Patrick O'Neill (1835-1867) & Elizabeth Lulham (1834-1894)




Patrick O'Neill was the 4th oldest of 6 children of convict William O'Neill & Johanna Flaherty. He was born at Brookfield between Clarence Town and Dungog in NSW on 17 Mar 1835. (His place of birth is identified on the birth certificate of one of his children, Herbert Thomas.)

Elizabeth Lulham was born on 09 Aug 1834 at Brookfield in NSW, the oldest of 13 children of convict James Lulham (b. 1806, d. 28 Sep 1857 at Brookfield) and Mary Daly (b. 1817, d. 24 Aug 1906 at Coraki, NSW). James Lulham, a blacksmith, was convicted at Surrey Assizes in 1829 for stealing linen and transported to Australia on the ship "Sarah", sailing from London 29 Aug 1829. There is a good website on the Lulham family.

Patrick and Elizabeth married on 24 Jul 1854 at Brookfield NSW by Fr John Kenny. The witnesses were John & Elizabeth Logan.

Patrick O'Neill obtained a liquor license on 20 Apr 1858 to run The Travellers Home, a multipurpose family home and inn that he had built at Brookfield. It was a substantial building; a neat description was provided by P.J. O'Neill at the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. James O'Neill (my great grandparents), as reported in the Dungog Chronicle, 07 Jul 1933 and quoted in Fr Bill Cantwell's history St. Mary's Parish, Dungog 1860-1983:

Golden Wedding Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. James O'Neill

On Saturday last, at Newcastle, the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. James O'Neill was celebrated. The O'Neill clan is one of the best known along the Central Coast. Amongst the members of the family present were the brothers Messrs. P. J. (Kempsey), Herb. (Taree) and Alf. (Wingham). All Mr. and Mrs. O'Neill's children were present, as well as Mrs. O'Shannessy (sister of Mr. O'Neill).

Mr. P. J. O'Neill was best man 50 years ago and the bridesmaid, Mrs. Geo. White (nee Mary Hagon) was also at the unique ceremony.

On their return Messrs. P. J., Herb. and Alf. called in at Dungog to see Mr. Pat. O'Neill of the Bank Hotel (son of Mr. and Mrs. Herb. O'Neill). They were met by many old friends and happy reminiscences were exchanged. Their parents lived at Brookfield in the days of long ago, and "P. J." was born there. He relates the interesting history of the house in which he was born. It was built of brick by his father for use as a public house. Later it became a private dwelling. Then its big dining room was used as a school. Dances were also held there and Mass was said in it (there being no Church). Later it was bought by the Catholics of the parish, and the bricks were used to build the convent. "P. J." says he was born in it, went to school in it, danced in it and his daughter was one of the sisters of St Joseph who taught in it when it became a convent ‑ a remarkable history...

Note. The following links are to National Library of Australia's digitised images; to quickly locate the items in the newspaper, select Find in your browser - eg using use Control with F - and type a few characters from the item unlikely to be found in other items - eg O'N. Then click anywhere in the left hand text box and the image on the right zooms to the correct location - in this case at the bottom of the item).

Patrick's inn was used as a location for auctions (see this advertisement on 09 July 1858 in the The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser and repeated on 20 Jul 1858). Patrick was listed in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser edition of 11 Sep 1858 as contributing £1.1.0 towards a £100 testimonial fund for Thomas Cook, Police Magistrate of Port Stephens and Dungog.

On 09 Nov 1858 Patrick placed this advertisement - in the The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser:


HAVING LOST a MARE of the following description: a DARK BAY MARE, black points, star on the forehead; the same having returned on to my run, having no brand. Any person showing a better claim to her than the undersigned, within twenty-one days from this date, can have her by paying for her keep and this advertisement.


Brookfield, Nov. 5th, 1858.

Patrick found it hard going as an innkeeper. On 30 Sep 1861 he swore an affidavit listing:

  • his personal property (household furniture, wearing apparel and five horses running in the bush near Clarence Town) amounting to £22 was declared insolvent;

  • his debts (a list of 16 debtors, mainly unsecured "grog scores") amounting to £59.13.9;

  • a list of creditors with claims going back as far as 1856 (groceries and draperies), spirits and grog scores, boots and shoes, newspapers, stone, cattle and horses amounting to £257.11.0

Two days later Justice Sir Alfred Stephen, on circuit for the Supreme Court, declared Patrick insolvent and appointed John Piper Mackenzie in charge of Patrick's estate.

Insolvency in early NSW was "the inability to pay your debts or meet your expenses. Under early colonial law insolvency was treated as a different concept to bankruptcy (which involved an insolvents assets being administered and distributed to creditors)." From State Records)

The insolvency files include a report on the attempts to capture these horses.

The horses running Wild in the Bush and connot be found - no funds in the hands of the Official Assignee to employ any person to ride about to collect these animals. Enquiry having been made without any good effect. (Dated 6th April 1862)

A Report from Dungog having just reached the Official Assignee from his Agent, who states that two of the Horses referred to above have been found and will be brought in at once by the Insolvent, but he says the other two are many miles away in the Bush & he believes will not be found. One horse died (and which the Official Assignee is aware of) soon after seqestration. Horses are reported to be a dead Stock, and nearly unsalable. (Dated 1st June 1862)

A note was appended in the margin of the report dated 25 Jun 1862:

When the horses have been brought in and sold, let account current to be lodged.

When Patrick swore an Affidavit in Support of Application for a Certificate of Conformity, a report from Mackenzie was filed in Court on 16th August 1864 stating that the insolvent had

Conformed to the requirements and provisions of the Insolvent debtor's Acts, now in force in this Colony; and has not, in so far as I know or believe, been guilty of any offence, or misconduct, by reason of which the granting of the desired Certificate can, lawfully, be Refused or Suspended.

No objections that I know of

Patrick and Elizabeth may have moved into Clarence Town, because on 22 Nov 1866 this add appeared in the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (though of course there may have been another Patrick O'Neill selling at the time in Clarence Town):

6-ROOMED SLAB COTTAGE, with Verandah, built on sleepers, boarded floor, situate at Clarence Town.

MR. GEORGE LEE has received instructions to sell by auction, at Kokford's Family Hotel, on MON-DAY, November 26th, at Twelve o'clock.

A Substantial 5-roomed SLAB COTTAGE, with verandah, built on sleepers, boarded floor.


THE LAND appertaining to it - the whole known as Mr. Patrick O'Neil's property, and situate at Clarence Town.

The above property is for positive sale, and this is, therefore, an excellent opportunity for persons in search of a good and cheap property, situate in such flourishing district as Clarence Town.

- Terms at sale.

At the time of his death Patrick was described as a butcher. I have not found any records to date that cover the last 20 years of his life.

Patrick & Elizabeth's family

Patrick & Elizabeth had 12 children, 6 registered as O'Neil and 6 as O'Neill:

01. John (b. 03 Mar 1856, d. 24 May 1921)

02. Patrick Joseph (b. 20 Aug 1857, d. 01 Jul 1947)

03. Mary Jane (b. 28 Feb 1860, d. 08 May 1934)

04. James Henry (b. 12 Jul 1861, d. 13 Nov 1936)

05. William Walter (b. 17 Jul 1864, d. 1931)

06. Anne Emily (b. 20 Oct 1865, d. 15 Aug 1894)

07. Alfred Edward (b. 16 Apr 1867, d. 1951?) - never married

08. Francis Augusta (b. 11 Nov 1869, d. 26 May 1959) - never married

09. Ellen (b. 07 Dec 1870, d. 1938?)

10. Hannah (b. 31 Aug 1872, d. 19 Feb 1951)

11. Herbert Thomas (b. 22 Jan 1875, d. 05 Jan 1955)

12. Catherine (b. 17 Jul 1877, d. 01 Feb 1951)

Patrick O'Neill died on 02 April 1887 at Bulahdelah NSW and is buried in the Bulahdelah cemetery. His wife Elizabeth went to some expense erecting a headstone, which in recent years had been vandalised or broken. In 2009 some of Patrick & Elizabeth's descendants arranged for the headstone to be repaired. Below are photos before and after the repair (shown are Joan Murray and Chris O'Neill). The group photo is of a gathering at Bulahdelah in 2009 of a few descendants of Patrick & Elizabeth (and who were closely related to a granddaughter, Mary McQuade, seated front centre).

Elizabeth Lulham died on 31 Jul 1894 of pneumonia at Bulahdelah NSW.






Mick's family


Co Kerry in 1820s

Family tree