b. April 1826, d. 3 June 1890
FatherMichael O'Loughlin d. b May 1856
MotherAnne Mulquinny d. b May 1856

Birth, Death, Marriage

Michael O'Loughlin was born in April 1826 in Ennistymon, Clare, Ireland.1,2 
He married Margaret Lee, daughter of Thomas Lee and Bridget Callaghan, on 7 February 1857 in St Mary's, Geelong, Victoria.3 
He died on 3 June 1890 in Ballarat, Victoria, at age 64; cause of death bronchitis.1 


Margaret Lee b. 1834, d. 15 Feb 1873
ChartsO'Loughlin, Michael, descendant chart
Phillips, Thomas, pedigree chart


Michael was the son of Michael O'Loughlin and Anne Mulquinney of County Clare in Ireland. He travelled to Australia, settling in Geelong in 1856. The following year, he married Margaret Lee and together they had nine children. With other family members, they moved to Warrenheip where Michael worked as a labourer. Michael died in the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum at age 57. His wife and four of their children predeceased him.
Irish Potato Famine In Ireland, the Great Famine (Irish: an Gorta Mór) was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. It is sometimes referred to, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine because one-third of the population was then solely reliant on this cheap crop for a number of historical reasons. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%. The proximate cause of famine was a potato disease commonly known as potato blight.4
From County Clare to Geelong
Michael was born in 1826 in County Clare in Ireland. By 1856 he and his brother Thomas had travelled to Australia and settled in Geelong. The two brothers arrived in Woolloomooloo in Sydney Harbour on 1 May 1856. The £5 immigration cost had been paid by their older brother John who was already in the country. Passenger details indicate that both of their parents were deceased. In 1857, Michael paid the fares of two other family members, Austin and Mary. The family had grown up through the Irish Potato Famine and were part of the mass migration that followed.5
Houses and Land in Geelong and Warrenheip
Our first address for Michael is from 'The Geelong Irish', where it is reported 'In 1856 a Michael O'Loughlin of Cumberland St, Geelong paid for the passage of his sister Mary O'Loughlin, a farm servant, aged 26 and his brother Austin, aged 18, a farm servant'. A few years later, at least one of his children was born in Moolap, just east of the main Geelong township.

The group that settled around Geelong remained close and in due course at least the four brothers moved to the Warrenheip area, now Dunnstown, just east of Ballarat. They were taking advantage of the cheap Crown land being made available to those willing to work and improve it.

Michael moved his family in 1866 onto almost two acres of land on what is now the south-east corner of Tierneys Rd and Old Melbourne Rd, Dunnstown. On 3 June 1872, the property became Michael's. The final lease payment had been made, as had the required level of improvements to the property.

Though nothing of the original property was recognisable during the late 1990s, O'Loughlins lived next door and across the road.6,5,7
Michael O'Loughlin's land in Warrenheip
Family Life
Michael O'Loughlin and Margaret Lee married in St Mary's Roman Catholic church in Geelong. Neither Michael nor Margaret could sign their name.

The couple's first five children, Thomas, Mary Anne, Catherine, Austin and Margaret were born in the Geelong area. Sadly, two of those, Austin and Catherine, later known as 'Katy', died in infancy. Then around 1866, Michael, his family, and his extended family, moved to Warrenheip near Ballarat where a further three children were born.

The 1860s and early 1870s would have been happy times for Michael and Margaret. They were surrounded by extended family and their own family was growing. There was plenty to eat. And in mid-1872, Michael's gainful employment had enabled him to make the final lease payment for their Warrenheip property.8,3,7
Life as a Labourer
We don't know exactly what work Michael did to supported his family. He had two acres of land near Dunnstown, but was always described as a labourer, never as a farmer. His brother Austin was also described as a labourer, whereas the other two brothers, Thomas and John were described as farmers.9
Death During Childbirth
Tragedy struck in February 1873, when Margaret succumbed to the hazards of childbirth. She died after two days of haemorrhaging following a protracted labour. No birth was registered, so the child also died.

This left Michael to look after their six children, the youngest of whom was two year old Bridget. Perhaps he was assisted by his family or any of Margaret's family that might have lived nearby.10
Final Sad Days
Michael died in 1890 aged 64 in the City of Ballarat's Benevolent Asylum. This may mean he had an alcohol problem. Certainly a number of events in the last 17 years of Michael's life would help explain why. In 1873, his wife Margaret, and a third child died. This left him alone to care for one son, Thomas 15, and five girls ranging in age from Mary Anne at 13 to baby Bridget, who was only two. In mid 1874, his brother John moved his family to the Wimmera. In 1876, his brother Thomas moved his family to the Wimmera. In April 1874, his brother Austin died. In 1878, his 10 year old daughter Ann died.

His situation around the time of his death is a mystery. Quite a bit of the information on his death certificate was either wrong (surname spelling, age, number of years in Victoria) or missing (mother's maiden name, marriage details, details of children), suggesting loss of contact with his family. Yet he was buried two days after his death in the same grave as his wife in Ballarat.11,12


  1. [S98] The O'Loughlins, self published, 1997, p. 206.
  2. [S87] Lynch and O'Loughlin families, ref. 16143, research report, Clare Heritage Centre, 25 July 1996, p. 10.
  3. [S46] Michael O'Loughlin and Margaret Lee, marriage registration no. 590, 7 February 1857.
  4. [S2] 'Great Famine (Ireland)', Wikipedia, online, Wikimedia Foundation, viewed 29 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Irish_Famine
  5. [S98] The O'Loughlins, self published, 1997, p. 60.
  6. [S1] Margaret (the daughter) was born in Geelong in December 1865, but the birth was registered over eight months later at Ballarat in August 1866. At this time Margaret's (the mother) residence is given as Warrenheip. From this it is assumed the family moved mid-1866.
  7. [S315] 'Warrenheip parish plan, imperial measure', VPRS 16171 Regional Land Office Parish and Township Plans Digitised Reference Set, plan no. 3760, map, 2002, allotment 27, section 15.
  8. [S30] Ellen O'Loughlin, birth registration no. 1121, 26 March 1869.
  9. [S26] Jim O'Connor, personal communication, email 31 March 1996.
  10. [S47] Margaret O'Loughlin, death registration no. 2885, 15 February 1873.
  11. [S98] The O'Loughlins, self published, 1997, p. 61.
  12. [S54] Michael O'Loghlen, death registration no. 5727, 1 June 1890.