John Flinn and Margaret Cleary

John Robert Flinn was born on September 4, 1854, at Moranding, a small settlement about 4 kilometres from Kilmore, Victoria. His parents were Michael Flinn and Barbara Heavey. He was baptised at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Kilmore, by Reverend Timothy O’Rourke and his godmother was Ellen Quinn, the mother of Ned and Dan Kelly. The Catholic parish of St. Patrick’s, Kilmore (photo below) was established in 1849 and is the oldest inland Catholic parish in Victoria.










Margaret Mary Cleary was the youngest child of Thomas Cleary and Bridget Heffernan. She was born on September 24, 1864, and at the time of her birth, her parents may still have been living at Willowmavin, a small village on the south-eastern outskirts of the town of Kilmore.

John and Margaret were married on October 17, 1887, at Grenfell where the Cleary family resided on their “Pinedale” property. John and Margaret commenced their married life in Grenfell and were there until at least 1892 as Michael, Mary, and Margaret’s birth records all show they were born at Grenfell. Sometime before Tim’s birth in April 1894 the family had moved to Germanton, now Holbrook NSW, where John’s parents and many siblings resided. They worked on Woomargama station, a 40,000-acre sheep station owned by the Splatt family, who were well known as one of the first exporters of frozen mutton to Britain.

John and Margaret had 6 children by 1900, Tom and Bridget both having been born in Germanton, when they returned to Grenfell to take up residence at Bellevue, Piney Range. A further 3 daughters would be born at Grenfell, Barbara, Helen, and Kathleen.

Bellevue Tennis Courts.

The photo left shows John and Margaret and 6 children. Bridget is the baby n Margaret’s knee and is 4 or 5 months old and so this would have been taken in about July 1898. This would mean that John would be 44, Margaret 34.

Mick in the back right corner would be 10, Mary on the left of Mick would be 8, Mag, centre front, 6, Tim behind Mag, 4, and Tom in front of his father, 2.

Bellevue was a focal point in the lives of the Flinn grandchildren School holidays were spent rabbiting and working around the property. John was always keen to hear of their exploits on the rabbit shooting trips with the ‘childer’ being required to report on the number of rabbits seen and the number killed. Mugs of rum were supplied to warm them up if needed. Cold mornings also meant a mug of rum and a bowl of sturridge, prepared by Aunty Mag. In his later years, John was confined to bed and his pipe would often fall out of his reach. The ‘childer’ were always called on to collect the pipe which meant that each child would have a quick puff on the pipe before returning it to its owner.

The photo left shows Kath and Nell in 1985.





Margaret died on November 17, 1946, and John died on June 17, 1948.

The Church window, in the photo below, was donated to St Joseph’s at Grenfell by John and Margaret Flinn, in memory of their parents. The photos of Kathleen when she appears to be about 18 years old show the familiar Bellevue landscape.