Nothing is known of his early life. As the family lived in India, probably in Madras, it is possible that Eyre was sent “home” to England or Ireland, for his education.
Eyre’s father probably wanted his two sons to enlist in the army (either the British or Indian) and on 13 January 1796, not long after his 12th birthday, Eyre was commissioned an Ensign by purchase in the 73rd Regiment (Perthshire Regiment). Less than a year later Eyre was promoted to Lieutenant on 13 December 1796. To be promoted to Lieutenant at such a young age is unusual and probably relates to the fact that the Regiment was in India when the vacancy arose, and his father probably took the opportunity to purchase the lieutenancy for him. Its unlikely that Eyre took an active role in the Regiment in these early years and received no pay until 1798 when he turned 15 years of age.
The muster roll of the 24 June 1799 shows Eyre as being sick at Srirangapatna. It is reasonable to assume he was present at the siege and capture of Srirangapatna, possibly having been wounded. This battle took place in the months of April and May 1799, between the combined forces of the British East India Company and their allies, numbering over 50,000 soldiers in all, and the soldiers of the Kingdom of Mysore, ruled by Tippu Sultan, numbering up to 30,000. The storming troops, included the 73rd and 74th Regiments, fought their way through the breach in the west rampart and stormed into the city. The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War came to an end with the defeat and death of Tippu Sultan in the battle. It is likely that Eyre’s father William also took part in this battle. Also fellow officer Lachlan Macquarie (later Governor of the Colony of NSW) was present at Srirangapatna.
Eyre was sick again in 1800, but rejoined the regiment before the end of the year. His brother William became an Ensign on 5 April 1800 in the 73rd Regiment.
During 1802/3 Eyre’s regiment served at Bellary and Pondicherry. After a period at Pondicherry in 1804, the regiment moved into Fort St George, Madras, on 27 August 1804, where it remained until mid 1806. While he was stationed at Pondicherry news would have reached Eyre about the terrible wounds his father William had received at the Siege of Gawilghur in December 1803. Eyre was probably given leave to visit his father and may have ben present when he died in April 1804. He may have also visited his mother so as to assist in making arrangements for her move back to England.
Eyre was promoted to Captain on 24 December 1804. On 21 June 1806 Captain Kenny landed at Gravesend with his regiment and was stationed at Greenwich. The regiment then moved to Stirling Castle, Scotland in late 1806. On 25 November Eyre took leave.
On 28 December 1806 Eyre submitted through Lt. General Harris via Major O’Connell of the 73rd Foot, the standard application to the Commander in Chief, for an exchange with Captain Murray of the 80th Regiment. The request was denied but Eyre received a letter while camped near Wokingham, Berkshire from Major O’Connell at Stirling Castle dated January 7th 1807 viz:
In reply to my letter which accompanied your memorial for an exchange with Captain Murray of the 80th Regt. I am informed by Col. Gordon that the Commander in Chief cannot allow the exchange to take place until the consent of the Col. of the 80th is obtained – as I find Lord Lake is Col. of that Regt. and is in India which perhaps H.R.H. did not avert to when he ordered this answer to be made, I think you had better lose no time in coming to town and explaining the business personally to Col. Gordon. I have applied thro’ the Adjutant General for leave of absence for you until this exchange takes place, but if you are to await the answer of Lord Lake to carry it into effect, you cannot of course expect leave for so long a time.
I remain with every wish for your success,
Sir, Your Ob ent’. Svt.
In a letter dated 19 January 1807 (see copies below) Eyre wrote to his Colonel while staying at the “Cottage”, Great Coram Street, Russell Square, in London, seeking a transfer to the 80th Regiment in India, saying that his late father, Lieutenant Colonel Kenny of the 11th Madras Native Infantry, had left his affairs in a “very confused state” and that he wanted to go back to India to settle them. He adds that he had a brother (William) in the 73rd Regiment.
Great Coram Street
Janry 19. 07
I have received the inclosed from the Commanding Officer of the 73rd. which I submit to your perusal. I will do myself the honour of paying my personal respects to you on Wednesday next 3 o’clock. In the meanwhile permit me to state to you that my only reason for desiring to exchange is, that my late Father, Lt. Col. Kenny 11th Regt. Madras N.I. (who died of the wounds he rec’d. in storming Gawilghur in Dec. 1804)(sic) left his affairs in his Agents hands in a very confused state. As my regt. being soon after ordered home, I could not remain to see the accounts settled for my brother and sisters in England whose Fortunes will be much impaired if I sho’d not be suffered to exchange until Lord Lakes’ approbation arrives from India. I have a Brother in the 73rd and it wo’ld have been more pleasing to me after an absence of 10 years to stay and recruit my Health with him; besides I lose steps by my Exchange into the 80th. – I have no other motive, therefore, for wishing that His Royal Highness maybe pleased to allow me to be gazetted for this reg’t. than what I have truly stated: as shd’ the Commander in Chief think a recommendation from Col. Moneypenny or any other Officer under whom I have served requisite I shall be able to obtain the most satisfactory.
I am, Sir,
with infinite respect
Your obliged & obt. humble serv.
Eyre E. Kenny
Cap’t. 73rd Regt.
On the back of the letter is written:
The exchange may
go on –
(Signed) Colonel Gordon
Other copies of letters held by the authors relating to Eyre’s transfer are :-
Standard letter by Eyre Evans Kenny seeking his Colonel’s approval to the transfer, with the approval at the bottom. (not dated)
Covering letter from Stirling Castle on 28 December 1806 to Lt Col Gordon, signed by Major O’Connell, 73rd Regiment
Letter to Captain Kenny at Toutly near Wokingham, Berks, from Stirling Castle on 7 January 1807 by Major O’Connell advising that Captain Murray’s Colonel needs to approve his transfer and suggesting Kenny explain the situation to Colonel Gordon as soon as possible
Standard letter by Captain Murray seeking his Colonel’s approval to the transfer, with the approval at the bottom. (not dated)
Covering letter from Greenwood at Craigs Court on 21 January 1807.
The exchange with Captain Murray was approved and Eyre left the 73rd regiment on 21 January 1807. He reached Madras in August 1807, and joined the 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) at Seringapatam where he remained until April 1809.
Mr Edwin Edmund Larcombe, later a very good friend of Eyre’s youngest son Herbert at Blacktown, NSW, wrote in 1935 in the Parramatta Historical Society
Journal (see Chapter 7) that :-
“One of Mr. (Herbert) Kenny’s most treasured possessions was the dark red sword scarf, which had been worn by his grandfather and also by his father.
After the Battle of Corunna, Colonel (Eyre Evans) Kenny was one of the officers who stood by the grave of their late leader, Sir John Moore, and the scarf, with five others knotted together in pairs, was used in the burial ceremony.”
This cannot be true as Eyre was in India at the time of the Battle of Corunna; the 80th did not take part in this Battle. Lieut General Sir John Moore was the Commander of the British Army in the Peninsular War and was killed in battle on 13 January 1809 at Corunna. He was buried on the ramparts in a grave prepared by the 9th Regiment of Foot. Eyre’s uncle, Courtney Crowe Kenny was a Captain in the 9th Regiment and took part in the Battle of Corunna, and later died in battle in Portugal in 1812. So its likely the scarf belonged to Courtney and on his death it was sent home with his possessions. Then somehow the scarf was handed over to Eyre; possibly because he was the eldest grandson of Thomas Kenny of Roxborough.
In April 1809 Eyre marched with the regiment to Cananore, where he served until October 1809, when he was on temporary duty with the 2/22nd Regiment commanding at Paulghautcherry and remained there until October 1811 when he was given six months leave in India.
Eyre’s brother William was now a Captain in the 73rd Regiment and his regiment came to Sydney with Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arriving on 31 December 1809. Macquarie who was also Colonel of the 73rd Regiment, immediately took up his appointment as the Governor of the Colony of New South Wales. William saw service in Port Dalrymple, near Launceston, Tasmania, as Deputy Judge Advocate, from February 1810 to November 1812. Then he was Barrack Master in Sydney before returning to England in 1814. Perhaps William’s experiences in New South Wales were a factor in Eyre later coming to Melbourne.
Eyre rejoined the 80th regiment at Seringapatam in February 1812, and from there moved with the regiment in April 1813 to Coorwah and then the following month to Quilon where he served until October 1816. Eyre was appointed Brevet Major on 4 June 1814. Brevet means that the officer did not receive the pay of that rank.
Late in 1816 the Regiment moved to St Thomas Mount near Madras (now named Chennai). On 23 March 1817, the regiment sailed from Madras in the ‘Lucy Maria’ and reached Portsmouth on 3 August. Eyre was first posted at Chatham, then in January 1818 marched to Canterbury followed by a march to Colchester in April 1818. The Regiment marched south from Manchester to Rochedale in late 1818, then six months at Hull. In July 1819 the regiment was stationed at Glasgow then moved next to Edinburgh Castle in January 1820, followed by a short time at Macclesfield before Eyre took leave.
On 16 December 1820, at almost 37 years of age, Eyre married by licence his first cousin Lucy Jennings Inge, aged 25, at Knighton in Leicestershire. This was just over a year after his mother Martha (nee Jennings) had died in Kensington. The next chapter goes into more detail about the Inge connection.
When the regiment moved to Ireland, Major Kenny went instead to the General Depot at the Albany Barracks on the Isle of Wight. He sailed from there on 4 September 1821 for Gibraltar, where he rejoined the 80th regiment on its way to Malta on board the ‘Chapman’, arriving on 26 October 1821. His wife Lucy also went with him to Malta. Sometime either before or after they arrived in Malta their first child Caroline was born.
Major Kenny was again home on leave in August 1822. On 18 January 1823 Eyre and Lucy’s second child, John Edward Courtney Kenny was baptised at Leamington Priors, Warwickshire. It would seem John died as an infant as there are no further records relating to him.
In August 1823 Eyre returned to the Albany Barracks and then to Malta where he served until about October 1826. Lucy may have accompanied Eyre or arrived in Malta at a later date. In 1826 Lucy gave birth to Susannah Lucy Ann in Malta.
On 4 June 1826 Eyre wrote the following letter :-
Lieut. Colonel Pitt
Commanding 80 Regt
In consequence of the General Orders under date Horse Guards, 26 April 1826, respecting Officers holding the Brevet Rank in the Army, I beg leave to signify my intention of accepting the Half Pay Majority and thereby profitting by the advantages offered by our Gracious Sovereign.
I have the honor to be Sir,
Your Most Obedt Sert
E E Kenny
Captn & Bt Major 80 Regt
On 10 June 1826 Colonel Pitt forwarded Eyre’s letter to Lieut. General Sir H Taylor, Military Secretary. Eyre was gazetted Major on half pay on 27 July 1826. Being on half pay meant that you were in semi-retirement on the basis that you could be called up on active duty at any time.
Eyre and Lucy then left Malta and settled at Biddenham, Bedfordshire, where the following has been extracted from the parish registers :-
Lucy Laetitia born on 20 December 1827, baptised on 6 August 1829
Mary Ann Jennings baptised on 6 August 1829
Emily Eliza born on 31 December 1830, baptised on 13 February 1831
It would seem that Lucy had health complications following Emily’s birth for on 31 March 1831 she was buried at Biddenham, age 38 years.
Mary Ann Kenny of Biddenham, Bedfordshire, buried on 23 February 1832 aged 2 years 10 months
It is likely that after the death of his daughter Mary Ann, Eyre decided he needed assistance with rearing his young family and moved to the Charterhouse at Coventry where the Inge family lived.
In 1834 Edward Inge of Willenhall, Warwickshire drew up his will on 30 June and named his nephew-in-law Eyre Evans Kenny as a beneficiary and executor. Edward was probably a widower by then without any children and was very well off having extensive land holdings including a share in a colliery at Wyken. As a beneficiary Eyre was to receive £1,000. Edward died in June 1835 and the will was registered for Probate on 23 January 1836.
In Articles of Agreement dated 18 October 1835 Eyre was described as of the Charterhouse, Coventry, esq. and in a Lease and Release document of 8 October 1839 Eyre is described as of Coventry, a Lieutenant Colonel not attached to a regiment. It appears Eyre was involved as executor with the continuing administration of the colliery for in September 1840 his name appears in articles of agreement relating to the colliery. In 1836, 1837 and 1840 there were four land sales by the executors including Eyre Evans Kenny. The administration of these estates continued until at least 1851 as Eyre being in Victoria, was represented by Thomas Johnson.
While on hay-pay as a Major, Eyre Evans Kenny was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel on 10 January 1837.
The records of the first census of England and Wales to be retained was taken on 6 June 1841 and the Kenny family was living at Lee Crescent in Birmingham, Warwickshire. The census taker recorded the following details – note that ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest 5 years.
Age Occupation Where born
Eyre Kenny 50 Army Ireland
Caroline Kenny 20 Scotland
Susan Kenny 15 Not in County
Lucy Kenny 13 Not in County
Emily Kenny 11 Not in County
Latitia Inge 45 Independent Not in County
Julia Owen 20 Not in County
Julia Hart 15 Female servant Not in County
It is interesting that the census return states Eyre had been born in Ireland and that Caroline had been born in Scotland. Other sources mentioned earlier indicate that these recordings are wrong. Latitia Inge is likely to be the sister of Eyre’s late wife Lucy (nee Inge).
On 17 February 1842, Eyre’s first born child, Caroline married Charles Spencer Owen at the Old Church, St Pancras, London. This couple had three children :-
Editha Kenny Owen baptised 15 October 1842, St Mary, Staines, Surrey, died March quarter 1856, Islington, London
Harold Wilson Owen born 25 November 1845, baptised 3 April 1846, Old St Pancras Church, London, died December quarter 1857, Suffolk
Emma Owen born June quarter 1848, Manningtree, Essex married George Vidgeon Jebb Blackburne, 29 October 1872, St Matthew, West Kensington, London
On 5 March 1842, Eyre married by licence for the second time when aged 58 years to Frances Anne Gray at Edgbaston, Birmingham, Warwickshire. Frances was the daughter of Edward Gray and Frances Owen, born 30 April 1817 baptised 19 July 1818 at Harborne, Staffordshire. In relation to later events it is interesting to note that Edward Gray married a second time to Elizabeth Blott on 9 December 1836 at Birmingham, Warwickshire.
The London Times of 23 April 1842 reported from the London Gazette of Friday, 22 April that a War Office Memorandum stated “Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Eyre Evans Kenny has been permitted to retire from the service, with the sale of his Majority, he being about to settle at Port Phillip, Australia”. As a guide to the value of selling his majority commission, the regulated price from 1821 for a major in the infantry was £3,200.
On 27 August 1842 the “Glenswilly” departed London, and then on 6 September 1842 departed Plymouth and on board were Lt.-Col. Kenny, wife and three daughters, and Edward Gray’s step-daughter Eliza Blott. Eliza probably came to help Frances look after the three young girls and any future children. The voyage to Melbourne took 97 days where they arrived on 13 December 1842.
1840’s Melbourne was a ramshackled village with many single storied sod and slab buildings and residences. There were a few brick buildings but they did not last long due to the bricks being of low grade quality. There were public buildings such as the court, jail, customs house, several churches, and plenty of public houses. Commercial activity was centred along the Yarra River wharves and warehouses at the lower end of Flinders Street .
Not many streets in surveyor Hoddle’s grid had been paved and Elizabeth Street became a raging creek after rain. Coaches and drays had to weave around the very many stumps that remained in the roads. The centre for shopping was along Collins Street between Swanston and William Streets. The Kenny family must have found Melbourne a very different place compared to where they had lived in England. But they set about establishing themselves in their new land.
On arrival in Melbourne Eyre carried with him a letter of introduction from his commanding officer which set out his service in the British army and stated that “his Lordship is enabled to report favourably of his conduct upon all occasions.” This letter, no doubt, was presented to officials soon after his arrival as it has an 1842 reference number allocated on receipt by the colonial administration.
Frances was in the late stages of pregnancy during the voyage for on 27 December 1842, their first child Eyre Evans Kenny was born in Melbourne. On 31 December 1842 his birth notice appeared in “Port Phillip Gazette” which stated that the birth had occurred at Mornington Parade, Melbourne.
On 31 January 1843 Eyre Evans was half baptised at St James, Melbourne – father, a gentleman of Melbourne; sponsors: Mrs Gray, Mr H. A. Smith and Miss L. L. Kenny. It is likely that the Mrs Gray is Edward Gray’s second wife Elizabeth. As the Church of England does not allow a person to be baptised twice, some Ministers followed the practice of allowing what is called a half baptism (or private baptism) when the child is in poor health, then later if the child recovers, a full baptism is performed in front of the congregation.
In July 1843 Eyre purchased purchased 300 acres for £300, being portion 4 of section four in the parish of Tullamarine. The deed of sale was dated 31 July 1843. This was to be the site of the Kenny home called “Camp Hill”, now part of present day Tullamarine.
On 23 March 1844 Henry Moor, the Secretary of the District Council of Bourke, supported by a recommendation by Surveyor Robert Hoddle, requested that Eyre receive a licence to occupy Section 22, 640 acres, in the parish of Doutta Galla. This land was the adjoining section to the south of Camp Hill but it appears that Eyre’s petition was not approved.
On 15 March 1844 Edward Gray Kenny was born at Camp Hill near Melbourne, and he was baptised on 26 March 1844 at St James, Melbourne – father, settler at Camp Hill. Sadly on 27 March 1844 Edward Gray Kenny died at Camp Hill.
On 1 May 1845 Gertrude Elizabeth Kenny was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, and she was baptised on 22 May 1845 at St James, Melbourne; father – settler, Moonee Ponds, late Col. 80th Reg. Sponsors: Mrs Sherbourne Sheppard, Mrs N. G. Ashurst, and Miss E. A. Blott. Eyre Evans was baptised again with Gertrude on 22 May 1845. Again sadness as Gertrude died 10 March 1847 during Frances’ next pregnancy.
On 18 September 1847 Ellen Kenny was born at Collingwood, and she was baptised on 13 October 1847. Sadly on 16 October 1847 Ellen Kenny died at Collingwood. In 1847 Eyre purchased a plot in the Old Melbourne Cemetery, so his children were probably buried there as were other members of the family. This cemetery is now mostly occupied by the Melbourne Markets. In the 1847 Port Phillip Directory E. E. Kenny is listed as a Land owner and farmer at Camphill, Moonee Ponds.
During 1847 Surveyor Robert Huddle laid out a new line of road from Melbourne to Mount Macedon. This line cut across the western end of Eyre’s block in a north west direction. Eyre’s western neighbour William Foster lodged a letter of protest with the Governor in Sydney who referred it to La Trobe, as Superintendent, in Melbourne. Also a group of residents, including Eyre Evans Kenny, wrote to La Trobe on 2 November 1847 suggesting that the proposed line of road in the Parish of Doutta Galla should be diverted around some ground that became very unsafe during the wet season. Neither of these protests caused any change as the road later became the line of present day Mt Alexander Road, Bulla Road and Melrose Drive.
On 2 February 1848 Eyre placed the following death notice in the Port Phillip Gazette.
page 2 – “Died Caroline Owen, on 10 Sept last at Manningtree, Essex, aged 26 years, beloved and regretted by all who knew her, wife of Charles Spencer Owen, of London Esq, and eldest daughter of Colonel E Kenny.”
Charles was a solicitor who died at Tendring, Essex, March quarter 1871.
On 27 December 1848 Lucy Laetitia Kenny married John Clarke at St James Cathedral, Melbourne.
On 25 June 1849 George William Herbert Kenny (to be called Herbert) was born at the residence of J Clarke Esq, Collingwood, Melbourne. Frances had decided to be with her step-daughter for the birth. George was baptised on 1 August 1849 at St Peters, Collingwood; sponsors: Rev. A. E. Thomson, Mrs N. G. Ashurst.
Sometime prior to 1844 Eyre obtained an additional 150 acres being Portion 3 of Section 4 on his northern boundary; possibly from the first owner F Dunbar. The following sets out a series of land transactions relating to the 450 acres at Moonee Ponds.
11 April 1844 mortgage for £200 from George P McKelvey – 450 acres as security
15 October 1845 mortgage for £300 from Savings Bank of Port Phillip
1 July 1846 mortgage for £220 from Archibald McLachlan
27 november 1847 lease of 285 acres for three years to Joseph King for £80 a year
1 May 1851 mortgage for £200 from the Port Phillip Savings Bank
14 November 1854 sold 52 acres for £1,300 to Archibald McDonald
14 November 1854 sold 10 acres for £260 to Samuel Baxter
5 June 1856 mortgage for £1,000 from Anne Webb – over 350 acres
On 4 March 1853, at Eyre’s residence at Camp Hill, his agents Symons and Perry, conducted an auction of his house and farm items, comprising of
Mahogany bookcase and escritoire
Sofas and easy chairs
Beds, bedding, bedroom furniture
Kitchen utensils etc
A valuable mare with foal
A pretty Timor pony
An excellent Albert Car and harness
Child’s saddle and bridle, etc
Perhaps the Kenny family had decided to move to Hobart (see below) or maybe Eyre was in financial difficulties for from March 1853 Eyre tried to sell the seventy eight acre home block Camp Hill as a number of advertisements appeared in the Argus, especially in May 1853. It was proposed to sell this land in three parts of 26 acres each; the agents being Symons and Perry. Following the sale of several parts of Camp Hill in 1854, and later, the remainder appears to have been reduced to 26 acres as sold by Eyre’s widow Frances in 1865. Perhaps the mortgages were required to fund the Kenny style of living and parts were sold to repay the mortgages or to continue to fund their daily needs. For the period 1 June 1850 to 31 May 1851 E. E. Kenny is listed in the Port Phillip electoral roll as freehold, Campbellfield, Moonee Ponds.
It is reasonable to assume that the Kenny family, living at Moonee Ponds, travelled by buggy or coach to Melbourne each Sunday to attend church at St James. Several of their children had been baptised there. Camp Hill was about 15 kilometres from Melbourne and to travel there and back would have taken many hours and therefore it is not surprising to find that the Kennys became associated with a church closer to home.
It can be assumed that Eyre and Frances socialised with local families and one of the outcomes could have been their involvement in a move to build a church in the Parish of Willwillrook, some 5 kilometres to the north of Camp Hill. Their children had probably been attending an Anglican sponsored school that had been operating from a private house from 1847 in the area.
Robert Hoddle had surveyed the village of Broadmeadows (now Westmeadows) in 1838 but the roads and lots were not laid out until the late 1840’s. Bishop Perry laid the foundation stone of St Paul’s on 15 January 1850 and returned to open the church later that year on 25 August. It is reasonable to assume that the Kenny family attended both ceremonies.
The design of the 25 feet by 40 feet bluestone church was by the well known Tasmanian architect James Blackburn, who also undertook the supervision of the building works. The church is the only identified work of Blackburn in Victoria and is one of the earliest built in the colony.
Sometime in early 1850, the Lord Bishop of Melbourne, Bishop Perry wrote to Superintendent La Trobe, recommending the appointment of four trustees, including Eyre Evans Kenny, to manage the ongoing operations of the Willwillrook Church. This request was submitted to the Colonial Secretary in Sydney for submission to the Executive Council. On 31 July 1850 Bishop Perry wrote again to La Trobe pointing out that the despatch from the Colonial Secretary on 20 June indicated that the Executive Council had omitted to notify that the Trustees had been appointed.
This was duly actioned and the Colonial Secretary’s Office advised La Trobe on 31 October 1850 that the Governor, acting on the advice of the Executive Council, had approved the appointments. It is reasonable to assume Eyre held this appointment until he died in 1861 and therefore attended regular meetings of the trustees. One of their duties would have been to find a resident minister. The records indicate that the Rev John B Stair took up his appointment in 1859.
Returning to family events, in 1851 Eliza Adelaide Blott married Hugh Walker in Melbourne. Eliza and Hugh had at least four children.
Alfred Arthur Kenny, born 1851, Collingwood, Vic
William Donald born 1855, Prahran, Vic, died 1855, aged 26 days, Prahran
Edward born 1855, Prahran, Vic, died 1856, aged 8 months, Prahran
Agnes born 1857, Mitta Mitta, Vic
In October 1849 the Family Colonization Loan Society was formed by Mrs Caroline Chisholm to raise funds to assist the poor to emigrate to Australia. The Argus of 21 April 1852 published a list of the “Committee for Victoria” and included in the list of 24 leading citizens of the Colony was Colonel Kenny.
From his death certificate it would appear that Eyre was in Hobart for about 3 years, possibly from about mid 1851 to 1854. The reason for this move is not known but on 18 April 1853 Eyre Evans Kenny Jnr commenced attending Hutchins School in Hobart. His father’s address was given as Macquarie Street, Hobart. Hutchins School at that time was the leading private school in Hobart and has operated to this day as a leading private school. Another interesting event is that Col Kenny, his wife and son are recorded as passengers on the ship City of Hobart which sailed from Melbourne to Hobart arriving on 16 November 1854.
In 1856 Emily Eliza Kenny married Henry Lawes, Barrister, in Melbourne.
The 1856-57 Melbourne Electoral Roll lists:
(1) E.E. Kenny (Col.), Melbourne, Freehold Farm 320 acres, Bulla Division
(2) Eyre Evans Kenny (Col.) George Street, householder,
In July 1859 the South Australian government announced it would make an award to the first person to cross through the centre to the north or northwest coasts of Australia. This caused much interest and rivalry between the colonies as to which colony could send a successful party from south to north. Out of 14 applicants Robert O’Hara Burke was selected to lead the Victorian party. The party of 17 including William John Wills were officially farewelled at Melbourne on 20 August 1860 and the fully equipped party left Royal Park that afternoon camping overnight near Queens Park, Mt Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds.
The following was recorded by E E Larcombe in his article about Herbert Kenny (see Chapter 5).
“As a lad he (Herbert) witnessed the departure of the Burke and Wills’ expedition from the Royal Park, Melbourne. The leader rode ahead on his grey pony, the pack horses came next, then the camels, and, lastly, six wagons heavily laden with luggage.
As Colonel Kenny had been introduced to the leader that day, he invited him to call in at his home at Broadmeadows, which was on the intended route. So the Colonel and his family had the pleasure of Mr Burke’s company for a short time, and they farewelled the caravan as it slowly wended its way towards the unknown interior.”
This was probably Eyre’s last significant event for he died a year later. On 19 September 1861 Lieutenant Colonel Eyre Evans Kenny died aged 78 years at Camp Hill, Moonee Ponds, and was buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery. The burial service was conducted by the Rev John B. Stair, the first resident minister of St Paul’s, Westmeadows.
Word must have been sent earlier to England by Frances that her husband was ill for in October 1861 Edward and Elizabeth Gray, Frances’ father and step-mother, and their son Charles Edward arrived in Melbourne on board the ship Monarch. It would seem that Francis and the Gray family lived at Craigieburn, north of Melbourne, for on 30 August 1862, Edward Gray, esquire, and Frances Anne Kenny, widow, both of Craigieburn, Charles Edward Gray of Coburg, accountant, Donald Kennedy of Melbourne (executor of Eyre’s will), signed an indenture recognising that Charles Edward Gray was the sole trustee of the estate of the late Eyre Evans Kenny, and that Edward and Charles be executors.
In the 1864 and 1865 editions of Sands Directories a Mrs Kenny is shown as living at 116 Leicester Street, Carlton. On 21 February 1865 Camp Hill, now reduced to 26 acres, was sold by Frances Kenny for £169 to William Goldsborough Chadwick and Thomas Washbourn – Edward Gray was a witness.
In 1865 Eyre Evans Kenny Junior joined the Postal Service at Sandridge (now Port Melbourne).
The 1866 and 1867 Editions of Sands Directories Frances is shown as living at 5 George Street, East Melbourne. In 1868 and 1869 Frances had moved to the Nepean Terrace, Gipps Street, East Melbourne. The Terrace stands today. Then in 1869 and 1870 Frances is shown as living at Peter Place, Little Flinders Street. Living with Frances were probably her father Edward Gray, her step-daughter Susannah, and her son Eyre.
Next the family moved in 1872 to the east side of Hoddle Street, Richmond, between Erin Street and Highett Ave. They must have liked Hoddle Street for they moved across the road in 1877 to 3 Park Hill Terrace, Hoddle Street, East Melbourne.
On 29 May 1868 Charles Edward Gray, the son of Edward and Elizabeth, accountant, unmarried, died of heart disease at Deep Creek, Bulla, aged 28 years, and was buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery.
On 7 January 1879, Edward Gray, aged 87 years, died at Hoddle Street, East Melbourne.
Emily and Lucy, and probably other members of the Kenny family, most likely kept in touch with their sister Caroline’s daughter Emma Blackburne living in Manningtree, Essex, for the Blackburne family emigrated to Melbourne on the SS Sorata from London, arriving in Melbourne on 14 June 1883; Emma, George and their children George Hugh Spencer Blackburne aged eight years and Edith Beatrice (Dolly) Blackburne aged five years. The Blackburne family lived at Box Hill and Essendon, and had another child there in 1886; Kathleen Kenny Blackburne. Eyre Evans Kenny’s grand daughter Emma died on 9 December 1905 and was buried in Box Hill Cemetery.
On 21 July 1885 Frances Anne Kenny died at 3 Park Hill Terrace, Hoddle Street, East Melbourne, aged 68 years. On 17 December 1888 Eyre Evans Kenny Junior died at 3 Park Hill Terrace aged 45 years; he did not marry. Interestingly in 1888, the 100th anniversary of the First Fleet landing in Sydney, many books were published recognising the centenary, including “Victoria and Its Metropolis – Past and Present”. Volume IIB, on page 522, included the following about Eyre Junior.
Kenny, Eyre Evans, Melbourne, an Englishman by descent and birth, was born in Melbourne in 1841, and was educated at the Hutchins School, Hobart Town, Tasmania, and at Scotch College, Melbourne. He joined the postal service at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) in 1865, and after being there for five years, was transferred to the General Post-office, Melbourne. Since then he has been principally engaged as relieving officer in the post and telegraph department.
On 30 September 1892 Emily Eliza Lawes died at “Coonyngera”, East Malvern, aged 60 years.
The 1898 edition of the Sands Directory shows that Miss Susan Kenny had left 3 Park Hill Terrace. A few years later the Terrace was demolished to make way for the railway to pass under Hoddle Street. On 24 February 1902 Susannah Lucy Ann Kenny died at St Kilda Road, South Melbourne, aged 76 years.
Edward Gray, Frances Kenny, Eyre Evans Kenny junior and Susannah Kenny are all buried in plot 137 in the Church of England Section at Boroondara Cemetery, High Street, Kew. They had lived together, now together in death.
In recognition of Lieutenant Colonel Eyre Evans Kenny, two streets are named after him, namely Eyre Street and Kenny Street, Westmeadows, close to Moonee Ponds Creek but north of his property Camp Hill.
The Will of Eyre Evans Kenny dated 11 February 1859
This is the last Will and Testament of me Eyre Evans Kenny of Hawthorne near Melbourne in the Colony of Victoria late Lieutenant Colonel in Her Majestys Eightieth Regiment of Foot I give to my dear Wife Frances Anne Kenny All the Furniture Plate Linen Goods and Effects of what nature or kind soever of which I may be possessed at the time of my death (except Securities for money) I give and bequeath to Donald Kennedy of Glenroy Esquire and John Clarke of Melbourne Solicitor both in the said Colony All the residue of my personal Estate And I direct that out of my personal estate all my just debts and funerals and testamentary expenses shall be paid by my Executors I give and devise to the said Donald Kennedy and John Clarke their heirs and assigns All the real estate and property of which I may be seized of or entitled to at the time of my decease And I declare that my said Trustees shall hold my real estate and the rents and profits thereof and the interest dividends or proceeds of the investments (if any) of my personal estate In trust for my said Wife during the term of her natural life to be by her applied according to her discretion in her own maintenance and in the maintenance education and advancement of our children And I declare that my said Trustees shall have power to devise all or any part or parts of my said real estate for any term not exceeding three years to take effect in possession and not in reversion so that there be reserved in any such Lease the best yearly rent that can be reasonably obtained for the same without taking any fine premium or foregift and so that there be respectively contained in such Lease or Leases a Clause for re-entry for nonpayment of rent thereby reserved for any space not exceeding thirty days and so that the lessee do execute a Counterpart thereof and do thereby covenant or agree to pay the rent and be not made dispunishable for waste And after the death of my said Wife I direct that my said Trustees shall sell my said real estate either together or in parcels and either by Public Auction or private Contract with power to insert any special or other stipulations in any Contract or Conditions of Sale as to title or otherwise as they may think proper And to call in and convert into money any debts or personal estate and effects that may be outstanding And my said Trustees shall hold the proceeds of such sale or sales and money to arise from such conversion In trust for all and every my children to be divided between them share and share alike And I direct that if my daughter Susan shall be unmarried at the time of the decease of my said Wife the said Trustees shall invest the whole of such proceeds and money (except my said Daughter Susans share) in any public funds or on Government or real Securities with power from time to time to vary the Stocks funds and Securities in which the same shall be invested and shall hold the said Stocks funds and Securities In trust as to the shares of my two Daughters Lucy Wife of John Clarke Solicitor and Emily Wife of Henry Laws to pay the annual interest produce or dividends thereof to my said daughter Susan till her marriage and on her marriage In trust for my said daughters Lucy and Emily respectively And as to the remainder of the said Stocks funds and Securities In trust for my two sons Eyre Evans and George William Herbert to be paid to them as they respectively attain the age of Twenty one years And I direct that if my said daughters Lucy and Emily or either of them shall die before the marriage of my said daughter Susan her share or shares shall go and be divided among the children share and share alike (if more than one) and if only one then to such one child of my said daughter or daughters so dying And I declare that until my said Sons shall respectively attain the age of twenty one years the said Trustees may apply the annual proceeds of the portion to which he shall be entitled for or towards his maintenance or education And I empower the said Trustees (but nevertheless only after the death of my said Wife or if in her lifetime with her consent in writing) to advance any part not exceeding one equal half to which either of my said Sons may be entitled in expectancy for or towards his preferment or advancement in the world And I declare that it shall be lawful for my trustees to allow any part of my personal estate to remain in their actual state of investment at the time of the decease of myself or my said Wife at their discretion And I also declare that it shall not be necessary for my Trustees to sell my real estate until they shall in their discretion think proper to do so and that until the sale thereof the rents issues and profits shall be applied in the manner hereinbefore directed for the interest and dividends of investments And I declare that the receipts of my said Trustees or Trustee for the time being for any money payable to them or him under this my Will shall effectually discharge the person or persons to whom the same shall be respectively given from being obliged to see to the application or from being answerable for the misapplication or nonapplication of the money therein respectively mentioned to be received and that such person or persons shall not be bound to enquire into the necessity or propriety of any sale to be made under this my Will And I hereby declare that as often as any of the Trustees hereby appointed or any trustee to be appointed under this power shall die or go to reside beyond the Seas or desire to be discharged from or refuse or decline or becomes incapable or unfit to act in the trusts hereby in them or him respectively reposed before the same shall be fully executed then and in every such case it shall be lawful for my said Wife during life and after her decease for the then Trustees or Trustee for the time being continuing to act in the trusts aforesaid or if there shall be no continuing trustees or trustee for the trustees or trustee so desiring to be discharged or refusing or declining as aforesaid or if there should be no such last mentioned trustees or trustee for the executors or administrators of the last Surviving trustee exclusive of a trustee or trustees who may have become incapable or unfit to act in the trusts by any deed or deeds to be by her them or him sealed and delivered in the presence of and attested by two witnesses to appoint any other person or persons to be a trustee or trustees in the place of the trustee or trustees so dying or going to reside beyond the Seas or desiring to be discharged or refusing declining or becoming incapable to act as aforesaid and such appointment may be so made as either to maintain or enlarge or diminish the original number of Trustees And upon the appointment of every such new Trustee as aforesaid all the trust estates monies and premises the trustee or trustees whereof shall so die or go to reside beyond the Seas or desire to be discharged or refuse or decline or become incapable to act as aforesaid or such of the said trust estates monies and premises as shall then be subject to the trusts aforesaid shall be thereon with all convenient speed legally and effectively vested by such assurances or other acts as the circumstances of the case may require in such new trustee or trustees either solely or jointly with the surviving or continuing trustee or trustees as occasion shall require upon and for the trusts intents and purposes in this my Will declared of and concerning the said trust estates monies and premises or such of the said trusts intents and purposes as shall be then subsisting undetermined and capable of taking effect and every such new trustee [as well before as after the trust estates monies and premises or any of them have become vested in him] shall have all the powers and authorities of the Trustee in whose room he shall be substituted And I hereby declare that the said several trustees hereby appointed and to be appointed as aforesaid and each and every of them and the heirs executors and administrators of them and each and every of them shall be chargeable for such monies only as they respectively shall actually receive by virtue of the trusts hereby in them reposed although they or any of them may give or sign or join in giving or signing any receipt or receipts for the sake of conformity and anyone or more of them shall not be answerable for the other or others of them or for any Banker Broker or other person with whom the trust property or any part thereof may be deposited or lodged or for involuntary losses And also that it shall be lawful for them out of the monies which shall come to their respective hands by virtue of the trusts aforesaid to reimburse themselves respectively and also to allow their respective Co trustee or Co trustees all costs charges damages and expenses which they or any of them may pay or sustain in or about the execution of the aforesaid trusts or any of them or in relation thereto and also either before or after the appointment of any new trustee or trustees as aforesaid to settle adjust and allow the Account of any trustee or trustees who shall die or go to reside beyond the Seas or desire to be discharged from or refuse or decline or become incapable or unfit to act in the said trusts or any of them And I appoint my said Wife during her life and after her decease my said daughter Susan Kenny Guardian of my Children during their respective minorities and I appoint my said Wife and the said Donald Kennedy and John Clarke Executrix and Executors of this my Will In Witness whereof I the said Eyre Evans Kenny have to this and the four preceding pages of paper set my hand this Eleventh day of February in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty nine
Signed published and declared by the said Eyre Evans Kenny the
Testator in the presence of us present at the same time who at his E.E. Kenny
request in his presence and in the presence of each other
have hereuntosubscribed our names as Witnesses
Jas Montgomery Sol Melbourne
John Bull Victoria St Collingwood
Clerk to Mr Montgomery
Written on the left side margin of the front page are the words:
This is the paper marked A referred to in the
affidavit of Frances Anne Kenny hereunto annexed Sworn this
day of January AD 1862 before me George Balfour A?
a Commissioner of the Supreme Court for taking affidavits
Probate was granted to Frances Anne Kenny on the 6 February 1862 with allowance for the Honourable Donald Kennedy and John Clarke to seek appointment as trustees. John Clarke later declined to act.