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KEENAN FAMILY in Australia

BATLOW, New South Wales, Australia

Last updated 11/4/2016

Batlow is a small town in the highlands of New South Wales. It began as a gold mining town, called Reedy Flat. These days Batlow is most famous for growing apples, but also produces pears, cherries and other stone fruit as well as berry crops. A strong timber industry and the harvesting, packing and processing of the districts fruit crops are the town’s main employers.


Batlow, which was named after the surveyor who laid out the place, is 443 km south west of Sydney via the Hume and Snowy Highways. The nearest major centre is Tumut. From Melbourne, Batlow is about 490 km north east via the Hume Freeway.

Location of Batlow.                                                                                  Location map with nearby regions.


Video: See Batlow Apples video on You Tube  For more details click HERE.

Those readers who have accounts with Facebook will find plenty of photos, old and new, if they visit the Facebook site named "Memories of Batlow NSW".

For current-day tourist information, go to the website called Visit Batlow

Old photos taken in and around Batlow

My father, the late Wifred "Wis" Keenan (1910-1998), was born in Batlow in 1910 and lived there until about 1950. He handed on to me his collection of photographs taken in and around Batlow.  I am creating a special section of this website to display those photographs, and will put here a link to the collection as soon as the work is done.  (Peter Keenan, September 2013).

Keenan settlement in Batlow


Henry John Keenan and Nancy Jane (Ann) Keenan (nee Gamble) from Glenone, County Derry, Northern Ireland, settled in Batlow (then called Reedy Flat) in about 1866/67. "The site of their early Batlow home was where the orchard of Bowman & Sons now stands, and here eight more children were born, making the total family five daughters and six sons." - see1949 article by grandson, George Keenan, which appeared in the Tumut and Adelong Times.  (This area is at the southern end of Batlow.)  For the location, see these maps:




It is in this area that a road has been named Keenans Road (see maps above), so named because of the pioneering role that Keenans played in the establishment and development of Batlow, and because the farming property at the far end of the road was owned by Keenans. 


Apparently this property is still owned by Keenans.  According to the White Pages Residential directory (October 2008 and August 2012), D E Keenan is at 173 Keenans Road, Batlow, and K Keenan is at 180 Keenans Road, Batlow.


According to the 2008 electoral roll, Kenneth Neville Keenan resides at a property known as "Hillview", which is at 180 Keenans Road, Batlow.  Internet searches of Real Estate firms indicate that this property is up for sale, although they state that it is a 0 Keenans Road, Batlow (October 2008). Advertisements describe the property as follows:

"HILLVIEW": Magnificent lifestyle block with mature orchard. The orchard consists of over 3250 mixed variety apple trees, the majority of which have hail netting. The land ranges from gently undulating open cleared grazing country through to semi-cleared regrowth grazing running to steeper timbered ridges. Water is a feature with about 1.2km of frontage to the Gilmore Creek with one of the best fishing & swimming holes in the district & a 6 hectare irrigation license. Power is on site & there are several superb home sites on the property making this the perfect getaway.

                                          [ http://www.homehound.com.au/0+keenans+road+batlow+nsw+2730/ ]

Photographs of "Hillview", Keenans Road, Batlow, October 2008, accompanying the abovementioned advertisement give the following views:




ClickHERE for photograph of Peter Keenan and his children at Keenan's Road, Batlow, January, 1993.


Sometime after the death of Henry John Keenan in 1889 , Nancy Jane (Ann) Keenan [who married again and became Ann Hopson] acquired a small property in another part of Batlow, near the golf course and below farming property named "Adamilla".  She shared this property with her oldest son, James, and his wife Florence (my grandfather and grandmother):


Batlow - location of homes of Nancy (Anne) Jane Hopson (nee Keenan) (nee Gamble) and her son, James Keenan (1864-1942)


Recent Keenan Residents in Batlow


As at 15 October 2008 the White Pages residential telephone directory lists 14 Keenan households in the Batlow postcode area (postcode 2730), one in Bombowlee (2720) and two in Tumut (2720).

As at 12 August 2012 the White pagesresidential telephone directory lists 12 Keenan households in the Batlow postcode area (2730), one in Bombowlee (2720), two in Tumut (2720) and one in Gilmore (2720).


An Addresses Register produced by the NSW Electoral Commission in January 2008 shows:

Song to the Pioneers of Batlow


Tune:  “Botany Bay”

Now come all you people of Batlow and listen and heed what I say,

About all the well known identities who are gathered here today.  

There are Mouats and Hides and Quarnbys,

There are Keenans and Barbaries and more.

They are pioneers of Batlow, who did all the hard work before. 

They started this town from nothing, with bullock teams, axes and saws,

The sweat and the curses and swearing, helped many a man through his chores. 

The early settlers came flocking for the gold in the cold mountain streams,

And suffered torment and hardship in search of a golden pipe dream. 

The gold rush soon it was ended, many settlers departed this land.

The few that were left with their visions started a pioneer band. 

They saw in this beautiful valley a future in apples and pears,

And made from the virgin rain forest, a land that would always be theirs. 

For many long years they laboured, their names increased by the score,

And many the deeds they accomplished with axes and cross cut saws. 

So today all you people of Batlow who live in the ease of the time,

Take pause in your daily devotions and remember your pioneer line.

[Note:  I do not know who wrote these words. It appears that they were written several decades ago, when admiration for the pioneers was at its peak. Peter Keenan.]



Batlow - Videos, Photographs and General Information


  • "She's Apples. Batlow NSW".  A You Tube video from ABC TV in 2010. Apple Farming in Australia.  From a series called ABC Alpine Stories. Featuring Ian and Carol Castles.  Produced by Richard Snashall.  Duration 8 mins.
  • "Reedy Flat of  Eighty Years Ago", (i.e., 1870 onwards) as told by Gavan Mouat and Ted Corbett to Ted Robson, in the Tumut and Adelong Times, 24 October 1950. CLICK HERE

This photograph was published in 1925.





  • History books:   


  • "Batlow and District in Pictures", compiled by Peter and Jenny Cash on behalf of the Batlow Historical Society, 1984, ISBN No. 0 9590314 0 5.  Click here to see cover.
  • "Batlow:  The Growing Years from Gold to Apples", by Batlow Historical Society, Horwitz Publications, 1975, ISBN O 7255 0310 6.  Click here to see cover.
  • "Famous For Flavour: 75 years of Co-operation in Batlow", by Sherry Morris, published by the Batlow Fruit Co-operative Ltd, in 1997, ISBN 0 646 31710 5.   Click here to see front cover.