James Soorly and Ellen Maher
Spelling vaiations include Sully, Soule, Sooley, Soorley, Sorley, and possibly McSorley
James Soorly was born about 1815 to parents Hugh Soorly and Anne McGuire in county
Longford Ireland. [b] James arrived in Australia as an assisted immigrant aboard the 'Mary
Ann' in August 1840. According to his shipping details James was a farm labourer and was
of the Roman Catholic faith. He could read and write.
Ellen Maher baptised 25th December 1822 at Thurles, Tipperary daughter of Martin Maher
and Mary. Ellen appears to have been the first member of her family to come to Australia,
arriving aboard the 'Livingston' in 1841 [aged 18 according to her shipping record] under
the protection of her uncle Denis Maher.
Marriage: James Soley married Ellen Mahon in 1842 at St Joseph's Roman Catholic
Church Maitland. [c]
James and Ellen lived at Dunmore, near Maitland and later at Seaham [d] At the time of
James death they were living at Balacarra [Balakera] in the Williams River area. James
Soorley paid the immigration deposits for Ellen's brothers Daniel and William Maher to come
Their children include: [c] Click Here - with surname spelling variations - unconfirmed
Maitland Mercury dated 11th July 1868:
ILLEGAL DETENTION OF PROPERTY- Yesterday, at the East Maitland police court, James
Thomson, agent for Andrew Lang, Esq., late of Dunmore, sought to obtain an order from the
bench, to compel the delivery by one James Soorley, of two horses, valued at £19 19s, the
property of the said Andrew Lang, and illegally detained by the said defendant. Mr. T.
Chambers appeared "on behalf of the plaintiff, and Mr. O'Keefe for defendant. The power of
attorney under which Mr. Thomson acted having been put in as evidence, it was shown by his
testimony that, in pursuant of an agreement made some time since, a number of goods and
chattels were purchased from defendant on account of Mr. Lang by witness, amongst which
were the two horses of which possession was now sought to he obtained. The whole of the
goods were left in defendant's charge, and he still remained upon the farm, which he bad
formerly rented as a servant st fixed wages, and upon certain conditions. He failed to comply
with the conditions, and Mr. Thomson thereupon, to cease the connection, demanded the
horses. The demand was refused, and hence the present proceeding. This was the plaintiff's
case, but upon cross-examination by Mr.O'Keeffe it was elicited from Mr. Thompson that the
claim upon the horses was only part of his entire claim upon defendant, and that he had no
intention of abandoning the residue of the property. 'Thereupon the bench dismissed the case,
deciding that they bad no jurisdiction, as the present claim was part and parcel of one upon
which they could not adjudicate.
The 1872 Grevilles PO directory shows James Soorly, farmer, Sinclairs Point Seaham.
In November& December 1873, James Soorly, farmer, Williams River appears in the list of
insolvency notices and estated surrendered or sequestered in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Australian Town and Country Journal date 29th November 1873 carries the following
Insolvency Court: Surrenders:
James Soorly, of Sinclair's Point, Williams River, settler. Cause of sequestration : Continuous
heavy I loses of crops from floods, sickness, etc.. Liabilities 81pounds, Assets 25pound,
Deficinecy, 56 pounds. Offical assingee Mr F T Humphery.
Maitland Mercury dated 8th March 1883 carries the following notice:
I HEREBY CAUTION all persons from PURCHASING ANY CATTLE branded S y N, as I have not
given any person authority to sell! ELLEN SOORLEY, Balackera, Williams River.
James Soorly, aged 75, died 17th December 1887 at his residence Balacarra. [SMH dated
24th December 1887] Probable registration is James Soorby [sic] 9440/1888 at Ryamond
Ellen Soorley died at Morpeth in 1894.
[a] State Archives NSW Shipping records
[b] NSW Assisted Immigrants 1828 - 1842 CD
[c] NSW BDM Index online
[d] Grevilles PO Directory.
[e] Headstones-Hiland Crescent cemetery, near Maitland
Right: Grave of the 'McSorley' [sic] children at Hiland
Cresent Cemetery. It reads:
This stone erected by James and Ellen McSorley natives of
the Counties of Longford and Tipperary Ireland in memory
of their beloved son John McSorley a native of Dunmore
Patterson's River who departed this life on the 16th
November 1860 aged 17 years. May his soul rest in peace
Also James McSorley died 6th May 1850 aged 4 months
Also Ann McSorley died ....1858 aged 3 months.