John and Catherine Breheny’ daughter Mary, according to the census records was 22 years old and living at 5 Lissymulgee Road, Carracastle in 1901. Mary was the eldest of 7 children and was the first to travel from Ireland to Australia on her own, by ship which took approximately three months.
Apparently her parents were worried she may have consumption, so they sent her to see her Aunty who was a nun, ‘Ita’ living at the Sisters of Mercy Range Convent in Rockhampton Australia. Mary was later followed by her 3 brothers. Jim, John ‘known as Jack’ and Pat (they used the surname of Judge instead of ‘Breheny’ as they were known in Ireland). Mary’s Aunty, ‘Ita’ it is said, introduced Mary to Timothy Battle for whom she later married and lived with in Mount Morgan, a mining town in outback Queensland Australia.
According to Carracastle Church Baptismal records a number of children in the Battle family also lived in the same parish as the Breheny family.
Mary and Timothy owned and ran a pub in Mount Morgan. (Apparently the marriage was not approved by her younger brother James Joseph Judge).
Sadly, Mary and Timothy marriage was short lived. According to Bridie O’Dwyer’s daughter to Mary and mother to Mary Rose O’Dwyer, Timothy Battle was drinking and left her and the two children after a heated argument and some years later drowned in a dam in Queensland, leaving a suicide note.
According to Mary-Rose O’Dwyer, granddaughter of Mary Battle, Mary never returned to Ireland in her lifetime.
Timothy Battle had a older brother James Battle (also settled in Mount Morgan) and a sister called Annie Gormley (nee Battle) and possibly another sister call Maggie living in Carracastle Ireland. According to Jim Coleman Maggie was deaf and dumb and she could read and write.
Jim Coleman of Carracastle remembers her well, as they used to pass each other notes in front of Catherine Breheny. He recalled that one day when he and Maggie were passing notes Catherine Breheny got in a mood and flicked a hot coal at Maggie.
Later, Mary Battle (nee Breheny) lived with her younger brother James Joseph Judge at the Commercial Hotel in Longreach Australia when his wife Ruby (nee Rogers) died tragically on the 15th August 1924. Mary also lived with him at his second hotel the Clarence located near the Woollengabba, Brisbane Australia. Mary had two children – James Joseph Battle and Brigitte ‘Briedy’ Battle. According to Jim Coleman Senior there was also a Briedy in the Battle Clan back in Ireland.
James ‘known as Jimmy’ Battle was a Flying Officer in the 151 squadron of the Royal Australian Airforce and was tragically shot down on the 23 June 1944 flying over France during the World War II 1939 – 1945. More information can be found on Wikipedia.
He is honoured today at the Australian War Memorial Panel 118 and his Dog Tag number is 426250. Here there is a nice photo of him standing in the second row (14 man from the Right side of the photo) with his squadron. http://www.151squadron.org.uk. On 4 August 1936 the squadron was reformed at RAF North Weald from ‘B’ Flight of 56 Squadron, as a fighter squadron, flying Gloster Gauntlets.
In December 1938 these were exchanged for Hawker Hurricanes, when the squadron came under Squadron Leader Edward Mortlock Donaldson. It operated throughout the Second World War, flying with Hawker Hurricanes, Boulton Paul Defiants and later de Havilland Mosquitoes, disbanding on 10 October 1946 atRAF Weston Zoyland. During the War Jim came to visit his grandmother Catherine Breheny in 1942.
Briedy Battle knew her husband well before she was married (In her childhood) as their parents had met at Mount Morgan many years before. Briedy married Bill O’Dwyer, who was in the Airforce about the same time as Mary’s Brother Jimmy Battle. Bill O’Dwyer met Jimmy Battle (Briedy’s brother) stationed at the same air base in the UK.
Bill O’Dwyer knew about Jim’s death and on his return to Australia went to see the family. It was after this that he and Brigitte ‘Briedy’ began their romance. She was around 33 years old before she got married. (This needs to be confirmed.)
Mary Battle died aged 84 yrs. She was like a second grandmother to Harry (my father) and Jim Judge and used to make take them a basket of food and cooked things when they were on school holidays.
Bridie and Bill O’Dwyer had three children – Lawrence, Jim and Mary-Rose.