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My passion is genealogy and family history. I host a podcast about Australian family history, Genies Down Under. In my day job, I work as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education, teaching pre-service teachers.

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Walking in their footsteps Part 2: Lucknow to Orange

Lucknow, Frederick's Valley and the Wentworth Mine

I've only just recently found out that my RILEY ancestors lived and worked at the Frederick's Valley, Wentworth Diggings, near Lucknow in the 1860s and 1870s. I found this out from a death certificate I ordered a few months ago of Edward RILEY, the second last child born to Thomas RILEY and Harriet LICET/LYSAGHT who were married in 1841. Based on information on his death certificate, Little Edward was born in February 1864 and died at the age of 5 months in June 1864. This death certificate alerted me to the family's whereabouts in Wentworth Diggings, Frederick's Valley, near Lucknow when Edward was born:

Some of Thomas and Harriet's children also had families in the area around Lucknow in later years. Lucknow was the location recorded on quite a few of the children's birth certificates. Lucknow is just outside of Orange, about 10km on the Sydney side. It's a small town with quite a few of the old Wentworth Gold Mine workings still on show. I'm not sure exactly where Frederick's Valley is in comparison to Lucknow, but it was nearby.

Wellwood, near Orange

In 1866, one of my great-grandmothers, Margaret RILEY (1843-1927) was working at a large home and property near Orange called Wellwood. Her second marriage to Thomas MacCabe, who also lived at Wellwood, in 1866 records her residence as Wellwood. Since they were both working as servants and living at Wellwood at the time, I have assumed that this is probably where they met.

Luckily for me, the Orange Regional Gallery had the original plans of Wellwood from 1842 on display in their foyer.

On the drive towards Orange on the Mitchell Highway, we came across the gates to this property. Although we didn't drive into the property as we hadn't previously contacted the current owners of this private estate, it was very exciting to see the gates and stand in the place where Margaret would have entered the property many times in the early stages of her life. Who knows what type of work she did here? By the time of her second marriage, she had already given birth to two children (who were just a few years old in 1866) and buried her first husband, Henry NEWTON, in 1864.


Quite a few of my ancestors were born, lived, worked and died in Orange. I loved walking around this historic, yet bustling town. It must be stunning in Autumn when the leaves change.

Although I couldn't find her grave during this visit to Orange, I did enjoy walking the streets of this lovely town, imagining what it was like to live here in the late 1800s. My grandfather, Leo NORTHCOTE, trained here as a tailor in the early 1900s, under the supervision of Charlie Curran in Byng Street. Here is a photo of him with his mother around 1905 in Orange.

The Duntryleague Guest House was an excellent place to stay - full of history.

I was hoping to find the grave of my great-great grandmother, wife of a convict, Harriet RILEY (nee LICET/ LYSAGHT), who died on 12 July 1868 in Orange.

Although I didn't find anyone that I was looking for in the General Cemetery at Orange, the Cemetery Clerk as very helpful and suggested that I follow up with the Orange Family History Group to ask for more assistance in finding the grave of my great-great grandmother, Harriet RILEY (nee LICET/ LYSAGHT) who died on 12 July 1868. I'll just have to keep looking for her.

Next blogpost ... Wellington to Trangie (Part 3)


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  3. Your gt gt grandmother may have been buried in the Chinaman's Bend cemetery.

  4. Thanks Lindsay. I didn't know about this cemetery so thanks for letting me know about it. The next time I am up that way, I'll check it out. Regards, Maria

  5. Hi Maria, I have both Torpy and Hickey on my tree. My Mary Torpy married Thomas Abberton at Goulburn in July 1854. She had arrived from Galway in 1852. Bye Lilian

  6. I wonder if there is any connection. Our Torpy lot came from Kilkenny and the Hickeys from Limerick.