Ann Duke, ex Panama
Ann Duke was aged 17 when she arrived in Sydney aboard the Panama. It was recorded that she was from ‘Ballyna’ (Ballina), that her parents, John and Mary, were both dead, she was Roman Catholic, and that she could read.
Ann’s baptism record was located in the Catholic parish registers for Kilmoremoy, where registers for baptisms and marriages began in 1823. She was born to John Duke and Mary Gilmartin on 6 May 1831, and baptised on 17 May, with a sponsor named as Bridget Gilmartin.
At the time the family was living in Breghy (Breaghwy) townland, about 7km south-east of Ballina.
John Duke and Mary Gilmartin were married on 24 June 1824. The witnesses to the marriage were Michael Devanny and Brid Gallagher, and the residence is listed as Rathmiel (Rathmeel), which is about 4km north of Ballina.
Ann Duke had two older siblings, as the registers show that John Duke and Mary Gilmartin had two children in Rathmeel before Ann was born in Breaghwy. Margaret was born 12 October 1825, and Thomas was born 15 December 1827.
After arriving in Sydney, Ann Duke was first employed by J. Keenan in Bridget Street in the city centre, and following this she remained in Sydney. In 1854 Ann married Michael O’Brien, and they had 4 children (see Famine Orphan Girl Database).
Ann Duke’s name is etched on the glass wall of the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney.
© Barbara Barclay (2015)