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Mary Ann Swords (?–1914)

The following are extracts from a lengthy article in the Dandenong Advertiser of October 1:—It is with deep regret we have to notify the death of Mrs J. W. Swords, relict of the late J. W. Swords, who passed away on Friday morning, 25th September, 1914, at her late residence, Victoria Villa, Hutton st., Dandenong, in her 94th year. Mrs. Swords was born at Nenagh, county Tipperary, Ireland, on April 21st, 1821. On the 23rd November, 1839, she was married to James Walker Swords, native of Deal, England, by the Hon. Ludlow Tonson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Killaloe, by special license. Here we may state that the parish and family minister had previously refused to marry the young couple, alleging as his reason that he would not be a party to sending a delicately nurtured young creature to a land of savages, out of civilisation, knowing they were about to start for Australia. The honeymoon was spent on the ocean, the young couple having sailed for the Antipodes in March, 1840, in the barque, Theresa (Captain Wood), arriving at Melbourne on the 24th June, five months after embarking. Mr Swords came out under engagement to Mr Thomas Strode, and worked for some time alongside of him at the case in the printing office; after this he was shipping reporter on the Port Phillip Patriot. He then arranged with Thomas Wilkinson to start the Portland Guardian the first provincial newspaper (we believe) published in (then N.S.W.) Victoria. The type and machinery were forwarded by water, and the young people travelled overland from Melbourne in a dray, a feat in those days of unmade roads and bridges requiring both courage and stamina, but they arrived safely. Mrs. Swords pulled the first impression of the Portland Guardian, on August 20, 1842, in Gawler street, this copy being now in the possession of Mr. Hughes, of the Casterton News, on the margin of which appears the signature of Francis Henty, the pioneer. Ceasing his connection with the Portland Guardian, Mr. Swords speculated in land buildings in Melbourne and Collingwood in 1851, and was looked upon as a wealthy man. Later on he resorted to farming and grazing on the Werribee river, after which he started the Wahgunyah Watchman at Rutherglen; then the Bacchus Marsh Guardian, Ballan paper, and finally the Dandenong Advertiser, now owned by H. F. and F. W. Swords. Mr J. W. Swords, who predeceased his wife 35 years, was born at Deal, England, and was the son of James Walter Swords, of Scottish descent. He was color-sergeant in the famous Black Watch, fought in Waterloo and the various battles of this war, his clasps and decorations being now in the possession of descendants. Mrs. Swords was an active worker in church matters, a liberal giver, and general supporter of any movement for the uplifting of humanity, and a good mother of 13 children, five of whom are living, including H. F. and F. W. Swords, James T. Swords (N.SW.), E. A. Swords, Dandenong, and Mrs. P. Murray, Mirboo North. The remains of deceased were in interred in the family grave, Dandenong, on Sunday.

Original publication

Citation details

'Swords, Mary Ann (?–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Conron, Mary Ann

25 September, 1914
Dandenong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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