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Annie May Ryan

Annie May Ryan was born on 11 May 1874 at 12 Yurong Street, Woolloomooloo in Sydney. Her mother was Frances Ryan and her father was James Dunne. Her parents were not married and it appears that her father did not participate in raising the child. Young Annie was left parentless when she was just 5 years of age after her mother died of tuberculosis. Her mother had been residiing with her sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Michael Tierney, at 64 Cumberland Street, Sydney and it is possible that the Tierneys assisted with Annie's upbringing but this is supposition. It is reasonable to conclude that Annie's early life must have been difficult.

On 15 June 1898, at Newcastle in New South Wales, Annie married James Charles Taylor. James worked for the New South Wales Railways so that Annie and their family moved whenever he was posted to a new location.

Children of the marriage were:

James, a railway guard aged 40, was run over by a railway locomotive when "coupling up" at Teralba and died in Newcastle Hospital on 13 December 1911. He was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Sandgate in Newcastle.

Now a widow, Annie was left to raise her family alone. Railway records show that James' widow was paid "Workers Comp award £400 + £3.8.0 costs and entitlements £18.8.0".

Annie moved to Ipswich in Queensland to be near Ryan relatives. She later went to live in Brisbane. The three youngest of her surviving adult children contracted tuberculosis (TB) and they died, one in 1934 and two in 1936. Annie lost her children to the same disease that had taken her mother many years earlier.

Annie died on 27 August 1941 in the Rosslare Private Hospital, Vulture Street, East Brisbane. The causes of death were myocarditis and chronic vascular hypertension. Her death was registered in the name "Johanna Taylor" and includes some erroneous information about birthplace and parentage but the information about her marriage and her surviving children is sufficient to conclude that the record does refer to Annie May. This is supported by the fact that her daughter Josephine is buried alongside her at Bulimba Cemetery. The informant for registration of her death (Qld registration 1941/053482) was her eldest son who would never have known his grandmother who died many years earlier or the grandfather whom even Annie had probably never met. The death certificate includes the names "Michael Ryan" (her grandfather) as her father and, curiously, refers to "Dunn" as the grandmother's name. Even then, the place of birth of the father is stated as Tipperary, Ireland, which might have been the case for Annie's great-grandfather, but not even for her grandfather or mother, much less herself. Perhaps Annie had never told her family that she had never known her father and the family may have believed that "Ryan" was her father's name and the story of coming from Ireland may have been used to explain paternal absence. Whatever the circumstances in this instance, it appears appropriate to discount the erroneous information on the death certificate and accept that this is the death record of Annie May Ryan.


Thanks to Valmay Archer of Queensland, who provided some of the above information. Valmay is a descendent of Annie May Ryan.



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