Mary Ann Goward was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. She married Peter O'Brien and lived in the Bega and Candelo districts of NSW.

Peter O’Brien and Mary Ann Goward

Peter O’Brien

Peter O’Brien who was born in County Meath, Ireland, came to Australia in 1864 (aged eighteen) with his parents James and Mary Ann Smith and siblings. The family settled in the Bega District on the NSW South Coast. Peter was, apparently, a talented wrestler, and known throughout the district for his skills.

Aged twenty-three he met and married fifteen-year old Mary Ann Goward, who was daughter of James and Mary Ann.

Mary Ann Goward

James and Mary Ann were Assisted Immigrants who arrived in Australia in 1854. Mary Ann was born the year after.

Early Married Life

At the time of their marriage, Mary Ann was already pregnant with their first child, James Joseph. At the time of marriage on October 2, 1870 (1870/2194), Peter was a “Labourer” at Tantawangalo, while Mary Ann was a “Dairy Maid” at Lithgow Flat. Tantawangalo is located about 30km from Bega, east of Candelo. Their wedding at Lithgow Flat was conducted by Father Patrick Slattery at the residence of Mr John Smith (presumably his cousin) The marriage record identifies John Smith and Eliza O’Brien (Peter’s sister) as witnesses, but fails to identify Mary Ann’s parents and age.

Mary Ann Goward was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. She married Peter O'Brien and lived in the Bega and Candelo districts of NSW.
Mary Ann Goward was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. She married Peter O’Brien and lived in the Bega and Candelo districts of NSW.

Financial & Legal Problems

On July 20, 1872, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Peter on a list of people undergoing insolvency proceedings.
On July 20, 1872, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Peter on a list of people undergoing insolvency proceedings. According to the article, his liabities were £152 18 which £65 is secured. Assets, £79.

The Bega Standard and Candelo, Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, Wolumla, and General Advertiser of Saturday 26 February 1876 reports

Peter O’Brien. was charged with using insulting language, to and assaulting Mr M.C.Solomon, at Candelo on the 13th ‘ultimo. The evidence showed that in ‘consequence’ of a dispute as to delay in delivering some cheese sent byfdefendants dray for shipment, the defendant had used very insulting expressions, and* .that he had attempted to pull Mr. (Solomon off his verandah, -and expressed a, desire :to throw- him into the creek. Mr. Solomon and another witness proved the defendant’s violence, and the ‘Bench fined’ him in’ a total penalty of £5 Ifis. -6d., remarking that the plaintiff deserved’ . the thanks, of the, public for bringing .the .case into court as an effectual check to such conduct. ,-. The fine was paid.

The Bega Gazette and Eden District or Southern Coast Advertiser Wednesday 26 July 1882 reports Peter O’Brien was charged by Senior Constable Smythe with using obscene language. He pleaded guilty and was fined one pound, with five shillings and ten pence cost of summons. The fine was paid.
The Bega Gazette and Eden District or Southern Coast Advertiser Thursday 25 June 1874 reported MONEY DUE. P. O’Brien v. J. Porter. This was a cross case connected with the action for detinue. Plaintiff had been fencing for defendant, and now claimed SA 5s for mi overplus of 180 rails, 8 posts and labor done. Defendant had a set off for over charge, deficiency, and rent of a hut, and had paid 25s. 5d. into Court, this being the amount he considered due plaintiff. The Bench patiently exercised themselves with arithmetical problems, and reducced “Peter’s* claim to £3 lis. 6d., inclusive of the pound and five pence paid into Court. [The plaintiff in this case must pardon our reporter for writing of him as ‘Peter’; but as our reporter repeatedly heard the plaintiff thus familiarly addressed from the dais by the most comprehensible of their worships, he had involuntarily re tained the use of the affectionate appel lation in this record of the proceedings.]

The Electoral Records show that throughout the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, Peter was in residence at a number of locations, including Wolumla (1873), Merimbula (1881), Tantawanglo (1885), “Shamrock Vale” Candelo (1892), Rocky Hall (1893) and Wyndham (1894) where he was recorded as a Dairyman.

The NSW Government Gazette of October 28, 1892, reports the following

IN BANKRUPTCY. Re Peter O’Brien, of Bock wood, Hockey Hall, near Wyndham, dairyman, NOTICE is hereby given that the Single Meeting of creditors in the above matter will be held at the Court-house, Bombala, before the District Registrar in Bankruptcy, on the 2lst day of November, 1892, at 11 a.m., or as soon after as the course of  business will permit. To entitle a creditor to vote thereat, his proof must be lodged with the Registrar in Bankruptcy, Chancery-square. Sydney, not later than the 14th day of November, 1892. ARTHUR HENRY, Registrar in Bankruptcy. Official Assignee—Augustus Morris

Death of Peter O’Brien

After one years illness with Phibesis – possibly relating to heart disease – Peter O’Brien died at Candelo on October 6, 1897, (Death Certificate 1897/11322) and was buried the following day.

Later life and death of Mary Ann Goward

After Peter’s death, Mary Ann lived with her son, John and his family at Towridgee, near Candelo. The house at Kameruka, which was linked to the creek by 27 pine trees along the road, was, by all accounts, a busy one; John had fathered at least 18 children. Oral history accounts speak of a large oven on the wall and a dining table that could seat 32. The house still exists. The house and family were well known in the area: presumably because of the large number of children and because John was having a relationship simultaenously with two sisters.

It is said that in her later years, Mary Ann’s eye-sight was failing and that because she was such a big person, she couldn’t get around much. Alf O’Brien reports that one day, John’s children decided to play a joke on their grandmother. They dressed one of the children, Arthur up as a Priest, he knocked on the door and started the preach the bible. Granny was furious and tried to hit them with a straw broom.

After a three-year ilnness with Chronic Congestive Heart Disease (Mitral Insufficiency), Mary Ann died, aged 77, on September 22, 1932 at Orchard Farm, Candelo. She was buried the same day in the Church of England section at Wolumla Cemetery.

Her death was reported in the “Bega District News” on September 29, 1932.

The late Mrs Peter O’Brien, who died at Candelo last week, was 77 years of age. She was a daughter of the late Mrs James Goward, of wolumla, and have lived in the district practically all her life. Her husband, who died many years ago, was brother of the late Mr Luke O’Brien, and was a noted wrestler in the early days of the district.

And in The Southern Record and Advertiser Friday 23 September 1932

Mrs. Peter O’Brien, mother of Mr. Charlie O’Brien of Candelo, passed
away on Wednesday night. She had been residing with ‘her son here for
some time, and was a very old and respected identity of these parts.


* James Joseph O’Brien was born at Bega, NSW on February 4, 1871 (7059/1871). Aged twenty-four, James married twenty-one year old Lena Noonan in 1895 (717/1895). They lived on the South Coast for a number of years before heading to the North Coast in about 1908. More information about them is available via the link above.

* John O’Brien was born April 13, 1873 at Ryans Swamp, Candelo NSW. John married (1) Sarah Agnes Went daughter of James Went and Sarah Whitby in 1897 in Candelo,Nsw,Australia. Sarah was born on 5 Jun 1876. She died on 2 Apr 1908. John also married Mary Jane Went daughter of James Went and Sarah Whitby. Mary was born on 1 Jul 1882 in Chalk Hills,Wolumla,Nsw,Australia. She died on 26 Jun 1953. She was buried in Church of England, Brownsville. John died November 9, 1948, Windsor Road, Box Hill NSW, and was buried on November 10 1948 in Roman Catholic Cemetery,West Dapto.

* Luke O’Brien was born 1876 at Bega and died 1879 at Bega.

* Patrick O’Brien was born in 1878 at Bega and died in 1900 at Candelo.

* William Albert O’Brien was born February 25, 1880 at Merimbula, NSW. He married Sarah Viola Lenora Piesley (born July 28, 1883 at Bega) on December 27, 1905 at Bega. William albert died on July 6, 1947 at Wolumla. Sarah died on September 15, 1961 at Dapto, NSW.

* Elizabeth Catherine O’Brien was born 1881 at Bega. She married Thomas Holzhauser at Candelo in 1899 (826/1899). Though I’m not clear about when and how, the family ended up at Byron Bay.

The Northern Star of December 10, 1917 reported

The ShirA Gieric rbporteci a permit was granted Thomas ‘ Holzhausen to camp on thepicnic ground, -.but Mr. Holzhausen has taken on. himself; to destroy, the. native flora in a most wanton manner, and has cut’ down about three-quarters of au acre of beautiful cabbage “tree palrh’s’ ‘Vand ; fenced ;the land in,  Would recommend that he; be”. given immed iate notice to , quit.-7-Subsequently . . on the. motion of Cr.. Collins,, the. Clerk was instruct-,cd /to cancel .tlie perniit and give Holzhausen notice to quit’ !afc- once/

The Northern Star of October 26, 1935 reported

A charge of having failed to send a child :to school was preferred against each of five defendants before Mr. H. Hawkins, P.M., in the Byron Bay police court on Thursday. In the cases of Elizabeth Holz-hauser, : Robert Walsh and Katherine Hall, all of Byron Bay, pleas of guilty were entered and fines of 5/-, with 8/- court costs in each instance, were imposed. The charges against Murray Watego, Byron Bay, and John Hart, Ew’ingsdale, were postponed to November; 21.
The Northern Star of December 17, 1930 reported
FUNERAL NOTICE. The FUNERAL of the late THOMAS HOLZHAUSER, late of Byron Bay, will move from St. Carth-age’s Cathedral, Lismore, THIS DAY (WEDNESDAY), at 2 p.m., for the Roman Catholic portion of the new General Cemetery. SWEENEY and BRYANT, Undertakers.
The Northern Star of July 22, 1942 reported
HOLZHAUSER—HARPER. — At St. Carthage’s Cathedral on July 7, Rev. Father Daley officiated at the marriage of Cpl. William Thomas Holzhauser son of the late Mr. T. Holzhauser and Mrs. Holzhauser, of Byron Bay, with Miss Agnes Harper, daughter of Robert Harper and the late Mrs. Harper, of Alstonville. the bride was escorted to the altar by her brother-in-law, Mr. A. E. Wright, and was attended by her cousin, Miss Jean Muldoon, as bridesmaid. Tpr. E. Collins acted as best man. After the ceremony the bride’s aunt entertained a few inti- mate friends at the Mecca Cafe.
Elizabeth Holzhauser died at Newcastle in 1963 (36892/1963)

* Thomas O’Brien was born 1883 at Bega and died 1887 at Bega.

* George Henry O’Brien was born 1888 at Bega NSW. George married Mary A (aka Pet) Rolfe in 1908. He died 13 September 1951 and was buried in the Church of England, Bega.

The Twofold Magnet of February 9, 1909 reports

George O’Brien has returned from n! lengthy stay in Maoriland. He says that there is plenty of work there and wages; are’ high, but there’s too much rain. Illness compelled his return to Bega

The Sydney Morning Herald of March 14, 1952 records

GEORGE HENRY O BRIEN late of North Bega NSW Retired Labourer died 13th September 1951 intcstoto An Election to Administer wns filed on 20th February 19r2 ,

* Charles Herbert O’Brien was born 1891 at Candelo, NSW. He married Florence Louisa Newlyn (who was born September 27, 1901 in Lochiel, Pambula). He died on July 9, 1941 at “Elmhgrove” near Bega and was buried the following day at the Catholic Cemetery, Bega. Florence died on December 4 1983 in Bombala.

* Ethel M O’Brien was born in 1885. She married William Hunt in 1909.

* Mary Ann O’Brien was born 1874 in Bega. She married Joseph George Hyde (born 1873). Joseph died July 3 1942 in Terania Street, North Lismore NSW. I do not have death details for Mary Ann yet. His obituary, published in the Northern Star on July 4, 1942, records they moved to the Richmond River 32 years earlier and that Joseph had been engaged in dairying at Alphadale, Rosebank and Tullera. They then moved to a property of their own at Jiggi in about 1913. They purchased a farm at Goolmangar in 1930, where he resided until his death. Joseph George Hyde was buried in East Lismore Cemetery on July 3, 1942 in the Roman Catholic Section 21B, 35.

MR JOSEPH GEORGE HYDE: Mr Joseph George Hyde, well known Richmond district resident, died at the residence of his son, Mr C Hyde, of Nimbin Road, yesterday afternoon. The late Mr Hyde, who was 63 years of age, was born at Rocky Hall on the South Coast. He came to the Richmond River 34 years ago and had since been engaged in dairying, at Alphadale, Rosebank and Tullera. He then moved to a property of his own at Jiggi, where he lived for 17 years. Twelve years ago he purchased a farm at Goolmangar, where he resided until his death. Deceased was a life member of the MUIOOP and had held various offices in the Order. He was a member of Loyal Jiggi Lodge at the time of his death. A widow and two sons survive. The sons are David George Hyde, of Teven, and Cecil, Nimbin road. There are 10 grandchildren. The funeral will leave St Carthage’s Cathedral at 2. o’clock this afternoon for the RC portion of Lismore cemetery.

The Northern Star of July 6, 1942 reported…

MR J G HYDE :  Mr Joseph George Hyde, a well known resident of Goolmangar, who died at the home of his son on Friday, was buried in Lismore on Saturday afternoon. The funeral left St Carthage’s Cathedral. It was largely attended. At the service an the Cathedral Rev Father Duggan was assisted by Rev Father Relihan. Mr Hyde “was a prominent member of the MUIOOF, joining the order at an early age on the South Coast. Members of the order were represented at the funeral, and a lodge service was conducted at the cemetery by Mr F J Folbigg, NG. Father Duggan officiated at the graveside. Pall bearers were members of the Jiggi MUIOOF. Thy were Messrs. H J Shearman. S Scott, W Crick, T Davis, R Turner and A J Clark. The funeral arrangements were conducted by Mr J Sweeney.

Mary Ann died May 25, 1962 at Lismore, and was buried in the East Lismore Cemetery, Roman Catholic Section, 21B, 36.

Acknowledgements: David Smith and Alf O’Brien

Sharing Around: Please feel free to copy any of the information on this page which may help you in your own research. My feeling is that family research is hard enough, without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel. It would be great, however, if you’d leave a comment below just to say “hi”.

28 responses to “Peter O’Brien and Mary Ann Goward”

  1. Jeanette Avatar

    These are my family and I would like to learn more

  2. James Avatar

    Hi Jeanette,
    Lovely to hear from you. If you can tell me where you fit into the family, I might be able to help you out more. I’m more than happy to help in whatever way I can.

  3. Victoria Whyte-Johnston Avatar
    Victoria Whyte-Johnston

    Hi Jeanette,

    This is also my family. I am the granddaughter of Ellen Agnes O’Brien who is the daughter of John O’Brien and Mary Jane Went.

  4. James Avatar

    Hi Victoria, lovely to hear from you. James

  5. pete Avatar

    Gidday, Just a query, With all your past research was this family ever involved in the Goolmangar store? or had you tripped over any references to it that may allow us to trace its origin and past history.

  6. Barry O'Brien Avatar
    Barry O’Brien

    Hello James
    I have been in touch with Victoria. Could you please pass on my details to Jeanette.

  7. Yvonne Leighton Avatar
    Yvonne Leighton

    Hi there,
    I’m in the process of writing a book and would like to get in touch with Victoria regarding family in Bega. I have a query and hopefully Victoria will be able to help me.
    Many thanks,

    1. James Avatar

      Yvonne, I have passed on your email. James

      1. Barry O'Brien Avatar
        Barry O’Brien

        Hi James
        Thank you for all the work you do on this site. It is certainly getting bigger and better all the time. Perhaps you could put a date against the each family group so we don’t have to read through each entry every time. Maybe also change the text colour to bring any changes to our attention.
        Things are progressing with the reunion and I am looking forward to seeing you again.
        Yvonne, could you contact me on

    2. Victoria Whyte-Johnston Avatar
      Victoria Whyte-Johnston

      I don’t know if I ever replied if I didn’t I apologise.

  8. James Avatar

    Note there’s a comment from Monica Gray (nee O’Brien) on this page establishing a connection. Her grandfather was William, mine was James.

  9. Cheryl O'Brien Avatar
    Cheryl O’Brien

    Hi James, I am doing research into my son’s paternal line. His great great grandfather was Peter O’Brien, great grandfather was William Albert O’Brien & his grandafther was Arthur Albert O’Brien. Thank you for sharing the results of your research, it is much appreciated. Regards Cheryl

    1. James Avatar

      Hi Cheryl, great to hear from you. There’s a comment from Monica Gray who also has a connection through William. James

  10. Barry O'Brien Avatar
    Barry O’Brien

    Hi James
    Lovely to speak with you last night. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion.
    Cheryl is my second cousin-in-law. I can help her if she writes to me at Cheryl, I would love to see you at the reunion at Jamberoo on February 27.
    Regards Barry

  11. gusobrien Avatar

    Hi James
    It was lovely chatting with you last night. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion.
    Cheryl, you are my second-cousin-in-law. If you write to me at I am sure that I can help you with your son’s quest for knowledge. I hope to see you at the reunion at Jamberoo on February 27.

  12. Rod Avatar

    James dont know if you have this already ?
    Number Surname Given Name Sex Burial Date of Death Cemetery placementtype placement director plaqueplaced cremnumber


    1. James O'Brien Avatar

      Hi Rod, no I didn’t have that information. Thanks! Will add to the body of the item. Cheers, James

  13. gusobrien Avatar

    Hi James

    Thank you for the update.

    All the best for Christmas.



    1. James O'Brien Avatar

      Best wishes to you also.

  14. KIm Cass Avatar
    KIm Cass

    Hi James, My name is Kim Cass and I’m also a Rixon descendant from one of the Triplets, James Rixon! My distant Cousin Joye Walsh, gave me your page to have a look at. I’m begining to think I’m related to the entire state of NSW!! so as a Maroon blooded Queenslander, its come as quiet a shock!! On my Mum’s side I’m only first generation Australian (she’s Brittish) and as I’ve come to find out on my Fathers we go back 6 generations! The stories are fantastic! Do you know if anyone has managed to find James Rixon’s I (b1770) father or mother? Has anyone gone further back? I find it slightly eery that he died on my birthday 7th April.

  15. Joan Hanley Avatar
    Joan Hanley

    Hi James, my grandmother was born at Candelo, her grandparents Felix and Alice Darragh are buried there. Granma’s parents moved to Kyogle way. Seems a lot of the families down south did that, sensible to get out of the cold. Have you looked up the Monaro Pioneers site? It is great, and thanks to all the people who contributed to it. Some of my families married into the Rixon and Hyde families and others. My families were Felix Darragh, Michael Farrell and David Bell. All have family trees on the Monaro site.

    1. James O'Brien Avatar

      Hi Joan, yes the Monaroo Pioneers site is terrific. Have found and contributed to info there. As I understand, it wasn’t just the cold that sent people north, as there was also a drought, a rabbit plague, and the promise of better pastures. Although I was raised on the North Coast, I do love the South Coast also. In some ways, it’s like the North Coast was about thirty years ago before the tourist influx turned places like Byron Bay from quite coastal towns to major resorts. James

  16. Joan Hanley Avatar
    Joan Hanley

    Thanks for the reply. I grew up near Murwillumbah.

  17. Jamie-Lee Avatar

    Hi, Wow, Peter O’Brien and Mary Ann Goward was my grandma’s family side. I’m just start to research about my grandparent’s families side and I would like to learn more about them. Jamie-Lee

  18. Barry O'Brien Avatar
    Barry O’Brien

    Hi Jamie-Lee. My name is Barry O’Brien. Please contact me on Thank for passing this on James.

  19. Rosalea Apps Avatar
    Rosalea Apps

    My g grandmother was Margaret O’Brien, came from county Clare around 1880. Married Patrick McMahon and they lived at the Settlement in Bega, from around 1885 till her death in 1911. I am hoping that she may have come to Australia with a sister or Brother and so may have some relations or connections to the O’Briens in your or your followers research.
    Many thanks

    1. James O'Brien Avatar

      Hi Rosalea
      It would be really great if there was a connection, though I’m unaware of any at this time. Good luck with it all, and maybe someone else can shed light on this.

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