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Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt, 1895-96

Square H11

Quilt square H11


Cr P. E. R Ryan / Diamond Cr / 1895


Cr Patrick Ryan (1856-1926) represented the Diamond Creek Riding of the Shire of Heidelberg for two substantial terms, 1893-1906 and 1909-1913. Irish born and a butcher by trade, in 1895 he lived with his family in the butcher’s shop house on the corner of Hyde Street and Main Street, Diamond Creek. He served as President of the Shire in 1898-99.

Further information

Patrick was born to Daniel and Catherine in County Wicklow, Ireland. He was baptised at the Roman Catholic church at Greenane, Wicklow, on 6 April 1856. The middle initials (E R) that are embroidered on the quilt are unknown to his descendants.

As an infant, Patrick made the trip to Australia with his parents on the ship Appleton.

According to Patrick’s obituary, the family spent their first two years living in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, in a timber slab hut, ‘for Melbourne in that early time was a very primitive village’.

The family then moved to Diamond Creek. When Patrick was about 14 years old, it is mentioned in a Government Gazette of 11 August 1870 that he owns an unspecified amount of land.

On 1 January 1881, Patrick married Mary Jane Rose of Greensborough at St. Peter’s Church, Eastern Hill, Melbourne. It is thought that they chose this neutral church because Patrick was from a Roman Catholic family and Mary Jane from a Methodist family. Their offspring included three sons and three daughters.

At the time of their marriage, records show that Patrick owned 19 acres. It was at around this time that he decided to buy a cartload of meat and hawk it around the district. In 1883 there were around 200 men camped on the Greensborough Road working for the Metropolitan Board of Works to dig an aqueduct which would increase Melbourne’s water supply. Patrick obtained a contract to supply the camp with meat and from then on his business thrived.

After moving for work between Diamond Creek and Boomanoomana Station (in the NSW Riverina, just over the Murray River from the Victorian town of Cobram), in 1885 Patrick purchased land at Diamond Creek in the names of his first three children, totalling 208 acres. On 8 December 1886, the Heidelberg Shire Council granted a Slaughtering Licence to Patrick for the abattoirs on the site of the present Diamond Creek bowling green.

On 25 February 1891, Patrick and Mary Jane purchased land on the corner of Hyde and Main Streets, Diamond Creek, to build a Butcher’s Shop and house (now A D Ryan Bar & Restaurant). By 1898 when financial difficulties rose, Patrick leased out the butcher’s business and started mining. In 1900 he and Alexander Joseph Lugton [H6], a fellow Councillor for the Shire of Heidelberg, employed 200 men at the Union Mine until around 1914. Patrick then moved back to the butcher’s business.

A further connection between the Ryan and Lugton families was formalised on 7 June 1919 when Patrick’s second son, John Lawrence, married Joe Lugton’s third daughter, Jane Rosetta (known as ‘Jean’).

On 11 December 1909, Patrick was enrolled as a Justice of Peace. He was also a board member on numerous governing bodies including Railways Standing Committee; Heidelberg Shire Council and the Masonic Lodge. Here are some highlights:

It appears that Patrick was a patient at Uxbridge House, 90 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, when he died on 11 February 1926, aged 70. He is buried in the Diamond Creek Cemetery.


Ryan, Jock L., ‘A chronological list of events relating to Patrick Ryan and family’, revised June 2011.

Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839–1923.

Victoria, Australia, St. Peter’s Eastern Hill, Marriages, 1848-1955 - Series 03, Certificates 1880-1881; Reference Number: M3/2/29.

Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 (1903,1909,1914,1919,1924).

‘The Late Mr P. Ryan’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge), 19 Feb 1926, page 3.

‘Potatoes, settlers and gold’, Heidelberg Historian, no. 133, August 1989 pages 1-2.

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