from Redhill to Gympie

A tribute to Michael Christian Daly & Eileen Gertrude Green,to their descendants and to their ancestors and to the many cousins

The Story of Michael Magnor

What happened to Michael is a mystery.

He was born about 1834 in Cork, Ireland. His mother was Hannah Fitzgerald. Nothing is known of his father. Hannah later married Richard Bride and they were to have 3 children, one of whom was John Joseph Burgess (abt 1840 - 1893) whose daughter, Mary Agnes Burgess (1863-1945) married Daniel Daly (1853-1925).

Michael joined the British navy and while on shore leave in Australia he deserted, changed his identity and went gold mining. He was said to have made a fortune and secretly went back to Ireland. In 1875 he returned to Australia, landing in Melbourne with his nephews Edmund Burgess (1859-1897) and Richard Daniel Burgess (b 1866). Michael went his own way to Sydney.

In his correspondence with his family in Ireland and he was careful to continue to use an alias. His last known letter which was written to his sister in 1878, Michael said he was in Sydney and he was looking for a boat to go to New Guinea. But as he could not find one he said he would go some place else. This was the last we ever heard from him. Any wealth he may have had would have disappeared in the 1890's depression in Australia when many banks went to the wall.

In a letter dated 26 November 1890 from John Joseph Burgess (b 1860) to his brother Edmund (above), John mentions that it is strange that Michael Magnor had not contacted Edmund. He continues and writes that it must be hard for Michael Magnor to labour again now that most of his money has gone for which he only has himself to blame.

Michael Edmond Daly (1887-1937) (son of Daniel Daly above) researched the life of Michael Magnor who was his half-grand uncle. In 1930 he placed the adjacent advertisement in the local newspaper. Michael Daly may have travelled to Ireland too as this is mentioned in a 1928 letter from Kate Burgess and some notes made by Tom Burgess earlier in 1926. Both of these Burgesses are from Ireland. The newspaper wrote an article about the "lost fortune" a few years later. The article is well worth reading.

An aunt and a cousin discovered a Queensland (Australia) death record for a Michael Magnor. This person was described as a miner from Cork and was hospitalised at Croydon, Queensland on 9 September 1890 suffering from a fever. He was not to recover and died 11 days later on the 20th. There are some discrepancies between records so this record may not be for the same person although there is a strong probability. See the timeline link below for an analysis.

Click on an icon to see the images of the original records. It is not known if this is the same person as there are discrepancies in the documents and we must ask why, after a number of years, Michael reverted to his original name. Croydon was a small township founded on gold mining. It is very isolated, even nowadays, located in the savannah lands of the Gulf of Carpenteria about 600 kms west of Cairns.

February 2018