Gravesite of Ryan-Butler family, St Matthew’s Catholic Cemetery, Windsor. Photograph 2017, Carol Roberts.
Patrick Butler arrived in New South Wales from Ireland in 1840, aged about 20. After seeking his fortune on the goldfields he eventually arrived in the Hawkesbury and married Honorah Ryan at St Matthew’s Catholic Church in Windsor in 1853. Honorah had arrived from Tipperary, Ireland, with her family in the late 1830s and they settled in Kurrajong for a few years before making their home in Windsor. Later generations of the Ryan family farmed at Pitt Town and Freemans Reach.
Showing a great deal of initiative, Honorah opened her own drapery shop in the mid-1840s, aged just 24 years. The shop was on the site of the old Greenaway’s store (previously Pollock’s) on the southern side of the Fitzroy Hotel in George Street, Windsor. After their marriage, Patrick joined Honorah in the shop and they remained in business for over forty years. Together they worked tirelessly to assist the priests and congregation at St Matthew’s Catholic Church. Patrick Butler (Snr) died in 1892 and Honorah died in 1896. They are buried in St Matthew’s Catholic Cemetery in Windsor, along with several other family members.
Patrick and Honorah Butler had four sons: Edmund Joseph, Thomas John, Patrick Phillip and Francis Joseph. They attended St Matthew’s Catholic School in Windsor and were taught by Mr William Langton who was well-known for his use of the cane. Patrick Butler (Jnr) married Amelia Pendergast in 1881 and after her death in 1894, married Clara Humphries. He remained in Windsor and managed the drapery store for almost thirty years until he moved to ‘Claremont’, in Telegraph Road, Pymble, in the mid-1920s because of his wife’s health. He died there in 1941.
Edmund, Thomas and Francis were gifted academically and excelled in their chosen fields of study. After graduating from Lyndhurst College in Glebe (founded by Archbishop Bede Polding in 1851) Edmund joined the priesthood and gained a Master of Arts, winning a ‘gold medal in mathematics and natural science’. He went on to become the maths tutor at St John’s College, University of Sydney, and then taught at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic College in Goulburn. He died at his parents’ home in 1889, aged 34, and is also buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Windsor.
Thomas and Francis also attended Lyndhurst College and then St Patrick’s College, before attending University of Sydney. Francis won numerous scholarships and awards in connection with his studies, including the Faucett Gold Medal for metaphysics and mental philosophy in 1883. He had ‘a brilliant career’ as a coach and educationalist and was on the Council of Fellows at St John’s College until he died in 1923.
After graduation, Thomas taught at St Patrick’s before returning to Sydney in 1877 where he was appointed assistant lecturer in Classics. A prolific writer on literary subjects, he was appointed to the Senate of the University before then being appointed Professor of Latin. Thomas Butler died in Sydney in 1937.
Carol Roberts 2019
I completed the basis of this article for the Hawkesbury Gazette published on 12 July 2017 as ‘Butlers of Windsor made an impression’.
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