Norman and Lucy (Fanny) McLean - Geelong

Meeting of the Commun Na Feinne, Highland Society
Geelong 1863

Picture courtesy of National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an8713130 


As can be seen from the above picture, the Scots, as a proud race, found a home in Australia - and in and around Geelong. The starvation was largely at an end, as was the harrassment of the Lairds and the English. Scots  were free to continue as they had been, free to wear the Tartans, to gather in celebration of their new-found abilty to practice age-old gatherings as they chose. Free to run their own small farms, run sheep, grow crops and fish the waters of the wild southern coast of Australia that was not so different from those at home. Many in the area had been in the final wave of Clearances, and had been 'assisted' by the Highland and Island Association to leave the Highlands. Many practiced the particularly Scottish form of Presbyterianism in the Free Church in their new homeland. Norman McLean and his family were no exception, embracing this local version of their old lives and holding on to their Scottish roots. 

Norman, though, like many others, also chose to embrace (quite literally!) the other cultures on offer by marrying first a girl from Ireland, then another from England. The times were changing, and many events here would never have occurred at home. Norman left his family to search for gold, but does not appear to have been very successful. Norman worked for a time as a labourer, then as a hostler and coachman for Dr King at the fine home that was later to become Grace McKellor House in Geelong. He learned to be a snob (bootmaker), soon after his second marriage, and continued in this trade for the rest of his life.

Norman's first marriage, in 1869, was to Sarah Kennedy, an Irish lass from County Tyrone. Their family and details of their five children may be found here. His first years with Sarah, and the place of birth of his two eldest children, from 1870 to 1872, was at Rokewood, not far from Ballarat. The three younger children were born in Geelong, and their births date the family there from at least 1874. Sarah died of a post-parturition hemmorhage, after giving birth to Roderick William, on 2nd October 1877. 

Norman married again to Lucy Jane Jones (nee Silk) in 1880. Details of Lucy's family's long history in England and Australia may be found here. Lucy had also been married previously, and had lost her first husband Edward Jones in 1878. Sadly, their first child, named after Normans first wife Sarah, died two days after her birth, when the family were again in Lancefield - being "malformed and debilitated". Norman's occupation at this time was given as 'labourer'. Their youngest child, Edward Finlay, in part named after Lucy's first husband, was also to die very young - in 1915, at Shrapnel Valley,  Gallipolli, in Turkey aged 21.


Norman and Fanny's family

Norman James

Archibald Neil John

Edward Finlay

25 Sept 1882 Lancefield

11 April 1885 Geelong

26 Jan 1889 Geelong

1893 Geelong

27 Sept 1882 Lancefield

16 Dec 1942 Geelong

9 Sept 1964 Beechworth

29 May 1915 Gallipoli


Norman was a large, awe-inspiring man with flowing red hair and beard. He was fiercely religious. He first had a boot making shop in Corio St, Geelong, then eventually another boot repair shop near the Commun Na Feinne Hotel in Bellarine  St. Geelong.

Lucy, known as Fanny, was a very small woman, who went blind and deaf fairly early in her married life. It seems that Norman was not a good provider, as a written family history states that their son Archie "grew up an urchin on the Geelong waterfront" and worked at many jobs when he was young - "anything to help keep his blind mother". Oral history also states that Norman was far too fond of the drink - but then, this is far too often what happens to the dispossessed. In his life he'd lost  his homeland and at least two or three homes against his family's will, had siblings die, his children and wife die and his second young wife go blind, deaf and incapable of caring for her family. People have drank over less.

Both Norman and Fanny lived with their son Norman in later life. Norman Senior died of 'senile decay' on 5 June 1919 at 283 Bellarine St. Geelong. He was referred to as 'Norman Hector' on his death sertificate - the first known use of this second name. His age was given as '89' which would give his year of birth as 1830, but this is very uncertain. His age was given variously as: 5 at time of the 1841 census, birthdate 1835/6, which agrees with the age given on board the Persia. On his marriage to Sarah Kennedy in late 1869, he gave his age as 30 - birthdate 1838/9. On his marriage to Lucy Silk in late 1880, he gave his age as 38 - birthdate 1842/3. I believe 1835/6 to be the most likely, making him 84 or 85 at the time of his death.

Fanny died of 'senility and myocarditis' - a sudden death at the age of 90, in 1940 at home at 99 McLeod St. Geelong West. Both are buried at Geelong Eastern Cemetery, Presbyterian Section 5 and 6.

Continuation of Main McLean Pages 

Archibald Neil John and Mabel (Gear) McLean

Other family members

Norman James and Mary Ellen (Harwood)  McLean
Edward Finlay McLean

Silk Family

List of descendants of Roderick and Mary McLean

Back to Main McLean Page

My mother's a McLean but my father's a Burge 
Burge and McLean Index


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