Family gathering 2022

To mark the bicentenary of the arrival of William O’Neill in Sydney (08 Nov 1822), we are organising a family gathering at heritage-listed Tocal Agriculture College. Originally we had settled on Fri 08 Jul to Sun 10 Jul 2022, the middle weekend of the NSW school holidays, but those dates are no longer available. The new dates are at the end of the September school holidays.


Tocal is just a 40 minute drive from Maitland and a 9 minute drive to Paterson and is close to Clarence Town where William finally settled. The college sits on 2,200 ha, allows on-site camping (but no powered sites) and has a pool and tennis courts that we can use.


Tent and caravan sites are $25 per night per site (no power available)
We have booked out and paid deposits for the 15-room motel opposite Tocal (called Glendarra). The cost for each room includes both Friday and Saturday evenings. All queen rooms also have one single bed.



Rooms can be booked on a first-come-first-served basis and secured by paying a 25% deposit. Bank details will be emailed to you once your registration form is received. As rooms are booked we will indicate the number of rooms still available.


Room name Description Price/room Rooms remaining
Glendarra 1 11 single rooms $156 11
Glendarra 1-12 1 twin room $254 1
Glendarra 2 6 queen rooms $290 3
Glendarra 2 9 twin rooms $290 9
  • the Barracks at Tocal Homestead. The Barracks are very much boutique accommodation and expensive compared to Glendarra (
  • Old Duninald, similar to the Barracks, reputably “the oldest house in the Hunter Valley established in 1822 and now refreshed for a luxury experience”, a 5 minute drive towards Paterson, over the river from Tocal (
  • the CBC BnB in Paterson in the old CBC bank, a 10 minute drive from Tocal (Tel.02 4938 5767)
  • Vacy Village Motel, a 5 minute drive from Paterson (
  • Maddies of Bolwarra, about 10km from Tocal towards Maitland (
  • AirBnBs in the area
  • plenty of accommodation in West Maitland, an 18 min drive from Tocal

When we first asked for expressions of interest we had feedback from only 43 descendants. However we are aware of many other family members who intend to come but chose not to complete the expression of interest form. We are now opening up registrations for the event, while asking for information to allow us to make it the best possible experience for everyone. Please complete this as we need to assess the viability of the event (we hope to confirm it by the end of March 2022).

Registration form

Registration to open soon

Dungog family gathering 1994

This was the first gathering (that we know about) of descendant families of William O’Neill & Johanna Flaherty. It took place at the Dungog Showground, organised largely by Pat O’Neill from Cessnock with much help from Marie Daley, now in Canowindra, and Jann O’Neill from Wauchope.

web Grandstand at Dungog showground 1994

Note – if you have other photos you can contribute to mark this event, please scan and send them to me at Mick O’Neill (, or email me to arrange to have them picked up, or post them (to be returned) to 21 Days Crescent Blackheath NSW 2785.

Also please let me know if there are any corrections to make to any names; some folk are unnamed at this stage because those who contributed these photos had not known them.

The event was reported by The Dungog Chronicle on 12 Dec 1994:

Gathering of the O’Neill clan

About 300 descendants of William O’NeilI (1795-1866), ‑ and Johanna Flaherty (1799-1873) of County Kerry Ireland, gathered at Dungog on November 26 and 27.

William, sentenced to seven years transportation to Botany Bay in 1822 as a political prisoner for what was described in the records as “insurrection”, was joined by his wife Johanna and son John in 1828. They squatted on land at Brookfield and he was later given a leasehold at Clarence Town. They called the property “Berkley Park”.

William and Johanna had five more children, some of whom grazed cattle and conducted butchers’ shops and hotels in the surrounding district.

Mrs Patricia O’Neill of Aberdare, Mrs Jann O’Neill of Wauchope and Mrs Marie Daley of Sydney researched the records and organised the gathering together of the O’Neill clan, some of whom came from Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and many parts of NSW.

A feature of the two days was the exhibition of genealogical charts, family records, photographs and memorabilia of the forbears of those present. It was a good time for “kissing cousins”.

The Showground Committee of Dungog generously made available the clean and admirable showground facilities. Dungog Apex Club provided barbecue steak and sausage sandwiches with drinks on both days. The friendly service and quality of the food was much appreciated. The visiting families were grateful to the proprietors of the hotels and motels in the area for their courtesy and hospitality.

It was a source of considerable pleasure for the descendants of William and Johanna O’Neill to discover their roots in the glorious country around Dungog.

web scan0035 Royal Hotel, Dungog

Photo gallery

web Rev Fr. John Gahan, Jann O'Neill & Patricia O'Neill 1994 Rev Fr John Gahan (a relative through Elizabeth Lulham’s
family), Jann O’Neill & Pat O’Neill.
web Pat & John O'Neill with unknown couple 1994 Pat and john O’Neill (other couple still to be identified)
web John O'Neill & Ted Gillin 1994 John O’Neill & Ted Gillin, Estelle O’Neill’s husband
web Kathleen (Devenney) Richardson aged 88yrs 11mths and unknown 1994 Kath Richardson (née O’Neill) with (possibly) her daughter Mary Devenny. Kath was almost 89 in 1994 and passed away a couple months short of her 100th birthday
web Mary McQuade, Mary O'Neill & Colleen O'Neill 1994 Mary McQuade (née O’Neill), Mary O’Neill (to be confirmed) &
Colleen O’Neill
web Patricia O'Neill & Dalma O'Neill 1994 Patricia O’Neill & Dalma O’Neill
web Peter O'Neill, Frances Jackson, Verna O'Neill & Catherine McQuade 1994 Peter O’Neill, Frances Jackson (née O’Neill), Verna O’Neill &
Catharine McQuade
web Terry O'Neill (back) Barry, John, Patricia & Dalma O'Neill (centre) Pam O'Neill, Mary McQuade, Peter & Verna O'Neill (front) 1994 Terry O’Neill (back) Barry, John, Patricia & Dalma O’Neill (centre) Pam O’Neill, Mary McQuade, Peter & Verna O’Neill
web scan0041 unknown, Lindsay Lebreux, Mary Murray, Joan Murray (née
web scan0045 Claire Pryke (6th generation descendant) with Catharine
web scan0039 organiser Pat O’Neill, with her brother-in-law Barry O’Neill
web scan0043 Kath Richardson (née O’Neill), John Rafferty (Joan Murray’s
web scan0038 The four folk on the right: Terry O’Neill, Catherine McQuade,
John O’Neill, Ted Gillan
web scan0040 same location, with Mary McQuade’s sister Monica Barnett (née O’Neill) standing
web scan0056 Joan Murray with Tricia Whittle (née O’Neill)
web scan0050 John Rafferty with Joan Murray in background
web scan0053 John Rafferty with Mary Murray
web scan0049 Tricia Whittle’s brother Anthony O’Neill
web scan0046 John O’Neill’s father Russell O’Neill (known as Bob)
web scan0048 to be identified
web scan0054 Mary McQuade
web scan0057 Mary McQuade’s sister Monica Barnett
web scan0058 Catharine McQuade
web scan0060 Mary McQuade’s brother Terry O’Neill
web scan0055 Joan Murray, Terry O’Neill and others
web scan0059 Mary Murray

web Gary Johnson 1994 Gary Johnson, Pat & John O’Neill’s son-in-law

web scan0062Lock O’Keefe, a cousin by marriage to Jann & Jon O’Neill

web Pamela O'Neill 1994 Pamela O’Neill

web_James Michael O'Neill
Photos from Jim O’Neill, a great-grandson of P. J. O’Neill of Beechworth and Kempsey. Jim’s mother Ailsie is in third from the left in the back row of the bottom right photo (with a pink top).



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