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Bayview Hotel, Kensington

Michael Gorey (Gorry)

Bayview Hotel, Kensington
The Bayview Hotel, Kensington, corner of Altona and Tennyson Streets.

Researching family history can be frustrating but today I had a magic breakthrough in relation to my namesake and great-great uncle Michael Gorey (Gorry).

Michael was born at sea aboard the Middlesex on 24 September 1841 just before the ship arrived at Port Phillip on 1 October 1841.

To give some context, the population of Melbourne at that time was fewer than 10,000 people and they were Victorian pioneers.

Michael’s parents were James and Elizabeth (nee Hanlon or Hanley) Gorey from near Thomastown, County Kilkenny in Ireland.

I knew that Michael died at Nagambie, Victoria, on 31 July 1908. The death certificate says he died of a heart attack and it states his mother’s name was Elizabeth Hanley.

That’s important because other records show her surname as Hanlon, which appears to be correct, and the variations have been noted for several decades.

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1939 fire

Tragic 1939 fires remembered

With much of Australia currently ablaze I’m reminded of the terrible 1939 fires which are etched forever in my family’s psychology.

My uncle Michael Gorey was killed on Black Friday, 13 January 1939 at Saxton’s Sawmill, Tanjil Bren, along with Ben and Dorothy Saxton. He was 19 years old.

My father Peter was three years old. He huddled under wet blankets in a paddock at Fumina with his parents and five siblings. They watched their house go up in flames and heard the bellows of their 20 cows, which died in the fire or were later shot.

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