There are not many Irishmen after whom the main street of a large town, a railway station, a hotel and a local beer are called. In Kalgoorlie, the famous gold-mining town in Western Australia the main street is Hannan Street, the railway station is Hannan Station, the hotel is Hannan Hotel and you can have a pint of Hannan lager in any pub. The Irishman in question is Paddy Hannan who discovered the richest goldfield in the world — it earned the state an estimated 1100 million dollars in its first seventy five years.
Most people accept that Paddy Hannan was born in Ballyroughan in 1843. Some older people in Kilmurry however, would say that Paddy Hannan was born in Kilmurry and moved to Ballyroughan at a young age. These people can remember the ruins of the old Hannan homestead being still visible in the thirties at the Kilmurry side of Hannan’s Cross. In the Tithe Applotment Books of 1830 (approx.) there is one Connor Hannan who may be the father of Paddy. The Hannan grave was rediscovered one day in Kilmurry graveyard by Paddy Clune.
There was a school in Kilmurry in 1843 run by Pat Slattery. The school moved to Rosroe and to Annagore before the National School was established in 1854. It seems more than likely that Paddy Hannan went to this school. Accepting that the Hannan family moved to Ballyroughan just after the Famine, it would appear that he got his formal schooling in Kilmurry as it is only 1 ‘/2 miles from there to the school. From the school records it is obvious very many residents of Ballyroughan went to school in Kilmurry. The Quinlivan’s and Armstrongs are two such families. Paddy Hannan himself emigrated to Australia in 1863. His story can be read in the “Other Clare” Vol. 5. He died in Melbourne in 1925, having spent his last years living on a state pension of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum even though he had found the mine that yielded over a thousand million dollars.
There is a monument to him in the street named after him in Kalgoorlie. It is a statue of a gaunt, bearded man with a miners water bag — the water bag is a drinking fountain. There is a bust of him in the de Valera Museum and Library in Ennis.
Is he Kilmurry School’s most famous pupil ?