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KEENAN FAMILY  in Australia

Aaron Keenan (1865 - 1936)

 Updated  14 March 2024

Australian Generation:   First
Parents: Henry John Keenan and Nancy (Ann) Jane Keenan (nee Gamble)
Born: 9th December 1865 See Photographs

Married:  Elizabeth Jane Morton, 1891. Reg No. 7673.

Elizabeth's parents were George Morton (b. 1827 or 1831; died 1/9/1919) and Emma Piper (b.30/12/1841 - Tumut; died 17/5/1910 or 13/5/1910.  It appears George was born in Ireland. They were married on 4/8/1860.

The source for most of this information about the Mortons is the amazing public family tree by Geoffrey David Bell at his Bellsite website.  The information on George Morton may be found HERE, which is the area for george’s wife, Emma Piper.

Note: A headstone at the Tumut Pioneer Cemetary states that George was born on 10/2/1827.
Note also that George and Emma Morton befriended Henry and Ann Keenan when they arrived in the Bombowlee area. See below for more on this.

Elizabeth was born at Tumut in 1965 and died at Tmut on 2 August 1946, aged 81.

Occupation:  Miner and Farmer
Residence: Batlow and "The Glen", Bombowlee, (Tumut) NSW
Deceased:  11 January 1936. Aaron's obituary was published in The Tumut and Adelong Times on 14 January 1936. Corrections to the obituary were made in The Tumut and Adelong Times on 21 January 1936 in the Chiefly Personal column.  (Registration number 5395/1936). Both the original obituary and the correction are published below.
Buried:  Tumut new cemetery. Presbyterian section. Row N5



  • Hilda Webb (nee Keenan)

"Aaron, the second son of Henry and Ann, also went through the usual period of “gold fever” and made his first home on the eastern bank of the Gilmore Creek where, in 1891, he brought as his bride Elizabeth Morton, daughter of his parents’ old friends in Tumut.  Three children, Ivy, George and Henry, were born before the family moved and carried on farming at various locations in the Tumut district, at Lacmalac for a period and then to Bombowlee, but results were disappointing and in 1903 they returned to Batlow, where Aaron resumed his search for the elusive “rich strike”.  In the meantime two more sons had been born, Stuart and Roy, and whilst at Batlow the family was brought to a total of eight with the arrival of Ray, Hilda and Neil.  Aaron found that the gold still had too much dirt mixed with it and in 1917 the family returned again to Bombowlee and subsequently successfully carried on maize growing and dairying for a great number of years.  Ray, the youngest son, still continues to farm the property, but all the other sons have prosperous farming properties in the Batlow district, and the two daughters, Ivy (Mrs. John Morris) and Hilda (Mrs. Mervyn Webb) are settled in the Tumut district.  The eldest son, George, has in recent years played a prominent part in many public organisations in the Batlow district and for the last two years has been one of the representatives for his Riding on the Tumut Shire Council.  There are 24 members of the fourth generation and 11 members of the fifth generation of Aaron’s branch of the family.  Both Aaron and his wife passed their old age at their Bombowlee home, the former being laid to rest in the Tumut Cemetery in January 1936, and his good lady ten years later in August, 1946."  Extract from 1949 newspaper article by George Keenan.

In January 1993 I visited the Tumut Public Library for several days to search through the library's records of the Keenan family.  One of the folders I examined was known as the Perkins Papers. In it (at Item 19, Page 222) I found an article about the death of Aaron Keenan.  I took down the first part of it, which is shown below:

Tumut and Adelong in 1936 - from "Tumut and Adelong Times"

Jan 14.  Death of Aaron Keenan of Bombowlee Creek on 11th inst.  He was 70 years of age and had been incapacitated from work for the past 11 years.  In his early career he followed mining.  He went to Bowbowlee Creek in 1914 and engaged in dairying.  42 years ago he married Eliza, daughter of the late T. Morton of Bombowlee Creek.  They had eight children, all of whom are living - viz. Ivy (Mrs. J. Morris), George, Henry, Stewart, James, Roy (Batlow), and Mary (Mrs. Houston, Melbourne).  His six sons acted as pall bearers.  He was buried in Tumut new cemetery.  Mr S. Nicholas .... " Note by Peter Keenan: This list of children is incorrect.  The extract from the 1949 newspaper (see above) and the booklet shown below ("Mundongo Public School Centenary 1883 -1983") state the correct list: the eight children were Ivy, George, Henry, Stuart, Roy, Ray, Hilda and Neil.

I also found the following page in a publication:

Excerpt from “Mundongo Public School Centenary 1883 – 1983”, page 41.  Located at Tumut Shire Library ....



 In the year 1914, Aaron and Elizabeth Keenan came from Batlow to settle at Bombowlee. They commenced dairying in 1920, and members or the family continued dairying and pig farming until 1978, and were one of the last dairymen to supply cream in the Tumut district.


There were eight children in the family, six boys and two girls - Ivy, George, Henry, Stuart, Roy, Ray, Hilda and Neil.  Four of the children attended Mundongo School - Roy 1915, Ray 1915, Hilda 1915, Neil 1918.  The teacher in-charge was Mr Nicholls, who later taught their sons.


Ray Keenan married Pansy Bartell, and two sons, Maurice and Alan, attended Mundongo School. (One son died in infancy).


Neil Keenan married Edith Denson, who had also attended the school. They had five boys: Kevin, Reg, Cliff, Des and Bevan.  Kevin and Reg attended the school for a time, but in the year 1947, Neil and his family moved to Batlow to live.


Ray Keenan's son, Maurice. married Robyn Howard.  They have a family three children, and the eldest daughter, Teresa, attended Mundongo School for a short time.


Alan Keenan married Carol Glyn. There is one daughter, Raelene, who is at present attending Mundongo School. making three generations of Keenans to attend the school.

To see a scanned copy of original article on a separate page click here.

At page 56 of the publication is a list of students at Mundongo School.  The Keenans listed are Roy F. (1915); Allan Ray (1915); Hilda (1915); Neil S. (1918); Reginald George (1945); Maurice (1943); Alan James (1945); Teresa (1971); Bernadette (1976); Michelle (1976): and Raelene (1982).


The Tumut and Adelong Times, 14 January 1936

"The death occurred, at his residence, Bombowlee Creek, early on Saturday morning last, of Mr. Aaron Keenan, after a long illness. Deceased was 70 years of age, and had been incapacitated from work for eleven years. Nine months ago he underwent a serious operation from which he never recovered, recently having to take to his bed and was nursed by his wife and daughter (Mrs. J. Morris, of Terry's Creek, and daughter-in-law (Mrs. Geo. Keenan, Batlow). In the early part of his career he followed mining about Batlow, and in 1914 came to Bombowlee Creek, where he and the family engaged in dairying. . Forty-two years ago he married Eliza Morton, daughter of the late T. Morton, Bombowlee Creek. There are eight in the family, all of whom are alive, viz: Ivy (Mrs. J. Morris), George, Henry, Stewart, James, Roy (Batlow), Ray and Hilda (Mrs. M. Webb).The surviving brothers and sister are John (Wahroonga), James and Stewart (Batlow) and Mary (Mrs.Houston, Melbourne). On account of the funeral taking place as soon after his demise, a number of relatives were unable to attend. The six sons were the casket-bearers. The interment was in the Presbyterian portion of the Tumut New Cemetery, Mr. S. H. Nicholls (in the absence of Rev. J. A. Malcomson) reading the burial service."

Correction to Obituary - Mr Aaron Keenan

The Tumut and Adelong Times, 21 January 1936

This corrected information, is given to us by his daughter, Mrs. John Morris, Terry's Creek.

"There were some inaccuracies in our obituary of the late Aaron Keenan, as supplied to us by two of his relatives. It is 44 years and 9 months since the late Mr. Keenan married Miss Elizabeth Morton, daughter of the late George Morton, of Bombowlee Creek. Neil is the youngest member of the family. Although he had been in indifferent health for the past 11 years, it was not until the time of taking to his bed that he had to give up hard work. Twelve months ago he built a cottage for his son, and up till taking to his bed used to do repairing jobs about the house. For 10 or 11 years previous he had made the fruit cases annually for Mr. E. M. Herring's orchard at Batlow. "

The obituary of Aaron's wife, Mrs Elizabeth Jane Keenan (nee Morton), is published in the Tumut and Adelong Times of August 13, 1946. Here is a copy:

"OBITUARY MRS. ELIZABETH KEENAN As announced in a recent issue the death occurred at her residence, ’The Glen', Bombowlee, on Friday last, of Mrs Elizabeth Jane Keenan, at the age of 80 years. The late Mrs Keenan was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Morton of Bombowlee Creek. In the year 1891 she married Mr. Aaron Keenan of Batlow, who predeceased her by 10 years.There were six sons and two daughters born to the union, viz: George, Henry,Stuart and Roy, of Batlow, Neil and Ray of Bombowlee, Ivy (Mrs. John Morris, of Terrie's Creek, Tumut), and Hilda (Mrs. Mervyn J. Webb, of Bondo). There are also 22 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren surviving. Messrs. D P. Morton, of Temora, James Morton, of Bombowlee Creek, and Robert Morton, Batlow, are brothers and Mrs.John Keenan, of Engadine, and Miss Lina Morton, of Tumut, are sisters. The funeral left from the residence on Saturday afternoon, for the Presbyterian portion of the Tumut new cemetery, where deceased was laid to rest beside her late husband. Rev A Brown conducted the last sad rites at the grave side as well as conducting the service at the home."