Patrick O’Neill

Patrick O’Neill (1835-1887)
Elizabeth Lulham

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Patrick O’Neill was the fourth oldest of six 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 second 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. Mary Daly was only about 2 years old when she arrived aboard the Elizabeth with her mother, Honora McCue, a convict sentenced in March 1818 in Tipperary, Ireland, for 7 years for felony at large. The Elizabeth transported 101 female convicts, sailing from Cork on Sunday 26 July 1818 and arriving in Sydney on 19 November 1818. Honora married Peter Daly in 1820 (the record showing her surname as McHughes) and it’s assumed that Mary adopted Daly as her surname. Honora died in 1865 from injuries caused from a horse and cart accident. The Maitland Mercury carried this article (with Daly spelt as Daley) on Thu 19 Jan 1865:


FATAL ACCIDENT.- Mrs. Daley, of Brookfield, met with an almost instantaneous death, this morning, through the upsetting of a cart. Deceased, with her daughter-in-law (Mrs. Seymour), who was driving, left home in a spring cart, between seven and eight o’clock, with the intention of going to Clarence Town. Within ten minutes afterwards the accident occurred. In the endeavour to pass between a rut and the limb of a fallen tree the cart came into collision with the stump, and was turned right over. One of the sides fell upon Mrs. Daley’s chest, but did not immediately kill her, as she gasped out an entreaty for her daughter to lift the cart from her. This, however, Mrs. Seymour found to be impossible; indeed, she had the greatest difficulty in working space enough for her own extrication between the cart and the ground. After a second ineffectual attempt to lift the cart, when her own release had been effected, she hastened off for assistance; but before it arrived her mother was a corpse. An inquest has been held by Dr. McKinlay, and a verdict of “accidental death” recorded. Mrs. Daley was close upon ninety years of age, and the oldest resident on the Williams River.

(There is a slight inconsistency in the report, as “Mrs. Seymour” is described as both Mrs Daly’s daughter and daughter-in-law. A Catherine Daly married James Seymour in 1851; Catrherine was born in 1822, so the person referred to was Mrs Daly’s daughter.)

There are a number of websites on this family. Some are more complete than others.

The Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser carried an obituary of Mary Daly on Sat 29 Sep 1906:

The Late Mrs. Mary Lulham.

On the 24th ultimo (says the “Coraki Chronicle”), there passed away at Coraki a venerable lady in the person of Mrs. Mary Lulham, relict of the late, Mr. James Lulham, and by her death one of the links which binds us to the past has been severed. The deceased lady reached the ripe old age of 88 years, 30 of which were spent on the Richmond. She was but four months when she arrived in Australia with her parents, who first settled in Windsor, and afterwards came on the Williams River, where they purchased an estate. It is worthy of note the deceased lady’s mother was the first white woman on the Williams River.

The family resided on that river for many years and eventually the lady whose death we are now chronicling was married to Mr. James Lulham, the ceremony being performed by that great pioneer priest, the late Father Therry. Mr and Mrs Lulham continued to reside on the Williams, and 49 years ago Mr Lulham passed away. Mrs. Lulham, who was the mother of 13 children came to the Richmond about 30 years ago, and had the satisfaction of seeing her children grow up and prosper. Two years ago she met with an accident at Coraki, and since then she was invalided. She led a most exemplary life; her disposition was one of gentleness, and her every care was for the welfare of her friends and neighbours. She was beloved by all who knew her, and their prayers follow her to the Great Throne of Mercy. She was charitable to a fault, and the poor and needy will miss a kind benefactress. Notwithstanding her great age, Mrs. Lulham retained full possession of her faculties until the end, and her last word was the name of a favourite granddaughter (Miss Mary V. Lulham), who for the preceding four months had ministered to the wants of and lovingly attended to her grandmother. Mrs. Robert Bugden, of Coraki, a daughter of deceased, was most devoted to her mother during her last illness, and patiently watched and tended her aged parent. Other members of the family also assisted in bringing comfort to the old lady in her last days and she passed away surrounded by those near and dear to her. She leaves behind her a family of 10 – three sons and seven daughters and in all she has 367 descendants. Her eldest daughter (Mrs. O’Neill) died on the Manning about 10 years ago; and another daughter (Mrs. Johnston) resides at Newcastle, the latter being over 60 years of age. Mrs. Walker (Armidale). Mrs. R. Bugden (Coraki), Mrs. A MacDonald (Tatham), Mrs. Arthurson (Ballina), Mrs. P. Bugden (Tomki), and Mrs. H. McDonald (Broadwater) are also daughters of the deceased. The eldest son – Mr. James Lulham died on the Manning about six years ago and Thomas Lulham died when an infant. The surviving sons are Mr. John Lulham, Deer Creek, near Casino, and Mr. Alf Lulham, of Ipswich (Queensland). We might mention that Mr. W. W. O’Neill. of Tunstall, is a grandson of the deceased lady. The funeral was largely attended by people of all denominations and the Rev. Father D’Arcy conducted the burial service. The “Chronicle” tenders its sympathy to the relatives and friends of the deceased lady in the loss of one who was at all times a mother in the truest sense of the word, and who left behind her a record of usefulness and devotion to duty which is indeed worthy of emulation. (Mrs. Lulham was the grandmother of Mrs. Wilson, wife of Mr. John G. Wilson, of West Ipswich Ed. ” Q.T.”)

A Lulham descendant, Greg James, has kindly provided the following photos of Mary Daly and some of her children:

Lulham Mary Daly Lulham_Alfred & John
Elizabeth Lulham’s mother Mary Daly, taken in 1902; Alfred & John Lulham

Lulham_Robert & Leonora Bugden Lulham_Albert & Alice James
Robert Bugden and Leonora Lulham;      Albert James & Alice Lulham

Lulham_Angus & Mary McDonald
Angus McDonald & Mary Lulham

Lulham_Albert & Alice James with children
Albert Lulham, Alice James & family

Lulham_Alfred and Family Alfred Lulham & Family

Lulham_Alice and Ellen Alice and Ellen Lulham

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. His brother John applied for a license on the same day. Patrick’s application can be downloaded or viewed here.

The home/inn 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, Fri 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…

Patrick’s inn was used as a location for auctions (see, for example, this advertisement on  Thu 15 Jul 1858 n the The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser). Patrick was listed in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser edition of Sat 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 the following. The affidavit can be downloaded or viewed here, as can each of the following items:

  • 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).”(State Records)

The insolvency files include a report on the attempts to capture the horses mentioned in this list of creditors.

The horses running Wild in the Bush and cannot 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.

In 1865 Patrick was again advertising a number of impounded horses. From The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser edition of Sat 18 Feb 1865:

(From the Government Gazette, Feb. 14.)

… Also, on the same day, from Lamb’s Valley run, by order of Mr. Patrick O’Neill: damages, 3d. each – driving, on the white mare, £2 19s. 9d., and driving on the others,9s. 9d. each: – One black mare, long tail, white foot, white stripe down face, GB over & near shoulder; one bay mare, star, black points, a little while on wither, white hairs in tail, JC near shoulder, Ħ over K conjoined off shoulder; one dark bay or brown mare, star, black points, a little white on off hind foot, saddle marked, like AL near shoulder, like faint illegible brands under; one dark brown filly, long tail, M over M near shoulder; one chestnut filly, white stripe down face, hind feet and off fore foot white, warts on neck and mouth, like TM near shoulder ; one white mare, collar marked, shod, 7 with W (writing capital) over and ∞ under near shoulder, WS (W writing capital and S reversed) off side neck, about 16 hands high; one brown colt, off hind foot and a little of near fore foot white, long tail, star, W (writing capital) over 7 near shoulder; one bay mare, black points, switch tail, TU near shoulder. If not released, will be sold on the 6th day of March, 1865.

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 MONDAY, 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.

Patrick & Elizabeth’s family:

Patrick & Elizabeth had 12 children, six registered as O’Neil and six 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?)

08. Francis Augusta (b. 11 Nov 1869, d. 26 May 1959)

09. Ellen (b. 07 Dec 1870, d. 30 Sep 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 and his brother-in-law Angus MacDonald (pictured above) were plaintiffs in a court case involving theft of items they were responsible for sending to Sydney. Angus was exonerated, Patrick sentenced to prison with hard labour. From The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 8 Mar 1873:


Patrick O’Neill and Alexander Macdonald were indicted for having, at the Myall River, on the 28th June, 1872, stolen a quantity of store goods, the property of William Robinson. A second count charged them with receiving the goods knowing them to be stolen. The prisoners pleaded not guilty, and were defended, Mr, Healy appearing for O’Neill, and Mr Wisdom for Macdonald, Mr. Mullen being the attorney.

The Crown Prosecutor opened the case fully to the jury.

Constable Steele, stationed at Bulahdelah, remembered going to prisoner O’Neill’s place on the 25th November last, in company with Mr. and Mrs Robinson, and constable Cowan. He executed a search warrant, and found in the front room a piece of matting under the bed, two blankets and two sheets on the bed, a piece of dark velvet in a box, and two pairs of cotton gloves, a white handled carving knife and fork to match, and half-a-dozen black-handled knives and forks [articles produced]. In another room, he found a dark bed cover, this was in a bedroom in the back of the house. This was all he found, as he had to go away before the search was completed. He had to execute another search warrant at Angus Macdonald’s; the prisoner Macdonald did not live there. Mrs. Robinson saw the goods witness found. He arrested O’Neill, and read the search warrant; O’Neill said nothing. He arrested prisoner Macdonald on the 2nd January, reading a warrant charging him with larceny as a bailee; Macdonald said “That is how Robinson served me for my kindness,” or words to that effect. To Mr. Healy: O’Neill made no opposition to the search. To Mr. Wisdom: Macdonald was absent when the search took place at O’Neill’s; the fact of the search was known in the district. Macdonald had not been back long when he was arrested. He left before the search took place. Some months before.

Constable Cowan, stationed at Bulahdelah, had accompanied the previous witness to O’Neill’s on the 25th November. A lot of things were found: a piece of Chinese matting in a loft over O’Neill’s bedroom, a tea box in a back room, and a pair of boots in the same room, an axe-head, some children’s frocks and pinafores. In the front room were found in a box two pairs of stays, some jaconet muslin, a shirt, a woman’s dress. Some buttons, children’s boots, and other small things were also in the front room, which Mrs. Robinson identified. The matting was stowed away on the farther side of the loft. A piece of rope was found in the back room. [All the articles enumerated were produced by the witness.]

Lucy Robinson, the wife of William Robinson, remembered that at the end of June, 1872, her husband was going to Sydney, and was sending a lot of goods to Sydney. He left directions with her, and in pursuance of those directions she gave certain goods to the prisoner Macdonald. She packed a lot of goods in a cask, which was marked on the lid with an eight, a stroke, and a cross. The cask contained boots and other goods. [The witness described the contents from a list which she had made out at the time.] She fastened the cask down, and the mark was outside. She also delivered a quarter-chest of tea to the prisoner Macdonald; this was marked 28 with a dash and a cross; there had been a direction on this, but this had been torn off, leaving five large tacks. The prisoner O’Neill was about the place. She delivered fourteen parcels to Macdonald altogether. She was at O’Neill’s when the search was made, and saw goods there similar to those delivered to O’Neill. O’Neill received twenty-six packages. Some diaper and other goods were found in a bedroom. She positively identified the matting found in the loft by the pattern and winsey binding, as some which had been on the wall of her husband’s public house at Bulladelah. Also the pair of boots which were marked in her husband’s handwriting; these had been in the cask marked No 8-+. Also the pair of blankets by the mark, the pattern of the borders and a certain stain which they bad received in the wash. They had been in a bundle, which Patrick O’Neill received. She recognised the carving knife by a rust stain which she had endeavoured to clean, and the black-handled knives were like some she had in the store. These were also given to O’Neill. A pair of children’s bootees she identified by the stitch, they were hand made, and of peculiar pattern; the velvet had belonged to a muff she had brought from England; she identified buttons, ribbon, gloves, children’s boots, and bootees, either by their marks, or their general resemblance to goods she had packed up, these were all given to O Neill. She produced a piece of matting similar to that found at O Neill’s; it had been in the parcel given to him; the stuff in the dress produced had been packed by her; the stays produced were like goods she had given O’Neill, and corresponded in number with those; she also recognised the jaconet muslin as similar in appearance to hers. She identified the shirt by the pattern; the sheets by the sewing, which she had done herself; the print (in the children’s dresses) by the pattern. There had been a lot of diaper and holland also delivered to O’Neill. The prisoners, when they received the goods, were instructed to take them to the Booral Wharf, to be sent off to Sydney by the first boat that came. In all, forty packages were delivered to the two prisoners. The quarter chest of tea was one of the forty packages. When the packages got to Sydney she was there, she missed all the goods which she had identified, as well as many more; she noticed the cask marked 8-+ , the top bad been pulled off, and the cover was turned inside out, the mark being inside, and much of the contents was gone, the quarter chest of tea bad not come at all. On the Saturday after she had delivered the goods to the prisoners she went to the Crawford, and saw Macdonald’s loading; she saw O’Neill, who said the loading had not got wet, as it was planted. At the time of the search at Angus Macdonald’s (the 25th November) she saw at the prisoner Macdonald’s a pair of blankets on the fence. Next morning they were gone. These were her blankets, and had been delivered to O’Neill. To Mr. Healy: In her list there was no mention made of the sizes of stays or boots, but she remembered the sizes, the matting was not an unusual pattern, but it was not customary to use winsey for binding. She had sold some of the matting but not to either of the prisoners, and was positive about her husband’s handwriting on the pair of boots; she had missed this particular pair of boots when the goods came to Sydney. She was positive that all the goods she had identified were hers, for the reasons she had given. Some of the goods were not of uncommon pattern. A writ had been issued against her husband, and the goods were to be sent to Sydney to be sold, in order to meet the liability. They were sent in her maiden name of Millett, and were consigned to Mr. E. Lowther, her husband’s Sydney agent. In the month of March some goods had been sent to the house of the prisoner Macdonald, she had done this to make provision for herself in case anything happened; she was not afraid of her husband becoming insolvent, but she did not like the way things were going on in the store. She was sure she had given the quarter chest of tea to prisoner Macdonald; it was not usual to put card addresses on tea boxes, and the five large headed tacks ware peculiar. She had seen O’Neill after he had returned from the Booral wharf; he said Macdonald had got a receipt for the goods from the agent there. She had never given any of the articles produced to either of the prisoners except for the purpose of having them taken to the Booral Wharf. -To Mr. Wisdom: She had only given Macdonald a written order to deliver the goods at Booral; she gave him no list of goods. The loading took two days; O’Neill went first and Macdonald next. She identified the boots marked by her husband, the tea box, and a pair of ladies’ boots, as being among the goods delivered to Macdonald. She had sold boots out of the shop of the same size and price as those produced. She knew of Macdonald’s leaving the district. Respecting the blankets seen on the fence at Macdonald’s place, she knew that his parents lived there. She swore positively, although no list was given to either Macdonald or O’Neill, and she had not done more than point out the goods they were to take, that all the goods enumerated in her lists had been delivered in the order named there to O’Neill and Macdonald. The boots marked by her husband were odd boots.

Charles Kerr Simpson, warehouseman in the employ of Horace Woolnough and Co., of Sydney, knew William Robinson, who used to deal with that firm; he saw on the jaconet produced the private mark of the firm; the other goods – holland, diaper, &c. were such goods as Horace Woolnough and Co. sold. He could not say that Robinson bought these goods.

William Robinson had in June last kept a public house and store at Bullahdelah; he knew the prisoners, whom he had employed to bring to Booral some goods which he wanted to send to Sydney. After the goods had left the store, witness had ridden with O’Neill to Conger Hill, a camping ground near the Booral Wharf, and had overtaken the teams. The prisoner Macdonald was in charge of one team, and O’Neill’s son in charge of the other. O’Neill made arrangements about the .price he was to receive for the carriage of the goods, and went back leaving witness with the drays. Witness remembered the goods coming to Sydney, and missing a quantity of articles, there were thirty-eight or thirty-nine packages, the goods produced were similar to the goods he had in the store, he identified the boots produced by his mark, 6s 6d. written upon their soles; the axe-head was his, as he knew by the broken handle and some tack marks; the gin case be knew by the bond mark, the blankets by the pattern of the border, and the rope by some marks of blood. -To Mr. Healy: He had not sent the goods away to defeat any threatened execution, he was not in difficulties, and could have paid 60s in the pound; he knew that some goods had been sent away previously, by his wife, and as soon as he had ascertained the fact he ordered the goods back again. The maiden name of his wife had not been put on the goods brought by the prisoners with his knowledge. To Mr. Wisdom: He did not know, of his own knowledge, anything about what had been put on the drays. He was not in the store when the goods were loaded, be was not aware that either of the drays were loaded at midnight or after dark.

Mrs. Robinson, recalled, stated that she had not given the axe-head to either of the prisoners, it belonged to her husband, and was found at O’Neill’s. -To Mr Wisdom: She had referred to the blankets seen on the fence at Macdonald’s, when examined in the court at Raymond Terrace, but no reference to the matter appeared in her evidence, because Mr. Mullen had stopped her.

Gavin Minto, storekeeper at Booral Wharf, saw the prisoners, but could not call them by name; he had in July last received from two men named O’Neill and Macdonald thirty-nine packages of goods consigned by a Mrs. Millett, to be sent to Sydney. He had not received a quarter-chest of tea; there were two casks; he had noticed nothing amiss about one of them. -To Mr. Healy: The O’Neill who gave the goods was not the prisoner O’Neill.

For the defence John O’Neill was called. He had driven prisoner O’Neill’s team from Robinson’s to the wharf; his father (the prisoner O’Neill) and Mr. Robinson came to the teams; there was no interference by anybody with the loading; he delivered what he had received. The team was begun to be loaded at midnight, and they started at daylight. He remembered previous to this receiving for his father from carrier named Burdekin a quarter-chest of tea, which came from Sydney; it was like the quarter-chest produced. Mrs Robinson stayed at his mother’s house the night she went away. He had heard that Mrs. Robinson had given his mother some presents He was at home at the time. To the Crown Prosecutor: The drays were also at the house at this time, and his father was at home; he was not with his father all the day. He did not remember whether there was an address on the box of tea he had received. He had seen no nails on that one.

Patrick O’Neill, son of the prisoner O’Neill, remembered Mrs Robinson coming to his father’s house in July last, and giving his mother an overall jacket, a pair of boots, a piece of velvet, and a pair of baby’s boots, he had seen before that time a tea-box like the one produced.

Thomas Burdekin, a carrier living at Bulladelah, remembered in May last year bringing from the wharf at Bullahdelah to O’Neill’s a quarter chest of tea, which wrapped in matting. There was no address on it that be recollected.

Catherine Gilcherson, who lives at Bullahdelah, knew the prisoner O’Neill, she was in the habit of visiting his house, she had seen there on the 26th May a pair of blankets similar to those produced, the stripes on the border and the quality were the same; before that she had seen buttons there similar to those produced. In December, 1871, witness had assisted Mrs. O’Neill to make some crimean shirts; at the same time she had seen some matting in the house like that produced. The O’Neill’s always had matting in the house To the Crown Prosecutor: The floor was an earthen floor, she did not know whether the matting was tacked down It was beside the bed, and a little longer than the bed, the pieces of matting produced were like those she had seen. O’Neill’s people did not keep a store; they were in good circumstances.

Louisa Ridgway knew Mr. Robinson, and remembered Macdonald’s dray being loaded, it was loaded in the afternoon; witness was helping to load the dray, and saw all that went on the dray; there was no box of tea put on Macdonald’s dray. She had heard Robinson tell a man named Mills to mind his business, and had seen Robinson kick Mills, She had heard Robinson accuse his wife of robbing him. -To the Crown Prosecutor: Robinson and his wife used to have words, witness had quarrelled with Robinson, who owed her money. She had washed a pair of blankets for Mrs Robinson, but the blankets produced were not the blankets; those seemed never to have been washed.

Mr. Wisdom put in a letter written by Mr. Snape, the police magistrate of Bullahdelah, stating that the prisoner Macdonald bore a generally good reputation, and had never been the subject of a prosecution, previous to the present one.

Mr Healy, in addressing the jury on behalf of the prisoner O’Neill, put it to them that the goods produced were the ordinary style of goods used in bush houses, that there was no excess of articles such as would be required for the use of a large family as they had heard O’Neill’s was; and pointing out that the whole case for the Crown rested on the identification of the goods, he argued that the only person who identified the goods was Mrs. Robinson, and that her evidence was unsupported and not to be relied upon. He remarked upon the circumstances under which the goods were sent, away, which he characterized as most extraordinary, and suggested that the goods found at O’Neill’s had been taken or sent there by M3rs. Robinson, unknown to her husband. Finally, he dwelt on the open nature of O’Neill’s proceedings, implying no sense of guilt, and particularly referred to his offering no hindrance to the operation of the search-warrant.

Mr. Wisdom, for the prisoner Macdonald, remarked that the evidence of the principal witness, Mrs. Robinson, was tainted by the conduct of herself and her husband, in sending away goods to defraud their creditors, and therefore the evidence of Mrs Robinson, upon which the case mainly rested, was rendered open to suspicion. And as to the prisoner Macdonald, unless they could trace any of the goods given into his possession, as being among the goods belonging to Robinson and found at O’Neill’s, they must acquit him. He denied that the identification of the boots or the tea-box was sufficient to satisfy their minds that these were among the goods given by Mrs. Robinson to Macdonald, and asserted that she had sworn to the articles in the most reckless manner. He contended generally that the evidence against Macdonald rested on the most flimsy foundation, and that they had no alternative but to acquit him, seems that not one article, whether identified by Mrs. Robinson or not, had ever been traced to his possession after the search warrant was put in execution. He remarked upon the long interval which had been allowed to elapse between the time the goods were missed and the date of the search, and urged that all Macdonald’s actions were consistent with the theory of his innocence.

The Crown Prosecutor replied.

His Honor, in summing up, told the jury they could find the prisoners guilty, if they thought they were jointly concerned min taking any of the goods, or they could acquit one and convict the other, if they believed the evidence justified that course. He pointed out the difference in the evidence against the two prisoners, and entered fully into an exposition of the case.

The jury, after deliberating for three-quarters of an hour, intimated that they had agreed as to the prisoner Macdonald. They acquitted him on both counts of the information, and he was discharged. They considered further respecting the other prisoner, and then came into court with a verdict of guilty against O’Neill, recommending him to mercy on account of his wife and family, and because of the circumstances.

The prisoner said he was innocent. Mr. Allen, the bailiff of the court, Mr, Atkinson, the District Court bailiff, Mr. W. H. Mullen, and Mr. Abbott spoke of a knowledge of prisoner extending over a long series of years. His character was irreproachable; he was obliging and considerate to his neighbours.

His Honor pronounced a sentence of twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour in Maitland gaol.

The trial was also reported in the Empire on Tue 11 Mar 1873:

Patrick O’Neill and Alexander Macdonald were indicted for having, at the Myall River, on the 28th June, 1872, stolen a quantity of store goods, the properly of William Robinson. A second count charged them with receiving the goods knowing them to be stolen. The prisoners pleaded not guilty, and were defended, Mr. Healy appearing for O’Neill and Mr. Wisdom for Macdonald, Mr. Mullen being the attorney. The jury, after deliberating for three-quarters of an hour, intimated that they had agreed as to the prisoner Macdonald. They acquitted him on both counts of the information, and he was discharged They considered further respecting the other prisoner, and then came into court with a verdict of guilty against O’Neill, recommending him to mercy on account or his wife and family, and because of the circumstances. The prisoner said he was innocent. Mr. Allen, the bailiff of the court; Mr. Atkinson, the District Court bailiff; Mr. W. H. Mullen, and Mr. Abbott spoke of a knowledge of prisoner extending over a long series of years. His character was irreproachable: he was obliging end considerate to his neighbours. His Honor pronounced a sentence or twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour in Maitland gaol.

At the time of his death Patrick was described as a butcher. However, there is an indication in The Maitland Mercury that he and Elizabeth had acquired a mail contract from a Patrick Flanagan who had hit hard times. There were at least two court cases involving this man who resented the forced sale of his business:

Firstly, from the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 8 Decr 1881:


This was an action for trespass brought by Patrick Flanaghan against Patrick O’Neill, the amount claimed being £50. £2, with £4 costs, was paid into court as sufficient to cover damages…

The plaintiff alleged that on different occasions during the past six months or more the defendant’s pigs entered the plaintiff’s land at Bulladelah and depastured thereon and uprooted and trampled down the grass. The pigs had also damaged a stack of hay in a covered shed. It was alleged that between 20 and 30 pigs had depastured on the land and the trespasses occurred on several occasions. Plaintiff had made complaints to defendant about the trespasses, and had driven the pigs to defendant’s place.

For the defence it was alleged that the plaintiff had not complained of any trespass on the part of the pigs belonging to the defendant until recently. There were a sow and nine slips running on defendant’s premises at this time, and when the complaint was made he sold the pigs. The shed in which the hay was said to have been kept was not waterproof.

Prior to the defendant obtaining a mail contract which the plaintiff held they were on good terms. Since then plaintiff had shown an unfriendly feeling towards him.

Five witnesses were examined for the plaintiff’s case, and three for the defence.

His Honor entered a verdict for the plaintiff for £3 beyond the sum paid into court, with witnesses’ expenses.

In retaliation: from The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 8 Dec 1881:


This was an action for malicious prosecution, brought by Patrick O’Neill and Elizabeth O’Neill against Patrick Flanagan, The amount claimed was £200.

There were two counts in the information. The first count alleged that the defendant falsely and maliciously, and without reasonable or probable cause, appeared before a Justice of the Peace and charged Elizabeth O’Neill, the female plaintiff, with having feloniously stolen one saddle, one saddle cloth, stirrups, and girth, upon which charge a summons was issued commanding Elizabeth O’Neill to appear at the police court, at Bulladelah, on the 28th October last. She appeared in obedience to the summons, and after hearing the evidence the case was dismissed. By reason of this prosecution the said Elizabeth O’Neill was injured in her reputation, and suffered great pain of body and mind. Under the second count Patrick O’Neill alleged that he was put to great expense in defending the charge named, in obtaining her release, and was also put to great anxiety and path of mind lest Elizabeth O’Neill should be committed and imprisoned on the said charge, and was prevented from attending to his business while helping the said Elizabeth O’Neill to defend herself from the said charge. Under the first count £170 was claimed, and £30 under the second count. Defendant pleaded not guilty, and reasonable and probable cause.

Mr. Heydon, instructed by Mr. Mullen, for plaintiff, and Mr. Thompson for the defendant.

The evidence given on behalf of the plaintiffs was to the following effect : On the 24th of October last the defendant appeared before Mr. Rowland, P.M., at Bulladelah, and laid an information against Elizabeth O’Neill, the female plaintiff, and Emily O’Neill, her daughter, charging them with having feloniously stolen the saddle and other articles mentioned in the plaint, of the value of 40s. Upon such information a summons was accordingly issued. In obedience to the summons the female plaintiff and her daughter appeared at the police court, Bulladelah, on the 28th October to answer the charge. Evidence was gone into, and the bench – Mr. Rowland, P.M., and another – dismissed the case. The defendant was sworn on the occasion and gave evidence. The male plaintiff attended the court to assist in defending the case, and was put to expense in getting witnesses to attend. The charge was a good deal talked about throughout the district. It was also alleged that defendant had appeared before the court on a criminal charge. Subsequently he lost a mail contract he had, and the contract was now held by O’Neill.

After this defendant threatened plaintiff that he would have the worth of the mails out of him. At the last sittings of the District Court the defendant sued the plaintiff for trespass by pigs on his land, claiming £50 damages, Defendant obtained a verdict for £3, in addition to £2 paid into court. On the occasion of the alleged theft, Mrs. O’Neill and her daughter, on going towards their home, saw the defendant’s horse feeding on the side of the road. It had a saddle on, but not a bridle. The horse was ahead of them, and they last saw it feeding on the road. They denied that they had anything to do with the saddle ; the nearest distance they were from the horse was ten yards.

For the defence, it was alleged that on the day of the alleged theft he was at the post office at Bulladelah, and left his horse in a yard alongside the post office. When he came out the bridle was hanging on the fence, the rail was down, and the horse gone. He went along the road, and when he got on top of a hill he saw Mrs O’Neill and her daughter some distance in front of him running.

When they got near the scrub, about a quarter of a mile from their place, defendant saw Miss O’Neill run across the road and stop the horse. The mother loosened the girth, and defendant, who was some distance away, called out. Mrs. O’Neill took the saddle off the horse, and ran into the bush. Defendant followed in the direction, but did not overtake them. He searched for the saddle, but could not find it. He afterwards saw Mrs. O’Neill crossing a bridge, going towards her brother’s place, and could see then that her dress was changed. He called out to her, didn’t she do it clever. He then went to Ireland’s house, and got George Ireland to help him to look for the saddle in the bush. Defendant subsequently found it in a brush of coarse reedy grass. It was concealed, and the crupper and cloth were there also. When he found the saddle in this position he did honestly and truly believe that Mrs. O’Neill intended to steal it, and when he saw Mrs. O’Neill go to her brother’s place this operated on his mind. He still believed that it was a theft, and not done for a lark.

Witnesses were called in reply, to prove that Mrs. Ireland asked the defendant, at her house, if he saw Mrs. O’Neill or her daughter take the saddle, and he replied that he did not.

His Honor gave a verdict for plaintiff, £21, Expenses of six witnesses, three days each, were allowed.

Patrick O’Neill died on 02 April 1887 of pneumonia 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. 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 at Bulahdelah NSW. So far the family have not located any photos of Patrick and Elizabeth. However, a notice in on suggested that Elizabeth had been the proprietor of the “Shamrock Hotel in Wingham in the early days” (The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, Tue 17 May 1927):

Meeting Old Friends
by Jim Kennedy

Mrs. O’Neill, who came from Bullahdelah, had the old Shamrock Hotel in Wingham in the early days. Sons of that dead and gone lady are well-known in Wingham and district to-day. Mr. Herb. O’Neill runs the Royal Hotel, Taree; Mr. Pat O’Neill is proprietor of the Hotel Kempsey, at Kempsey; and Mr. Alf. O’Neill is on the staff of Harry Cross’ Wingham Hotel. Met them at Wingham Show.

Joan Murray and Chris O’Neill
repaired headstone
a close up


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