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The Delahunty Family History:
From Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland to Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
by Catherine Delahunty
Chapter 8: Arrival in Dunedin, New Zealand, 2nd June 1883

It was known from family sources that the Delahunty family arrived in Dunedin on board a ship possibly called “Indian Princess”, “Star of India” or “Indian Empire”. The Customs Ledger record of harbour dues (handwritten) was searched and an entry found for a vessel called the “Indian Empire”.

Newspaper: The Morning Herald
Date: Monday 4 June 1883
Article: Shipping

“Indian Empire”, ship, 1515 tons, Watson from London, National Mortgage & Agency Co, agents.

Saloon - Messrs C O Smith, G Wilson
Second class & Steerage: Mrs Doolagherty & family (7),
Messrs Winstanley, Fallant, Laurie, Marner

Arrival of the “Indian Empire”
The ship “Indian Empire” arrived in Port Chalmers on the 2nd instant. She is an iron ship of 1515 tons register, built in 1865 at West Hartlepool by Messrs Pile, Spence and Co, and owned by Mr Dewman of London. The commander is Captain Watson who has not been in this port before. He has been chiefly employed previously in the East Indian trade. The ship brings a cargo of about 3,000 tons, 800 tons of which are dead weight and is consigned to the National Mortgage and Agency Co.

We thank Captain Watson for the following report of the voyage:- ‘The “Indian Empire” left London on 2 March, had easterly winds with fine weather down the English Channel, took her departure from the Lizard on the morning of 5 March, had fine weather across the Bay of Biscay, and carried easterly winds right up to lat. 1 N, on 26 March, when the S.E. Trades were taken, crossed the Equator on the same day in long. 24 W, had fair Trades and sighted the island of Trindaada on 1 April, lost S.E. Trades in lat. 25 S. Next day took the Westerlies, crossed the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope on 17 April in lat. 42 S, 47 days out; off the pitch of the Cape and to the eastward had a week of easterly winds, afterwards had strong westerlies across the Southern Ocean to Cape Leuwin, with occasional very heavy gales, during one of which the ship was hove to for twelve hours, a heavy sea breaking on board, smashing part of the bulwarks and flooding the decks. Passed Cape Leuwin on 15 May in lat. 41’51 S.; had afterwards very fine weather till nearing the land. Off the Snares on 28 May, took strong westerly gale with thick, dirty weather and very heavy seas, was hove-to from 4pm on 26th till 8am on 29th; when she stood to the N.E. Was forced to heave-to again at 8pm. At noon on the 30th stood on her course, made Nugget Point at dark same evening; had another strong gale from S.S.W., and was hove-to again for a few hours on 31 May. Sighted Otago Heads on the morning of 1 June at 4 o’clock; was taken by the strong S.W. breeze past the port to the N.E., beat back and made the Heads at 11am on 2 June, was taken in tow by the “Plucky”, and anchored off Carey’s Bay at 0.30pm. The voyage from London to Port Chalmers occupied 92 days. Neither ice nor wreckage was seen during the voyage, and no casualties happened. “The City of Madrid”, from Glasgow for Brisbane, was spoken in the Southern Ocean.’

The Indian Empire
The Indian Empire
Moored at Calcutta in the 1890’s. (Astern is “Albyn” and alongside “Vellore”)

Why did Elizabeth choose Dunedin as a refuge for herself and her family? We know now that she had first-cousins in this part of New Zealand. Michael Casey who was a witness at her marriage to John in Ennis 1864, arrived in Port Chalmers on board the “Caribou” with his sister Bridget Casey in July 1865. Michael was a miner at Lawrence and Waipori and Bridget was the midwife at Waitahuna. Ellen Rodgers (née Casey) arrived in Otago with her baby son John Frederick (Jack) in 1862 following her husband Jeremiah who had arrived there from the goldfields in Ballarat, Australia in 1861. Ellen was a sister to Michael and Bridget Casey and their mother Ellen (née O’Connor) was a sister to Elizabeth Delahunty’s (née O’Connor) father, Peter. Further details on the Casey connection appear in Chapter 12.

Elizabeth’s name first appears in Dunedin in “Stones Dunedin and Suburbs Directory 1885” (published December 1884). She is listed as residing in Duncan Street under the Surname “Delahunty”. A search of the Land and Deeds records in Dunedin shows no purchase of a property in that street by Elizabeth.

On 15.7.1886 Elizabeth purchased a home at 28 Wright Street, Roslyn, (Ref 80/99 Pt Allot 56 Linden, Upper Kaikorai DP 426, Land and Deeds Registry, Dunedin). It was a wooden villa, a modern home has since been erected on site.

Margaret Delahunty, 1869-1893
Margaret Delahunty, 1869-1893

The younger Delahunty boys attended Christian Brothers School in Dunedin and their names appear on the early school rolls. Michael lived in Taieri Road, Kaikorai for some years after his marriage and Patrick and his family lived in Nairn Street, also in Kaikorai. Elizabeth continued to live in Wright Street until her death. She is buried in the Roman Catholic portion of the Southern Cemetery Dunedin with three of her children who pre-deceased her. A large marble cross previously on the grave has since been removed as was broken and destroyed. Mary, Elizabeth’s youngest daughter lived at Wright Street after her marriage to John Ford and a son Cyril was born in the house. The Fords owned a home nearby in Tyne Street. Two of Michael’s children still recall the visits to the home in Wright Street and “Granny taking tea with Granny Rodgers and Granny Dimond.”

The Rodgers & Dimond graves at the Southern Cemetery are situated next to the Delahunty grave.

Mary Delahunty, 1877-1965
Mary Delahunty, 1877-1965

Mary Delahunty’s Wedding, 25.7.1906
Mary Delahunty’s Wedding, 25.7.1906
Left – Right: Back Row: John Ford (groom), John Delahunty;
Middle Row: Bridget Rodgers, Mary Delahunty (bride), Patrick Delahunty;
Front Row: Margaret Delahunty, Eileen Delahunty.

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Chapter 7: Leaving of Ennis, Co.
Clare, Ireland c. February 1883
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Family Connections