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KEENAN FAMILY in Australia



"The Prince Consort" is the ship upon which Henry John Keenan and Nancy (Anne) Jane Keenan (nee Gamble) travelled to Australia. Nancy was pregnant with her first child - James - on the trip. James was born in Maryborough, Queensland (3 August 1864).

This webpage also includes information and links to the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute.

Updated 27/6/2019


Henry John Keenan (1840 - 1889) and  Nancy Jane Keenan (nee Gamble) (1844 - 1926) married on 1 October 1863 and migrated from Northern Ireland to Australia aboard a sailing ship (Clipper) called "The Prince Consort". It arrived in Hervey Bay, Queensland, on 30 March 1864. Due to a strike or mutiny by crew the ship had to remain in the bay from 22 March 1864 to 30 March 1864. It had left London's East India Docks on 13 December 1863. A record of the journey has been published in the book mentioned below.


The Book of the Trip to Australia


The ship, the trip and the conditions are described and illustrated in detail in a book entitled "Tall Ships on the River: Prince Consort 1864 and Other Voyages" by Kay Gassan and Judith Grimes [1994]; [100pages]; [ISBN: 0 646 18811 9].  This fascinating book also contains photographs, illustrations, extracts from diaries and family histories of some of those on board.


Enquires to either Kay F Glassan, P O Box 988, Maryborough, 4650, Queensland, Australia, or Judith A Grimes, P O Box 40, Nanango, 4615, Queensland, Australia.  See also the relevant LINKS below.





Extracts from the book:


"The Prince Consort was built in Quebec, Canada, in 1859 by John Nesbitt.  She was a three-masted wooden ship of 1,235 tons measuring 197.5 feet in length, 36.6 feet wide and 22.3 feet deep."


"(The ship) left East India Docks, London, on 13/12/1863."


"The ship arrived in Hervey Bay (Queensland) on Tuesday 22nd (March 1864) where it hove to in 25 fathoms of water ... The ship 'beat about by the bay' until Wednesday 30 March (1864)."

Front cover

From Page 68

More extracts from this book will be published here when time permits.


The impending departure of the ship "Prince Consort" from London to Queensland on 12 December 1863 was advertised in the "Belfast News-Letter" on 21 November 1863 and the 5 December 1863.  The ship was owned by the Black Ball and Eagle Line.  Below is a copy of the advertisement that appeared on 5 December 1863:

Source: The British Newspaper Archive.


Length of stay in Maryborough area (Queensland):  It is not known when Henry, his wife Nancy/Anne and their baby James left the Maryborough area and travelled south. However, their second child - Aaron - was born in NSW on 9th December 1865.  The story is that "conditions in the northern State were rather hard on Henry and Ann, for the summer heat was a severe contrast to their accustomed glorious green freshness of old Londonderry, and shortly after the birth of their firstborn, a son James, the young couple decided to move south in search of more congenial conditions and better prospects. Just what were the details of that long and arduous trip no one will ever know. Day after day they plodded valiantly forward, tarrying only long enough here and there for Henry to earn sufficient to see farther along the road and no doubt spurred on by the reports of fabulous gold strikes then being made in northern New South Wales. Eventually they arrived in the Monaro district of New South Wales and decided to stay for a while at a settlement then known as Providence...."  - Source: George Keenan (son of Aaron), in "A Pioneer Family of Batlow - The Keenans", published October 1949 in The Tumut and Adelong Times. See HERE.



Sketch of "The Prince Consort"   Migrant Ships Arriving In Queensland 1837-1915  
Maryborough Family Heritage Institute : Facebook site
Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute Inc website
Note: The book mentioned above may be purchased through contacts on these sites.
The physical address of the Institute is 164 Richmond corner Wharf Streets, Maryborough, Queensland. Phone (07) 4123 1620. Email: heritageresearch@bigpond.com.au.

Maryborough Family History Society: Facebook site

    Maryborough Family History Society Inc: website

East India Docks - London's docks and shipping - Port Cities  


Maryborough City Crest