Australian sisters finally return to Kilkeel home

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Australian sisters finally return to Kilkeel home thumbnailCAROL and Valerie, pictured at Kilkeel Harbour along the part of the Harbour that their father had been involved in constructing. DEM1776

TWO Australian sisters were able to finally return to their family home, with the help of Newry and Mourne Council and helpful Kilkeel locals - 50 years after they were born in the house.
Their father, Robin How, had worked as a Civil Engineer with Charles Brand and after his project was completed, when Valerie was just one week old, the family went to England and eventually emigrated to Australia.
In February 2014, Valerie contacted Newry and Mourne Museum looking for information on the house that they were born in and details about their father's work with Charles Brand. The only lead that they had to go on was the house name which was Darraway.
Shane McGivern, the Museum's Collections Research Assistant, began looking into this and was able to find, in the Museum's Reside Collection, a proposed plan of the Kilkeel Harbour by Charles Brand dated April 1953.
Shane contacted Sean McManus, a Kilkeel local and an expert in local history. Sean, who has many contacts in the Annalong region got in touch with a number of people and through some excellent detective work he was able find the house that Valerie and Carol were born in.
Sean also talked to a gentleman, John Newell, who had worked with Charles Brand in the 1950s and confirmed that it was the Harbour reconstruction project that Robin How had been involved in.
As luck would have it, the house had recently changed hands and the new owner allowed them through the house. The new owner was delighted to hear that the house had a name and said that she would restore that original name on the house.

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