Mary Teresa Carman.
Mary Teresa Carman. Submitted

Reunion focuses on pioneer's life

A RARE family reunion to celebrate a female ancestor will be held in Bundaberg next Saturday.

Organiser Judith Hopwood said people descended from Bridget Fitzgibbon, her daughter Mary Teresa and her two sons, made up mostly of the Brennan and Carman families, would gather at Restaurant 1928 in the Botanic Gardens from 10am on Saturday, August 7.

Guest of honour will be Bridget's grand-daughter Ida Wilson, now 94, who lives in New Zealand.

Mrs Hopwood said Bridget Fitzgibbon and her daughter Mary Teresa arrived in Maryborough in 1877 from Ireland.

They both married and settled in Bundaberg and have family still living in the region.

Mrs Hopwood is the great grand-daughter of Mary Teresa, who later married a man named Carman.

Bridget Fitzgibbon was born in 1848 in Kingsland, Roscommon in Ireland.

She arrived in Maryborough on July 27, 1877, aboard the ship City of Agra with Mary Teresa after a very pleasant voyage.

The ship arrived a few days early in Maryborough and most immigrants found work in the first few days.

Bridget, then 29, married Matthew Brennan five months later at St Mary's Catholic Church in Maryborough.

Matthew was a 33-year-old Irish immigrant from Bundaberg who had selected a 160ha farm at Tantitha in July of that year.

On April 10, 1879, Bridget gave birth to a son, James Matthew (Jim) — named for his father and Matthew's father.

Another son, John Steven, was born on October 27, 1880.

Bridget became ill and on September 14, 1888, she died of renal disease and pneumonia.

She was buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Bundaberg by Fr Andrew Monaghan in an unmarked grave.

At the time James was nine and John Steven eight.

Her daughter, Mary Teresa, had married Jonathan Carman the previous year in Bundaberg on January 31, 1887.

Soon after Bridget's death Matthew remarried to Catherine McCann in 1888.

The boys were not happy and John Steven emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 16.



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