Creegh South, Kilmacduane, mirrors that of many young women in mid-19th Century Clare. After the family was evicted in May 1848, Mary was orphaned and ended up in Kilrush Workhouse. From there she was sent to Tasmania in 1851 on board the ‘Beulah’ as part of an Orphan Emigration Scheme. In Van Diemen’s Land, Mary found employment and went on to marry a convict William Beard, who later became a policeman. They had 11 children.
Mary’s great-grandson, Ian Beard, who was researching the family’s history, had drawn a blank on Mary’s background, until the Passenger List for the ‘Beulah’ was released on ancestry.com.au, leading him to Mary’s place of origin. The list includes names of girls from Ballyvaughan, Ennis, Ennistymon and Kilrush Workhouses.
Ian Beard has also transcribed the Passenger List for the ‘Calcutta’, which also sailed in 1851 with orphans from Clare workhouses. Their preparations and journey are described by Michael MacMahon in his article ‘From Clare to Van Diemen’s Land’.