Patrick Sheedy

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(Sometime recorded a Patrick Sheady)

Irish church records confirm that Patrick was born at Birdhill near Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland on the 3rd of December 1815. His father John Sheedy was a farmer, at nearby Oakhampton, and his mother was Mary Burke.[1]

In 1845 Patrick's physical description in convict records states that he had a sallow complexion, an oval head & visage and dark brown hair.He had no whiskers,had dark brown eyebrows, long thin nose, medium shape mouth and a double chin.[2]

Patrick had been transported to Hobart in 1845 aboard the Ratcliffe after attempting to ambush a party of soldiers at O' Brien's Bridge, near Newport, County Tipperary, Ireland. Sheedy was one of the notorious 'Whiteboys' of County Tipperary. Despite the increased security at Nenagh gaol at the time of Sheedy's arrest his cell mate managed to lower himself from his cell and escape the compound.[3]

Sheedy was sentenced to 14 years transportation with hard labour, which he served at Saltwater River after arriving at Hobart on 29 August 1845. He appeared a model prisoner for the first five years but was only biding his time for an opportunity to escape. In September 1850 Sheedy was given a pass to visit Richard Waycroft, the innkeeper who was also visited by John Mitchel immediately prior to his escape from Tasmania. This was followed by two visits to James Ross and then shortly after Sheedy absconded from Tasmania (a rewardfor his capture were still posted in the Gazette as late as 1857).[4]

Patrick Sheedy's rebel upbringing was consistent among the Sheedy families in Ireland; they were regularly involved with secret societies and insurrection. Irish church records confirm that Patrick was born at Birdhill near Nenagh on the 3rd of December 1815. His father John Sheedy was a farmer, at nearby Oakhampton, and his mother was Mary Burke. Whether to hide his convict background or his involvement as a Whiteboy Patrick's death certificate details are most irregular. The local Registrar who had lived near Sheedy for over thirty years recorded that Patrick was just 45 years of age instead of his real age of 70 year; his children's ages were altered so that he could appear a much younger man; incorrect parents were recorded; and his marriage, birthplace and burial details were all altered. But Sheedy was not the only rebel who lived in the Irish stronghold at Killarney whose history was deliberately covered.[5]

Patrick Sheedy died on the 26 December 1885, and buried in Tower Hill Cemetery.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Patrick Sheedy was arrested after the Eureka Stockade rebellion and brought before the Police Court along with Joseph Ellis, Pergo (a Spaniard) and Romeo (an Italian). Michael McAdam, a private in the 40th swore that he saw Sheedy taken 'convanient' to a tent 200 yards from the stockade, but Patrick Lynot (also a private in the 40th) swore that Sheedy came out of his tent about 500 yards from the stockade 'only to see what was happening'. An unconvincing account given that a full-scale battle had just taken place.[6]

Both Pergo and Romeo were discharged along with Patrick Sheedy but Joseph Ellis was remanded for further examination. Fortunate for Sheedy that police had little time for background checks on those arrested, as he was a convict absconder from Tasmania. [7]

... Patrick Sheady, Joseph Ellis, Pergo, a Spaniard, and Romeo, an Italian, were brought up. Mr. Dynam was sworn to act as interpreter for Romeo. Pergo's case was conducted by the Bench in French. Michael M'Adam, private of the 40th, saw Sheady taken "convanient" to a tent 200 yards from the stockade, J. F. Tulkin, a trooper, saw Romeo taken out of a tent about 150 yards from the Eureka stockade. He said as he went along towards the Camp, "thank God, I have escaped with my life this morning. I'll tell all I know of this."
Trooper Mainger : Saw Romeo taken, about 150 yards behind the stockade. I saw many running towards a tent from the one next to which con-stable O'Connor brought out Romeo with bloody hands.
Sergeant King gave the same evidence.
Revel, of the mounted 40th, was riding with others past the stockade. Several shots were fired at them. Saw Ellis with a gun. Saw him fire, and fired at him in return. On his return, saw Ellis in the act of geting over the stockade; cut at him ; thought he had killed him, and saw no more of him till he saw him prisoner.
Ellis maintained that he was innocent; wished the trooper who had taken him to be called, he did not know his name, but believed he was a sergeant, and knew he was "fresh looking." All the sergeants who were in the neighbourhood were called, and though they were all "fresh-looking," the particular one did not appear. He called Edward Ingram, his mate, who deposed that Ellis went to bed on Saturday night, and got up next morning to see the cause of the firing. They were plumbers and glaziers, and had been at work till six o'clock on Saturday evening. In the morning they went with others on the hill to see what was the matter. When the troopers came in sight, Ellis, who was frightened, went away, and was captured. With difficulty witness himself escaped. He could bring two other witnesses to corroborate these statements. Witness and his mate had been "always the other way."
Patrick Lynot, private 40th, saw Romeo in the stockade. He was armed and much agitated, looking to the right and left as if for a way of escape. Has no doubt about his identity. Saw Sheady come out of his tent about 508 yards from the stockade ; is convinced he only came out to see what was doing.
William Murrell, corporal 40th, saw Pergo, the Spaniard, at 100 to 150 yards from the stockade. He was near a tent, and had no arms.
Ellis called Mr. Morgan, auctioneer, who testified that the prisoner had been working for him for three weeks ; had received his wages on Saturday evening, about six o'clock. Prisoner was very industrious. Did not attend the meetings. Was always at his work and had not lost an hour in the three weeks.
Sheady, Pergo, and Romeo were discharged. Ellis was remanded till Monday, that the other witnesses for the defence might appear. ... [8]

Post 1854 Experiences

Shortly after the Eureka Stockade Patrick Sheedy was living near Killarney, spending his remaining years at 'Bird Hill', the family property named for his birthplace. Sheedy married Ellen O'Connell in 1855 at Warrnambool. Ellen was from Cappelaheen, County Clare, and was a relative of The Liberator). Patrick Sheedy initially laboured on farms of the famed Farnham Survey but soon himself became a Rutledge tenant. In 1874 Sheedy was offered the staggering sum of £1000 for his entire crop of potatoes. Patrick and his wife raised thirteen children at Killarney: James (of Trentham), Bridget (Mrs John McLaughlan), Margaret (Mrs Jeremiah Gallagher), Patrick (1860-1865), John (died Deniliquin, NSW), Mary (Mrs Thomas Joyce), Ellen (Mrs Charles Kane), Martin (of Killarney), Michael (Melbourne), Catherine (Mrs Hugh Carmody), Ann (Mrs Andrew Gallagher), Agnes (nm)and Elizabeth (Mrs Bernard Kane). The Sheedy boys played in the highly successful 'Golden Crown' Tower Hill football team.[9]

Patrick Sheedy had firm connections with the families of Michael O'Dea, John Lynch and Joyce families of the Tower Hill region.[10]


John Sheedy (farmer at Oakhampton) married Mary Burke.[11]

Patrick (b. 03 December 1815, Birdhill near Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland[12]
a. Bridget (b. 11 May 1856, Tower Hill. Christened 11 May 1856 - Godparents were Michael O'Dea and Mary Lynch)
b. Margaret Sheedy (b. 1857. Married Jeremiah Gallagher)
c. James Sheedy (b. 19 October 1858. Married Ellen Breheny)
d. Patrick Sheedy (b. 20 February 1860)
e. John Sheedy (b. 26 November 1861, Tower Hill, Victoria)
f. Mary Sheedy (b. 10 July 1863, Killarney, Victoria. Married Thomas Joyce)
g. Ellen Sheedy (b. 20 March 1865, Killarney, Victoria. Married Charles Kane)
h. Martin Sheedy (b.27 April 1867, Killarney, Victoria)
i. Michael Sheedy (b. 29 November 1968, Killarney, Victoria)
j. Catherine Sheedy (b. Killarney, Victoria. Married Hugh Carmody)
k. Ann Sheedy (b. 28 June 1873, Killarney, Victoria. Married Andrew Gallagher)
l. Agnes Sheedy (b. 29 September 1875, Killarney, Victoria)
m. Elizabeth Sheedy (b. 18 October 1879, Killarney, Victoria)<ref>, accessed 20 April 2017.<ref>

See also

Michael O'Dea


Further Reading

Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  2., viewed 29 March 2013.
  3. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  4. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  5. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  6. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  7. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  8. Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  10., viewed 29 March 2013.
  11. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.
  12. Email from J. Fawcett to C. Gervasoni, 28 November 2004.

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