KEENAN FAMILY in Australia
BATLOW, New South Wales, Australia
Last updated 30/7/2017
Batlow is a small town in the highlands of New South Wales. It began as a gold mining town, called Reedy Flat. These days Batlow is most famous for growing apples, but also produces pears, cherries and other stone fruit as well as berry crops. A strong timber industry and the harvesting, packing and processing of the districts fruit crops are the town’s main employers.
Batlow, which was named after the surveyor who laid out the place, is 443 km south west of Sydney via the Hume and Snowy Highways. The nearest major centre is Tumut. From Melbourne, Batlow is about 490 km north east via the Hume Freeway.
Old photos taken in and around Batlow
My father, the late Wifred "Wis" Keenan
(1910-1998), was born in Batlow in 1910 and lived there until about 1950. He
handed on to me his collection of photographs taken in and around Batlow.
I am creating a special section of this website to display those
photographs, and will put here a link to the collection as soon as the work
is done. (Peter Keenan, September 2013). |
Batlow Pioneers' Night
In May 1944 the Batlow Agricultural Bureau held a Pioneers Night. The idea was conceived by George Keenan, son of Aaron Keenan and Elizabeth Jane Morton, and grandson of Henry John and Nancy Jane Keenan. The function was held to honor "some 20 or more of the district's pioneers ... by entertaining them at a picture show and supper". George Keenan was President of the Batlow Agricultural Bureau. Each year since then a Batlow Pioneers' Night has been held in Spring (October). Naturally, the activities and procedure on these evenings have changed over the years. Reports of these events appear in newspapers of the times, many of which have been digitised by the National Library of Australia and are searchable on its Trove website. I was fortunate to be able to attend a Pioneers' Night with my father, Wilf "Wis" Keenan, in the 1990s.
Keenan settlement in Batlow
Henry John Keenan and Nancy Jane (Ann) Keenan (nee Gamble) from Glenone, County Derry, Northern Ireland, settled in Batlow (then called Reedy Flat) in about 1870. (They had lived nearby in Bombowlee before that.)"The site of their early Batlow home was where the orchard of Bowman & Sons now stands, and here eight more children were born, making the total family five daughters and six sons." - see1949 article by grandson, George Keenan, which appeared in the Tumut and Adelong Times. (This area is at the southern end of Batlow.) Note by Peter Keenan (Sept 2016): Henry purchased the property referred to in 1871 and sold/transferred it in 1878. Four of his children were born during this period. It appears that he and the family then moved a little further away, where another 3 children were born.
These other maps give more information:
It is in this area that a road has been named Keenans Road (see maps above), so named because of the pioneering role that Keenans played in the establishment and development of Batlow, and because the farming property at the far end of the road was owned by Keenans.
Apparently this property is still owned by Keenans. According to the White Pages Residential directory (October 2008 and August 2012), D E Keenan is at 173 Keenans Road, Batlow, and K Keenan is at 180 Keenans Road, Batlow.
According to the 2008 electoral roll, Kenneth Neville Keenan resides at a property known as "Hillview", which is at 180 Keenans Road, Batlow. (Ken is apparently the great-great-grandson of Henry John Keenan: i.e., Henry John Keenan (1842 - 1889) > Aaron Keenan > Stuart James Keenan > Neville Stuart Keenan > Kenneth Neville Keenan.) Internet searches of Real Estate firms indicate that this property is up for sale, although they state that it is a 0 Keenans Road, Batlow (October 2008). Advertisements describe the property as follows:
"HILLVIEW": Magnificent lifestyle block with mature orchard. The orchard consists of over 3250 mixed variety apple trees, the majority of which have hail netting. The land ranges from gently undulating open cleared grazing country through to semi-cleared regrowth grazing running to steeper timbered ridges. Water is a feature with about 1.2km of frontage to the Gilmore Creek with one of the best fishing & swimming holes in the district & a 6 hectare irrigation license. Power is on site & there are several superb home sites on the property making this the perfect getaway.
[ http://www.homehound.com.au/0+keenans+road+batlow+nsw+2730/ ]
Photographs of "Hillview", Keenans Road, Batlow, October 2008, accompanying the abovementioned advertisement give the following views:
Click HERE for photograph of Peter Keenan and his children at Keenan's Road, Batlow, January, 1993.
Sometime after the death of Henry John Keenan in 1889 , Nancy Jane (Ann) Keenan [who married again and became Ann Hopson] acquired a small property in another part of Batlow, near the golf course and below farming property named "Adamilla". She shared this property with her oldest son, James, and his wife Florence (my grandfather and grandmother). Later it was owned by James and his brother, Stuart Gamble Keenan. Later it was owned by Hector Keenan, a son of James Keenan.
Recent Keenan Residents in Batlow
As at 15 October 2008 the White Pages residential telephone directory lists 14 Keenan households in the Batlow postcode area (postcode 2730), one in Bombowlee (2720) and two in Tumut (2720).
As at 12 August 2012 the White pagesresidential telephone directory lists 12 Keenan households in the Batlow postcode area (2730), one in Bombowlee (2720), two in Tumut (2720) and one in Gilmore (2720).
An Addresses Register produced by the NSW Electoral Commission in January 2008 shows:
That the names of properties in Keenans Road included "Avondale", "Kevala", "Clearstream", "Snubba", "Hillview" and "Elmsleigh".
Song to the Pioneers of Batlow
SONG TO THE PIONEERS
Tune: “Botany Bay”
Now come all you people of Batlow and listen and heed what I say,
About all the well known identities who are gathered here today.
There are Mouats and Hides and Quarnbys,
There are Keenans and Barbaries and more.
They are pioneers of Batlow, who did all the hard work before.
They started this town from nothing, with bullock teams, axes and saws,
The sweat and the curses and swearing, helped many a man through his chores.
The early settlers came flocking for the gold in the cold mountain streams,
And suffered torment and hardship in search of a golden pipe dream.
The gold rush soon it was ended, many settlers departed this land.
The few that were left with their visions started a pioneer band.
They saw in this beautiful valley a future in apples and pears,
And made from the virgin rain forest, a land that would always be theirs.
For many long years they laboured, their names increased by the score,
And many the deeds they accomplished with axes and cross cut saws.
So today all you people of Batlow who live in the ease of the time,
Take pause in your daily devotions and remember your pioneer line.
[Note: I do not know who wrote these words. It appears that they were written several decades ago, when admiration for the pioneers was at its peak. Peter Keenan.]
Batlow - Videos, Photographs and General Information
This photograph was published in 1925.
This is an old photo of Batlow taken from its lookout.
Below: Batlow - Kosciuszko National Park. Source: www.visitnsw.com/destinations/snowy-mountains/tumut-area/batlow
Below: Batlow - Kosciuszko National Park - Image: Jann Tuxford. Source: www.visitnsw.com/destinations/snowy-mountains/tumut-area/batlow