Alice Margaret Dowling/Dooley
The search for the Houlihans has been a long and complex one. There are over eight variations the family
used for spelling the surname Houlihan as well as three variations for Alice's maiden name. From my
research it would appear that neither William nor Alice could read or write, nor knew the correct
spelling or pronunciation of their surnames as they give different variations over the years.
Their Irish accents may also have made it difficult for others to understand the spelling of their
My Great Great Grandparents
William Houlihan, baptised on 7th March 1838 in Fedamore, County Limerick, Ireland son
of Patrick Houlihan and Margaret Cavanagh [Fedamore parish records at NLI] although in
subsequent records such as his shipping and the birth registrations of his children he will
claim to be several years younger. Oral history suggests that William was a coachman for
Colonel Cox at Coolaman near Mudgee, however, the birth certificate of son Albert records
his occupation as farm servant at Booyamurra, [Bumurra] the property owned by Albert
Tarleton Cox at Coolah. Other occupations listed for William are labourer and asphelter.
William could not read or write.
Alice Margaret Dowling/Dooley. I have been unable to find a baptism record for Alice. As
her age is usually given on most documents as being the same as husband William's, I
suspect she was born about 1838 [William's date of baptism] although these same records
suggest they were both younger. Her Marriage Certificate in 1864 gives her maiden as
DOOLEY [daughter of David Dooley] as does the Baptism Certificate of her first child, Mary,
in Ireland. Her death certificate gives her surname as Dowling and lists her parents as John
Dowling and Margaret Blake. Family recollection states that Alice's name was Alice
Margaret although I have been unable to find any record of this middle name being used.
Family recollections also sate that she originally came from County Clare Ireland and stood
about 4 foot tall. A possible baptism for her is Mary Dooley baptised 12th July 1839 at Bruff,
daughter of David Dooley and Ellen Kennedy, sponsors James Dunn and Bridget Goggin.
Marriage: Church records show that William Holihan and Alice Dooley were married on
24th July 1864 in the Roman Catholic Church, Caherline, parish of Caherconlish, Limerick.
Witnesses were James Connell and Margaret Donnell. The Civil Marriage Registration record
however, shows the spellings Houlihan and Dooly and gives the witnesses as James Connell
and Margaret Connell. William is recorded as being a labourer aged 24 [he was actually 26]
residing at Fedamoer [sic], father being Patrick Houlihan. Alice is recorded as being a
labourer aged 22 residing at High Park [Highpark] father being David Dooly. Neither William
nor Alice had married before. NOTE: Highpark was a property in the possession of the
Gabbett family from the early 18th century. It was a three-storied house was built between
1759 and 1789.
Immigration: Less than three months after his marriage, William Holohan* came to Australia
as an Assisted Immigrant aboard the St Hilda which departed Plymouth on 5th October
1864 and arrived in Sydney on 30th January 1865. Alice did not accompany William at this
time. Shipping records state he was 24 years old [he was actually 26], a labourer of the
Roman Catholic faith. William could not read or write. He is recorded as having a sister
'Helen' in Sydney. Also on board was cousin Mary Droney. According to oral tradition,
William's sister Ellen Houlihan had encouraged William to come to Australia for the
wonderful opportunities that were available. Research shows that it was Ellen who paid the
deposit [no 1842 dated 15th April 1864; SRNSW 4/4586 Rel 2671] for William to come to
Australia. It is interesting to note that this was paid two months before his marriage. Perhaps
this is why new wife Alice did not accompany William at this time.
Several people connected to William also travelled on the St Hilda: Click HERE for details
Police Gazettes: A man named William Houlahan is mentioned several times in the Police
Gazettes, however it does not appear to be our William.
Immigration: Alice Wholihan [sic] came to Australia as an unassisted immigrant aboard the
City of Agra arriving which left Liverpool on 26th April 1872 and arrived in Melbourne on
25th July 1872 with daughter Mary who was aged 7. It appears that they then took the You
Yangs from Melbourne to Sydney arriving on 2nd August [Ancestry - names mistranscribed
Their children were:
Mary J Holohan: [Mary May?] born about 1865 and baptised 12th May 1865 Fedamore
parish, Ireland. Sponsors Mary Houlihan [her aunt] and Michael Ryan. Travelled to Australia
with her mother aboard the City of Agra in 1872. Mary Wooligan* married William R Stirling
Albert Joseph Hoolaghan: born 30th May 1873 at Booyamurra [ref 1873/9735
Coonabarabran] He married Edith May [Maud] Hayes, 1912 at Canterbury as Houlihan*.
Ellen Lena Wholohan: born 17th March,1875 [ref 10118/1875] at Coolah Creek in the
district of Coonabarabran. Present at the birth was Catherine Connolly. Ellen Houlihan*
married Herbert Middleton [Bert] Moxon at Sydney in 1896 [Ref 6464].
William [John] Wholan*: born 22nd December 1877. His place of birth is recorded as being
'off Botany Road, Alexandria'. [ref 6188/1875]. Present at the birth were Dr Belgrave and
Mrs Bullock. Alice's maiden name is recorded as 'Dowlin'. The 1903 Electoral Roll lists
William as a labourer. He was a witness at sister Alice Margaret's marriage to Frederick
Hanson in 1906. William, late of 2 Gordon Street, Randwick [same address as brother Albert],
died on 12th April 1908 at Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown. [ref 6478]. He is buried in
the Roman Catholic cemetery, Waverley. The following notice appeared in the 'In Memorium'
column of the SMH dated Monday 12th April 1909: HOURIGAN [sic].-In loving memory of our
dear son and brother, William Hourigan [sic], who departed this life April 12, 1908, after a
long and painful illness. Inserted by his sorrowing mother, brother, and sisters. May his soul
rest in peace. Immaculate heart of Mary, Your prayers for Him extol. Sacred heart of Jesus,
Have mercy on his soul.
Margaret Alice Wholighan: born 23rd December 1880, Botany Road, Alexandria. My Great
The Evening News [Sydney] dated 17th November 1885 reported that a man named
William Houlahan was fined not sending his children to school for the required 70 days for
the last 6 months.
1879: Sands Directory William Houlighan Botany Road Alexandra
1880; Botany Road, Alexandra [Birth of daughter Margaret]
Sands Directory: 1886 Botany Road Waterloo. 1892-1895 Isabella St, Waverley. 1897-1899
215 Cowper Street, Waverley. 1901-1904 8 Edmund Street, Waverley.
1901 Census shows the family consiting of 3 males and 1 female residing at 8 Edmund
1903 Electoral Roll: William, Alice, Albert and William Houlihan plus daughter Margaret
Alice Thomas are all residing at 8 Edmund Street, Waverley.
1904 Post Office Directory shows William residing at Thorpe Cottage Wiley Street, Waverley.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on 2nd October 1897 that at the Newtown Police Court
the previous day, William Houlahan aged 60 was charged with having ill treated a horse by
working it while suffering from a sore back. A fine of 2 pounds, in default imprisonment for
one month, was imposed.
Deaths: William Hoolahan*, late of Wiley Street, Waverley, died on 21st July 1906 [ref
7362/1906] in The Hospice, Darlinghurst [probably The Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst].
Cause of death was senile decay. He had spent nine days in the hospice. William was buried
on 24th July 1906 in the Roman Catholic Section of Rookwood Cemetery. Curiously his
burial is recorded under the name Henry Hoolahan [Mortuary 2 Area P Grave 774]
Alice Houlihan aged 74 died on 5th April 1918, in St Joseph's Hospital Auburn from
[according to her death certificated] shock due to burns, self inflicted whilst washing clothes
in a copper. She was buried on 6th April 1918 in the Roman Catholic section of the
Rookwood Cemetery [Mortuary 2 Area E Grave 2495] Daughter Margaret Alice would later be
buried with her. An Inquest was held at the Parramatta Court House on 17th April 1918.
A report on the inquest appeared in the Sydney
Morning Herald on 19th April 1918 and reads as follows:
The death of Mrs. Alice Houlihan, an elderly woman, who
resided with her married, daughter, Mrs. Hanson, In
Macarthur street, Guildford, was the subject of Inquiry by
the Parramatta District Coroner, Mr. H. Richardson Clark.
Evidence was given that on the 2nd Instant deceased was
lighting a fire under a copper in the laundry, when her
clothing caught fire, and before the flames could be
extinguished the old lady was shockingly burned. She
was removed by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital,
Auburn, where she died on the 5th instant. The coroner
returned a verdict of accidental death.
Cumberland Argus dated 20th April 1918 reported:
DIED FROM BURNS.
An inquiry was held at Parramatta on Wednesday
concerning the death from burns of an elderly woman
named Alice Houlihan, which took place in St. Joseph's
Hospital, Auburn, on tho 6th lnst. Alice Hanson, a married
woman, living with her husband at Macarthur street,
Guildford stated that tho deceased was her mother, and
was 70 years of age. Deceased resided with her. On the
2nd April, between 8.30 and 9 a.m., deceased went to tho
wash house to put a fire under the copper. About ten
minutes later witness heard deceased cry out. She ran to
the wash-house and saw deceased enveloped in flames in
that room. Not having any thing handy to put around her,
witness caught hold of deceased and pulled her on the
floor of the wash house. She was not able to roll deceased,
as the flames were all around her, so she tore of what was
left of deceased's skirt and two petticoats. Witness called
to the children to bring a blanket, and she threw that
around deceased and extinguished the flames. Deceased
was badly burnt. Sent for the doctor, who arrived
three-quarters of an hour later and had deceased taken by
ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital, Auburn, where she
was admitted about l1 a.m. or midday. Deceased, died
three days later. Deceased told witness that the accident
happened through the corner of her apron catching fire. A
letter was read from Dr. Rice, in which he stated that on
the 2nd April he was called in to attend Mrs. Houlihan,
who was suffering from extensive burns on the body.
Death took place at St. Joseph's Hospital, on April 6th, the
result of shock from injuries received. The Coroner found
that death was the result of burns accidentally received,
and expressed the opinion that all that could possibly
have been done for the old lady had been done by her
daughter, the doctor and the hospital authorities.
Below: Unmarked grave of Alice
Houlihan and daughter Margaret
Hanson nee Houlihan at Rookwood
cemetery 8th June 2014