Mountain Ash: A small industrial town located in the Rhondda of South Wales. It was a rural community prior to 1850 but then grew quickly with the exploitation of rich reserves of coal in the vicinity.
After the Second World War ended local mining employment began to fall away very quickly. By the end of the 20th century the last coal mines had closed, and many of the town's factories had ceased operation as well. New light industries and service activities only partly mitigated the resulting economic hardship so many families moved away to seek work elsewhere.
Thomas Kenneally, second son of Jeremiah, left the coal mine at Mountain Ash in the mid 1930's and headed for Luton which was a fast growing town in Bedfordshire. He was quickly followed by his parents and siblings.