Today we continue the story of Richard John Loveday and get a glimpse into his life in the new Colony of South Australia.
Also we read of the O’Shea story. Bridgette, Richard’s wife came from Ireland and such was her love for Richard that she followed him to the brave, new world in Adelaide.
“At this time Richard was away for long periods of time on Survey trips to various parts of South Australia. He was therefore shattered, when returning from one of these trips that Bridget had to inform him that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The medical knowledge and practices of the time meant that there was little that could be done for Bridget and sadly she died in July 1852 leaving 4 surviving children for Richard to care for. Bridget never saw her mother again and died not knowing her father had died the year after they sailed for Australia.
The sad tale of Bridget ends with her untimely death at the young age of 33 leaving her loving children Ann, Richard Thomas and Mary. Her burial place is West Terrace Cemetery, Road No.3, Path 32, Lot 28E. The search, discovery, restoration and provision of a headstone suitably and reverently inscribed by Jean Tinnoch nee Loveday, who also purchased the Lot lease May 26th 1964 and is current into the year 2000.”
The O’Shea Family Story
The somewhat sad story of the O’Shea family is one of mystery and the available records do not throw much light on to the facts. It is believed that Thomas Shea was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in about 1795. His early life is unknown, but it is known that he married Catherine Brown in about 1818 in Limerick, Ireland.
Thomas and Catherine were blessed with a daughter, Bridget Ann in 1819 and a son Stephen in 1820. Little is known of Bridget’s life until around 1840, in Limerick.
Bridget met a handsome young Army Surveyor, Richard John Loveday from London. Richard was on duty in Limerick conducting survey work for the Royal Sappers & Miners Corp which was stationed in Limerick. Richard’s courting was successful as Bridget and Richard were married in 1841 at the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Limerick, Ireland.
The couple’s first baby, Ann was born in January 1842 in Limerick and christened in the same church that her parents were married in. It was in that 1843 Richard was transferred to Yorkshire with the Army and whilst there, child number two was born, Richard John in 1844. The following year Richard was once again transferred to Limerick where their third child was born, Thomas in 1846. All children were now christened in the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Limerick. Although not a firm religious man, Richard had been bought up in the Church of England tradition and his marriage would have caused his parents in London some concern.
As an ambitious man, Richard learnt of a newly formed Regiment within the Royal Sappers & Miners Corp that was recruiting from within the Corp for men with 10 years service, to be sent to the Colony of South Australia. He applied and along with seven other troopers, was successful, being promoted to Lance Corporal and an increase in pay. They sailed for South Australia on board the “Royal George”, arriving June 26th 1847, at Port Adelaide, accompanied by their three children, Ann, Richard and Thomas.
The family were temporarily housed at the Military Barracks, Adelaide, in an area now known as Pinky Flat. Shortly after arrival the Loveday family were moved into the married men’s quarters of the Royal Sappers & Miners Corp barracks at Reedbeds, later to be known as Findon. It was here that in 1848 James was born, but sadly he did not survive babyhood and died 1 year later.
Brighter times were to come and in May of 1850 Bridget was delivered of another little girl, Mary Elizabeth. Both of these children were baptised at Holy Trinity Church on North Terrace. At this time Richard was away for long periods of time on Survey trips to various parts of South Australia.
He was therefore shattered, when returning from one of these trips that Bridget had to inform him that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The medical knowledge and practices of the time meant that there was little that could be done for Bridget and sadly she died in July 1852.
Bridget’s father, Thomas was a labourer and suffered a terminal disease and died in 1847 aged 52. Shortly after this tragic event, Catherine moved herself and son Stephen back to Sheffield which was undergoing a ‘boom’ time as a manufacturing centre in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. At that time, thousands of labourers were flocking to the industrial cities to take up opportunities in newly opened factories.
Catherine supported herself by conducting a boarding house in Taylor’s Yard, Spring Street, Sheffield. There was no shortage of boarders as hopeful factory workers, newly arrived from all over Britain, sought accommodation. In the Census of 1851, Catherine had three married couples staying at her boarding house. Two of the men were general labourers and the third was a brick maker. Each of these six people was born in a different County of England!
Catherine’s sister, Bridget and her husband James had a boarding house next door. They had 6 single men boarding with them – a ham butcher from Ireland, two agricultural labourers, two shoemakers and a grocer’s assistant, all from Southern England.
Of the three houses in Taylor’s Yard, two were also occupied by Irish families, suggesting that there was a solid enclave of the Irish in that particular part of Sheffield.
It is apparent that Bridget had not communicated with her parents since leaving England
as a letter which was to arrive some 9 years later from her mother, Catherine, related that her father had died the year they had left England, 1847. Bridget was never to know of this and of the improved situation of mother and her relatives in Sheffield. Bridget was buried in the West Terrace Cemetery and Richard was left with a broken heart and four young children, now aged 10, 7 6 and 2 years old.
The sad tale of Bridget ends with her untimely death at the young age of 33 leaving her loving children Ann, Richard Thomas and Mary.
Some doubt had existed as to the maiden name of Bridget Ann; however, the proof of identity nee Shea is by a letter of condolence sent to Richard John Loveday at the time of her death by her parents and signed William and Catherine Shea, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. This letter is in the possession of Viola Bates, a grand-daughter of Ann Rose nee Loveday.”
Next post we have a look at the continuing story of Richard J Loveday and his new family.