The Killalea Family


Edward Killalea (pictured right) was born in 1816 near Eyrecourt, County Galway, Ireland. At the age of 19, Edward was involved in a brawl near where he lived which resulted in the death of two men. Edwards trial and various letters associated with the events proved this, and was subsequently charged with manslaughter and sentenced to be transported to Australia for the term of his natural life. On the 5th July, 1836, the “Captain Cook 3” departed Ireland and sailed for Sydney, New South Wales. He arrived on the 13th of November 1836. It is believed Edward formed a part of the labour gangs that felled the early forests of the Illawarra in the 1830’s and 40’s.

Edward received his ticket of leave on the 11th of January 1845 and a Conditional Pardon was granted on 10th July, 1850. He then married Maria Campbell on the 15th of July 1847 at the Jamberoo Roman Catholic Church. Apart from working his farm lease on the ‘Killalea’ leasehold, Edward was also a landowner in Kiama and Foxground.

 In 1868 Edward became involved in gold mining at Killalea Beach after discovering alluvial gold in the sand. He partnered with a man named Thomas Henry who had recently returned from the New Zealand gold fields. The venture did not last long and the operation ceased. It is recorded that Edwards’s son, Patrick Killalea, befriended the Fraser family and corresponded with Mrs Joan Fraser about the fine gold that can be found at any time at the back of the beach.

Edward Killalea was a well educated and well versed man which can be seen from newspaper articles in the Kiama Independent during his time as Alderman on Shellharbour Council, and on the committee to form the Shellharbour Steam Navigation Company before his untimely death.


Edward Killalea died at the Commercial Hotel in Wollongong in 1872, after enduring several seizures.

A coroner and jury found;

‘that deceased, Edward Killalea, came to his death by strychnine, taken by him whilst labouring under the effects of excessive drinking.’

A bottle marked ‘Poison’ was found in his pocket.

In the 1930’s, Edward and Maria’s son Patrick was visiting the area and went for a walk along the beach that was once his boyhood home. On the beach he met 15 year old John McNevin Fraser, whose family was farming the land at that time. The Fraser’s lived at the ‘Seaview’ farm near where the current kiosk is today. John took Patrick up to meet his parents and after meeting the Fraser family, they renamed their farm “Killalea” in honour of the Killalea family who had farmed the land before them.

All that remains of the Seaview farmhouse are extensive concrete slabs of the dairy, piggery, a well and water troughs. Evidence of a garden and exotics are visible with the stone walls approaching the house site from the north.