Noonan descendants to gather at Purnim

IRISH immigrant James Noonan died more than a century ago but the Purnim farmer’s legacy lingers on with a nationwide hunt for his descendants.

More than 200 Noonans and people with a family connection will take part in a Warrnambool reunion on the weekend with family members travelling to the land that their ancestor called home after emigrating in 1855 from Limerick. 

Armidale retiree Rob Noonan said his great-grandfather established a small farm at Purnim in the late 1850s with his wife Anne and their seven children. He said James died relatively young in 1870 and his wife remarried, becoming Anne Fletcher.

“James Noonan has descendants right across Australia and the Noonan name is still pretty strong around the Warrnambool and Koroit districts,” Mr Noonan said.

“Two of his sons, one of which was my grandfather, settled in the Dubbo region of New South Wales, so the Noonan name is very strong there too. We have relatives flying over from Perth, another driving across the Nullarbor Plain from Western Australia, a couple from up in Queensland and plenty from Melbourne as well.”

The weekend celebrations coincide with the anniversary of James Noonan’s arrival in Australia in February 1855.

A number of family members are travelling from Dubbo by a chartered bus to Warrnambool and will visit the Noonan family farm and the grave site of Anne Fletcher in Melbourne.

“There’s hundreds of Noonans and people with Noonan blood out there, so we are still keen to get descendants we might have overlooked,” Mr Noonan said.

“It’s remarkable that the Noonan name is now present in every state in Australia.”

For more information contact Mr Noonan on 0432 402 751 or


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