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Charles Finnerty, 1815-1881, was a life-long soldier in the British Army, beginning as a private in the 47th Lancashire, and working his way through Corporal, Sergeant/Major, Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and finally, in 1878, Brevet Lt Colonel. He was Staff Officer of the Enrolled Pensioner Force, and Commandant pro tem 1871-72.
Before he arrived in the Colony on the Sultana in 1859, he had been involved in the Crimean War 1854-56, but at Scutari, Turkey, in a hospital where he would have known Florence Nightingale.
Finnerty was on board the Georgette when it was used in an attempt to stop the notorious escape of Fenians on board the Catalpa in 1876.
After his death of apoplexy (presumably what we would now call a stroke) in 1881, he was buried in the East Perth Cemetery.
Finnerty Street is named after him. He had a brother named John.
DEATH OF COLONEL FINNERTY. Considerable surprise was manifested in the city early on Sunday morning by the report that Colonel Finnerty had died from apoplexy. On Friday evening last he was present at the Weld Club Ball, and about supper-time expressed his desire to conduct two ladies in to supper. He afterwards left for his residence. Not appearing as usual at breakfast on the following morning, his family visited his room, and found that he was apparently asleep ; he continued in a swoon throughout the day, his family believing that he was fatigued from the previous night. Later in the evening an attempt was made to rouse the Colonel, when it was found necessary to obtain medical assistance. It was then discovered that he was suffering from apoplexy, and that medical aid, even if it had arrived sooner, would have been of no avail. The Colonel expired soon after three o'clock on Sunday morning. The deceased was buried on Monday morning in the Church of England cemetery ; Dean Gegg, assisted by the rev. J. Allen, officiating. The mourners were Mr. L. C. Burges, Mr. S. E. Burges, Mr. Michael Samson, Mr. W. F. Samson, Capt. Smith, and Capt. Sutherland, and the Volunteers and Enrolled Pensioners followed without arms, but headed by the Volunteer Band, which played the 'Dead March in Saul.' A large number of the Colonel's friends and the principal citizens followed, the rear being brought up by the officers of the Perth, Fremantle, Guildford, and Geraldton Volunteers. Among the carriages following the cortege was that of His Excellency the Governor, who was represented by Mr. Julian F. Harper.
Colonel Finnerty, Staff Officer of Pensioners, arrived in this colony early in 1856, and took charge of the Enrolled Pensioner Force at Fremantle ; he was promoted to the rank of Major on the 1st of August, 1873 ; Brevet Lieut-Colonel on the 31st December, 1878 ; and attained the substantive rank of Lieut.-Colonel on the 1st January, 1881, when he retired on full pay. Colonel Finnerty was a justice of the peace for the colony ; he leaves a grown-up family, some of the members of which are married. During the twenty-five years Colonel Finnerty has resided in this colony he has been a useful citizen, and was always held in the highest esteem. The Inquirer and Commercial News, Wednesday 21 December 1881: 7th sheet
WE greatly regret to announce the death of Lieut Colonel Finnerty, which took place under somewhat strange circumstauces, early on Sunday morning. Colonel Finnerty attended the Weld Club ball at the Town Hall on Friday night and left shortly after midnight. Next morning, we understand that when he did not appear as usual at breakfast, some members of his family visited his room and found that the Colonel was still asleep. He slept through the day, but, having been up late the night before, this did not cause his family any alarm until the evening, when, upon obtaining medical advice, it was found that Colonel Finnerty was suffering from apoplexy. The Colonel died soon after 3 a.m. next (Sunday) morning. The funeral took place yesterday morning at 9 o'clock, and was largely attended - the Perth Volunteer corps forming part of the procession. West Australian, Tuesday 20 December 1881, p. 2.
Diane Oldman's page for Finnerty on her Crimean War Veterans in Western Australia site; photo of Finnerty's grave from that page courtesy of Finnerty descendant Malcolm Idoine
Diane Oldman's story of Finnerty, Man of Merit, on her Crimean War Veterans in Western Australia site
Garry Gillard | New: 16 January, 2015 | Now: 10 July, 2020