John Tighe

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John Tighe was born in County Galway, Ireland.[1] He married Susan Stone.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences


Charles A. Doudiet, Chow Chow (Chinamen on Ballarat), c1854, watercolour, pen and ink on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.


A large section of our readers, and particularly the old city residents, will hear with regret of the death of Mr. John Tighe, which took place at his private residence, 'Ravensbourne,' Petersham, on Saturday last. The deceased gentleman was born at Coldwell, in the County of Galway, on the 22nd January 1 1828, and was consequently in his 72nd year when he died. He often recalled with pride the fact that the day he was born was Athlone Fair-day, and to this he would laughingly attribute the inspiration for sport and athletics which so dominated the vigorous epoch of his manhood. His parents arrived here in the old sailing vessel, United Kingdom, with their family in 1840. Mr. Tighe, who was then only in his thirteenth year, indulged his boyish independence by seeking and getting a situation in the city, after which he migrated into the thinly-populated country, as so many of the flower of the Australian youth then did. Being a skilful horseman and fond of adventure, he entered into the service of the well-known pastoralist, William Guise, whose properties at that time ex tended from Lake George to Wagga, including the fine estate then and still, in its limited extent, known as Cunningdroo. It was on one of Mr. Guise's properties, Bywong, that he met the late John Donnelly, of Borambola, who was then managing one of Guise's proprieties, and this established a friendship with that true old Catholic pioneer and his family which only the death of the two principals has 'terminated. Mr. Tighe gradually grew in physique to be one of the handsomest and best-proportioned young men of a time when the gold fever attracted the picked men of the world to these shores. His bush life encou raged the finest physical development, and when the discovery of gold electrified the country he took to the principal goldfields that fine figure and fresh, spirit by which he was at once distinguished, and by which he is to this day remembered by the few survivors of those stirring times when physical prowess and the cast-iron influence it inspired counted for more than constitutional methods. In his digging life he was associated with such men as James Torpy, W. R. Hall, and the late William Branch. Not one of the least sensational incidents of this part of of his career was the return of him self and brothers from the Turon to Sydney with 1781b weight of gold. The parcel, strange to say could not be conveniently negotiated, and the lucky miners deposited it with a city bank and were granted overdrafts against it, each being supplied with a cheque-book. He was also in evidence among the fresh young bloods at the Eureka Stockade, and to his dying day he recalled with pride the allegiance he bore to Peter Lalor in that thrilling incident which cost the men's leader his arm. In common with Mr. Torpy, who is still happily with us, Mr. Tighe often laughed to think how much they were before their time in the early fifties, when men of Torpy and Tighe's stamp clamoured for a poll tax of £10 on Chinese. They were denounced by the papers and the publicists of the period as revolutionists and despots ; but to their great amusement they both lived to pass through an era of political evolution, which ended in the restrictive and fashionable sum of £100 being imposed on the almond-eyed gentry. In 1858 Mr. Tighe and his brothers undertook the excavation and j construction of the Crown-street Reservoir, in connection with which and other similar contracts he was about this time a large employer of labour. When I the first bloom of physical vigour went off Mr. Tighe engaged in milder pursuits, and as the Boniface successively of the Union Inn, the Queen's Arms, the Angel, the Town Hall, and lastly of the Currency Lass, he became one of the best- known personages in a city where his family have had their home for nearly sixty years. About 15 years ago he retired from business, and lived out the evening of his life quietly at his private residence, ' Ravensbourne,' at Petersham. Mrs. Tighe died in July 1897, and her husband, needless to say, keenly felt the severence of a companionship of nearly 50 years. About six months ago Mr Tighe I developed asthma, and the complications which followed were severe enough to tax even a stronger constitution than his. Despite every attention he- passed away on Saturday last, he was attended in his last moments by the Very Rev. Father Vincent Grogan, C.P., at whose hands he received the last rites of the Church, to which his family have been loyal adherents through a long line of succession. On Sunday last Mr. Tighe was laid to rest beside his wife in the Waverley Cemetery. Of the deceased gentleman's family two daughters survived, Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Coleman, wife of Mr. George Coleman, Mayor of Wagga Wagga. [2]

See also

Thomas Tighe

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Freeman's Journal,14 October 1899.
  2. Freeman's Journal,14 October 1899.

External links

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Caption, Reference.