William Charles O’Neill

William Charles O’Neill (1832-1910)
Catherine White (1841-1929)

Jump down to the list of their children

William Charles O’Neill, a farmer from Killorglin, Co Kerry, Ireland, arrived in Sydney Lady Milton on 28 Jun 1862, stating his age to be 23. His parents were Cornelius O’Neill and Ellen [O’]Neill. There is some doubt about his age: his Irish birth/baptism record has not been found. However, his death certificate records his age at marriage as being 31; he married Catherine White in St John’s Church, West Maitland, New South Wales, on 25 Jul 1866, suggesting his birth year to be late 1834 or before 25 Jul 1835. In fact, recent evidence has come to light that William is actually named Gerald at birth. This appears to be a common practice as several other male descendants were registered as Gerald but always called William or Willie.

Catherine [Ellen] White was born in 1841 at Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland, to Michael White and Sarah Therry (b. 1817). We believe Sarah’s parents  were William Therry and Suzy Clancy; Sarah’s NSW death record 12144/1893 gives her mother’s first name as Such, presumably a nick name. Sarah and Michael had three other children, Jane (b. 1837), William  (b. 1837) and Michael (b. 1842). Sara’s husband Michael passed away in 1850, and both parents had died before 1851. Sarah may have been encouraged to migrate to Australia by Fr John Therry; in any case she, her daughter Jane and her son William travelled to Sydney on the St Vincent, arriving December 1851. Sadly, her daughter Jane died during the voyage, aged just 16.

Catherine and Michael White sailed to join their mother on the Switzerland, arriving in Sydney on 20 Jun 1854; Catherine, aged 13, is listed on Page 6 under single females; Michael, aged 12, is on Page 9 under single males.

As mentioned above, two years after arriving in the colony William Charles O’Neill married Catherine White. The two witnesses at his wedding were William White, the brother of the bride, and Mary Agnes O’Neill, one of William O’Neill and Johanna Flaherty’s children and William’ Charles O’Neill’s first cousin. Just two weeks later, on 07 Aug 1866, William White and Mary Agnes O’Neill were themselves married at her parents’ property in Clarence Town. There is much more information on the White family on William White and Mary Agnes O’Neills webpage.

Michael White_1842_1921Sarah White married Michael Finn on 16 Feb 1852 at West Maitland, New South Wales. Michael was born in Co. Clare in 1800, died on 14 Jul 1882 and is buried in the Catholic Section of the East Gresford Cemetery. Sarah died the following year, on 05 Oct 1893, at Allynbrook in the Upper Paterson region on the Hunter Valley. Sarah had settled in the Allynbrook region and Michael and William White became well known local identities. K.P. Kay Ingle, who wrote Big Creek the Allyn to Hilldale, has a chapter on the White Clan (the the photo of Michael White is from that chapter).

We have not located many references to William’s life. His death record lists him as a farmer. His death on 24 Apr 1910 shows he suffered from senile decay, but had suffered a fracture of the femur and died of shock. He was buried two days later in the Catholic Section of the Raymond Terrace cemetery. Notice of probate appeared in the Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales on Wed 14 Sep 1910 and described William as being “late of Deribang, near Raymond Terrace, but formerly of Darlinghurst, Sydney”. Over 8 years later, as reported in the edition of Fri 28 Feb 1919, a special lease in the  Stroud district of NSW was granted to Michael Joseph Considine, executor of the will of the late William Charles O’Neill. In the description of the marriage of their daughter Alice (see below), the late William Charles O’Neill was described as “of Maitland”. In Catherine’s obituary (see below), he is described as “of Innisfail, Bulahdelah”. Finally, the Crawford River near Bulahdelah is mentioned as the birthplace of at least two of their children .

Catherine O’Neill passed away on 20 Feb 1929. From the The Catholic Press on Thu 28 Feb 1929:

Mrs. Catherine O’Neill.

A good old Catholic lady, in the person of Mrs. Catherine O’Neill, widow of the late William Charles O’Neill, of Innisfail, Bulahdelah, who predeceased her by about 20 years, passed away at the residence of her daughter (Mrs. N. Souter), Wilberforce-avenue, Rose Bay, on the 20th inst. Mrs. O’Neill, who was a cousin of Archpriest Therry, the pioneer priest of Australia, was born in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, and at the age of 14 years came to Australia with her parents. During her last illness she had the unremitting attention of Rev. Father R. J. O’Regan, P.P., who administered the last rites of the Church. She is survived by a family of one son and six daughters – Mr. John O’Neill (Chief Inspector, Railway Department), Mrs. M. J. Considine (Raymond Terrace), Mrs. N. Souter (Rose Bay), Mrs. J. McDonald (Bellevue Hill), Mrs. B. Gillin (Randwick), and Misses Sadie and Kitty O’Neill (Rose Bay). The funeral took place on the 21st inst., from St. Mary Magdalen’s Church, Rose Bay, to South Head Cemetery, where the interment, which was private, was made. Father O’Regan reciting the last prayers in the presence of the sorrowing relatives.

Also, from The Sydney Morning Herald on Sat 23 Feb 1929:

O’NEILL. – February 20, 1929, at 33 Wilberforce avenue. Rose Bay, Catherine, widow of the late William Charles O’Neill, of Innisfail, Bulahdelah, and dearly loved mother of Mary (Mrs. M. Considine), John P., Nellie (Mrs. Souter), Alice (Mrs. J. Macdonald), Cecily (Mrs. B. Gillin), Sadie, and Kitty. R.I.P. Privately interred at South Head Cemetery.

Catherine’s gravestone can be viewed viewed here.

The family relationship with Fr John Therry is interesting because he was the person to whom Johanny Flaherty and her son John O’Neil were entrusted on their disembarkation from the City of Edinburgh on 12 Nov 1828; he conducted them to rejoin William O’Neill in Brookfield.

William & Catherine’s family:

01. Mary Ann (b. 02 Jul 1868, d. 20 Jun 1939) died at home in Eagleton near Raymond Terrace

02. Isabella Nuala (b. 1870, d. 08 Aug 1890 in Sydney Hospital) buried in Raymond Terrace

03. Cornelius (b. 1872, d. 1897 in Bourke)

04. Sarah (b. 1873, d. 1947) death record 6860, did not marry

05. Ellen (b. 18 Jul 1875, Crawford River near Bulahdelah, d. 1952 in Sydney)

06. John Patrick (b. 1877, d. 13 Jul 1940)

07. Catherine (b. 26 May 1879, Crawford River near Bulahdelah, d. 1965 in Sydney)

08. Alice Mary (b. 1881, d. 1941 in Newtown)

09. Cicely (b. 1883, d. 1958 in Sydney)

Generation 2

01. Mary Ann O’Neill married Michael Joseph Considine (record 251) in Sydney in 1904. They had 4 children (the NSW record number precceds the year), all in Sydney:

01. Clement Michael (b. 10009/1905, d. 108991/1984)

02. Keith William (b. 20402/1907, d. 1991)

03. Dominic John (b. 10950/1909, d. 102718/1988)

04. a daughter, became Mrs Foggarty and lived in Goulburn (see the obituary of Mrs. M. J. Considine below).

Mary Ann died suddenly at home on 20 or 27 Jun 1939, her obituary appearing in the Raymond Terrace Examiner and Lower Hunter and Port Stephens Advertiser on Thu 29 Jun 1939:



A great shock was occasioned to Mr. M. J. Considine and his family on Tuesday afternoon last, when Mrs. Considine died suddenly at her home at Eagleton. It was likewise a great shock to all who knew her and deep regret was at once expressed by her many friends. Mrs. Considine had not been ill to any extent that would cause her husband or family any anxiety, and not for a moment was such a sudden calamity anticipated. The deceased lady was worthily respected and esteemed for her many kindly characteristics and her passing removes one who was a loving mother, a dutiful wife and an obliging and useful neighbour. She had suffered from failing eye-sight to some extent, but her general health had been fairly well maintained. Death was due to heart failure, the attack coming on while Mrs. Considine was sitting in the sun on the verandah, of her home on Tuesday. The Dr. was summoned at once but death had occurred before he arrived. She leaves her husband and three sons Messrs Dominic, Keith and Clem., who are residing at home at Eagleton, and one daughter Mrs. Foggarty, of Goulburn.

The funeral on Wednesday to the Raymond Terrace Catholic cemetery was a very large one, considering the brief notice and was an evidence of the great respect for deceased and the sympathy for the family. The Rev. Father Quinn officiated at the church and graveside. Mrs. Considine was aged 71.

We are not sure whether any of their sons married. The only possibility we uncovered was the wedding of a Dominic John Considine to Olive Jessie Courtney in 1948 (record 15487).

02. Isabella Nuala O’Neill died aged just 20 and is burried in Raymond Terrace. Her headstone can be viewed here.

03. Cornelius O’Neill. It’s unlikely that Cornelius married. We know he died in Bourke in 1897 (record 657). He was a member of the local police and passed away on 04 Mar when he succumbed to typhoid (The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 13 Mar 1897). His family published a return thanks in The Sydney Morning Herald on Mon 15 Mar 1897:

The PARENTS BROTHERS and SISTERS of lately deceased CORNELIUS O’NEILL desire to return sincere THANKS for the kind expressions of Sympathy received from kind friends of Bourke and Sydney during their most sad bereavement.

04. Sarah O’Neill did not marry. She died in 1947 at Rose Bay in Sydney. A notice of probate was published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Thu 26 Jun 1947; her sister Ellen Souter was her Executrix. In her brother’s funeral notice she was called Sadie.

05. Ellen O’Neill married Henry Norman Souter in Sydney in 1909 (record 552). Henry was the son of William Henry Souter and Elizabeth Wellington, his parents having married at Bombala in 1865.He was born at Tambaroora, some 80km north of Bathurst, NSW, and close to the gold mining village of Hill End. He entered the NSW police force, rising to the rank of inspector. He passed away on 17 May 1927. Ellen was known as Eleanor at the time of his death and nicknamed Nance.

From the Evening News on Tue 17 May 1927,

SOUTER.—May 15, 1927, at his residence, 73 Amhurst-street, North Sydney, Henry Norman Souter, Inspector of Police No. 6 Division, and beloved husband of Eleanor (Nance) Souter and father of Norman, aged 55 years.

From the National Advocate Tue 17 May 1927:

After an illness of six months Inspector Henry Norman Souter, officer in charge of police in the North Sydney division, died at 11.45 p.m. on Sunday. One of the most popular oflicers in the force, his death will be greatly regretted. He joined the New South Wales Police Force in 1889. His aptitude for detective work soon earned for him the position of detective at Headquarters. For many years he was stationed at Headquarters. Several years ago he was promoted to the rank of inspector at North Sydney. Last year he was made an inspector first class. Inspector Souter was off duty on sick leave at the time of his death. He was fifty six years of age, and is survived by a widow and one son. Deceased was a native of Bathurst and a son of Mrs. Souter of Lambert Street.

Two days later:

The funeral of the late Mr. Henry Norman Souter, Inspector of Police, at North Sydney, took place yesterday, and was largely attended, 130 of deceased’s police comrades walked in front of the hearse to the cemetery, headed by the police band, which played the Dead March enroute. Superintendent Mitchel represented the Commissioner of Police (Mr. Mitchell). Other officers present were Inspectors Gallagher, Woodrow, Hawkins, Irvin, and Devlin, and ex-Superintendents Fullerton and Roche. The remains were encased in a silver mounted polished coffin, the coffin and pallbearers being all officers of the policeforce. The interment was made in the Church of England portion of the Northern Suburbs general cemetery. The Rev. G. Mashman road the burial service. The chief mourners were Mrs. Eleanor Souter (widow), Norman Souter (son), Mrs. Elizabeth Souter (mother), Mrs. Sadie O’Neill and Miss Lily Souter (sisters), Messrs. McDonald, Gillings, and O’Neill (brothers-in-law).

Ellen O’Neill and Henry Norman Souter had the one son:

01. Norman Allan (b. 40860/1914, d. 6226/1970 in Sydney)

Norman Allan Souter married Josephine Loretta Renshaw in Sydney in 1947. They had at least one child, a son, Norman John Souter who also passed away in 1970 (record 45216).

06. John Patrick O’Neill married Elsie May Nesbitt in St Paul’s church at Camden on 30 Apr 1912. Elsie was born in Camden on 13 Apr 1884 (record 15410) to Richard Johnson Wyatt Nesbitt and Ada Harriett Galvin who had married in 1882 (record 2611). From his funeral notices we know that John was a civil engineer working for NSW railways and specialising in timber. Notice also in his obituary reference to Tralee being the birthplace of his parents. This actually refers to his father William (Tralee being the largest town close to Killorglin). His mother Catherine White was actually born in Kilnish, Co. Clare. From The Raymond Terrace Examiner and Lower Hunter and Port Stephens Advertiser published an obituary of John on Thu 1 Aug 1940:


The death occurred on Saturday last July, 13th of Mr. John P. O’Neill, at his home “St. Anne’s” Elderslie, Camden after a lengthy illness, (says the Camden Advertiser.

The deceased was a native of the Bullahdelah district and was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. William O’Neill, who were born in Tralee, Ireland, and came early in life to the colony and settled in the Myall River District. Deceased was a brother of the late Mrs. M. J. Considine of (Eagleton and was well known and esteemed in the Myall and Raymond Terrace districts in his younger days. He was a civil engineer by profession and was attached to the N. S. W. railways for many years. The funeral was held in the Camden Catholic cemetery, where the Rev. Father John McGovern, a family friend officiated, assisted by the Rev. Michael O’Dea, P.P. He is survived by Mrs. O’Neill, Mr. John O’Neill, (son), and Miss Jill O’Neill, (daughter). His sisters alive are Mrs. M. A. McDonald, Bellvue Hill; Miss S. O’Neill, Rose Bay, and Miss Kitty O’Neill, Bellvue Hill.

Among the mourners were Messrs. M. J. Considine of Eagleton, Bertie Nesbitt and J. Gillin, brothers-in-law.

St. John’s College, (Sydney University) where deceased’s son – Mr. J. O’Neill is a medical student – was represented by Dr. F. Byrnes, Mr. P. Courtney, and other students. Messrs Colonel Fewtrell Beaver, Bennett and Thorpe attended from the Railways Engineering Branch.

Also, from The Sydney Morning Herald on Sat 20 Jul 1940:

O’NEILL.—July 13, 1940, at Camden, John Patrick O’Neill, (chief railway timber expert), only surviving son of the late William and Mrs. O’Neill, of Bullahdelah, much loved brother of Mary (Mrs. M. Considine, deceased), Mrs. N. Souter (Rose Bay), Alice (Mrs. Macdonald), Cecily (Mrs. B. Gillin), Sadie, and Kitty. Privately interred at Camden 14th instant.

Elsie died on 05 Jul 1958 at Camden, aged 74.

John Patrick O’Neill and Elsie May Nesbitt had 2 children, as mentioned in the obituary above. Birth records, however, have a different name for their daughter Jill:

01. Patricia M (b. 37343/1915, d. ?)

02. John Galvin (b. 2756/23 Jan 1913, d. 1864/1981)

John Galvin O’Neill studied medicine at the University of Sydney. While a student he was president of the Junior Medical Society (The Sun, 01 May 1936). In 1947 he was a GP in Botany, Sydney (The Sun on 29 Dec 1947, in a report on the death of a baby in a plane about to take off for Brisbane). He served as a doctor in the 2nd AIF during WWII; his service record (service number NX203622) can be read here.

John Galvin O’Neill married Maisie Goonrey at Camden on 25 Oct 1944. Maisie was born on 01 Dec 1929 at Wilcannia, NSW to Michael Goonrey and Eliza May Packham. Her name was misspelled in the description of their wedding that appeared in The Catholic Weekly on Thu 21 Dec 1944:

Camden History Recalled

Masses of orange blossom from Galvin Park, near Camden, the old family homestead of the groom, decorated the chapel of St. John’s College, Sydney University, for the recent marriage of Miss Maisie Goonery and Dr. John Galvin O’Neill. The bride, an ex-trainee of St. Vincent’s, is the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. T. Goonery, of Wilcannia and Bondi, and the groom is a son of the late J. P. O’Neill and Mrs. E. M. O’Neill, of Camden. His great grandfather, John Galvin, received the grant of land, now Galvin Park, (it is still in the hands of the family), from Governor Macquarie in 1812. History says that at Galvin Park, Father Therry celebrated one of the first Masses outside Sydney. The Rev, Father B. Jordan came from Wilcannia to officiate and celebrate the Nuptial Mass. He was assisted by the Rev. Father J. J. McGovern, P. P. (relative of the groom), and the Very Rev. Father J. C. Thompson, C. M. (Rector, St. John’s College).

Captain Morgan Windsor, AAMC, AIF, served the Mass, and Messrs. K. V. Swain and C. T. Lorenz were ushers. The bride (whose lovely veil was loaned by Mrs. Tom Bateman) was attended by her sisters, Patricia and Kathleen, while Captain Tom Bateman, AAMC, and Surgeon-Lieutenant Ted Freshney, RANVR, were best man and groomsman. Margaret Doolan and Tony O’Connor were flower-girl and page, respectively.

John and Maisie had seven children before Maisie died suddenly in 1961, aged just 39.

In 1965 John married Hedda Maria Hansen and one daughter was born.

John passed away on 14 Jan 1981.

07. Catherine O’Neill did not marry. She was known within the family as Kitty and lived at Rose Bay in Sydney. Kitty and her sister Sadie belonged to ; from the Freeman’s Journal on Thu 05 Feb 1920:

The members’ social night on Monday evening was especially attractive, and quite a feast of music, songs and recitations were thoroughly enjoyed; and appreciated by the large gaithering present, who had come with the usual assurance of being agreeably entertained by Misses Sadie and Kitty O’Neil (hostesses of the evening) andt the talented artists whom they seem to have no difficulty in gathering together…

08. Alice Mary O’Neill married James Anderson Macdonald on 10 Oct 1923 in Melbourne; from The Argus on Wed 12 Mar 1924:

MACDONALD – O’NEILL. On the 10th October, 1923, at Scots Presbyterian Church, Collins street, Melbourne, by the Rev W. Borland, M.A., B.D., James Anderson Macdonald, youngest son of the late Donald Macdonald, of Mt. Ulva, Urana (N.S.W.), and Mrs. Helen Macdonald, of Marathon, Beaconsfield road, Upper Hawthorn, to Alice O’Neill, daughter of the late William Charles O’Neill, of Maitland, and Mrs. O’Neill, of Maitland (N.S.W.).

James was born in 1880 at Urana, NSW. On 26 Oct 1916, aged 36½, he enlisted into the AIF; his record can be read online here. He spelt his name McDonald when enlisting. He passed away on 27 Jan 1940 in Woollahra; his headstone is inscribed “husb of Alice MacDonald”.  Alice passed away the following year (record 17413/1941). Her NSW record is where her middle name can be found, as well as her mother’s middle name, (Ellen).

Note. There are some researchers on ancestory.com who have attached an Alice M. F. O’Malley  to James. There is a James A Macdonald’s marriage to this person (NSW record 4025/1933). Both could be correct, but only if Alice Mary O’Neill had divorced James prior to 1933. To date we have found no such reference.

09. Cicely O’Neill married Bernard Joseph Gillin (b. 1877) in Sydney in 1917 (record 6632) and died in 1958 (record 26048). Ellen’s obituary above has the spelling as Gillings. Her death record (# 26049/1958) spells her first name as Cecily. Bernard died in Sydney in 1958. Bernard’s parents were Bernard Gillin and (coincidentally) Ellen O’Neil of Berkeley (which we assume is the suburb near Wollongong). His father’s obituray appeared in The Catholic Press on 19 Apr 1902 and his mother’s in The Sydney Morning Herald on 26 Oct 1925. In the electoral rolls between 1930 and 1958 Bernard is described as a clerk, the family residing at 6 Stanley St, Randwick North.

The couple had at least three children.

Note that we do not publish names of people who may be living unless their names appear on a public or official document, or they give their permission. Please contact me at mick@oneillfamily.id.au with any additions or corrections.

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