Week 3: Longevity

I have only one family member that I am aware of who has reached the grand old age of 100.  She is a 1st cousin once removed and is still with us today at age 103.  And some of the recent generations have lived long healthy lives into their 90’s.  But the couple of interest here are my great grandparents on my fathers side.

Patrick McCarthy lived to the age of 82 and his wife Ellen died when she was 84.  This was probably quite an age for people born in the 1840’s.

Patrick, Ellen and children
Patrick and Ellen with some of their children

Both were born in County Kerry, Ireland.  Patrick followed his brother John to Australia in 1864 accompanying John’s wife to be, aboard the Champion of the Seas.  Ellen and their oldest two children emigrated two years later in 1866.

They lived at Golden Gully Heathcote and worked as gold miners before Patrick selected the land that was to become the “Boughyards”.  The property was named this due to the boughs of the trees they cleared from the land being used as fences.  I remember those old fences when as a child my parents owned that farm.


Patrick and Ellen lived there for the remainder of their lives.  They had another 8 children, all of whom reached ripe old age, except for one son who died aged 6.

Interestingly, they died within 5 months of each other.  Patrick died in June 1925 and Ellen died in December of the same year.  Both are buried in the family grave at the Heathcote cemetery.


  1. More fascinating stuff! They were hard times when families had to spend years apart waiting for the man who emigrated to establish a home in the new country.


  2. Very hard Anne, and Ellen’s two children were under 4 years at the time. Fortunately she emigrated with other members of the family. Patrick’s mother, father and brother came out at the same time.


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