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John Egan : 01-March-2013
John Egan : 01-March-2013

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The Celtic cross commemorates John Egan who donated land to the Catholic Church on which the chapel and cemetery stand. John Egan, was the first to discover gold in the Daylesford district and reputedly, the second to discover gold in Victoria.

An interesting event took place on All Souls' Day after the annual Mass which was celebrated in the Mortuary Chapel of the Eganstown (Catholic) Cemetery. The occasion was the unveiling and blessing of a handsome marble Celtic cross monument in memory of the late Mr. John Egan, the founder of the township which bears his name, and who throughout his life, had proved himself a good Catholic, a patriotic Irishman, as well as an excellent colonist. Mr. Egan was a native of Borrisoleigh, in the County Tipperary, and arrived in the colony in 1841. Seven years after he founded the present Eganstown, which lies 4 miles beyond Daylesford, on the Creswick side. Here he took up a large selection, as well as an extensive grazing area, and by his indomitable pluck and energy earned a name for himself that will live in the annals of our early pioneers. He died in 1890, at the age of 85 years, he was the first to discover gold in the Daylesford district, in 1851.

Old colonists will remember the famous Tim Crow diggings, by which name the field was originally known. Mining has been steadily carried on to the present day throughout the district. The land taken up by Mr. Egan proved largely auriferous. Every facility was granted by himself and family for opening it up and many a miner and farmer acknowledges to this day the friendly assistance given him by John Egan. The church and cemetery were presented by Mr. Egan to the late Archbishop for the use of the Catholics of the district, and are only examples of his many other benefactions in the cause of faith and charity. Although his memory had been suitably commemorated by his family, who are held in the highest respect by all who know them, still his friends and admirers determined to erect, in addition, the public monument alluded to. It stands on an eminence in front of the chapel, and overlooks the main road to Creswick and Ballarat.

The ceremony was performed by the Rev. M. C. Gough. P.P., assisted by the Rev. P. M'Gee. Fr. Gough delivered a suitable and impressive address upon the life and many good qualities of the deceased gentleman, and the influence of such an example upon the people of the district, and Catholics generally. An adjournment was afterwards made by the subscribers to the residence of Mr. Michael Connors, where Mr. Henry Colborne was installed as chairman. Speeches complimentary to the memory of the deceased and his family were made by the chairman, the hon.sec.of the movement (Mr. Denis Kelly), the hon.treasurer (Mr. Patrick Kelly, sen.), and Messrs. Bolton, Rouch, Sullivan, etc. Mr. John Egan. jun feeling responded on behalf of the family, after which the gathering dispersed. The monument, which is a fine specimen of Celtic art. stands about 13 feet high, and is the work of Messrs. Jageurs and Son, of the Royal Park Monumental Works, Melbourne.
Advocate (Melbourne), 12 November 1898.


Address:Midland Highway, St Francis Xavier Church, Eganstown, 3461
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.357901
Long: 144.081205
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Designer:Jageurs & Son (Melbourne, VIC)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 1st November, 1898
Front Inscription

Erected by his friends and admirers 

In memory of John Egan

Native of Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, Ireland.
Who died 24th April 1896, aged 85 years.

He arrived in Victoria in 1841.  

Founded this township which bears his name in 1848, and was the first to discover gold in the Daylesford District 1851.

Amongst his many charitable gifts were this church and burial ground.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au