family photo strip - Ros
Ros Escott's Family History Pages


The information on this page is from many sources. I have done a lot of research myself, especially searching through old British, Australian and New Zealand newpapers and BDM records, and communicating with members of the extended family in various parts of the world. This has built on the extensive research conducted over many years by other family members, especially my late uncle Thomas Keogh, my late aunt Winifred Keogh and my late cousin Timothy Keogh. We are all grateful to them for their work on the Keogh genealogy over many years.

contact me if you have additions, corrections or questions, and particularly if you are related to our branch of the Keogh family. I am generous about sharing my work to further collective research, but please do not copy information and pictures from this site and publish them elsewhere, e.g. on Ancestry, without attribution and without contacting me first.


Our Keogh ancestors are from Taughmaconnell Parish, Athlone Barony in County Roscommon. Keogh is a derivation from Eochaidh (meaning "horse"), whose son MacEochaidh was alive in the 1300s. The ancient family name MacEochaidh (sometimes written as MacEoca) later evolved to McKeoghe, McKeogh and then Keogh.

The MacEochaidhs were a branch of the O'Kelly dynasty, rulers of Uí Maine (often Anglicised as Hy Many), one of the oldest and largest kingdoms of ancient Ireland. It was located in western Ireland in what is now the province of Connacht. In Gaelic historical annals, Connacht was described as a western kingdom of learning, the seat of the greatest and wisest druids and magicians and where the men are famed for their eloquence, their handsomeness and their ability to pronounce true judgement.

Y-DNA testing of a living male Keogh has recently confirmed a direct DNA connection of our Keoghs back to the Uí Maine families. Our Keoghs' direct descent from MacEochaidh can also be traced in records down to the present day, and MacEochaidh's pedigree can similarly be traced back to Máine Mór, the first king of Uí Maine. Máine Mór is said to have established his kingdom around 357 AD, after winning the territory by warfare, and ruled for fifty years. The Uí Maine tribe of Connacht became known as the O'Kellys. It is generally accepted that MacEochaidh's pedigree back to Máine Mór is fairly authentic to about A.D.700, but the part anterior to that is probably based on tradition. Our family has another document, dated January 28th 1737, written by Edmond Kelly, in which he sets out the names of the 90 males in the generations from Adam to Máine Mór, taken from a manuscript by Roger Farrely. (As a child, I was told we could trace our family tree to Adam.)

During the 13th Century, MacEochaidh's branch of the O'Kellys of Uí Maine acquired the lordship (sub-kingdom) of Moyfinn (Magh Finn), now the parish of Taughmaconnell. They are known to be established there by 1333. At this time they also took the separate surname MacEochaidh, after their ancestor Eochaidh O'Kelly.

In approximately the 15th Century, Nicol Og of clan McKeogh (a descendent of MacEochaidh), divided his territory between his sons. This division to some extent determined the lands where the various branches of McKeoghs lived over the subsequent centuries, although there were branches that died out and property aquisitions by marriage and by more successful branches. We are descended from Nicol Og's  seventh and youngest son, Domhnall. By 1617, Domhnall's great-grandson Colla McDonogh McKeogh owned the townland of Ardmollan and lands in Feacle, Iskerantagh and Skeavally that now form part of the present Skeavally (Skevally, Skyvalley) in Taughmaconnell Parish. There is a fragment of a document still extant which seems to show that Colla purchased Skeavally from the McKeoghs of Clonbigney, ancestors of the Feacle Keoghs.

Colla and his sons subsequently acquired more land, but in 1652 his eldest son Edmond lost all his land in the Cromwellian confiscation, without any compensation elsewhere. Colla's second son, our ancestor Donogh McColla McKeogh, also had his lands in Skeavally confiscated but his widow Rose Dillon and their son Hugh Keogh were allotted 95 acres at Taghboy; they also retained their portion of land at Feacle ands Skevally.

Hugh Keogh (1645-?) married Winifred (Una) O'Kelly, daughter of John O'Kelly of Ballagh, Clontouskert, Co Galway. Their son Colla is referred to in family papers as Captain Collumb Keogh - he was one of the defeated Jacobite landed gentry, most of whom were Catholics, who were adjudicated to be protected by the 1691 Treaty of Limerick. Their property was not to be confiscated so long as they swore allegiance to William and Mary, and Catholic noblemen were to be allowed to bear arms. The Jacobite soldiers also had the option of joining the Williamite army and about one-third of them chose this option.

Captain Collumb Keogh married Ellis Burke, daughter of John Burke of Ballindrinny, Co Galway. Their son Teige (Thady) Keogh (?-1754) married Honora Kelly (?-1783), daughter of Colonel William Kelly of Gallagh, Co Galway.  From about 1742, the Keoghs rented properties at Camlagh (147acres) and the adjoining Clonkeen from Brabazon Newcomen; Honora died at Camlagh in 1783 and the family continued to live there until around 1800. Teige and Honora's eldest son was our ancestor Anthony Keogh (c1747-1799) who on 11 March 1772 married Margaret French (?-1819), daughter of Ignatius French of Carrarea, Co Galway. They had 10 children, including 4 sons. Their firstborn was our ancestor, Ignatius Keogh (1772-1851), whose life is described below.

The house at Camlagh has now fallen into disrepair

At some point, for reasons not yet clarified, Anthony Keogh sold and assigned to his mother, Honora Keogh née Kelly, all his interests in several farms, at Camlagh, Cloonkeen and Ballyduff in Co Roscommon, to be managed by her and her executors. Her will, dated 5 April 1783 and made eight months before she died, leaves most of her estate "for the use and better education of her grandson Ignatius Keogh until he comes to the age of twenty one years". The farms were thus assigned to Ignatius Keogh, who was about 11 years old. Many years later, her will was challenged by some of her other grandchildren.  

(This information comes mostly from Arthur Moore's scholarly article, MacKeoghs of Moyfinn, Journal of the Old Athlone Society, Vol II, No 5, 1978 and from documents held by the family)


Bishop Thady Keogh

Thady (Teige) Keogh (1620-1687), who became Bishop of Clonfert, was another son of Donogh McColla McKeogh and a brother of our ancestor Hugh Keogh. Thady attended the equivalent of secondary school in Galway and received instruction in the humanities from Dr John Lynch, author of Cambrensus Eversus. After completing his studies there, at about the age of 18 years, he entered the Dominican order at Mullingar for his novitiate. He then went to another Dominican convent to study theology, in Pampalona Spain, before returning to Ireland. He gained renown as a teacher and as he had an excellent singing voice, he encouraged choir singing. In 1648, Ulrick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde, appointed Thady Keogh as his chaplain. Burke was an Irish Catholic who supported the Royalists in defending Ireland against the Parliamentarians for Charles I. Burke lost his Irish lands in the Act of Settlement 1652 and went in exile to England, taking Thady Keogh with him and sheltering him during the Cromwellian period (possibly hiding at times in a Priest hole). The Earl died in 1657 and Father Thady continued as chaplain to his widow.

Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660 and two years later, he married a Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. Father Thady was one of the priests appointed to escort her from Portugal . Charles II and Catherine were married at Portsmouth on 21 May 1662 in two ceremonies – a Catholic one conducted in secret, followed by a public Anglican service. Did Thady Keogh conduct the secret Catholic ceremony?  He was later appointed one of her chaplains: "Tadeo Ceogh alias Poerio a Dominican living in the house of the Marquis of Clanrickarde, a titular Chaplain to the Queen, but without letters patent lest the heretics would interfere with him . . ." (The Papal internuncio in Brussels, reporting to Rome in 1669).  Though known to keep her faith a private matter, Catherine's religion and proximity to the king made her the target of anti-Catholic sentiment. She occupied herself with her faith; her piety was widely known and was a characteristic in his wife that the King greatly admired; in his letters to his sister Catherine's devoutness is described almost with awe. However, her religion prevented her from being crowned.

In 1671, Thady Keogh was appointed by the Pope to be Bishop of Clonfert, on the recommendation of Archbishop Oliver Plunkett and the internuncio in Brussels, who said his appointment would please the King and Queen. Thady returned to Ireland at once and was consecrated by St Oliver Plunkett in October 1671. His former teacher, Dr John Lynch, wrote "From then on he is working hard, urged on by two reasons, that he is a native and that he has affection (for his flock) and since he was born in the diocese his flock have special affection for him . . .

Ecclesiastical school at Skeavally, Co Roscommon; Bishop Chair at Ballylouge near Mullagh, Co Galway.

However, many of the Penal Laws were still in effect, bishops had restrictions on their activities, and were forced to operate clandestinely. Thady Keogh had a secret ecclesiastical school built in the forested hills of Skeavally, his family's property, where young boys could receive their early education for the priesthood. The ruins are still there today, but now in an open paddock. Every year he ordained priests from all over Ireland in quiet spots throughout the diocese of Clonfert. One such place, where he ordained priests in 1679, 1680, 1681 and 1683, was in the forest on Ballylouge in Killoran parish, on land owned by the O’Leaoge family. In a paddock on a back road near Mullagh, Co Galway, there still stands the carved stone Bishop Chair. A stone tablet has more recently been installed, incribed in English and Irish "The Bishop Chair. Here in Penal Times, Bishops of Clonfert Teige Keogh and Murtagh Donnellan ordained priests for Clonfert . . ."  Bishop Thady Keogh's activities are recognised as having gone a long way to defeat the effects of the penal laws in Ireland.

The crucifix and missal given to Father Eugene Kelly by Bishop Thady Keogh in 1672.

Among the priests ordained by Bishop Keogh was a Father Eugene Kelly, parish priest of Taughmaconnell. In 1672, Thady Keogh presented this priest with a large priest's missal, a wooden crucifix which could be disassembled for travelling, and some altar vessels. These items must have been returned to the Keogh family, perhaps after Father Kelly's death, and were brought to Australia in 1841. The crucifix and missal are now held in the State Library of Victoria and can be viewed on request. Unfortunately the altar vessels were claimed or borrowed by Keogh descendants more recently arrived from Ireland, and have gone astray.

Chapel at Kilcorban Priory where Bishop Thady Keogh is buried; the C13th century wooden statue of the Madonna.

Bishop Keogh died at Kilcorban in the parish of Tynagh in 1687. There was a small Dominican cell there and he asked to be buried in the chapel near a C13th century wooden statue of the Madonna. The statue is now in the Loughrea Museum and there is a plaque in the chapel.

Teige Mac Eoca
Easbag Cluain Fearta 1671-89
"During the difficult Restoration period, Bishop Tadg Keogh D.P. revitalized the Diocese of Clonfert, ordaining numerous clergy for local and national needs and by his gentle zeal and exemplary life was beloved by all." St Oliver Plunkett
He asked to be buried in this tertiary Dominican Chapel of Our Lady "Due to his profound devotion to Mary the mother of God and the miraculous Kilcorban Madonna statue then venerated here." John D Heyne D.P.


Ignatius Keogh

My maternal great-great-grandfather, Ignatius Keogh (1772-1851), son of Anthony Keogh and Margaret née French, is not a typical Irish ancestor. He came from an old and respectable Catholic Irish family in Taughmaconnell, County Roscommon and they owned land at a time when only 11% of Ireland was owned by Irish Catholics.  He left Ireland in 1841, before the potato famine, bringing with him to Australia family documents, letters and his paternal family tree back 5 generations.  All these documents are still in the family archives in Australia.

Ignatius was the oldest of 10 children, the son of Anthony Keogh (c1847-1799) of Camlagh, Roscommon and Margaret French (c1850 -1819) who was the daughter of Ignatius and Mary French of Carrarea, Co Galway. 

Ignatius Keogh married twice. His first wife was Celia Keary who he married in or before 1800 in Ireland. Her death in Great Britain street, Dublin was reported in Saunders's News-Letter of 18 May 1804. She left one surviving child:

  • Mary Keogh (c1802-1866)
    Mary was born c1802, probably in Dublin. Mary is referred to in various family letters in Ireland but little is known of her early years. She arrived in Melbourne on 21 January 1841 on the Sir Charles Forbes, with her family, as an assisted passenger. Her occupation was recorded as dressmaker. On 16 January 1843 she married Joseph L'Estrange in St Francis' Catholic Church, Lonsdale St, Melbourne. Joseph L'Estrange was chief clerk in the Crown Law Department and a well educated, cultured man. They lived in a large bluestone house called 'Erindale' near the corner of Highett Street and Bromham Place in Richmond. Mary was around 40 years old when she married and did not have any children after a couple of miscarriages. They adopted two little girls, Sophie and Lizzie. Mary MacKillop (Saint Mary of the Cross) lived with Mary and Joseph L'Estrange for a year in 1849 when she was aged seven; she later lived with them again in 1856 when she was governess to the girls. Mary MacKillop described this latter period as one of the happiest times she had known. Mary L'Estrange n
    ée Keogh died on 9 March 1866 in Richmond of an 'illness of the lungs'. Joseph L'Estrange, who was 9 years younger, married again on 25 November 1866 to Ellen Mary Josephine Quin. They had 3 children: Mary Alice, Joseph Antonio and Austin Quin L'Estrange.

Ignatius Keogh then married on 28 July 1813 in Dublin Frances Arabella French (c1790-1862), daughter of Colonel Jeremiah French (c1741-1819) and Frances Powelle. Frances Arabella had been born in North America in 1890, possibly Montreal where her father Colonel Jeremiah French had been garrison commander during the American War of Independence (1775-1783). She came from a very respectable Protestant family and her ancestors included several eminent members of the clergy, so it must have been a concern to the family when she decided to marry a Catholic. The ban on Catholic-Protestant intermarriage had been repealed in 1778, and these mixed marriages were apparently not uncommon for the more priviledged in Ireland at that time. Often the daughters were brought up in the mother’s religion and the sons in the father’s, but Frances Arabella French appears to have converted to Catholicism and all the children were raised as Catholics. 

Ignatius Keogh and Frances Arabella née French had seven children:

  • Margaret Honora Keogh (c1814-1890)
    Margaret was born in circa 1814 in Gort, Co Galway, Ireland. She was red-headed and even in the fourth generation her descendants are often red-headed and her features persist. She is said to have been very well educated and to have spoken good French and Italian. However, when she travelled to Australia as an assisted immigrant on the Sir Charles Forbes, her age is recorded as 21 (she was 26), her occupation as a cook, and her literacy as 'reads only' (thus making her eligible for free passage; the family had little money).
    She married James Mackey Seward (1816-1897) in St Francis Catholic Church in Melbourne on 10 Jun 1841, only 5 months after her arrival in the colony. She was a strong Catholic and insisted that he convert to her faith when they married. In their old age, they were both cared for by their daugher Ella O'Loghlen and family; she suffered from dementia. Margaret Seward née Keogh died aged 76 on 19 January 1890 at South Yarra, Vic, Australia. James Mackey Seward died aged 81 She is buried with her husband in the Melbourne General Cemetery.
    James Mackey Seward was Irish, but is thought to have been born in circa 1816 in Bath, Somerset, England. He arrived in Hobart Town, VDL, Australia in January 1838 as a free settler on the Bussorah Merchant from Ireland. He worked in Hobart for a few months helping to draft speeches and papers for the governor, Sir John Franklin, before settling in Melbourne. When out of a job in 1840 he is said to have camped in the bush around St Kilda. He was a secretary to Governor La Trobe, then briefly Education Secretary for the Port Phillip Territory before being Chief Clerk in Equity for many years. He has been described as a horsey man with a shovel-beard and a brogue (his party piece was singing Irish songs); he reputedly had an explosive temper and was inclined to yell.
    The Sewards lived at 'Somerset Park' on Darebin Creek (now Preston) next door to the family of Mary MacKillop (St Mary of the Cross). Their house was burnt in bushfires on 6 Feb 1851 and they went to live with the MacKillops for 2 weeks before living with Margaret's older sister, Mary L'Estrange, for a period. They later moved back to Darebin Creek.

    James and Margaret Seward had 9 children:
        Adeline Seward (1842-1931) married James Louis Burke (1829-1871) on 19 April 1860 in Darebin, Victoria; they had 4 children:
  •           George Louis Burke, Adeline M Burke, Coleman Burke, Edith Mary Burke
        Anna Julia Kate Seward (1844-1925) married (1) Gustave [Jean Baptist] Curcier (c1827-1872) on 27 July 1865 in Heidelberg, Victoria;
              they had no children;
           married (2) Louis Marino Tagliabue Casella (1842-1923) on 17 September 1877 in London; they had 4 daughters:
              Marguerite Louise Casella, Winifrede Denise Casella, Ella Mary Casella, Olive Marina Casella
        Ella Margaret Seward (1846-1919) married Sir Bryan O'Loghlen (1828-1905) on 17 September 1863 in St Kilda, Victoria; they had 13 children:
              Annie Bidelia M O'Loghlen, Sir Michael O'Loghlen, Lucy Mary Susan O'Loghlen, Colman Seward O'Loghlen, Hugh Ross O'Loghlen,
              Ella Maud O'Loghlen, Frances Mary O'Loghlen, Bryan James O'Loghlen, Josephine Mary O'Loghlen, Sir Charles Hugh Ross O'Loghlen,
              Henry Ross O'Loghlen, Clare Mary O'Loghlen, Aimee Margaret Julia O'Loghlen
        Charles Mackey Seward (1847-1899) married Elizabeth Leonard (1860-1935) in 1880 in Melbourne; they had 3 children:
  •           James Leonard Seward, Frank Mackey Seward, Frances Mary Seward
        Henry Ignatius Seward (1849-1914) married Josephine Jane Casella (1846-1923) on 27 June 1877 (in France?); they had 4 children
              Bertie Henry Seward; Ethelbreda Seward; Monica Seward, b
        William Arthur Seward (1851-1896) married Eva Mary Thunder (1866-1945) on 14 May 1890 in St Kilda, Victora;
              they had 1 child: William Eric Louis Seward
        Frances Mary Seward (1853-1875); did not marry, no issue, died young
        May Rose Seward (1856-1946) married Charles Edward de Fonblanque Pennefather (1848-1922) on 3 February 1881 in Preston, Victoria;
              they had 3 children: John William Seward Pennefather; Charles Edward de Fonblanque Pennefather, Edward Kingsmill Seward Pennefather
        James Mackey Seward (1861-1941) married Maud Marzetti Umphelby (1862-1954) on 21 July 1886 in Melbourne, Victoria; they had 5 children:
              Eileen Mary Seward, Leila Margaret Seward, Kathleen Maud Seward, Charles Mackey Seward, Beryl Marzetti Seward

  • Anthony Keogh (c.1815-1861)
    Married Helen Fotheringham (1820-1844) in Gorbals Scotland on 17 January 1839 when he was working as an Excise officer in Glasgow; he had earlier worked in a similar capacity in India. His wife Helen died at age 24 years in 1844 in Ulverston, Lancashire, England. Anthony came to Australia with the children on the "Blanche Moore", arriving in Jun 1855.
    Anthony and Helen had three children:
        Ignatius Fotheringham Keogh (1840-1910) married Margaret Jane Main (1844-?) on 9 July 1866 in Victoria; they had no children;
            with Marion Grace Billinge (1854-1939) he had 4 children: Laura Helen Keogh, Dora Isabel Keogh, Winifred Grace Keogh, Francis Patrick Keogh
        Mary Ann Keogh (1841-1860); came to Australia with her father in 1855; died aged 18 years on 26 Feruary 1860 at the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, VIC, Australia.
        Ellen Keogh (1843-1894) married widower Alexander Cameron (1810-1881); they had 8 children:
              Margaret Clementina Cameron, Alexander Damien Cameron, Edith Ellen Mary Cameron, Duncan Fraser Cameron, Janet Fraser Cameron,
              Ethel Fotheringham Cameron, Ewen Anthony Cameron, Duncan Peter Cameron
              (Alexander Cameron had already had 11 children in his first marriage to Margaret MacKillop)

  • William Keogh (c.1820-after 1862)
    There are letters to and from William in the family papers and he appears to have been managing some of his father's affairs in Taughmaconnell where the Keoghs had owned land for generations. William did not come to Australia and appears to have stayed in Ireland although may possibly have emigrated to America. He was apparently alive and aged 42 on his mother's death certificate in May 1862. His marital status and children are not known.

  • Julia Elizabeth Keogh (1822-1889)
    Married Peter MacKillop (1825-1901) in Melbourne on 9 October 1848; they had no children. Peter MacKillop was the uncle of Mary MacKillop, Saint Mary of the Cross.

  • John Valentine Keogh (1824-1891)
    Married widow Honora Lacey née Moylan (1822-1887) in Melbourne on 5 March 1853; they had 7 children
        Frances [Lucy] Keogh (1852-1931), Mother Mary Borgia in the Mercy nuns
        Ignatius George Keogh (1854-1889) married Margaret Josephine Holland (1849-1917) in 1880 in Victoria; they had 3 children:
                Kathleen Bridget Keogh (Sister Mary Angela, a St Joseph nun), Elsie Margaret Keogh and Ignatius George John Keogh
        Edmund (Ned) Anthony Keogh (1855-1921) married Hester Jane Freitag (1875-1962) on 27 April 1898 in Melbourne; they had 3 children:
                Mary [Mamie] Agnes Keogh, Gerard Michael Keogh and Rita Barbara Keogh.
        Mary (Polly) Keogh, did not marry, no issue
        John Valentine Keogh (1858-1937) married Annie Julia Moullin Dumaresq (1861-1922) on 28 September 1892 in Gippsland, Victoria;
                they had 4 children: John [Val] George Valentine Keogh, Irene [Ouiden] Anne Keogh, Elaine Lucy Keogh and Clarice Kathleen Keogh
        Julia Keogh (1862-1919), Sister Mary Vincent in the Dominican nuns
        Michael Keogh (1864-1886), did not marry, no issue, died young in an accident

  • Michael Keogh (1826-1874)
    From the journal of his brother-in-law James Francis Truman Plunket, 1853: "Michael had been an exceedingly smart compositor at the ‘Herald’ office but had formed one of a party to the Eaglehawk diggings, where in a few weeks his share of the proceeds amounted to over seven hundred pounds. This amount he had placed in his brother Edmund’s hand, and Edmund had now gone to England to invest it in drugs and goods for his business which he now proposed to make wholesale as well as retail, taking Michael as a partner."
    With Edmund as the pharmacist and Michael as accountant, the
    brothers set up a very successful retail and wholesale chemist and druggist business in Melbourne at No. 27 Greater Lonsdale Street (opposite Myers), and later in 1855 at 303 Elizabeth Street. Edmund purchased Michael's share of the business in 1873, and Michael moved to Hobart. He died a year later year.
    Michael married Mary Jane Plunket (c1834-1916) in Melbourne on 16 June1853; they had 11 children
        Francis Bernardine Keogh (1854-1929), Jesuit priest
        George Joseph Keogh (1856-1917), did not marry, no issue
        Charles Cyril Keogh (1857-1859), died as an infant
        Henry Joseph Keogh (1859-1865), died as a child
        Mary Frances Keogh (1861-1862), died as an infant
        Emma Mary Keogh (1862-1932), married Captain Robert Innes (1853-?) on 30 April 1904 in St Kilda, Victoria; they had no children
        Frederick Lawrence Keogh (1864-1897), did not marry, no issue
        Florence Mary Keogh (1866-1937), did not marry, no issue
        Louis Joseph Keogh (1867-1944) married Josephine O'Donnell (1878-1934) on 28 December 1898; they had 8 children
              Dorothy (Dawn) Mary Keogh, Claire Rachel Keogh, Catherine Bridget Keogh, Helen Jean Keogh, Maxwell Louis Keogh,
              Sidney Hector Cyprian Keogh, O'lou Nestor Keogh, Jeanette Ethel Keogh
        Ernest John Keogh (1869-1953) married Mabel Ritchie (1871-1949) on 23 July 1897 in Fremantle, WA; they had 2 children
              Kenneth Basil [Stan] Keogh and Wilma Mary Keogh
        Geoffrey Paul Keogh (1873-1937) married Amelia Victoria Jeffrey (1875-1964) on 5 May 1900 in Melbourne; they had 11 children:
              Rupert Geoffrey Keogh, Edmond Lawrence Keogh, Geoffrey Michael Keogh, Lyall Bertram Keogh, Wilfred (Ivan) Keogh,
              Mildred Mary Keogh, Edna Florence Keogh, Keith Phillip Keogh, George Geoffrey Keogh, Laurence Colin Keogh and Alma Delores Keogh.

  • Edmund Keogh (1829-1901)
    Married (1) widow Mary Venner Harrison née Price in London in 1853; they had 10 children; Edmund was widowed and
    married (2) Marie Lillia Pignolet-De-Fresnes in Melbourne in 1893
        see below for Edmund and Mary Venner Keogh's family


Ignatius Keogh (1772-1851) had a difficult life. It is impossible to know how much of this can be attributed to being part of the minority Irish Catholic gentry in English-ruled Ireland, supporting and working for the English, and how much can be attributed to his own mismanagement and ill-fortune, and possibly debts inherited from his father. We do know that he was in Kilmainham Gaol for unpaid debts twice in 1831, and in the sherriff's or debtors' prisons at least other three times, twice while he was employed (1802-1824) as Barracks Master at the Gort Barracks in Co Galway. On 20 October 1821, he was reported in the newspaper to have been the second (assistant) in a duel outside Ballinasloe, which proved fatal for the other party.

Before they married, Frances French had successfully sued Ignatius in July 1813 for Breach of Promise and had been awarded £2000 damages plus costs. (£2000 is today approximately equivalent to £100,000 or AUD170,000). It was possibly money she had inherited from her mother and lent to him, on the understanding they were soon to be married.

    This was an action brought by Miss Frances French, against Mr. Ignatius Keogh, for breach of promise of marriage. The damages were laid at 5000L. It appeared that a contract of marriage had been regularly made between the parties; that they corresponded, and looked upon each other as bound indissolubly together. The defendant, however, became [financially] embarrassed – was put into the sheriff’s prison – and declined to fulfil the contract. An act of insolvency was passed, and Mr. Keogh was about to avail himself of it, but finding a fiat, which had been obtained at the suit of the young lady against him, an insuperable bar to his enlargement, he agreed once more to renew the [marriage] contract, which he did in writing; and upon getting two friends of his to become guarantees for the due fulfilment of it, he regained his liberty. He continued to correspond with the lady, but after a short interval, the ardour of his love became cooler and cooler; each letter was more formal, and less affectionate than the preceding one, until at length he wrote, that in consequence of an anonymous letter, which he said he had received, but which was never produced, he could not think of making her his wife. The letter which contained this intimation closed the correspondence.

    Judge Day, in his charge to the jury, characterised it as a most base and disgraceful, though well-written composition.
He said it was evident, from the style of the letter, that the writer had looked into books, but that its matter afforded the melancholy proof of his perversion to ill purposes of the information he had acquired. Of the anonymous letter which the defendant assigned as the motive for breaking off the contract, his lordship observed that it might never have had any existence, save in the imagination of the defendant himself; and if it had an actual existence, it might have been his own composition. If this were not so, the learned judge asked, why had not the defendant shown the letter to the young lady’s friends, that they might endeavour to discover and punish her foul calumniator? Upon the whole, his lordship pronounced it one of the most aggravated cases of the kind that had ever come before him. The jury found for the plaintiff, damages, £2000 and costs.

The Weekly Entertainer 53 (9 August 1813) p630

It is not known whether Ignatius paid this debt, but it is more likely that it prompted him to marry Frances instead. They had 7 children together. In the early years of their marriage, they lived in a residence within the Army Barracks at Gort, Co Clare, where Ignatius held the position of barracks master. This appears to have been the most settled period of his life.

However, he fell on particularly hard times after suddenly losing his position in Gort in 1824, supposedly for giving overnight refuge in the Barracks to a destitute Irish family. They moved to 45 Henry Street, Dublin and Ignatius unsuccessfully pursued his 'unfair dismissal', requesting an explanation for the cessation of his  salary, and stating that there had been no complaints against him in his 21 years of faithful service. His appeal was referred to the Duke of Wellington who was in charge of Ordnance, but the Duke is said to have annotated the letter with an unsympathetic comment about the “feckless Irish”.

There followed a  protracted inheritance court case brought by other family members wanting their share of the family's unprofitable farming land (the tenants were not paying their rents). The legal fees alone crippled him. Ignatius was in Marshalsea debtors' prison in Dublin for at least 2 years in the early 1830s, from where he wrote ever more desperate letters appealing for help. An original of one of these letters has survived and is a valuable record of his earlier activities and the service he gave to the English:

To His Excellency the Most Noble the Marquis Wellesley
Lord Lieutenant Genl. and Genl. Governor of Ireland.

The Memorial of Ignatius Keogh Esq.

Humbly Herewith
    That in the year 1798, your memorialist [was] Introduced to Lord Castlerea, and recommended to his patronage by Col. Blake then M. C. for the Co. of Galway.

    That in the same year it fell to his lot, to be of most material and essential service to the Government of this country, and to the country at large, at the time of the French landing at Killalla.

  That he prevented a great part of the country from turning out in open arms and rebellion, and joining the Enemy, and thereby saved a deluge of Blood.

  That this service being made known to Lord Castlerea he expressed much thanks, acknowledged the weight of the Service and declared that memost. should be handsomely rewarded.

    That in the year 1799, Memorialist lost a considerable Leasehold property by the premature death of a Landlord who was bound to renew for him, £700 a year, he then resided in the Co. Roscommon near Balinasloe.

    That in the January year ‘99 The Government considered his further services necessary to them, he was written for, by Mr Darcy (Davey?) Mahon now Commissioner of Stamps, by the desire of Mr Secretary Cooke. On his arrival in town He Explained to Mr. Cooke, the great change that had taken place in his affairs, and that he could not then afford to live in Dublin without Industry, and that he had many advantages by living in the country which it would ruinous to him to forego, but Mr Cooke replied that all he had urged was of no consequence, That the Government required his services and were willing to remunerate him for his time and provide for him far beyond any loss he might, or could sustain, upon which assurance he remained in town in continual attendance until the union question was finally carried unless when he was sometimes sent into Connaught on some particular missions.

    That during this residence in town he purchased a clerkship, in the Stamps Office, value £100 a year, which he mentioned [to] the Secretaries previous to his concluding his Bargain, they approved, and promised to allow him for it, in Exchange, by giving him a situation of so much the more value, than anything [they] had originally promised him, viz £300 a year. That on Lord Castlerea’s and Mr Cook’s leaving this country, they declared the utter Impossibility of performing their promise to him, having no such situation then vacant, But they mentioned the engagement and the services of memorist. to Mr Abbott their successor and got him to undertake the performance of said of said Engagement to memorialist.

    That Mr Abbott now Lord Colchester went away without performing anything for memorialist, but handed over Engagement to Mr Wickham his successor, who in sometime after viz. in January 1804 gave him the Barrack Mastership of Gort in Exchange for his clerkship; an exchange then £30 a year in favour of memorialist, but for many years past £70 a year less than the sd. Clerkship which he had so purchased as before mentioned.

    That Lord Castlerea and Mr Cook considered the Services of memorialist, of some consequence, and that they were thoroughly satisfied with his Exertions, appears evident by their Handing over the Engagement to Mr Abbott and also by a letter written by Mr Cooke to Mr Wickham abt. December 1803 which letter memorialist supposes to be forthcoming in the offices of the Castle, and also by another letter written by Mr Cooke at the desire of Lord Castlerea to Lord Viscount Whitworth in August 1814 requesting the performance of said engagements and explaining memorialist’s having given an Equivalent for the situation he then held. Also by a reference to Mr Darcy Mahon, who is on the spot, or to any of the other personages above mentioned.

    That nothing has ever been done for memost. in consequence of the Services performed or promises made.

    That Memost. continued to perform duties of his situation as Barracks Master for 21 years, without the shadow of a complaint against him, as appears by the copies of letters herewith enclosed. The Originals of which he forwarded to the Secy. of the Honorable Board of ordnance, and now remain there. That memorialist has been deprived of his situation on the false report of a clerk from ordnance office, as also fully appears by said Copies of letters, without any Investigation, tho he could prove the falsehood of the Charge brought against him, and although the charge itself did not amount to a breach of the regulations under which he held his Commission.

    That Memost. deems it unnecessary to go into the particulars of said Inspection and report, or to say a word more for himself than has been said for him by so many Gallant and most respectable officers, with Lord Combermere at their head, who forwarded his memorial from a personal knowledge of his conduct while he Lord Combermere commanded the Western District. But there is one circumstance which memorialist feels should not be omitted, and which for its business and Treachery, is scarcely paralleled by the Infamous hero of Junius. It is that this great Inspecting officer above mentioned, never Intimated to the Military officer who assisted at the Inspection, Viz. Capt Drummond of the 10th Hussars, or to the memost. the slightest disaprobation of the state of the stores or of memost’s. conduct or attention while the Inspection continued, Viz. three days, or for ten days after that he remained in Gort, but on the contrary, He Frequently dined and spent evenings at memost’s house, and assured him and his wife that he found nothing to complain of, so that memorialist knew nothing of any complaint or report being made against him until he received a letter from the Honorable. Board of Ordinance announcing his removable from his situation, It is No1 of the enclosed papers. It also contains the Charges.

    That Memost. has spent the best part of his life in the service of his Majesties Government on a small salary under the delusion of continual promises, to the total neglect of his private affairs or of any Industry that might enable him to provide for his family, a wife and six Children now thrown on the world, his all expended. His Furniture and Beds seized and Sold, the memost. has made every exertion in his power or the utmost stretch of his mind could suggest to ward off the blows even for a time.

    That Memost. now knows not how he or his unfortunate family can exist for another fortnight, and sees no relief unless through your Excellency’s merciful consideration of the Extraordinary Hardships of his case, to which he Humbly beseeches your Excellency’s attention, and that your Excellency will be Gratiously pleased to afford him some situation by which he may be enabled to Earn a livelihood for these unfortunate Children, who otherwise must soon be deprived of Even the  comfort of having a Father to sympathise in their distress, and your memorialist will ever pray

Ignatius Keogh
Dublin 15th March 1825

There is no record of a response to this letter and Ignatius received no compensation from the English, nor was he given a situation as requested. Depressed and without hope, he attempted to take his own life in May 1833:

Dreadful attempt at suicide in the Four Courts Marshalsea.

The inmates of this prison were thrown into a state of considerable horror and alarm yesterday, in consequence of an attempt, we fear a fatal one, by one of their fellow prisoners, to put a period to his existence.  The following are the circumstance as, as far as we could collect, connected with the rash act: -Mr.  Ignatius Keogh, an elderly men of very respectable connexions, in the county of Mayo, and who had been for a considerable period suffering imprisonment, had, for some time of past, been observed to labour under extreme dejection of spirits, and temporary mental aberrations, induced (it is naturally enough supposed) by pecuniary misfortunes.

    Yesterday morning, the deputy marshal of the place, feeling some suspicion at observing the door of Mr. Keoghs apartment continue closed up to eleven o’clock, had it forced open, when the unfortunate old gentleman was discovered stretched on his bed, a razor near him, one of his arms extended over a basin placed on the floor, the blood copiously streaming into the vessel from two wounds which he had inflicted evidently with the razor, by which the principle arteries were completely severed.  Mr. Benson, surgeon of the Marshalsea, was promptly in attendance, and used every effort that medical skill could suggests, for the benefit of the sufferer; the case however, is apprehended to be utterly hopeless.

    It appears that such was the desperate determination of Mr. Keogh, to effect self destruction, that for a time, he persevered in obstinately refusing any assistance which the appalling situation in which he had placed himself required, and when a small quantity of wine was attempted to be poured down his throat he clenched his teeth against the liquid and ejected it.

    He also, we understand, expressed his regret that he had not given himself the cut in a surer place.  By degrees, however, he became a more calm, and suffered his wounds to be addressed by the surgeon.  Mr. Keogh has a large and interesting family.

Morning paper. – [To our inquiries yesterday at the entrance of the Four Courts Marshalsea, we received the satisfactory answer that the unfortunate man has been pronounced out of danger by his surgical attendant, and that his mind is much more composed.]

Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland), Monday, May 27, 1833

Soon after this episode, Ignatius appears to have found a way to clear his debts and gain his release form Marshalsea debtors' prison in Dublin.  


It is interesting to reflect on Ignatius Keogh's 'career' as a Catholic working with the English, at a time when laws to restrict the religious, political and economic activities of Catholics and Dissenters were either still in effect, or gradually being repealed or amended. For example, it was only in 1793 (5 years before Ignatius was involved in the 1798 Battle of Killala) that the Militia Act removed the ban on Catholics holding firearms, to allow for their conscription into the militia, but not their admittance into the officer ranks. Was this latter restriction a limitation on the positions that the English could give Ignatius? Was prejudice against his Catholicism the real reason he lost his position as barracks master at Gort?

In the late 1830s, Ignatius and Frances Keogh made the difficult decision to leave their homeland and help their family make a fresh start in Australia. They were most likely hoping for better prospects in the new colony for their three youngest sons and for their three unmarried daughters who were unlikely to find a respectable husband in Ireland now that there was the taint of 'insanity' in the family after their father's suicide attempt. Various correspondence has survived, showing that Ignatius was settling his affairs and selling family property, with the help of his oldest son William, who was to stay in Ireland. Migrating across the world to start again was a huge undertaking for a man of nearly 70, but with hindsight a very wise decision. He could not have known that Ireland was soon to plunge into years of famine and widespread destitution.

A family story is that when they were leaving Ireland, the Keogh family rode out of Roscommon on white horses. However, it seems most unlikely to that this is anything more than a story. They had been living in Dublin prior to departure, and although Ignatius owned tenanted land in Roscommon, there is no evidence that he had lived there after he was a boy. Also, their circumstances were rather compromised, so this would not have been a grand departure. Perhaps the story comes from Frances and Ignatius's wedding. In the old times, it was traditional for the bride and groom to come to the church separately on horseback, and then leave together on the same horse for festivities at the bride's house. The other guests would accompany them on horses, and sometimes there was a race. Did the Frances and Ignatius's wedding party ride on white horses?

They sailed from Plymouth 16 October 1840 on the Sir Charles Forbes, a former convict ship which was now carrying "bounty emigrants" for a Mr John Marshall of London who was acting as a sponsor. Under this scheme, the sponsor organised the ship and the emigrants and was paid £19 per head for every fit, eligible worker he landed in Port Phillip. It was in his best interests to ensure they were well fed and cared for on the voyage, or he did not receive his bounty.

Ignatius age 69, his wife Frances age 52, and the two younger boys, Michael 14 and Edmund 11, did not meet the age requirements for the Bounty System and would have had to pay their own passage at steerage rates. No list of steerage passengers has survived, but we know they were on this ship from letters sent immediately before departure from Plymouth and on arrival in Melbourne. The Bounty immigrants in the family were Mary who was listed as a dressmaker, Margaret who was listed as a cook, and Julia who was listed as a general servant. John, who had a clubbed foot was listed as a gardener, unlike the majority of males on board who were listed as labourers. There is no evidence that any of the female Keoghs ever worked in these occupations, before or after arriving in Australia, so it seems it was merely a means to obtain free passage.  

The Keogh family arrived at Port Phillip on 21 January 1841 when Melbourne was still a small settlement, 10 years before the gold rush started. The census of 21 March 1841 shows a population of 4,479 in Melbourne, in 769 houses. Around 12% were Roman Catholics like the Keoghs. Ignatius purchased land in Russell Street, and in February 1842 he purchased 20 acres of land at Merri Creek at £5 per acre from John Pascoe Fawkner.

The three unmarried daughters all married well. On 10 June 1841, Margaret married James Mackey Seward, Chief Clerk of the Master in Equity. On 16 January 1843, Mary married Joseph L’Estrange, a wealthy solicitor and local patron of the arts. On 9 October 1848, Julia married businessman Peter MacKillop, uncle to Mary Mackillop (Saint Mary of the Cross). The three sons who came to Australia all became successful businessmen. John served on the Box Hill Council in several capacities.

Ignatius Keogh died on 19 July 1851, age 79, and his wife Frances died on 6 May 1862 age 72 years. They were initially buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery, but were relocated to the Melbourne General Cemetery in the 1920s when the Victoria Markets were being extended over the old cemetery site. At the time of the exhumation, Ignatius' remains could be positively identified by the silver plate on his skull; family tradition has that this was inserted to cover a wound received when fighting the French. There is no record that he ever served on a campaign outside Ireland, but he was on the side of the Government in the Battle of Killala in 1798, following the French Landing in Ireland (see Memorialist letter, above). There was an Irish medical family, the O'Hickeys, who were noted for brain surgery, especially the art of trepanning with silver plates the fractured skulls and other head injuries sustained in battle.


Edmund Keogh and Mary Venner née Price

My great-grandfather, Edmund Keogh (1829-1901) served an apprenticeship as a druggist. His brother Michael had made over seven hundred pounds in a few weeks at the Eaglehawk gold diggings, which he gave to Edmund to invest it in drugs and goods for his business, which he now proposed to make wholesale as well as retail, taking Michael as a partner. Together they set up a very successful business, Messrs E. and M. Keogh, wholesale chemists and druggists, in the early 1850s. 

In 1853, Edmund Keogh married a young widow, Mary Venner Harrison née Price (1829-1888) (picture right).

Mary Venner Price was the daughter of Edward John Price and his wife Maria. She was born on 28 Sep 1826 in Kennington, Surrey England. She and her older sister, Sarah Perry Price (1824-1860) were baptised together on 22 Feb 1827 at All Hallows-by-the-Tower in the City of London. She is said to have been well educated, including in France, and to have spoken five languages.

In the 30 March 1851 England census, Mary is shown as age 24 and employed as a governess to the five children of Edmund Barker Ray at the exclusive address of 15 Princes Gate, Westminster. The obviously wealthy family also employed a head nurse, an under nurse, a ladysmaid, a cook, an upper housemaid, an under housemaid, an upper manservant and an under manservant.

On 16 July 1851, Mary married Edward Harrison in St Pancras Church of England, London. They were bachelor and spinster, both of full age. Edward was a Gentleman, living in St Pancras parish, father deceased. Ten days later, on 26 July 1851, they departed Gravesend on the emigrant ship Candahar for the long voyage to Australia. They went into port only once, at Plymouth to pick up more passengers. The Candahar, 642 tons, arrived in Adelaide on Monday 1 December 1851; the newspapers reported E. Harrison and wife on the passenger list. On Wednesday 10 December, the barque Tory, 483 tons, left Adelaide for Melbourne; the ex-Candahar list of passengers included Mr and Mrs Harrison. On the next Tuesday, 16 December, the barque Tory is reported as arriving in Port Phillip (Melbourne); on the arrival list there is now only Mrs Harrison. Edward Harrison had died at sea, on the 6-day voyage from Adelaide to Melbourne. In the Letters of Administration of his estate, his date of death is given as 'on or about 14 December 1851'.

Mary Venner Harrison had become a widow at age 25 after less than 5 months of marriage; she was newly pregnant, and on the other side of the world from her family. She probably knew no-one in Melbourne. However, a connection seems to have arisen with Joseph L’Estrange and his young brother-in-law Edmund Keogh. It is not known how or why they met, but Mary’s address was given as Richmond, which was where Joseph L’Estrange and his wife Mary (Edmund’s sister) lived. They were known to be charitable people, so perhaps they helped her in her time of need. Joseph and Edmund signed affidavits as part of the proceedings related to the Letters of Administration of Mary’s late husband’s estate in January 1852. Mary’s son Claude was born in Adelaide on 17 July 1852. Perhaps she had returned there to be with friends from the Candahar. After Claude’s birth, Mary returned to London where she stayed with her sister in Essex. A romantic understanding with Edmund Keogh must have developed. When he came to London to buy drugs and goods for his business in Melbourne, they married on 7 Jun 1853 at St Mary Moorfields Catholic Church in the City of London. He was 22 and she was 26 (although Edmund thought she was 3 years younger!).

Mary and Edmund Keogh had ten children, born 1854-1870.  Mary was much loved by her children and was apparently a very religious woman who had missals in various languages to maintain her language skills. It is said that she worked for the legal rights of women, but no record of this has been found. She was very charitable and used to take food to families in need. Edmund was a quiet and well-read man, a very successful businessman, whose life is summarised in the obituary below on this page. 

Mary's son with Edward Harrison later took the name Keogh:

  • Claude Osmond Harrison Keogh (1852-1893) did not marry, no issue
    Claude was reputedly a brilliant and handsome solicitor with great charm, but a playboy. He was his mother's only child from her first marriage and she spoilt him. She always saw he had £5 in his pocket "for emergency"; when she found it missing, she replaced it without question. When he did not come home in time for dinner, she would send his much younger half-brother, Joe (Edmund Joseph), to look for him in his favourite haunts. When he was 21, he had a relationship with a barmaid and his mother was told by someone that he had secretly married her - at that time, and in that family, it would have made a dreadful alliance. His mother made Claude swear on the bible that he was not married, and there is no record of a marriage. However the rumour must have persisted, as the family has a photo labelled Mrs C.O. Harrison Keogh, dated 13 July 1873, and a love poem that he wrote on hotel notepaper. Despite missing many of his lectures, Claude graduated and became a very capable solicitor with a active practice. Claude, his stepfather Edmund Keogh and his cousin's husband Sir Bryan O'Lochlen, served on the committee for raising finance and setting up the Christian Brothers school which opened in St Kilda in July 1878. However, the family always said that he "burnt the candle at both ends" and this resulted in him contracting TB. In 1889, when his half-brother Eustace Julian (Tom) arrived back in Australia after completing his medical studies in Edinburgh, he found Claude dying. Tom looked after him day and night and pulled him through this episode, but Claude died of TB 4 years later, on 13 Apr 1893. He is buried in the Keogh family grave in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

Edmund Keogh and Mary Venner née Price had ten children:  

  • William Vincent Keogh (1854-1929) did not marry, no issue
    As a young man, Edmund's eldest son William did an apprenticeship and worked in his father's pharmaceutical business. Edmund later gave evidence that his plan was that he would eventually make William his partner, and then pass his share of the business to his son. However, William is believed to have had a mental breakdown while on business in London. He returned to Australia and was subsequently admitted on 20 August 1880 to Cremorne Private Asylum in Melbourne. He was 26 years old. Four years later, his father had William admitted under warrant to Beechworth Mental Hospital on 2 December 1884, suffering from 'Delusional Insanity". He was there for nearly 45 years, until his death on 15 February 1929 from 'senile decay' at age 74. His medical records indicate William suffered from what we would now call chronic schizophrenia. It is not known whether, or how often, anyone in the family made the long journey to Beechworth to visit him, but he was not completely forgotten, as his father's will left money in trust for his care. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Beechworth Cemetery.
  • Mary Julia Keogh (1856-1857) died age 10 months
  • Hubert Patrick Keogh (1857-1938) at various times he owned several large estates, including Loy Yang, Bon Accord, ‘Woodlands’ (Lindenow) and ‘Kilmorie’ (Bruthen); Tambo shire councillor 1895-1901; MP for Gippsland 1901-1908
    Married Marianne (Polly) McLeod Scott (1856-1938) on 13 April 1881 in Melbourne; they had 10 children
         Hubert Price Keogh (1882-1956); did not marry, no children
         Edmund Edward Keogh (1883-1964); did not marry, no children
         Claude Basil Scott Keogh (1884-1966); did not marry, no children
         Alfred Eustace Keogh (1885-1965); did not marry, no children
         Mary Rose Keogh (1887-1957); married Arthur John Chamberlin (1958-1934), no children
         Arthur Gerald Keogh (1888-1980); married May Olive Murray (1900-1969), one child: John Brendan Keogh (1922-2017)
         Norman Ffrench Keogh (1890-1891); died age 9 months
         Brenda Beatrice Keogh (1891-1892); died age 7 months
         Christina Lillia Keogh (1896-1979); did not marry, no children
         Margaret (Peg) Frances Keogh (1900-1989); married William Albert Shanks in 1939, no children
  • Mary Rose Keogh (1869-1866) died age 6 years. A photo of her was made into a rather severe oil painting, wearing a black dress.
  • Arthur George Keogh (1861-1927); medical practitioner; graduated Glasgow University 1884; practised in Footscray, Melbourne
    Married (1) Edith Louisa Hewlett (1865-1896) on 4 March 1889 in Melbourne; they had one surviving child:
         Basil Hewlett Keogh (1892-1985) before Edith died tragically after giving birth to a second child, who also died.
    Married (2) Ellen Jessie Graham (1870-1940) on 29 Jun 1898 in Lancefield, Victoria; they had 4 children:
         Eustace Graham Keogh (1899-1981); married (1) Freda Evelyn Mikkelsen (1899-2001) in 1922 in St Kilda, Victoria, they had 1 child, Barbara, and divorced in 1954;
             married (2) Jean Kirchner; they had no children
         Arthur Vincent Graham Keogh (1903-1958); married in 1942 in St Kilda Julie May Saleh; they had one child, Barry
         John (Jack) Graham Keogh (1905-1982); married Ivy Florence Sydenham (1906-1970) on 8 March 1928 in St Kilda; they had 3 children: Helen, Arthur and Margaret.
         Robert Graham Keogh (1908-1962); Japanese POW in WW2; did not marry, no children
  • Gerald Basil Keogh (1863-1876) died age 13 years
  • Eustace Julian (Tom) Keogh (1865-1925)
    Married Winifred Matilda Rowe (1879-1961) on 17 July 1901 in Melbourne; they had 10 children.
    See below for Tom and Winifred Keogh's family.

  • Edmund Joseph (Joe) Keogh (1867-1945)
    Married Beatrice Helen Moore in Melbourne in 1890; they had 4 children:
         Lesbia Venner Keogh (1891-1927); a poet, author, law graduate and campaigner for the working class; Australian Dictionary of Biography;
               married Patrick John O'Flaghartie Fingal Harford (1895-?) in November 1920 in Sydney; later they separated; they had no children
         Estelle Venner Keogh (1892-1966); trained as nurse at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne; later joined Queen Alexandria Nursing Corps UK;
               served WW1 as a nurse in Flanders; award for bravery under fire; married on 6 April 1918 in Tasmania George Henry Wilkins (1887-1945);
               he had been awarded a Military Cross in WW1 and was a POW in WW2 where he died at Sandakan, Borneo; they had 6 children:
               Lloyd, Jack, Dawn, Cecily, Peter and Frances.
         Esmond (Bill) Venner Keogh (1895-1970); soldier, medical scientist and administrator: Australian Dictionary of Biography;
               did not marry, no children
         Gerald Basil Venner Keogh (1898-1962); married Beatrice Elizabeth Gray (c1916-1965) in 1936 in Sydney; they had 2 children: Dorothea and Richard.
  • Bryan Paul Keogh (1869-1935)
    Married Evelyn Teresa Rigney (1875-1956) on 12 May 1904 in Launceston, Tasmania; they had one child:
         Ethel Rolfe Keogh (1907-1979), married widower Keith Colstoun Wade-Brown (1883-1953), they had no children

  • Ethel Keogh (1870-1947) the third and only daughter to survive childhood
    Married (1) John Charles McGee (1864-1903) on 14 November 1895 in Brunswick, Victoria; they moved to South Africa where Charlie McGee died in August 1903; they had 4 children:
         Mary (Mollie) Elennor Price McGee (1897-1991); did not marry, no children
         Ellis [Biddy] Venner McGee (1900 -1977); married Robert King Armstrong (1892-1978) in Canada, 3 children: Robin, Robert and Carol.
         Eustace Joseph Venner McGee (1900-1919); did not marry, no children; killed in WW1 air crash in Ampthill, England
         Florence Mary McGee (1902 -2000); an actress, married (1) artist Byron Thomas (1902-1978), they had one child, Thomas Thomas;
             married (2) Donald Henderson (1902-1964); they had no children
     Ethel Keogh married (2) Boer War veteran and her late husband's business partner, Percy George Detmold (1869-1935), in 1907 in Toronto Canada; they later molved to England; they had one child:
         Percy George Detmold (1909-1942); did not marry, no children; WW2 RAF (one of eight lost on a mission on the night of 25/26th April 1942,
         flying in a Stirling Mark I bomber - information thanks to Andy Bullock, nephew of Phil Bullock who also died)



In 1882, after he had retired, Edmund was appointed a member of an Education Commission as a representative of the Roman Catholic community. He was also Chairman of the Commissioners for Savings banks up to within a short time of his death.

Edmund Keogh's wife, my great-grandmother Mary Venner Keogh, died on 30 December 1888 as the result of a carriage accident. She was 62. She and Edmund had been out driving along Alma Road, St Kilda, in a covered landau with two horses driven by their coachman, Patrick O’Mara. The horses bolted when the rein became caught under the tail of one horse. Having continued into Princes Street, the carriage overturned at the corner of Dalgety Street. The Keoghs and coachman were all thrown out. Mary sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung. Although she was able to stand up after the accident, she died at home early the next morning. It has been alleged that O'Mara the carriage driver was drunk, as he had had a drinking problem before taking the pledge two months earlier. However, at the inquest, evidence that he was sober at the time of the accident was given by Edmund Keogh and by the doctor who examined O’Mara’s head injury after the accident.

'Meriden', St Kilda Road
Edmund and Lillia Keogh's home 

On 05 Jan 1893 Edmund Keogh married again, to Madamoiselle Lillia Pignolet de Fresne, one of three unmarried sisters who ran a school in Windsor, L’Avenir, for select young ladies. Lillia and Edmund used to sit and hold hands by the hour. Lillia was French and had been born in Mauritius. She was a very religious woman who went frequently to mass. She did not understand her younger stepsons' casual ways and they teased her unmercifully. They smoked her glasses so she could not see to read her prayer book. At that time, Catholic prayer books had a section on Examination of Conscience, which Lillia apparently used, so the boys underlined extra sins. One of them would get a long bamboo pole and when his stepmother was arranging her boudoir cap, he would give it a poke - she would get so mad not knowing what was happening. She would lock them out if they were late home, but they climbed in through the conservatory window and she could never discover how they got in.

Edmund and Lillia Keogh lived at 'Meridan' on the corner of Arthur Street and St Kilda Road, in a large two story mansion, now demolished. The garden was full of statues, which were fashionable, and there was a large conservatory at the back.

In a letter of 4 May 1897 to a family member in Mauritius, Lillia wrote (translated into English from the original French):
I have become crassly lazy. I can never get out of bed before eight-‘o’-clock or even half past eight, which barely leaves me with much time to do a rudimentary toilet before breakfast which is at a quarter to nine. I take a great hot bath at about half past eleven, then I dress and go into town or to “L’Avenir”; I return at one-‘o’-clock for lunch; at 3-‘o’-clock I do another toilet and I go out again on visits. We dine at half-past-six, and if we do not go out during the evening, my husband and I played chess until half-past ten and we do not ever go to bed before half-past eleven.

I can’t remember if I told you that my poor Edmund broke his right arm; an ill fortune that occurred on the 2rd of December last year (a tram accident); when I saw my poor husband returning, pale and untidy, and when he told me that he thought he had broken his arm, I could hardly believe such misfortune; I immediately telephoned Dr. Eustace Keogh, his son, who came immediately and did what was necessary. But my poor Edmund needed constant, devoted care, for a man deprived of his right arm is but a big baby. He remained so for nine weeks without being able to use his arm, but finally, thank God, his arm has now regained almost all its strength.

Whilst my poor beloved was in bed because of his accident, one of his sons, the youngest one Bryan, who was in the country 160 miles away from us, fell seriously ill; he was only able to come to us a week later because of his condition and the distance. Almost at the same time one of my Edmund’s grandsons, a fifteen-month-old child, went through a bout of scarlet fever, he remained in a state between life and death for three months; at present he is merely better, but not cured.

Ethel [Edmund's daughter Ethel McGee née Keogh] had her first child [Mary 'Mollie' McGee], a sweet little girl, on the 28th of December, that is to say five days after her father’s accident; which meant that neither he nor I was able to go and see her. However, when her little Mary was 10 days old, she sent her to us with her nurse, and as soon as Edmund was able to go out in the car without risk we went together to see Ethel. In March (two months ago) one of my Edmund’s nephews Fred Keogh [Michael Keogh's son Frederick Lawrence Keogh] (the priest’s brother), a young fellow of 32, died of a cold caught seven years ago. It was careful constant nursing that made him last so long.

Edmund Keogh died on 13 October 1901. His obituary on 7 Jan 1901 stated:
By the death of Mr. Edmund Keogh which took place at his residence, Meriden, St Kilda road, on Saturday morning, Victoria has lost the services of a gentleman who was well known and highly respected, especially amongst business men, and who was a very old colonist. The late Mr. Keogh came to Victoria in 1841. In the early fifties, he and his brother established the firm in Latrobe-street of Messrs E. and M. Keogh, wholesale chemists and druggists. He retired from the business in 1875.  In 1882 Mr. Keogh was appointed a member of an Education Commission as a representative of the Roman Catholic community. This was one of the few occasions in which he took a prominent part in public questions. He was Chairman of the Commissioners of the Savings Banks up to within a short time of his death. He had reached the age of 72 years and though he had been in poor health for about eight months, he was only confined to his bed during the last seven weeks. The deceased gentleman left a widow, one daughter, and five sons, Messrs. Arthur Keogh, M.B., Eustace Keogh, M.B., Hubert Keogh, Edmund Joseph Keogh, and Bryan Keogh.

Lillea Keogh died ten years after Edmund, in 1911, and is buried with other Pignolet-de-Fresne family members at St Kilda Cemetery.



Eustace Julian (Tom) Keogh

My grandfather, Eustace Julian Keogh, always known as Tom, was born on 24 August 1865 at the family home, Camla, at Merri Creek, Brunswick. He was Edmund and Mary's sixth child. His Godfather was Father Julian Tenison Woods SJ, who assisted Mary MacKillop with the founding of the Order of the Sisters of St Joseph. Hence his middle name 'Julian'.

Eustace Julian Keogh EdinburghHe started his medical studies at Melbourne University and completed the last 3 years at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1888.  He then moved to London and was about to take up a position at Guy's Hospital to complete his studies to be a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, when he heard that his mother had died. Unable to settle after this news, he returned to Australia on the RMSS Parramatta, arriving in Melbourne on 20 April 1889 (Easter Saturday).

He found his half-brother Claude dying of T.B, so Tom looked after him night and day and pulled him through. But Claude only survived a few more years, dying in 1893 at age 40 years.  

Later in 1889, Doctor Eustace Julian Keogh opened a medical practice in South Yarra. He visited patients in the surrounding district (Prahran, South Yarra and parts of Richmond) in a doctor's jinker, driven by a groom in an olive green and black uniform; the Keogh crest was emblazoned on the doors. He wore a morning suit, flowered waistcoat and top hat to do his rounds. In 1908 the jinker was replaced by a De Dion car with a Torneaux (a removable back seat). It was painted dark green with brass fittings and it had Brass kerosene lamps.

In 1901, Eustace Julian Keogh married Winifred Matilda Rowe (1879-1961) in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne. They had ten children: Winifred, Casimir, Eustace, Gwenyth, Ellis, Thomas, Mary, Margaret, Patricia and Barbara.

He practised as a GP for 35 years until a few days before he died. He had a large practice and must have brought hundreds of babies into the world, but he reportedly never lost a mother. After he died it was found that half his practice was done in charity and that he kept a special pharmacy account at Gibbs for patients who could not afford the medicine he prescribed. He was the first Honorary at St Vincent’s Hospital and when he retired from that position they made him Diagnostician Extraordinary to the Hospital. 

EJ Keogh Edinburgh Uni Australian cricket team c1885In Edinburgh, Tom Keogh played cricket with a team formed by Australian students at the university. In England, he played with the Marylebone Cricket Club, including with W.G. Grace who he claimed to have once bowled out. He later played cricket for Victoria and was an early member of the Melbourne Cricket Club.

In the early 1900s, the Keogh boys had a football and a cricket team composed of their own family and cousins, some of whom lived close by. They played where the Albert Ground of the Melbourne Cricket Club is now located, in St Kilda Road. It was the custom in those days to put your team's name on a board near Prince’s Bridge if you wanted to take part in a football or cricket match.

Eustace Julian (Tom) Keogh (1865-1925)
Married Winifred Matilda Rowe (1879-1961) on 17 July 1901 in Melbourne; they had 10 children:
     Winifred Mary Price Keogh (1902-1979); did not marry, no children
     Casimir Price Keogh (1904-1957); married Olivia Margaret Meehan (1908-1990) in 1931; they had 6 children: Cas (dec), Roger, Tim (dec), Richard, Mary (dec) and Andrew.
     Eustace Price Keogh (1905-1980); married (1) Bridget Mary Meehan (1902-1965) in 1928; they had 4 children: Julian (Dec), Margaret (dec), Tom and Mary (dec).
         married (2) Frances Veronica Coyle (1901-1984) in 1969, no children
     Gwenyth Dorothy Price Keogh (1907-1990); married Richard Keith Escott (1899-1985) in 1944; they had 2 children: Catherine (dec) and Ros.
     Ellis Mary Price Keogh (1909-1949); did not marry, no children
     Thomas Ireland Price Keogh (1911-1974); married Mary Anderson Ballantyne (1914-2004) in 1942; they had 2 children: Patricia and Sally.
     Mary Josephine Price Keogh (1913-2002); married Donald Raisbeck Town (1911-1999) in 1953; they had 2 children: Jocelyn and Cecily.
     Margaret Mary Price Keogh (1918-1998); married Edward Peter Nelson (1901-1975) 1957; they had 1 child: Mary
     Patricia Mary Price Keogh (1921-2014); married Malcolm Marwick McColl (1906-1979) in 1977 in Melbourne; they had no children
     Barbara Mary Price Keogh (1923-2009); married Douglas Britton Pearce (1917-2001) in 1992 in Melbourne; they had no children


This information is an interim summary; there is more about the Keoghs to come.  


Ignatius Keogh
Great-great-grandfather Ignatius Keogh


Mary L'Estrange
née Keogh

Margaret Honora Seward
née Keogh

James Mackey Seward
husband of Margaret Honora Keogh

Julia MacKillop
née Keogh

John Valentine Keogh

Michael Keogh

Mary Jane née Plunket
wife of Michael Keogh

Edumund Keogh
 Edmund Keogh 

Mary Venner Price & Edmund Keogh

Mary Venner Keogh née Price

Claude Osmond Harrison Keogh

William Vincent Keogh

Hubert Patrick Keogh

Mary Anne (Polly) McLeod née Scott
wife of Hubert Keogh

Mary Rose Keogh

Arthur George Keogh

Gerald Basil Keogh

Eustace Julian Keogh 

Winifred Matilda née Rowe
wife of Eustace Julian Keogh

 Edmund Joseph Keogh

Beatrice Helen (Nellie) née Moore
wife of Edmund Joseph Keogh

Bryan Paul Keogh

Ethel Keogh