10/7/2023 - Discovered! Mary Lahy's fate

I have recently solved the mystery of the fate of my GGGG-grandmother, Mary Lahy of Kilkenny, thanks to a discovery by Marionne Diggles, the secretary of the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History Society. This breakthrough has provided incontrovertible proof that my earlier conclusions about her origins were correct.

I had conducted research in 2019 that prompted me to conclude that Mary was a daughter of Martin Lahy and Bridget Kain of Johnswell, Kilkenny. She had arrived in Australia in May 1837 as a 44-year-old convict aboard the Margaret; married William Boardley at Parramatta in 1838; and been granted a Ticket of Leave to live at Windsor in 1846. After she left Windsor in 1849, I could find no further trace of her.

There has been a lot of misinformation circulating among Mary’s descendants, many of whom have continued to cling to the idea that her parents were James Lahy and Mary Gadlin even though (as I noted in 2019) they lived at Tipperary, more than 80 kilometres from Mary’s native place in Kilkenny. Another item of misinformation has been that she died on 16 July 1862 at Berrima in NSW (even though this record refers to an Ellen Lahy whose parents were Thomas and Ann). 

Recently Marionne Diggles discovered a true record of Mary’s death in 1884. While it refers to her as Mary Scott, Marionne was able to use other information on the record to link it to Mary Lahy because her research led her to my 2019 research report Lahy family origins published on this website. She immediately contacted me to let me know of her discovery. 

We now know that Mary’s third husband is probably the William Boadley who died of lunacy in the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum in 1851 and was buried at Hunters Hill. She subsequently married John Scott whose work as a shepherd took them to Queensland (although an official record of this marriage remains elusive). We know from newspaper articles that Mary was savagely assaulted while living at Jimbour Station near Dalby in 1863; and that she was robbed of money in Toowoomba in 1869 while she and her husband were living at Glengallen Station near Mount Marshall. 

On 8 January 1884, a blind “Granny Scott” was brought before the Police Court at Toowoomba charged with vagrancy. She was now 90 years old but claimed to be 100. The magistrate remanded her for one month. Rather than a true criminal matter, this may have been a practical means for the police and court to ensure that a very old blind woman with no income or family support was removed to a place of safety for her own best welfare. 

Two weeks later she was admitted to the Benevolent Asylum at Dunwich (on Moreton Island) suffering from senile debility, where she died three days later from senile decay. She was buried there the following day, 28 January 1884, aged 90 years. 

I have now updated my research report Lahy family origins to include this final proof that its 2019 conclusions were correct. Click here to read the updated report Lahy family origins

I have also updated and expanded the detailed account of the life of Mary Lahy and her family that I originally published in 2017. Click here to read the updated story, An unfortunate family

I have now added a detailed biography of Mary Lahy on this website – read it here

I would like to thank Marionne Diggles for alerting me to her discovery. There is no way that I or any other Mary Lahy researcher could ever have found it because, in the absence of the elusive marriage record, we had no way of discovering her marriage to John Scott.