PATRICK (PADDY) HANNAN

1840 - 1925

 

 

 

 

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Patrick Hannan
Patrick Hannan

 

 

Paddy Hannan was born in County Clare, Ireland to John Hanneen and Bridget (Lynch).

The year of his birth seems to be open to conjecture. We have read sources quoting it as 1840, 1842, 1843 and even 1847! Most modern texts agree that he was baptised on April 26th 1840 so that is the date we have chosen to settle on.

From Ireland he travelled to New Zealand, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales. He emigrated to Australia in 1862 (one source says 1863). He spent the first part of his stay in Ballarat and did not arrive in W.A. until 1889. He first visited Fremantle then York and then ended up in Southern Cross gathering supplies when Arthur Bayley arrived reporting a gold find at Coolgardie. Hannan worked the area for 9 months until moving on to an area about 30 miles north east of Coolgardie.

He went prospecting with Thomas Flanagan and Dan Shea in June 1893. The story goes that they were heading for a newly discovered gold find at Mt. Youle (Ewel?) and were already behind other prospectors and eager to get to the site and peg a claim when one of their horses threw a shoe.

While Flannagan re-shoed the horse, Hannan wandered through the surrounding bush and came across a site with gold nuggets scattered across the ground. Like so many tales that have grown up around the goldfields, there is no evidence that this one has any truth in it but on the 17th of June 1893 Paddy Hannan walked into the mining warden's office in Southern Cross carrying 100 oz of gold and registered the claim.

 

In the book "My life's Adventure" by John Kirwan the following account by Paddy Hannan of finding the goldfield is given:

"I arrived in the colony in March, 1889, and was at Parkers Range about forty miles from Southern Cross, when Bayley reported the discovery of a rich reef at Coolgardie. I joined in the rush.

Early in June, 1893, news arrived at Coolgardie of a good discovery at a place called Mount Yuille, somewhere to the east or north-east. Parties left Coolgardie in search of the find. A few days after the report had been received, my mate, Thomas Flanagan, and I left Coolgardie. We left on June 7. We would have left earlier with the others, but we could not obtain horses, and so were delayed two or three days. We were lucky enough to pick up some animals in the bush ten or twelve miles from Coolgardie. The other parties going to Mount Yuille were mostly travelling with teams. Only one or two of the prospecting groups had horses of their own. We were a separate party, as we wished to be free to travel when we liked. We could also by this arrangement if we chose prospect any country during the journey.

A very large number was in the main party going to Mount Yuille. Only Bayley's claim was working at Coolgardie, and the alluvial had become exhausted just about the time we left, hence the strong desire amongst the men to reach the new find.

 

Miners right
Patrick Hannan's miner's right

 

On June 10, three days after leaving Coolgardie, we reached what is now Kalgoorlie. The other parties had gone on in the direction of the reported discovery, but it was only to find later that the report had been false.

Well, as I have said, when we came on June 10 to Mount Charlotte, my mate and I decided to stop and prospect the country round about. To us it looked country where there might be alluvial. We found colours of gold and then got good gold at the north end of Mount Charlotte to down south of Maritana Hill.

There was another man by the way, Dan Shea was his name, to whom we gave an equal share in our venture.

We soon realised that we were located on a valuable field. Alluvial gold was in abundance. We got scores of ounces. It was agreed that I should go to Coolgardie and apply for a reward claim. I left Flanagan and Shea to watch our interests, and on June 17 started for Coolgardie. I got there on a Saturday night.

The news of our find soon got abroad. There was a good deal of excitement. Hundreds of men set out for the scene. The flats and gullies all about our reward claim became alive with diggers dryblowing and finding gold.

The water difficulty, which had been unusually great, was solved. Rain began to fall as I was on my way to Coolgardie to report the find, and continued for some time. The fall was fairly heavy. It was exceedingly welcome to us all and relieved the shortage from which we suffered. The downpour left plenty of water in rock holes and lakes. The supply lasted until November.

Where the ground was too wet for dryblowing, the men dried the earth by fires and so could work their claims."


Paddy did not stay long in the area and returned to the Eastern States for a holiday in 1894. He returned six months later and went on to prospect between Kalgoorlie and Menzies. He left W.A. in 1911 at the age of 71. The West Australian Government had granted him an annuity (pension) of 150 pounds a year.

On the 4th of November 1925 he passed away in Brunswick (Melbourne) at the ripe old age of 85. Apart from a small grant of land and a pension, Paddy Hannan did not reap many rewards from one of the world's richest gold strikes but at least he was not a poor man when he died. He lies in the Melbourne general Cemetery.

Although Hannan is usually credited with the discovery of gold at Kalgoorlie, it was in fact a Canadian Miner called Larry Cammilleri who discovered that the richest ore was not associated with deposits of quartz (which is normally the case) but with iron stone.

As for Hannan's mates, Flannagan and O'Shea, well little is known of Falannagan besides the fact that he also came from Country Clare and was baptised on the 1st of January 1832. Like Hannan, he died in Victoria but much earlier in November 1899. Some sources quote Melbourne while others quote Bendigo which is where his grave is located.

There were mistakes on his death certificate including his age at the time of death and the number of years he had spent in Australia. This was not uncommon back in a time when many people were illeterate and were not aware of ther exact age or date of birth. This is the reason so many details we find seem to conflict with each other.

Dan O'Shea came from County Cork in Ireland and left for Australia/New Zeland in 1868 and like his co-discoverers, he did not do well from his discovery. He died a pauper in Perth in 1908.

 

Patrick Hannan
Patrick Hannan

 

Tall tales and true: Twice lucky.

Paddy Hannan may have been just a footnote in history if he didn't have just a little luck on his side.

At the same time Paddy had set off to register a claim on the land he and his mates had found gold on, another man was travelling in the same area and was getting very short of food. After setting up camp he took out his rifle to go hunting and after some searching he levelled his sights on what he took to be an emu coming through the scrub. To give himself a better chance of bagging the bird he let it come closer and it was only at the last minute he realised that the 'emu' was in fact a man, a man that turned out to be Paddy Hannan!

 

Chronology

 

1840 - Baptized on 26 April.

1862 - Arrived in Victoria in December.

1868 - Worked on the New Zealand goldfields until 1880.

1880 - Worked the goldfield at Temora in New South Wales.

1886 - Worked the goldfield at Teetulpa in South Australia.

1889 - Worked the goldfield around Southern Cross in Western Australia.

1893 - Joined the goldrush to Coolgardie.

1893 - With Thomas Flanagan and Dan Shea found gold east of Coolgaride on June 10th (One source says 14th *).

1993 - On June 17th Hannan rode into Coolgardie with over 3 kg of gold.

1904 - Granted an annual pension of 150.

1910 - Finally gave up prospecting.

1911 - Left W.A. and returned east.

1925 - Died November 4th in Melbourne.



(*) Prospectors were required to register any find within 7 days of the discovery so it is possible that the date(s) given are not entirely correct.

 

Links to more information:

 

Hannan, Patrick (1840-1925)
Hannan, Patrick

 

 

 

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