Christopher J.K. Flanagan

Obituary of Christopher J.K. Flanagan in the April 24, 1894 edition of the Goulburn Penny Post.

The Death of an Old Colonist

The person of Mr. C.J.K.Flanagan, who died at his son's residence, Bywong, Gunderoo, a very old colonist has gone over to the great majority. The deceased gentleman, who was a native of Kilkenny, at an early age, entered upon a course of studies, first at a grammar school and afterwards at Minute College, Dublin, for the priesthood, but before completing the term met with an accident which caused him to relinquish his studies. For the benefit of his health he then, in company with surveying party, traveled through England, Scotland, and Ireland, and on his return to the later place, having a mind for surveying, he again entered college and qualified himself for that profession. Being appointed Government surveyor he further traveled in that capacity.

While in Ireland the late Mr. Flanagan married Johanna Conroy, daughter of a retired publican, and the fact of his marriage, it being hoped that deceased would enter the church, causing his parents serious disappointment, with the result that he was deprived of a handsome fortune to have been allotted him, the money being bequeathed for missionary purposes. Deceased's elder brother thereupon offered to take him as a partner on a Plantation he had then established in America, but this was declined as Mr. Flanagan had previously made up his mind to emigrate to Australia. By doing this he probably escaped a watery, grave, the ship with its cargo and merchandise and the crew being lost at sea, deceased's brother being amongst the drowned.

In 1841 Mr. Flanagan landed in Sydney, and on his arrival there was robbed of all his belongings, his luggage, which was placed in the depot, being stolen. Amongst these were all the books and appliances of his profession, and this loss necessitated his giving up the ideas of procuring a living in the calling for which he had been educated.

Mr. Flanagan's wide knowledge served him sufficiently well to allow of his obtaining employment as bookkeeper and general manager for Mr. McArthur, of Arthursleigh, and while thus engaged many things revolting to his kindly disposition came under his notice, the labour of the estate being principally done by convicts, many of whom when distressed found relief and sympathy at his hands. Many an unfortunate convict escaped chastisement through his intercession. After leaving the service of the gentleman above named deceased accepted an appointment as gaoler in Goulburn, and was acting in that capacity when Talbut, the notorious Bungonia murderer, was executed. Talbut while in prison wrote a history of his life with a full confession of his crimes, which he placed in the hands of Mr. Flanagan, who, believing that publication of such would have no good effect upon society, did not bring the same before the public. Part of Talbut's confession, however, was that for 16 years he had prayed to the devil, and up to the time of his execution he suffered from the hallucination that the demon of darkness visited his cell nightly, spitting fire and making facial contortions. So terrified in this belief was the doomed man that he dreaded the approach of night and begged piteously to share a cell with other prisoners; but none cared to accept his companionship. Mr. Flanagan consequently spent the last night of the condemned man's life in the cell, hoping to calm the fear of the unfortunate man and induced him to repent. He described this as a horrible scene, which had the effect of causing him to resign the position of gaoler. He stated that he would never again desire to see human suffering so intense. The late gentleman was offered higher positions in the service, but preferring country life engaged with Dr. (afterwards Sir) Terence Aubrey Murray as manager of his estate, now known as the Ryre(?) estate at Micalago. The Estate changing hands he engaged in various pursuits, and eventually settled down at Spring Mount, near Queanbeyan, and followed farming up to the time of his wife's death, when he disposed of his property and lived with his son. Deceased was highly connected, being a relative of the late Cardinal Paul Cullen, with whom he corresponded up to within a short time of the distinguished prelate's decease. He was a cousin to the renowned land (?) and journalist, John Ford, editor of the New York Herald. He leaves a large respected family, seven sons and three daughters, three of whom are settled in the Queanbeyan district, others being settled in Coonamble, Wagga Wagga, and Orange, one Mrs. M.J. Casey, being a resident of Goulburn. Deceased lived to the grand old age of 82 years, and led a remarkable pious life.

1894 Newspaper Obituary
Submitted by: Nola Maureen (Flanagan) Shirley