Alice Therese Heffernan was born in Ireland on April 13, 1844.
The failure of the potato crop led to the Heffernan family and many others sailing to Australia. When they arrived the news of the Bathurst gold discovery was on everyone’s lips.
Her father, Michael, set out to seek his fortune but found as a lot of others did that there was no certain fortune in gold mining.
He decided to try farming, first in the Bathurst-Mudgee area and then at Nimmitabel, and eventually moving to near the Weddin Mountains.
Alice was a good horsewoman and a most capable person.
She was the chief haircutter for her family and others. Legend has it that Gardiner, O’Meally and Ben Hall were among her customers.
The discovery of gold at Lambing Flat lured the Heffernan’s to once more seek their fortune in gold. They took up a claim at Chance Gully and Mrs. Heffernan and her daughters were among the first white women on the goldfield.
As well as working his claim Michael had a herd of cows and ran a hotel. Michael’s wife died and Alice not only became her father’s chief helper but had the task of rearing her younger brothers and sisters.
Sometime in 1861 Michael sold his interests at Lambing Flat and under the Robertson Free Selection Act took up 40 acres of land on McHenry’s Creek.
He built a hotel which he named the “Humpty Doo”, and among their customers were Gardiner, O’Meally and Hall.
In 1864 Michael became ill with Rheumatic Fever and twenty three year old Alice decided to take her father to Sydney to obtain medical help.
They made the nightmarish journey in a spring cart but Michael died soon after arriving. Alice and the other family members carried on working the farm and hotel after their father’s death.
The “Humpty Doo” was a prosperous enterprise with many travellers and bullock teams stopping there. One bullock driver was Thomas Quinn and he and Alice were married in 1873.
The “Humpty Doo” was burnt down and the Quinn’s set about building a new hotel, this time from stone.
This new hotel was named the “Welcome Inn” and was granted a license on July 5, 1878. The stone stables which were built at the rear of the new hotel can be still seen today as you cross the McHenry’s Creek bridge.
Their new hotel soon received competition from a hotel called “The Shamrock”.
This hotel was built and licensed by Bridget Fitzgerald about 5 miles from Young on the crest of the hill before reaching where the railway crossing is now.
The Quinn’s continued to increase their land holdings purchasing 400 acres from Fitzgerald’s and 600 acres from McDonalds, both neighbours.
The building of the Demondrille to Blayney railway line proved a boost to the “Welcome Inn” and the family continued to prosper owning land in various parts of the district. Thomas died in 1913 and Alice passed away in 1943.
Young Historical Society, Brian James.
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