Catherine Stewart (1825-1908)
(parents of Joan Gaffey):
Family stories claim that Catherine was a cob
(Photo courtesty of Jeannette McDonnell)
(Photo courtesty of Jeannette McDonnell)
Line of Descent
to Joan Gaffey
Jun 1825 in Ardee, Co. Louth
(to) NSW (1836)
|AKA||Stuart (the spelling of Catherine’s and her father’s name varied over time)|
|Death||Apr 28 1908 in Zig Zag near Bundarra, NSW from senile decay|
|Marriage||Thomas BERRYMAN (Jan 1844, MacDonald River [Hawkesbury] NSW)|
Marianne BERRYMAN (b 1846)
Thomas BERRYMAN (b Jan 15 1851)
John BERRYMAN (b 1852)
Joseph BERRYMAN (b 1854)
Henry BERRYMAN (b 1856)
Frederick BERRYMAN (b 1858)
Elizabeth BERRYMAN (b 1860)
Emily BERRYMAN (b 1864)
Maria BERRYMAN (b 1866)
Catherine was born in 1825 in Ireland, in the northern town of Ardee,
in County Louth.
When she was five years old, her father was convicted on charges of
housebreaking, sentenced to 7 years exile, and transported to New South
Wales. Five years later, her
mother Margaret’s petition for free passage to the colonies was
successful, enabling the family to be reunited. Catherine, her mother and older sister, made the long
journey to Sydney on the Thomas
Harrison in 1836.
Her new home was on a property in the the Hawkesbury River area of the colony, where her father had been assigned. The farm, on the river flats at Wilberforce near Wiseman's Ferry, north west of Sydney, was on prime fertile land fronting the McDonald River.
There, Catherine met another convict, Thomas Berryman, who was working on a property belonging to the Fleming family, who had extensive interests in the colony, both in the Hawkesbury and in the New England area.
Although Thomas up to 10 years older than she was, the 18-year-old Catherine married him in a ceremony in the Catholic chapel at Leet’s Vale, on the McDonald River near St. Albans. This chapel, named after St. Rose of Lima, doesn't exist today, presumably having been swept away in one of the many torrential floods which inundated the Hawkesbury Valley.
Thomas, still being a convict, required official permission to marry, which was granted in January 1844.
During earlier assignments for the Flemings, Thomas had become familiar with parts of the New England and northwest areas of the state, and so, by about 1850, Thomas and Catherine with a growing family of young children, found their way back there. Catherine and Thomas had 10 children who grew up in the Bundarra area of New England, near Armidale (An 11th child, a boy, was listed as 'deceased' on various family documents from the 1860s onwards) .
Thomas died suddenly, of a heart attack, when Catherine was only 47. Although Thomas had failed to make a will , the wheels of bureaucracy moved reasonably quickly to grant Catherine the proceeds of his estate valued at £1600, not an insignificant amount for the time. Catherine's lack of education, or at least literacy, is recorded in the estate documents, which had to be read to her, before she signed them with a cross.
She survived her husband by many years, dying in 1908 aged 82, on her son's selection ‘Zig Zag’, formerly part of the old Abington property, near Bundarra. The cause of her death was noted as ‘Senile decay’, from which she apparently suffered for two days!
Although she had been baptised and married in the Catholic
religion, Margaret was buried according to the rites of the Church of
England, and is buried along with Thomas in the Church of England section
of the cemetery in Bundarra.
The gravestones of Catherine
Berryman (left) and her husband Thomas in Bundarra cemetery.
Catherine's mother's name is given in the petition asking that
Thomas' family be allowed to join him in NSW, after his transportation there
The place of her birth was given as "Ardair" on her daughter
Elizabeth's birth certificate, but her mother's place of residence in the
convict petition was spelt as Ardee, County Louth
Catherine's death certificate.
 Her son Frederick Berryman said that at the time of his mother’s death in April 1908, she was 82 years and 10 months old . Other sources (e.g. birth certificates of some of her children) give an age which would mean a birth year of as early as 1819; however, her husband's convict permission-to-marry agrees with the age on the death certificate.