Clancy’s c.1858 is a vernacular Irish cottage constructed by the Clancy family using a traditional cob building method adapted for Australian conditions. Clancy’s is associated with the earliest settlement of the crown land releases of the area which is known as Alick’s Swamp.
The cottage has been described by the Clancy family as having five rooms including an open fire cooking area in the living room. The southern wing was possibly a ‘Stranger Room’ for travellers as it has an entry from the outside and no access to the inside of the house. Clancy’s is undergoing a major restoration. It is private property and there is no public access onto the site.
Looking across to Clancys Hut today invites us to image how this site would have appeared to John Clancy when he purchased Portion 53 of ground here in 1858.
By this time Clancy and his family had been living in the district since 1844 when they arrived here from Ireland. As assisted immigrants from poort Irish communities it would have taken them some time to get on their feet in a new land in the middle of a major economic depression in the 1840s.
Eventually however, their fortunes turned such that Clancy was able to put forward the £33 needed for the land purchase in 1858.
Perhaps the goldrush years were kind to him and being resident alongside Australia's first payable goldfields in 1851 gave him the advantage of local knowledge. We can only speculate.
What we do know is that the first gold in O’Connell was found in June 1851 on Rev. Walker’s land, which stretched from alph Plains towards the Campbells River and was named Havilah Diggings. It only created a small mini rush of diggers though as it was not as rich as first thought. By 1853 several goldfields were identified in the local area including Campbells River, Native Dog Creek, Isabella River and Winburndale Rivulet.
But then perhaps John Clancy also discovered that the safest way to make money out of gold was to stay at home and work the land. With rural labourers in short supply and an influx of new arrivals needing food and services, the local O'Connell agricultural economy would have flourished in the years after 1851. This in turn would have been an added incentive for the Clancy family to find a way to take up their own holding in this rich and fertile farming country.
The chance for them to do this came about as a result of the Government freeing up some previously unallocated Crown lands in the O'Connell district for sale. As the 1840s atlas map of the precinct shows, Clancys holding was located to the south of the major land grant blocks given out to Hassall and Walker at O'Connell in the early 1820s.
We can't be sure exactly when John Clancy built this earth building here on his land, but we know it was sometime between 1858 - 1867. His obituary stated that he resided in this 5 roomed house, with mud walls and a thatched roofone house for forty years prior to his death there in 1907.
Today we recognise Clancys Hut as being a single story cob residence with a corrugated iron roof. It is one of the few remaining earth buildings easily identifiable as such and clearly visible for more than half a kilometre from a public road.