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We have named each of the 6 rooms available for guests after each of the six generations of Branigan women who have owned the land with their husbands and whose surnames would otherwise be lost to the farm. 



Named after Janet Dunn who was born to a family of Irish linen makers in 1825 (the 2nd of eight children).


She married Henry Hutchinson Branigan on 9 June 1949 in Kirkinriola, County Antrim, Ireland and had 5 children before immigrating to Australia in 1861.


The 6th child was born on the ship “Shalimar” as they crossed the Great Australian Bight and then Janet had another 3 children at the farm:

  • Henry 1863 (our great grandfather)

  • Robert 1871  

  • Samuel (who died in infancy). 


Janet survived her husband by 16 years when she died 18 Mar 1913.


Both Janet and Henry are buried in the Coghill’s Creek Cemetery.

Beckworth Reteat, Accommodation in Clunes Victoria

Henry Branigan (junior) married Emma Robins in 1896.  She was 30 years of age at the time and went on to have four children:

  • Janet (married first cousin Archibald Campbell)

  • James (born 1898, our grandfather who married a visiting teacher called Lila)

  • Julia (born 1900, married Trevor Robert Christopher in 1934) and

  • John (born 1902 and died the same day)

Henry was only 47 when he died 13 August 1910 the same year that his older brother James Branigan (snr) became President of the Shire of Talbot. 


The children were still young and financial hardship forced them to put the farm on the market in 1911. 


In the end, the land was kept for grazing while all the cultivation implements, draught horses, wagons and other farm sundries were sold at public auction.

Emma lived until 1943 seeing all three of her grandchildren born at the farm and then schooled firstly at the local Glendaruel School then onto Clunes School.


We have photos of all three children going off to school on the back of one horse!


Lynette Branigan grew up on this farm and went to school at Glendaruel and then Clunes. 


She has told us stories of riding the pony into Clunes in the 1940s, leaving it at the stables while she spent the day at school and then riding the 6km back home in the afternoon.

Lyn married Thomas Howard Fenner (from Dunach to the north) in 1952 and had four children.

Although their children have never lived on this farm they have been regular visitors over the last 60 years.

Beckworth Reteat, Accommodation in Clunes Victoria



Current owners Bradley Fenner (youngest son of Lyn) and Barbara Fenner (nee Griffiths).


Married in 1996 and have three children.

The 6th generation woman, Cluny Fenner, is a frequent visitor to the farm and had a strong influence in the latest renovations of this house.

Beckworth Reteat, Accommodation in Clunes Victoria


Our grandfather, James Stewart Branigan, who was born on the farm in 1898, married Lila Isobel Madden on 25 Feb 1928 at the Thornbury Presbyterian Church.


She was a school teacher (registered 1920) and the only daughter of Mr and Mrs J Madden of Royston, Flinders Street, Thornbury born also in 1898.

They had three children:


  • Henry James Branigan (1929-1977) 

  • Lynette Branigan (1930-2015)

  • Rodney Branigan (1932- )


Lila Madden lived firstly at The Pines (foundations can be seen down the drive) and then in the Glenbrae house that you can see approximately 300m to the south.

Lila also outlived her husband – he died in 1960 while she lived on to 1985.


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