27 Dec 1789 - 28 Aug 1853
Date added: 11 Jun 2016
John Finnigan was born on the 27/12/1789 in Dublin, Ireland. Son of a Ribbon Weaver who is said to have died when John about 7 years of age. He enlisted in the 28th Regiment of Foot at Dublin on the 25/9/1806 at the age of 18 years, for life.
From his Army record, it says, " that in consequence of a reduction in the establishment of the Regiment and being slightly wounded in the right arm by a ball shot at Quatre Bras 16th June 1815 was discharged on 29th July 1819 as Sergeant." He had served for 15 years and 33 days in Ireland, Gibraltar, England, Portugal, Spain, France, Malta and finally Corfu.
The family knew he had emigrated to Hobart, Van Dieman's Land. From documents found in Tasmanian Archives; John arrived in Hobart on 9/11/1824 as a guest of His Majesties Government. He is listed as John Finnegan Convict no.23321. He was 35 years of age. Tried at Coventry 27/3/1824, for housebreaking & sentenced to 7 years. He left England on 9/7/1824 on the "Princess Charlotte" & arrived in Hobart Town on 9/11/1824, after a voyage of 123 days, among 140 male convicts. Due for release March 28, 1831.
In 1825 he was Clerk to Principal Superintendent, Engineers Dept. 1826-1829 Clerk in the Convict Dept. where his duties included preparing the Annual Convict returns for England. 1830-1838 Chief Clerk in Convict Dept.
On 24/6/1834 he married a young Irish emigrant, Catherine Dunn, & a son & daughter were born in 1835 & 1837. In 1839 he arrived in Portland in the Colony of Victoria as Book Keeper to the Henty Bros who were opening up this settlement for farming. At this time Portland consisted of 'at least one hundred souls, 1 substantial house, six decent cottages & a few huts'. It was an old whaling station.
Over the next 14 years John undertook many roles, Saddler, Clerk, Gunsmith, Storekeeper, Labourer in the expanding community of Portland.
An article in the Portland Newspaper of 23/11/1849 reads; War medal:- Mr John Finnigan of this town, has just received through the Horse Guards an honorable testimony from the Queen, of the value of his services rendered to the throne and the country during the memorable years occurring between 1793 and 1814, by the presentation of a handsome medal. The clasp of the medal bears the names of the following five battles, as being those in which Mr Finnigan was actively engaged :- Toulone, Pyrenees, Vittoria, Altuhera and Busaco.
The Waterloo medal had been previously received by him".
His many descendants & the citizens of Portland had no idea this upstanding citizen had a convict background until the Family History was completed in 2008.
Unfortunately the Waterloo medal has been lost, but the Peninsular medal is still with a family member.
John was my great great grandfather.