McAteer Family of Marshall Town

Compiled by Jennifer Bantow OAM November 2020

The cottage at 375 Barwon Heads Road Marshall built by Francis McAteer is aesthetically and historically significant. It is a modest scale surviving example of an early Victorian building of bluestone construction, slate roof, timber framed doors and windows and brick chimneys.

The McAteer family were prominent in the Marshall Town district from the 1860s and owned properties in the area for over fifty years. In some years the various land allotments, some with buildings, totalled over a hundred acres. They also owned land which they let to other occupiers.

The McAteer family are representative of early settlers who emigrated to Australia as a result of the 1840s Irish potato famine, initially as part of the gold rush. They found long term employment in industries related to wool processing, such as fellmongery and leather production, which prospered along the Barwon River due to the abundance of wattle bark with high levels of tannin, and the ample fresh water available.

Francis (Frank) 1828–1901 and Catherine nee Mullroney c1841–1915 and their children.

Francis McAteer was born in 1828 at Newrey (Newry) Northern Ireland, he was the son of Michael and Margaret (nee Tranier).

Newry lies in south-eastern part of the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland. The western half of the city is in County Armagh and the eastern half is in County Down. The Clanrye River, runs through the city, and forms the historic border between County Armagh and County Down.

Francis McAteer emigrated to Australia aboard the ship Goldfinder which departed Liverpool England 9th  November 1854, carrying 270 passengers and 1,600 tons of cargo, and arrived in Melbourne 1st February 1855.


ARRIVED Feb 1 Goldfinder ship from Liverpool)

The Goldfinder was from the “Golden” line of Australian Packets owned by the firm of Millers and Thompson of Liverpool, popular at the time with those heading for the goldfields of Australia.

Francis McAteer 1828–1901, and Catherine Mullroney c1841 – 1915, were married in 1859.
He was aged 31 years and she was aged 18 years when they were married.
Francis’s occupation was described as a Farmer.

Catherine Mullroney (c1841 – 1915)
Catherine’s parents are listed as Edward Mullroney and Margaret nee Fowler.
No birth or baptism record has been found for Catherine, her birth date is calculated from her age when she died.
Catherine was Marshalltown postmistress from 1890 to 1896. 
Catherine is listed in Shire of South Barwon Rate Books as a land owner in Marshalltown in 1903 and 1909.
She is also listed on the Electoral Roll living in Marshalltown in 1903.

They had five children between 1861 and 1877, two sons, Michael and Edward, and three daughters, Margaret Mary, Alice and Rose Ann.

1. Michael McAteer (1861-1892)
No birth or baptism record has been found for Michael, his birth date is calculated from his age when he died.
No marriage has been found for Michael.
Michael is listed in Shire of South Barwon Rate Books as a land owner in Marshalltown in 1889.

2. Margaret Mary McAteer (1863-1942)
Baptism recorded on 15 February 1863 at St Mary of the Angels Catholic Basilica Geelong.
Margaret may be the Miss McAteer listed in Shire of South Barwon Rate Books as a land owner in Marshalltown in 1889.
Margaret was Marshalltown postmistress from 1886 to 1890. 
Margaret married Thomas Francis Fowler in 1890.
Margaret and Thomas had four children, Mary Ellen Fowler born 1891, Rose Anne Fowler born 1893, Francis Thomas Fowler born 1903 and Michael Nolan Fowler born 1906.
Margaret died on 5 December 1942 aged 79 years at Kew, and is buried in Geelong.

3. Alice McAteer (1869-1870)
Alice died in infancy.

4. Edward McAteer (1871-1934)
No birth or baptism record has been found for Edward, his birth date is calculated from his age when he died.
No marriage has been found for Edward.
Edward is listed as a land owner in Marshalltown in 1894, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1909, 1913, 1924, 1928 and in Belmont in 1933.
Edward’s occupation was described as a Farmer, however he owned land which was described as a Tannery paddock.
He is also listed on the Electoral Roll living in Marshalltown from 1903 to 1931.

5. Rose Ann McAteer  (1877-1896)
Rose Ann died aged 19 years.

Two crown allotment purchases

1. In January 1866 Francis McAteer purchased Allotment 7 in Breakwater Parish of Corio Section 9A.

(From: Schedule of crown purchases Parish of Corio)

2. Allotment 18 Section 1 Parish of Conewarre was originally reserved as a cemetery.
Francis McAteer purchased this Allotment on 28 September 1866. The Allotment was 27 acres 3 roods 12 Perches.

It’s probable that three of the children, Alice, Edward and Rose Ann, were born when the family lived in their four-room bluestone cottage, c1866/7 at the intersection of Tannery and Mt Colite Road Marshalltown.

  • Michael born 1861
  • Margaret Mary born 1862
  • Alice born 1869
  • Edward born 1871
  • Rose Ann born 1877

Catherine outlived Francis by fourteen years, he died in 1901 aged 73 years, and she died in 1915 also aged 73 years.

Catherine died at her daughter’s residence ‘Barwon’ in Brighton Street Richmond.

Francis and Catherine and their five children are all buried together in the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.

Land owned in the Marshall area by the McAteer family

Extract from Geelong Rate books 1865-66
1865-66 Breakwater weatherboard two rooms and garden Mrs McAteer

Above Allotments 1 and 2 Section II Parish of Conewarre, site of the Tannery paddock, first rated in 1894.
(The Parish of Conewarre was spelt with one ‘n’).

The Tannery paddock is described as 41 acres in 1894, so it may have been Allotments 1 and 2 Section 1, directly opposite the bluestone cottage, not Section 11. This requires further research through a Title Search to determine on which land the Tannery was situated.

Extracts from Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980 – McAteer

1903      Catherine McAteer          Marshalltown                    Lady
Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer
1915       Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer
1919      Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer
1924       Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer
1928       Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer
1931       Edward McAteer              Marshalltown                    Farmer

(Assets owned by Frank McAteer at the time of his death on 15 November 1901. Source: Gwen Threlfall)
(Source: Gwen Threlfall)

MCATEER FAMILY MONUMENT Geelong Eastern Cemetery

Nine family members buried in Plot EAS-RC-HDST-03-807-03

Alice McAteer died 1870
Michael McAteer died 1892
Mary Ellen Fowler died 1892
Rose Ann McAteer died 1896
Francis McAteer died 1901
Catherine McAteer died 1915

Ellen Mulroney died 1927
Edward McAteer died 1934
Margaret Fowler died 1942
(Catherine McAteer’s maiden name was Mulroney, and her Mother’s maiden name was Fowler)

The monument west and north sides are engraved. The east and south sides are blank.


  1. Greater Geelong Outer Areas Heritage Study 1998-2000 by Authentic Heritage Services P/L
  2. Post Contact Cultural Heritage Assessments 2014 by Authentic Heritage Services P/L
  3. South Barwon 1857-1985 by John Pescott published in 1985
  4. Mount Duneed History Group web pages by Gwen Threlfall
  6. Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980
  7. South Barwon Shire rate book entries 1869 to 1933
  8. Geelong Rate books 1865-66
  9. Parish of Conewarre map – SLV
  10. Parish of Corio – SLV

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