Mary Ann Irvine and her Parkinson family.
My last blog was about John Irvine, written from the (fictional) memories of Mary Parkinson as related to a friend. Despite this approach to the story, the happenings were real, very real and would have had a life-long effect on Mary Ann, one of John Irvine’s younger sisters.
Mary Ann’s story begins on a cold winter’s day on the outskirts of Killyleagh, about 3 klms from the village itself in the townland of Ardigon. Her mother Sarah had already borne seven children including two sets of twins, in the previous twelve years, so knew the pain that was to be expected on 19 March 1853. She safely delivered this single birth and together with their little family they walked the distance to their church, the 1st Killyleagh Presbyterian in the township three months later on 26 June 1853. The family occupied Pew 88 along with their aging mother as they had just buried the baby’s grandfather, Francis Irvine earlier that year. That day the baby was noted as Mary Anne however consistently through her life she recorded herself as Mary Ann or just Mary.
As a twenty-year-old, Mary signed up to travel with her siblings, twins Robert & Andrew and Margaret when they emigrated to Australia onboard the ‘Alexandra’ due to depart London on 18 December 1873. However, it would appear that Mary had last minute doubts about this trip as she did not turn up to the vessel prior to embarkation. Maybe the reason was a blossoming romance with a local lad named Clement Parkinson as the couple were married at the Downpatrick Registry Office on 12 July 1877. Both neatly signed the register and their witnesses were John Irvine and Mary Parkinson (Clement’s sister). It is not known if John Irvine was a cousin or her brother returning briefly from Australia.
After their marriage the couple moved to Wishaw in Lanarkshire, Scotland where Clement had found employment as a stone cutter in a quarry. However, Mary had their first born on 8 July 1878 at Ballytrim, Killyleagh with her mother, Sarah Irvine registering the birth on 20 July and stating she had been present at the birth. In the following 1881 Scotland Census the couple were living at 65 Young Street, Cambusnethan in Lanarkshire along with their eldest child, John aged 2 years and Mary Jane aged 9 months.
According to a Letter to “The Leader” Dromore newspaper by John Irvine Parkinson published on 3 July 1954; John Irvine, the Evangelist, returned to his home village of Killyleagh about 1881 with such glowing reports of the wealth, greatness and grandeur of the Darling Downs wheat fields and the Gympie gold mines that on 27 September 1882 some 422 emigrants left Plymouth for Australia. These emigrants included Mary Irvine under her married name of Parkinson along with Clement her husband and children (including John Irvine Parkinson) and also Hugh Aitken Irvine and his future wife, Mary Parkinson a sister of Clement Parkinson
The couple travelled to Australia with Mary’s brother Hugh Ackin Irvine and Clement’s sister, Mary Parkinson abroad the ship “Roma” which departed London on 27th September 1882 and arrived in Brisbane on 17th November 1882. The shipping register shows the couple as aged 30 and 29 years plus children John (4 yrs), Eliza (1) and Sarah (1) with Sarah marked as dying on the voyage. The children’s names were John 4yrs, Mary 1yr and Sarah 1 month and it is not known why the immigration register notated the middle child as Eliza rather than Mary.
Having arrived in Queensland, the couple settled in Warwick about 150 klms South West of Brisbane. The journey would most likely have been on the train which had been travelling to Warwick since 1871.
The couple settled at Mt. Tabor just outside the township of Warwick, and the couple had a further four children while living there. Their surviving family now consisted of John Irvine Parkinson (b1878 Ballytrim, Killyleagh, Down), Mary Jane (b1880 in Wishaw, Lanarkshire), Clement James (b1884 Warwick, Q’ld), Sarah Margarette (b1887 Warwick), Matilda Elizabeth (b1889 Warwick) and Francis William Parkinson (b1892 Warwick).
When Mary’s brother Hugh lost his wife Mary (ms Parkinson ie Clement’s sister) following childbirth of twin sons in 1888 Mary stepped up and helped with the rearing of the surviving twin, Samuel and his older sister Sarah Irvine. This task may have been shared with her sister Margaret Jane Carothers (ms Irvine), who lived at Bulimba. Clement and Mary Ann welcomed other Irvine family members into their Mt Tabor home through the years.
The couple’s daughter Mary had resided with her Uncle Robert Irvine for some time prior to his death and he bequeathed his house to her on his death in 1928. In their later years Mary’s parents Clement & Mary Ann moved in with her which meant they were also closer to Mary’s brother Hugh, who lived nearby above the H.A. Irvine & Sons department store in Bay Terrace, Wynnum. The couple were devout Christians and continued their devotions in the local Wynnum church.
Mary & Clement Parkinson both passed away at their daughter’s home in Cedar Street, Wynnum. Clement was 80 yrs old when he died on 2 Dec 1932 and Mary 83 yrs when she passed away on 27 December 1936. Their son, John Irvine Parkinson arranged his parents’ funerals and both are buried in the Hemmant Cemetery in Brisbane. The Brisbane Courier notice of her funeral reads ‘Parkinson. The Relatives and Friends of Mr. and Mrs. John Parkinson, Miss Mary Parkinson, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Parkinson, Mr. and Mrs. R. J. McKee,
Mr. and Mrs. E. Verney, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Parkinson and Families are invited to attend the Funeral of their beloved Mother, Mother-in-law, and Grandmother, Mary Ann Parkinson, to move from her late residence, Cedar Street, Wynnum Central, This (Monday) Afternoon, at 2.30 o’clock, for the Hemmant Cemetery. Alex Gow’.
** When proof reading this article for me prior to publication, GSQ member and ‘cousin’ Lyn Irvine recognised the street name of where Mary & Clem were living in 1881. Amazingly this fact had brought to light the naming of the couple in the photo above, many thanks to Lyn for realising this and sharing the previously un-named portrait. The photographer Charles Reid had his studio in the same street in 1882.
 PRONI Ref: PRONI MIC 1P/53/3 Killyleagh 1st Presbyterian film. Baptisms. Accessed by author
 Queensland Customs House Shipping 1852-1885: Passengers & Crew. FindMyPast.com.au
 GRONI Ref: U/1878/105/1011/9/283. Downpatrick Registration District, Ireland.
 Familysearch. Scotland Census 1881. Parish: Cambusnethan; ED: 13; Page: 8; Line: 22; Roll: cssct1881_207
 ‘Roma’ arriving Brisbane 17 Nov 1882.Page 273. M’film: Z1960/M1699. www.archivessearch.qld.gov.au
 Qld Historical Deaths. Registration details: 1936/B/34004
 Source: trove.nla.gov.au Accessed Sept 2020. Newspapers & Gazettes Browse The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954). Mon 28 Dec 1936. Page 1. Family Notices.
You have done some great detective work here Bobbie!
Thanks Alex, it’s the detective work that I love about genealogy, you never know where it’s going to lead you.
A very interesting and well researched piece.I learned things from it that I didn’t know before as I always do from your articles! Thanks Bobbie!
Thanks Lyn, and I’m so thrilled that it revealed the identity of that portrait of the couple, previously unnamed in your family album. Good spotting with the address of photographer!
Inspiring writing which draws you
Thanks Lesley, I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Bobbie
Bobbie I think we have another connection! Charles Reid Photographer in Wishaw Scotland in the 1880s. He is the Grandfather or Great Grandfather (depending on which generation he was) of my sister-in-law Carol Hoy nee Reid!
How amazing Joan, I’ll follow that up with you. Bobbie