Margaret P. KELLY
Father John BUCKLEY1 b. m. d.
Mother b. m. d.
Brother b. m. d.
Sister b. m. d.
Staff Member Margaret Philomena2 BUCKLEY b. m. 1863 (see below) d.
Husband Joseph KELLY b. m. 18633 d. 18674
Daughter Mary Eva KELLY b. 18655 m. d.
Daughter Josephine KELLY b. 18676 m. d.

It is almost certain but is unconfirmed that the marriage between Margaret Philomena BUCKLEY and Joseph KELLY on 5 October 1863,7 identified that of the Newcastle and Biloela teacher. The announcement read:

KELLY—BUCKLEY—On the 5th October, at St. Mary's, by special license, by the Rev. R. Duigan, Mr. Joseph Kelly, of

Sydney, to Margaret Philomena, youngest daughter or John Buckley of Albana Cottage, Camden, New South Wales.8

It is likely that Margaret's husband, Joseph, died around the time of the birth of their daughter, Josephine, but this also yet unconfirmed. The only Joseph KELLY who died during 1867 was 30 years old9 and was a schoolmaster.10 Joseph's death meant that Margaret was forced to seek employment.

Margaret remained a member of the staff of the industrial school at both Newcastle and later on Biloela. She worked under five superintendents: KING, CLARKE, LUCAS, DALE and WALKER.

Margaret commenced work as the school teacher on 3 October 1867, a month after the school opened, when the superintendent was Agnes KING. Her two daughters were probably with her at the school. Margaret was allowed quarters and was to receive a ration of provisions, fuel and light.11

KELLY was interviewed after the riots of July 1868. She signed her statement which was recorded by Frederic CANE. It is transcribed here in it's entirety.

I am teacher of the School I have been here since October last. I have noticed a change in the Girls since Miss Ravenhill's arrival. From the nature of my duties I have no opportunity of judging whether Miss Ravenhill's conduct is the cause of this but I have heard the Girls say they do not like the manner in which she told them to do their work this has been said by several girls and on one occasion one of the Girls told me (I cannot recollect her name) that Miss Ravenhill was giving some medicine to one of the little Girls who objected to take it out of a glass that had been used by a girl who had ringworm when she s???d "You take it you little bastard" or some such words. I was present at the muster room when Mrs King told Sarah Wildgust and OBrien they were to go into school. They said they would not go into school as they had done no more than any other Girls who were on duty and they wanted to finish their work (meaning at Mr Canes) I then asked them to come into school I did not hear Eliza OBrien take an oath that she would not go into school but she did say she would be torn __limb from limb before she would go in that morning. I then asked Mrs King to let me take the younger children away to school in order that they should not hear the bad language I was not present during any conversation between Mrs King and Mr Cane. I never heard such words as, "We won't pray we will only mock God" I accompanied Mrs King on Friday night 3rd Inst. to the Dormitory but I did not hear the words"I am in for blood tonight nor did I hear them threaten to burn the building down. I did not see any of the Girls with knives in their hands during the disturbance on the 9th inst. I heard some of the Girls call out for Mrs King to come out and they would kill her. I heard Mrs King say in the muster Room to Sarah Parsons "You cannot roam the streets all night and sleep all the day this was because Miss Ravenhill had reported the Girls to Mrs King for not rising in the morning. I saw Mrs King strike Elizabeth Samson in the Muster Room for being impudent but I never heard her cast aflections on her parents. I never heard Mrs King say the girls were "The sweepings of Sydney Streets but the girls have told me so__ I have frequently heard the Girls call Miss Ravenhill bad names. I have often heard the Girls say they would sooner be in a jail than here because then they would know their sentence and would know when they could get out After the the[sic] riot Mr Cane told me Mr Harrison said I was to take charge of the Girls I objected to do it unless Mrs King said I was to do it in Inspector Harrisons presence. I then went with Mrs Holder into the Office and Mrs King said to me that she had given Mr Harrison power to act for her for the present that she could not give up her authority as Superintendent but had requested Mr Harrison to act for her for the Time Mr Harrison said please yourself Mrs King I don't wish to take charge of it as it is not an enviable position. "I do not consider it safe for either you or Miss Ravenhill to go out. I heard Mr Cane say Muster up Girls Mr Harrison wishes to speak to you. Mr Harrison then said You must behave yourselves as Mrs King has given __me charge of the building. The Girls gave a shout - one of the Girls remarked that she did not believe it. They did what he told them then.12

When Joseph Hines CLARKE replaced KING, Margaret remained at Newcastle. CLARKE recommended her for a salary increase during his superintendency. When the school moved to Biloela Margaret also transferred and was officially appointed there on 26 May 1871.13 She did not find working with LUCAS an easy task. It may be that she was a strong supporter of the girls in connection with his harsh treatment but only the evidence in the Royal Commission will give her voice to history. This record is yet to be viewed. After the suspension from duty on 27 November 1873, of George and Mary Ann LUCAS as superintendent and matron of the school at Biloela, Margaret KELLY was appointed as the Matron. The information outlined in the communication of the temporary officer in charge, John Ledger DALE, is unclear whether KELLY's position as matron was also temporary.14

On 17 March 1876, the superintendent of Biloela, Selina WALKER, compiled a list of staff currently working in the Biloela Industrial School. The return named the children of staff also living on the island. Margaret P. KELLY and her two daughters were named.15 Mary Eva KELLY was ten and her birth had been registered in Orange in 1865. Josephine was eight and her birth had been registered in Camden in 1867.

Margaret may have remarried Richard Joseph KEATING in 187816 but only if her father had moved to Camperdown.

KEATING— BUCKLEY.— April 22, at St. Joseph's Church, Newtown, by the Rev. Father Fitzpatrick, Richard Joseph Keating, of Rookwood, to Maggie, second daughter of Mr. John Buckley, of Camperdown.17

Updated February 2017

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