Court that they went towards a four-roomed hut in Farrell's paddock allotment 76C in the original selection. They apprehended Pat Delaney John's brother who was running to warn the defendants. The police saw John Delaney and Denis Dinan leaving the hut. Inside they found a still full of water with a large fire under it. In one of the rooms was a well, filled with water.

In court John Delaney claimed that he had just called in to the hut for a morning nip of whiskey, as was the custom in Ireland. The Bench ignored this claim.