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Lieut. Colonel John Thomas Leahy (1781........1839.)

Back To . . 21st Royal North British Fusiliers Regiment
  • Born : c. 1781
  • Where Born :
  • Occupation : Soldier,
  • Date Arrived :
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  • Rank on Discharge : Lieut. Colonel
  • Date of Enlistment :1799
  • Where Enlisted :
  • Date of Discharge : 1835…sold his Commission
  • Where Discharged : Sydney
  • Died :   28 June 1839  age 58 years
  • Where Died / Buried : Sydney
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  • Where Born :
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  • Died :
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  • Date Married :
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  • Born :
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     Some information was kindly supplied by Bill mira

    Some information was kindly supplied by Lorraine Neate
    Area Settled :
    Illawarra (Wollongong)
    Children :

    History & Achievements :

    1821…Lieut. Coln. John Thomas Leahy…left Barbados in March 1821 with 7 companies ..proceeded to  Demerara under Major Leahy and three under  Major Champion.
    1823. Col JT Leahy….insurrectionary movements have been made by Negroes  in  the district of Mahaica  , in the island of…
    Until 1871 officers could still buy and sell their commissions…
    1799:-   John Thomas LEAHY. , ,Gent., to be Ensign , by purchase vice  Hewetson,                                                                     .            promoted.
    1813:- June 13…Acting Brevet Major , John Thomas LEAHY, to be Brevet Major, vice Sutton  23 rd Foot.
    1819:- April 24 ; Major John Thomas LEAHY, from half pay  of the  7th Foot, to be                                                                         .;         Major, vice Alexander James ROSS, who exchanges Major vice SUTTON.
     1821 August 24; Major John Thomas LEAHY , to be Lt. Colonel without purchase vice .   .                                        NOOTH deceased; 21st Foot.
    Historical Records of the Illawarra Region of NSW..
    A chronological guide  to sources and events. 
    Blairgownie Estate sold for £12,000 June 1839
    Australian ? news paper…? 1839 ‘trespass on Coln. Leahy’s property.
    * Sale of   Mt. Keera   Estate…SMH..  ????  26 October 1844..
    Catalogue of sale of Mt. Keera Estate in Mitchell Lib.
    Sold by Trustees Merssrs. R & C. Campbell.
                                             Auctioneers  Mr. Blackman  ..9 May 1842.
    Heirs   Daniel and Thomas LEAHY……….Cork…Ireland..
    JT Leahy  retired from the Army in 1835…sold his Commission.-
    ? to whom.
    Died Sydney  28 June 1839  age 58 years..
    The Illawarra Diary  of Lady Jane Franklin  11 May 1839…Appin to Wollongong.
    …..we came to a broad road  and passed the farm of Colonel Leahy, formerly of the 21st Regiment (sic) and 3 years here. He purchased this from T.J. Spearing and has been offered  by Mr. John Therry Hughes  £ 5,000 . It contains 5,000 acres of farmland  and      £ 2,000  for life. Colonel Leahy is about 60 and seems half disposed  to  accept the offer , having another property in the district where he would  remove and build a house.
    There is a great run on the Illawarra now , every boat brings fresh immigrants; wages are high as is drunkedness (sic). Colonel Leahy   called  soon after our arrival  and asked us to dine with him or  take lunch at 4pm.The  gentry seemed to be mainly ex  naval and military  officers and professional men.
    James Spears came free to  NSW on the ship “Harvey’ in 1826.
    Given 2 x 1000 acre land grants  the Mt. Keira area of the Illawarra.
    Named these  “Paulsgrove”…in the 1832 Census  he is listed  as having :-
                            400 acres cleared…….250 acres cultivated……..5 horses…….
                             50 cattle……..111 sheep…..up to 60 convicts at varying times.: These may have included the road gangs who built the Mt Keira Road from the escarpment to  the coast   in 1835/6.
    Became “principal agriculturalist in the region with fruit trees, vegetables , two water mills and a windmill; his products were shipped to Sydney in two small boats.
    Spears returned to England in 1836 and “ lived  as a gentleman”.
    Could  the Neil Talbot Esq.   “ £ 480 pound’ cheque  be  the agents fee and and deposit on the  sale of Paulsgrove. The amount plus Esq., suggests Talbot was someone of substance !.
    The signature on the cheque …..Jms. Thos. Leeahy…  DC 1/ 21 Fusiliers ?
    The land sale to Leahy in “late 1835” fits..  He renamed the property as Mount Keera Estate.
    JTL appears in “ A history of the Australian Club”….founding member and  in committee setting up the club……1838……..actually died in Club ??
    William Talbot, from an old Irish family    arrived in VDL in 1826;
    Obtained land at Fingal  and developed  it and named it  Malahide after his  Irish ancestral home.
    His nephew  S  Neil Talbot , too late for a land grant , began buying and selling land.
     It was through him and his uncle that Leahy purchased Paulsgrove  in the NSW Illawarra.
    The cheque   £480 , was a lot of money  and may well have been the deposit  or agents I
    Lieut. Colonel John Thomas Leahy. 1/21 Fusiliers.
                                            Nth. British Fusiliers.
    In 1799 John Thomas Leahy , of  ‘pseudo’ Irish aristocratic stock,  enlisted in the British Army. He was ,as per his records, a gent, to be Ensign, by purchase vice Heweton. Promoted.
    In other words, as was the rule at the time, he bought his  rank.
    By  April  1813 he was an Acting Brevet Major, also, by purchase; 1819 saw him a major on half pay  with the 7th  Foot.
    In 1821 he became Lt. Colonel without purchase vice, Nooth deceased in the 21st. Foot.
    He saw service in the West Indies for  several years being involved  actions in Barbados  [1821]  and in slave ‘insurrections’ in Mahaica [1823].
    The 21st Foot was  sent to  an Diemen’s land in 1833 with Leahy the Commander.
    In 1835 Lieut. Colonel  Leahy retired.
    He moved to the Australian mainland  purchasing part of the Paulsgrove Estate in the Illawarra from James Spear. Through land grants and convict labour  Spear had become the principal agriculturalist in what was to become the  North Wollongong area.
    Leahy made his purchase through S. Neil Talbot , Hobart, a real estate and land Agent in Hobart.
    The  Derwent  Bank cheque  made out  to S. Neil Talbot  on 4 July 1835 for 
    £430 is almost certainly part of the  transaction.
    Leahy took up residence in his new property, changing its name to Keera Estate  now in Blairgownie a northern suburb of  The City of Wollongong.
    The former officer became active in the social events of the area, frequently visiting Sydney and becoming a Foundation member of the Australia Club in Macquarie Street.
    In 1838 Lady Jane Franklin recorded in her Diary, referring to Keera Estate ;
    It contains 5,000 acres of farmland  and he has been offered, by Mr. John Therry, £5,000 and £2,000  for life.
    The gentry are mainly ex naval and military officers and professional people.
    Leahy did not have a long retirement;
    On 28 June 1839 Lieutenant Colonel John Thomas Leahy, 21st Fusiliers, retired, died in the Australia Club. He was 58.
    His heirs were nephews Daniel and Thomas Leahy.
    Mt. Keera was sold by auction, 9 May 1844 for  circa  £12,000.
    John Thomas Leahy came to NSW and purchased property in the Illawarra (Wollongong) area in late 1835.
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    Last revised: October 06, 2008.