Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marino Petrich

I recently was contacted by the author of a book on the rich history of Croatian heritage in Australia (Croatians in Australia: pioneers, settlers and their descendants, By Ilija Šutalo), as our family tree contains a Croatian, Marino Petrich, who married into the MOLONEY family. I've decided to put some of the information I sent on here as an entry.

I'm not descended directly from Marino, but from his sister in law (MOLONEY). What I know about Marino is based on the following. There are two components - one is information from primary records, and the other is a few notes from our family history (more likely to be incorrect!).

The first reference to him I can find:
Croatians Naturalized in Victoria Australia from 1855
Surname: Petrich
Christian: Marino
Native Place on Cert.: Gratie, Austria
Date Natur.: 28/05/1884
Age: 44
City: Dargo
Occ: Miner
Cert: 2805
EDIT 28 Apr 2011: Ilija Šutalo has advised me that the above information is related to a different Marino Petrich.

Based on this I assume he was born about 1840, and in Australia by 1884, though I haven't found an immigration record for him in Victoria.

In 1891 he is registered marrying Isabella DARGIE in Sydney, NSW. She was born in Melbourne in 1866 and so was considerably younger than her husband. They may have eloped given that they were both from Victoria, as the following article in the Sydney Morning Herald relates her suicide shortly after marriage:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 9 April 1891
The City Deputy Coroner, Mr. W. T. Pinhoy. J.P., held an inquest at his court, Chancery-square, yeaterday, on the body of a young woman named lsabella Petrich, who died in the Sydney Hospital just after admission. Deceased was 24 years of age, a married woman, residing with her husband. Marino Petrich, a carter, at 70 Buckingham-Street. Mr. Petrich went home and found his wife very sick. She said she had taken poison because she could not do the house work. Dr. Gwynne iludies was sent for, and he advised her removal to the Sydney Hospital. The poison was taken at 2 o'clock, and soon after, repeating of the rash act, she took some mustard and water, and later on some salt and water. A letter was found in which deceased expressed her intention of doing away with herself. Husband and wife had been married 10 days, and only arrived from Melbourne two days ago. She seemed low-spirited at leaving her relatives in Victoria. Dr. Townley gave it as his opinion that death was due to arsenical poisoning. A verdict of death from the effects of an irritant poison, self-administered, was returned.

So you can see there is some conflict as the article states they were married in Melbourne, but the records show they were clearly married in Sydney (NSW BDM 517/1891). Her death is also registered in Sydney in 1891 (NSW BDM 558/1891).

Marino obviously stayed in Sydney as he married Mary MOLONEY in 1896 at Redfern (NSW BDM 5949/1896), son of John MOLONEY and Ellen nee MEYRICK, both of Limerick, Ireland. That family was Irish Catholic. Mary was born at Sofala NSW in 1866 (where her father was appointed as a teacher for a time during the goldrush), but as I mentioned the family were in Redfern around the time Mary would have met Marino - the year before they married they were both witnesses at my gr gr grandfather's wedding to Mary's sister in Redfern (confirming in my mind that Marino was Catholic). There are no children registered to Marino with either wife, which may not necessary be surprising given his age at both marriages.

He is entered in the 1905 Sands directory: Petrich, Marino, Dening Rd Drummoyne.

Marino's death is registered in 1914 at Redfern (NSW BDM 829/1914 - he may have died there rather than Drummoyne, given the MOLONEY family connection). His father is entered in the NSW BDM index entry as also being named Marino.

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 12 February 1914
PETRICH - The Friends of the late Mr Marino PETRICH are kindly invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church THIS AFTERNOON, at 2:30, for the Waverley Cemetery.

Secondly, my great grandfather Norman HALL (nephew to Marino and Mary) wrote a number of letters on our family history late in his life, which largely focused on the MOLONEY family.

Letter from Norman Hall dated April 10th 1968 (

"(A) Mary, narried a chap of Austrian birth named PETRICH. Petrich had been to the Klondike goldfields to seek his fortune. I believe he did only reasonably well. He was a quiet hard working chap. When I stayed with them for a short period about 1910, they lived in Drummoyne. Their parish church was St Mark's, then under the care of the late Father Peter Kline (of happy memory) who later was chief of the Divine Word Father's house at Midson St. Epping. Father Kleine is long since dead.
Mary and her husband had no children.
Petrich died about 1912, Mary later setting up a small confectionary business near a picture show in Waterloo. We saw her every Christmas when we had Xmas dinner with my mother (Bridge {nee MOLONEY}) at 23 Scott St {Croydon}. Petrich was really a good fellow. Mary was a rather reserved, stolid, matter of fact lady. I cannot remember the date of her death - it could be about 1924 or so."

There are some errors in Norman's letters (Mary's date of death above) as it all comes from memory. I do not know how to confirm whether Marino really was ever at Klondike (or perhaps California?) and it may be that he really only was at the gold rushes in Victoria and that the stories became confused. When normal stayed with them at Drummoyne in 1910 he was aged 14.

Marino and Mary were both buried at Waverley Catholic Cemetery in Sydney NSW, 33 years apart. Perhaps they have a headstone there?

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