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It is with great regret that The Holt Family Fellowship must announce the cancellation of their historic tour of Tasmania to coincide with Governor Macquarie's bicentennial celebrations of the then Van Diemens Land and to honour the Irish Wild Geese of the 18'th and 19'th centuries whose labours made the modern Tasmania possible. Our tour leader, Lionel Fowler, a direct descendant of Ireland's 1798 Leinster General, Joseph Holt, lost his 140 hectare 'Grove Farm' at Wallacia when it was consumed by the Mt Hall 2001 Christmas Day bushfire. The class action for this commenced in the Supreme Court on Monday, 24'th October 2011 -  almost ten years later. Lionel is due to support his evidence on November 17, the day before the tour was due to depart. Those people still interested in following the Fellowship's proposed path are asked to contact our tour agents, Groups Tasmania. Our proposed celebrations tour which took over five years to research can be found in About Us together with our tour operators contact details. They are ready to assist those Holt Family Fellowship members and interested parties who wish to continue in the path of our cancelled Tasmanian tour to honour their Irish ancestors.

The Holt Family Fellowship was created in January 2000 by Joseph's descendants voting at the bicentennial celebrations of his and his family's 11th
January 1800 arrival in NSW aboard the Minerva. It was held on portion of his former farm, Mt Hester, at Carlingford in Western Sydney, as located by Peter O'Shaughnessy (op. cit.). This portion is included in the park now known as Lake Parramatta Reserve which contains his "Rocks of Jerusalem" where he illicitly distilled his peach brandy. (Looking for Joseph, Pamela Goesch, 2008)

On the 19th January 2007, The General's Chat Room was established, originally for General Joseph Holt's descendants. Due to unexpected demand, The United Irish Researchers' Chat, was added on the 28th January 2007 to provide a separate forum for all descendants of The Society of United Irishmen throughout the world. In 2008, it helped join the Harmon/Harman family descendants formerly unknown to each other and residing in the USA and Australia. Last year, it helped join the Ausralian descendants of Morgan Power, Joseph's close, fellow "cattle doctor" (veterinarian) friend, from the village of Derrylossery near Roundwood and Joseph's farm at Mullinaveigue.

Morgan purchased sheep from an itinerant 'sheep jobber' which turned out to be stolen. Amongst his other duties, Joseph was a Co. Wicklow barony constable and was familiar with the available legal representatives. He employed two Dublin barristers to defend Morgan. Unfortunately, Morgan was convicted and transported to Botany Bay in 1796. General Joseph Holt arrived in Port Jackson four years later, following his arranged surrender to Lord Powerscourt IV in his Co. Wicklow demesne of 'Powerscourt' on the 11th November Masonic Lodge friendship with Major Abbott, he was able to have Morgan appointed as superintendent of the Government Farm at Toongabbie which supplied food produced by convict labour to the Government Stores to help feed the penal colony.

Governor Phillip's Hottentot cattle had escaped in June 1788 from the poor pasture of what is now Edgecliffe, having been moved there by the inexperienced convict Cockney herdsman from the much lusher, eaten out Farm Cove pasture adjoining Cattle (Bennelong) Point where the cattle had been landed and the Sydney Opera House now stands. (A History of the Forbidden Land, L.R. Fowler, F.B. Knox and S. den Hertog, 1988). Working animals were scarce. The Sydney Penal Colony was thus deprived of bullocks with which to pull the farm implements, the convicts, by necessity, had to take their place. Even the mare assigned as a pack-horse by Governor Philip Gidley King to Sir Joseph Banks' appointed specimen collector, George Caley, was demanded for the army by Major Robert Ross. King had returned in the Speedy to New South Wales on November 26 1799 with a dormant commission to replace Governor John Hunter. He had been accompanied on board by the military engineer who later erected Nelson's Column in London, Lieutenant Luis Francis Barrallier, and George Caley. He protected his friend's mare from Lieutenant Governor Major Ross's demands.

King was frustrated in 1801 by Major Ross's strict interpreation of his military orders. his exploring his aide-de-camp. To get around this objection, the naval governor appointed him, "Ambassador to the King of the Mountains", which allowed Barrallier to explore the Southern Blue Mountains. Luis went out on two long major expeditions and was finally blocked by the Kanangra Walls. His diary records, in French, the first observation by an European of the making and use of the boomerang by the Gundungurra natives. It was not used by the Sydney tribes.

In 1809 the then Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemens' Land, Lieutenant General Colonel Paterson, as the senior officer, had to reluctantly leave it to assume control of the political New South Wales on the 10th January, as ordered by Major George Johnston, following the deposing of Governor William Bligh by the NSW Corps on the 26th January 1808. The NSW military clique then made another attempt to possess Caley's mare. The request was denied by the Lieutenant Governor who had published his, Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria, in 1780. It was dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks. Paterson's collecting expeditions for Sir Joseph Banks in South Africa had already earned him his Fellowship of The Royal Society of which Banks was President. (ADB, Section Editor, A.G.L. Shaw, 1967). He recognised the importance of Caley's work. Governor King, who also became a Fellow of The Royal Society, had previously granted George Caley an area for a Botanic Gardens in the grounds of Government House at Rose Hill (Parramatta), established in November 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip.

Paterson and Caley collected together for Sir Joseph Banks and to establish Governor Phillip's Botanic Gardens at Rosehill (Parramatta). The sample collections of King and Paterson helped maintain their active Society membership. The combined three collections sent to The Royal Society included New Holland's unique seeds, pressed and dried plants, and the skinned, salted and dried samples of previously unknown animals and birds. Most of George Caley's original botany samples were returned from England and are now held in The Sydney Royal Botanic Garden's Herbarium. George Caley went on to later establish a botanic gardens in the British West Indian Island of St Vincent which was later transferred to The Botanic Gardens in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Its design is reminiscent of The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney but with an indigenous Carribbean flavour.

On the 8'th August 2010, Mal Ellson, our webmaster, added a drop down facility on the bottom of our chat rooms' pages. Our registered chatters can now enter an individual chatter's name to automatically obtain the grouping of all that chatter's individual chats. This should prove to be a tremendous research facility which will save our family researchers the trouble of labourously searching through our pages of chat history to retrieve relevant information. They will thus save time and progress their individual research.

To further 1791/99 United Irish family research and as an aid to hopefully clarify this historic period, the Fellowship added The Ascendancy Yeomanry Researchers' Chat in 2009. We hope that we now provide a total resource for descendant researchers of Ireland's insurgency period to exchange information. It is envisaged that our three free chat rooms will help reduce the effect of at least 219 years of the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Churches' opposing Ascendancy propaganda against the Society of United Irishmen movement. The similarly oppressed, and as with the majority of Roman Catholics, disenfranchised members of the Presbyterian Church, had combined with the concerned members of these two churches to form The Society of United Irishmen's army in an effort to win freedom in Ireland for themselves and their fellow Irishmen and women with democratic self-government. The Church of Ireland participants such as Theobald Wolfe Tone and Sir Edward Fitzgerald led the rebellion with other Protestant notables.
The Society of United Irishmen leaders had mainly attended French universities, where they had come under the twin influences of Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette and another founding father of both The French Republic, and what has become The United States of America; the Englishman, Thomas Paine, whose books, The Rights of Man, 1791 and The Age of Reason, 1793, still influence the world today. It was General Lafayette who encouraged them to take part in the battles for American independence. Their success there persuaded them that it was now time to achieve independence from Britain for Ireland, whose society was still being fragmented under the effect of the pernicious Penal Laws.

"Historians disagree over whether the Penal Laws were a tool of political as opposed to religious repression. Some argue (for instance Eamonn O Ciardha) that they were intended to make Catholics in Ireland powerless and to place landed and political power in Ireland in the hands of an English Anglican settler class. Others (for instance Sean Connolly) argue that it was intended to convert the Irish en masse to the Protestant faith and that it should be likened to the Irish Government's efforts to revive the Irish language since Irish independence." [www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Penal-Laws-(Ireland)].

The Society of United Irishmen commenced their efforts for Irish freedom and independence peacefully in parliament. Their failure there saw The Yeomanry Bill subsequently presented in 1796 by the English Whig's Lord Camden, as the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in preparation for the obviously looming inevitable confrontation with The Society of United Irishmen.

We look forward to descendant researchers and others progressing the world's 1798 Irish insurgency knowledge by using our three free chat rooms, The General's Chat Room, The United Researchers' Chat and The Ascendancy and Yeomen's Researchers' Chat in their quest to advance their respective families' knowledge.

Until recently, the dearth of General Joseph Holt's active participating descendants in our protected chat rooms since 2007 has been a puzzling factor, particularly for those who wish to advance the Holt family's research internationally. The participation last year of Gary Holt, the fifth generation compiler of, Descendants of General Joseph Holt, was most welcome. His involvement should encourage those hesitant Joseph Holt family researchers to participate in 2010 and beyond to further our family research through using The General's Chat Room. The current research on Joseph's siblings being carried out in this chat room by Carole Parkes and June Gillespie (England), Bernadette Holt (Ireland), David Holt and Jann (Australia) is most stimulating. It is hoped that The United Irish and Ascendancy researchers will also be encouraged to emulate their helpful style in The United Irish Chat and Ascendancy Yeomen's Chat. It is suspected that Joseph's brother, Joshua, is buried in the United States of America. It is encouraging that Holt family history researchers in several countries are currently using The Generals' Chat Room as a tool to build and further everybody's family knowledge.

We would welcome knowledge of the birth, marriage and burial dates of Joseph's siblings. In 2006, the late Sean 'Sonny' Holt helped our Joseph Holt's 250th Birthday tourists by kindly clearing the briars and blackthorns from Holt graves in the ruined Church of Ireland Church at Castlemacadam where Joseph's parents and several of his relatives are buried. The family originated from former O'Toole land at nearby Redcross. (pers. comment Sean 'Sonny' Holt as gained through the oral history of his grandfather). Known as "planters", the land was granted to them in the Elizabethan plantation period as led by Sir Walter Raleigh. A list of these Holt gravesites would give us the historical facts upon which to base our continual research. Further lists of such sites in other countries through researchers' participation would help complete our families' honorary research to achieve a complete Descendants of Ballydonnel/Ballydaniel Family Tree and then hopefully an extended one to include the Elizabethan Holt's of Redcross to complete the Ireland 'Plantation' connection to England.

Similar to the International GenealogicaI Index, the information contained on our website is freely available. It requires acknowledgement in lectures, theses and publications.

On March 26, 2009, Brian Albanese, of the University of Connecticut, sought help through The General's Chat Room in regard to his ancestor John Joseph Holt whose, "eldest son, John Joseph Holt ,Jr., was born on November 5'th around the year 1897." Brian with his parents are currently researching for more specific information to provide our researchers. Typically, Bernadette Holt has supplied them with further information in The General's Chat Room already.

Further participation from the USA would be most welcome and lay the foundation for our increased knowledge of the Holt family's international migration. It is hoped that with all the descendants of Joseph's siblings joining in, we will be able to progress the knowledge of John Holt Snr's family of Ballydonnell (Ballydaniel) for posterity.

Matthew Fowler has updated the entry on Joseph Holt in the Wikipedia and provided them with our image of Joseph. He recommends the following three websites to researchers:

David Griffiths of N.Z. has agreed to help our family researchers by allowing his well researched website, Manning, Saul & Wingrove, to be linked to our Fellowship's so as to give our members research access to Hester Holt's "Orangermen" Manning family background and to various other sites, such as the Irish National Archives & RCB. We thank him for his generous gift to aid our family research.

Following David Savage's lead, and with William Power's keen involvement in our chat rooms, a Morgan Power descendant, Arthur Paris, has kindly agreed for our Fellowship's website to be linked to his, http://members.ozemail.com.au/~pari1art/. Morgan was Joseph's close friend. He purchased 26 head of sheep which turned out to be stolen. The sheep dealer disappeared and Morgan was arraigned. As a fellow cattle doctor and farmer, Joseph's positions of bounty hunter, barony sub-constable and deputy alnager placed him in the financial position where he was able to pay the defence legal fees of the Dublin counsellors Guiness and Darley on Morgan's behalf, unfortunately to no avail. See The General's Chat Room. As Morgan was Joseph's close friend, and apparently not an United Irishmen member, the Fellowship has decided to transfer all the Power descendants' chat to The General's Chat Room. Because of demand, The United Irish Researchers' Chat Room had been split off earlier to concentrate the research of the Holt family and United Irish researchers separately. With the subsequent two instances of family research success in the The United Irish Researchers' Chat, we have decided to add, The Ascendancy and Yeoman Researchers' Chat, to answer this specific need. Many families have found that some of their ancestors were opposed to each other during the 1778/79 insurgency period. If demand warrants it, A Yeoman Researchers Chat could also be added to further our understanding of this period.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year of 2011

Lionel R. Fowler.

The Holt Family Fellowship,

Post Office 3059, Wallacia, NSW 2745, Australia.


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