Recollections of Jack Duggan recorded in Wellington July 2015

The recording is in four parts. The text is a loose summary, not a transcript.

Part 1 (14'32")

0:00 My grandfather D.J. Duggan. Little connection with him because he died young (52). His name was legendary in the family. He was quite a people mover. 

4:00 Tarnagulla was an important part of my upbringing. Activities such as birdnesting. We'd take pot shots.

7:45 Who was Molly? The remains of D.J. Duggan's shop in the main street of Tarnagulla. Also the lolly shop. 

9:10 D.J. Duggan was in Melbourne in later life. He died in Melbourne. His widow Maisie died at 99. Account of her digging in the garden. She stayed with Auntie Win, the daughter of D.J. Duggan.

11:42 Auntie Alice married a pathfinder during the war. Auntie May was Dad's sister. A formidable nurse during the war. Danny burped at Auntie May.

13:55 Meeting Auntie May on the tram. She was quite a lady. She lost her memory in later life.

Part 2 (41'40"):

0:00 Creswick: my parents buried there. Tom Cushing was the mayor of Creswick and because he was a widower my mother was the mayoress. She painted. She also recited poetry and played the violin. She supported Dad. 

2:15 Dad took up law after the war and took up the articled clerk's course. I went to school proud and said 'My father was the sheriff'.

3:50 How Mum met Dad. We lived in a house in the middle of Creswick. Mum did wonders making ends meet. 

6:45 I remember the Pascoe's, the undertakers. In Ballarat we moved into a house which had been a big mansion, with a ballroom. We all got diphtheria at the same time. Toss was the family dog. We used to toast the bread in front of the open fire. Mum fed us well.

10:05 Dad was a great gardener and a mathematician. 

11:55 He did many brave things during World War I. They stole horses of the Poms. Dad led the raid. Dan and I used to call ourselves the son of a horse thief.

16:20 Dad didn't talk to us about the war. We got it all from Mum. 

15:50 He had a photographic mind. That made him an impeccable judge. He could tell an Irish prince when he saw one.

16:50 Where did he stand politically? Labor all the way. 

17:30 After being Clerk of the Court in Ballarat, he went to Bendigo, then he became the police magistrate of Ballarat. The family moved to Ballarat. 

18:25 He still had vestiges of the shell shock. If a door banged, he'd jump. 

19:00 Bendigo I regard as my home town. Our house was called Raheen, which was also the name of Archbishop Mannix's residence. He held Mannix in high regard. 

20:00 He'd seen all the horrors of hell. 

20:30 He was very firm in his views. There were only three things a girl could do. The girls of the family became nurses.  

22:00 Genevieve was the brightest. Dan worshipped the ground Ken walked on. 

23:05 We used to go around the towns and put on shows. I'd do a lot of clowning. I'd got thrown out of the school choir. 

24:45 How many in Dad's family? Poor state of health services. 

26:52 Auntie Win was in love with a soldier who was killed in the war and so she never married. She had a great sense of humour. 

26:25 She didn't talk about the soldier she loved because it was a very deep wound. There was a shortage of men. 

27:10 Uncle Jim. He was a bit of a dag, high up in the Commonwealth Bank. 

27:50 Dad's elder brother Michael John, I stayed with him sometimes. He was married to Hermini. The family was very much a family. 

26:45 Sense of community? Yes. Danny decided to become a patrol officer in Papua New Guinea. Uncle John wrote him a long letter stating the reasons why he should not leave the bank and go to PNG. A cadetship in the bank was a good thing. You automatically went through to become manager. 

30:20 Auntie May said my 21st birthday was coming up and what would I like? I was very dismissive, I didn't want gifts. 

31:09 D.J. Duggan - how did he die? He was 54. Asthma or something.

31:55 Diabetes was rife in the Cushing family. One of them died on the train between Melbourne and Bendigo. 

32:40 Mum's family - Molly. The youngest. She'd had a fall and was very spoilt. She said she'd never be marrying so her father left most of his dough to her. Then she promptly married Jack Charleson. Very strong willed. She was great on the stock exchange. Made a fortune. They had no kids but Jack was great with kids and dogs. 

34:30 He split up with Molly, in later years. He was a bit of a Romeo. He had girl friends. He was tall, like an English squire. A great sense of humour.  

35:25 Everybody smoked. I was shocked when I found out that Mum smoked. Auntie Hilda smoked as well, but she went to the races. 

37:30 The others in Mum's family. We kept more in touch with Dad's family. One lovely character was John Michael Duggan. The most kindly mellow man in the world. But beware the quiet man. He decked the bank manager. He was demoted. Then the union took it up and there was hell to pay. Not only was John reinstated, but he was promoted. 

40:15 He lived in Albert Park in Melbourne. Then he retired to a retirement home in the vicinity. I used to pop in and see him. He died at 105 a few years ago. He had a lovely wife but no children. She predeceased him by about seven years. He was, to use the Irish term, a darlin' man.

Part 3 (25')

0:00 There was a lot of bullying. It was a very tough school, Marist Brothers Bendigo. There were two characters who used to bully me. Goggles Keogh at the pool, I took him out to the deep water to drown him. Goggles and I became good friends after that. But not Brodie. He claimed later that he'd been a member of a secret organisation during the war. 

4:50 Teacher training college. It was a time of drought. The hills crawled with rabbits. 

6:35 Mum was a hell of a cook. Dad got the game and she'd cook it. Dad was a great provider. When he went up to Echuca he'd come home with a box of Murray crays. On occasion he brought home a Murray Cod. Years later I went on a cruise on the Murray.

10:00 Mum as a cook. She did beef olives. That had disastrous side effects. On my honeymoon. I had pipes coming out of me. Danny laughed and said I looked like the arse end of a television set. 

11:30 The first three of us were two years apart... Mum was a very lovely and holy person. I wish I'd been a better son. She played violin. She was a good business manager because she'd been a milliner. She made the clothes for the girls. 

14:30 When I married Mary, it wasn't without its moments. Danny came down from PNG to be my best man and he cobbered up with the bridesmaids. 

16:05 Dad didn't like Auntie Mollie but she was very close to Mum, her sister. We were going away on a holiday and Auntie Mollie decided to come too. 

16:55 When I was very young we went to St Kilda for holidays and stayed at the Bleak House Hotel, over the road from the beach. Somebody had caught a shark. 

17:40 Sometimes I'd be down in Melbourne with Auntie Win. I used to go up to local baths. 

19:15 I stayed with Auntie Alice. Her two boys. Two girls. Dorothy and Mary Brennan. Teddy was being put through Xavier by Auntie May. I felt embarrassed because I really was a country kid. He put me down once too often. So I dropped him. He raced into his mother. I haven't seen him since but he's probably grown up into a nice young man. 

21:30 Danny was eight years younger. I taught him to throw a boomerang. Danny got into my stamps. I wanted to kill him. 

23:30 I had a healthy disregard for my sisters at the time. When Mum was pregnant with Catherine Dad told me and I said 'turn it up Dad'.

Part 4 (15'27")

0:00 We used to ride our bikes. We used to lower ourselves down into mine shafts. We lit a fire at one stage. 

1:10 I remember the flora and fauna. Goannas, blue tongued lizards. Not too many snakes. In later years, I used to chase snakes. 

3:55 Dad was a dead shot. Even in closed season.

4:50 Merit class at school. I was in the bottom quartile, Grade 8. I got a new teacher, Brother Boniface. He use to steal dusters from other teachers. Under him I blossomed an moved from the bottom quartile to the top quartile. 

7:15 Soldiers who came home were an inspiration I wanted to join the air force. 

8:10 I'd been in the Air League. I was an acting sergeant. The war finished and we couldn't get in. The end of the war left me very disorientated. But I would have got myself killed.

13:30 As a student teacher I went to Maldon for a year. They sent some of us out untrained because of the shortage. I went to Woodburn Creek outside Meredith, between Ballarat and Bendigo.

The Duggans of Tarnagulla

Email from Jack Duggan 23/6/14:

An interesting excerpt from Dan the family genealogist. The poms hung two of our lot. Also a couple of ours were at Eureka Stockade. And Tomorrow is the anniversary of our first Australian ancestor Michael Duggan who died as a leading figure in Tarnagulla in 1882. 

Don't know how old he was when he died but it was good for the times. Mary & I have stayed at the Tarnagulla house.  I spent holidays there as a kid. The Tarnagulla Duggans Were great mates. The house a Tarnagulla is I think called TARA John.


From Dan Duggan:

Notes for Michael DUGGAN: BIO:

Came from ~BBRUREE~b in the Barony of Connelo, County Limerick, Ireland accompanied by his sister Catherine, by sailing ship HYDRABAD?? in the year 1849, landing in Sydney. Catherine married Michael DALY shortly after and they and most of their descendants have remained in NSW. Michael Duggan was storekeeping for a few years and on the 3rd May 1854 married Johanna Hogan who, with several of her brothers had arrived from Tipperary about the same time. They went to Hargreave's Goldfields (where gold was first discovered in Australia). Their eldest son DANIEL JOSEPH DUGGAN was born at Duggan's Hill Hargreaves in 1856. Within the next year or so they went to Victoria and took up land at Murphy's Flat near Tarnagulla - a well known goldfield, where Michael Duggan died on the 24th June 1882.

The name Michael Duggan appears in the application for a NEW SCHOOL at Tarnagulla - school roll shows James Duggan family

The Duggan house at Tarnagulla is still owned and occupied by part of the Duggan family.


NAME: Michael DUGGAN (#1)~b

Born in the village of BRUREE, Barony of Conelo, County Limerick, Ireland

Notes for Johanna HOGAN: BIO:

At the residence of Genevieve Mullins , nee DUGGAN, there is a pencil drawing of a Teresa Daly the daughter of Catherine HOGAN - there is another drawing which appears to have been done at the same time and that is Daniel Joseph Duggan, 3 years, Louisa Creek NSW, 1859.


Two family members (Hogans) hung at Limerick in the supression of the Fenian rebellion


Photo of the illuminated address that was last week reframed and hung in the Sydney home of Michael Mullins.

Jack Duggan's poem for Madeline

Madeline Joan Buchanan
16 December 1925 - 17 April 2014

Jack reads the poem at Madeline's requiem:

Cooking - kitchen gas rings flame; the oven gets dinner on the way.
Cheese scones — a fresh batch, a warm scent on the dinner table.
Gatherings in the kitchen
Foster's Lager froths chilled glasses for guests seated round the summer table setting.
Washing pegged out on the line, stiff drying in Bendigo where nearly every day is fine.
Chooks some white most brown and red cluck as they are fed, kitchen scraps scattered round for them to garner on sawdust strewn ground.
Hand hosing gardens on each even-numbered day.
Nurturing lettuce, tomatoes, herbs - mint and parsley, beans and other greens until the drought dismembers all that's standing in its way.
A hand knitted sweater warmed me on my seventieth; a crocheted, multi-coloured quilt. Sweaters for her men folk, things for Joan - gifts for others; sewing for all those nurses’ stalls.
Now she's retired from nursing; Madeline numbers her last seasons.
Walking down the street with her I would hear women say they've missed her and often there's - ”Good Morning, Sister!”
Now vision gone, her body prone to back pain and other never-ending agonies, she musters yet more courage to carry on the way she is.
Her memory of everyone she ever met; everything that ever happened; from the nineteen twenties long ago to now (nearly nine decades later) is never lost for long.
But for Madeline — Ken, her kids, grandkids, family and nursing are and were - her life.

Jack Duggan's poem for Genevieve

Genevieve gently winding down

Always the Indian
left tied to a tree
forgotten for hours
– a brave Indian.

At the Melbourne Public Library
happy among the knowledge
kept in its castles of books and
tiers of drawers
until the Patriarch ordained

to Nursing in Ballarat
but knowledge
rose triumphant
she won the Nursing Prizes

Occasional suitors but
along came Bill
a tough Border Riverina farmer
set in his ways but he loved his

Children came - she lost Margaret
but the others prospered
Michael the Jesuit editor
James the Radiologist, master of X-rays
Elizabeth tripped over an English Canon
then found a Canadian academic
and happiness

After Bill life was not so full
Genevieve stayed alert
read Quadrant and articles of depth
knew the strength and weakness of
politics and business

Despite arthritic carpals
she tended her tiny gardens
managed the family business
James gave her Purdy the foxie
to commune with and cherish

Mum often said: “You keep your daughters
but lose your sons.”
Oceans lured them
to carve careers
in PNG & Kiwi land.’  
Madeline, Cate & Gen
stayed  in Australia’s East

Always close to Genevieve
John stayed in touch
had honeymoon and holidays with
Genevieve and Bill and later
Gen and her kids

All must come to pass and
Gen is winding down – peacefully
Michael is there picking up the baton
from Jennette who spreads
a Veterinary career, motherhood & a lifestyle block
- in her busy life she makes  time for Gen.

So Genevieve lies silent
the ever uncomplaining ‘Indian’
her mind has gone ahead
she calmly contemplates the causeway
as her life spirit fades

A slowly flowing stream
that leads to Heaven
to Bill and Margaret, Dad and Mum
and Cate who have preceeded her -
she smiles and lies there waiting

Genevieve is winding down,

RIP (6:45 am Australian time, 3 Aug 2012)

Her brother
Jack Duggan
‘The Stockade’,
4 Kio Road Hataitai
Wellington NZ

Read by William Mullins: