Thursday 13 September 2018

When Harry met Mary

Joseph Hickey was from County Kildare in Ireland. He came to Australia in 1856 with his second wife Maria, and three children from his first marriage. After working in Liverpool as a butcher for a few years he moved to Menangle and opened a butchery business, which became a general store. Joseph had eleven more children, one of whom was Henry Joseph, who was known as Harry. As a young man, Harry assisted his parents with the storekeeping business at Menangle established by his father. After the death of his parents, the business carried on under the name Hickey Brothers.
In 1902, the building of the Cataract Dam at Appin began, the oldest dam of Sydney's water supply system. At the time it was the biggest engineering project in Australia. Harry established a business taking goods by horse and dray to the Cataract Dam site, where "Cataract City" was established for workers on the dam. The newspaper reported that at Cataract Dam "Mr Hickey, Menangle, has a large and capacious store built of wood, where every necessity may be obtained".

The main street of "Cataract City", (photo - Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society) Note the general store on the right.

Miss Mary May Carroll was born at Borenore, a small town near Orange, and educated at the Convent of Mercy at Carcoar. An exceptional student in all areas, Mary (who was known as May) was an excellent horsewoman, seamstress and musician. In her early twenties May travelled to Cataract Dam to care for her three brothers who were working on the construction. Whilst there she started up a school to teach children that lived in "Cataract City". It was here she met Harry Hickey.
After completion of the Cataract Dam in 1907, the Carroll brothers and their sister May moved onto the construction site of the Barren Jack Dam, now known as Burrinjuck. Harry Hickey opened a store there. Love flourished in the temporary cities created at the construction sites of the Cataract and Burrinjuck dams, and Harry Hickey and Mary Carroll married in 1911.
Wedding of Harry Hickey and May Carroll 1911.
(courtesy 'The Descendants of Timothy and Ellen Carroll' compiled by Judy Rayment)
They had two daughters and a son and lived in Appin and Menangle while Harry continued to work in the family business. Even after moving to Parramatta, Harry worked in Appin and Menangle until 1928, only coming home on weekends. Harry died in 1939 at the age of 68, and May in 1960. They are buried together at Rookwood Cemetery.

The headstone of Harry and May at Rookwood.

Written by Claire Lynch

"The descendants of Timothy and Ellen Carroll" compiled by Judy Rayment

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