Patrick John O’Neill (1902-1984)
Jessica Lucas

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Patrick John O’Neill (known as Jack) was the second of five children of Herbert Thomas O’Neill & Mary Jane Thompson. He was born on 14 Mar 1902 in Wingham, New South Wales.

Jessica Lucas was one of 5 or 6 children of Francis & Nina Lucas, born on 08 Oct 1905 in Muswellbrook, NSW.

Jack was licensee of the Royal Hotel in Musswellbrook, in partnership with Mr. F. Arnoult, in the early 1920s (see The Muswellbrook Chronicle, Tue 3 Mar 1925) ) and a prominent district rugby league football player, referee and club secretary. Here are some examples of his prowess taken from this paper (except where mentioned otherwise):

Wed 11 Jun 1924, as a player:

… For Muswellbrook J. O’Neill kicked a field goal and converted a try scored by Bray. D. Probert, Muswellbrook’s captain, also scored. Sherwood and Clark scored for the visitors. On Monday Muswellbrook won by 13 to 12. J. O’Neill’s fine work was again in evidence. He kicked a beautiful field goal, and scored a try, which he converted.

Tue 24 Jun 1924, as an injured player:


Mr, J. O’Neill, hon. secretary of the Muswellbrook Football Club, sustained slight concussion while playing in the match against Newtown yesterday. The injury was sustained in the early part of the game, yet Mr. O’Neill played to the finish, and with his usual brilliancy. Later on it was ascertained that the knock had caused slight concussion. His condition was such that he was unable to attend the dinner tendered to the visitors last night, and many were the regrets expresses by the visitors that such a fine sport had been hurt while engaged in a friendly game. Mr. O’Neill has since recovered from his injuries.

The Scone Advocate, Fri 25 Sep 1925, as both player and official:

Muswellbrook Football Club.

One of the most successful socials held in Muswellbrook for some time eventuated on Monday night last, when the long chain of successes forged by the local club during the season just closed was celebrated in a most fitting manner. Trophies going with the first and second grade competitions conducted by the U.H.F.A. and won by the club, also that associated with the ‘knock-out’ competition, were handed over by Mr. E. J. Harvey (President), the recipient in each instance being Mr. Jack O’Neill, the popular skipper and Secretary of the club, which was warmly congratulated upon its achievements by Mr. Harvey and several other gentlemen present. A pleasant adjunct to the proceedings was the presentation of a framed collection of portraits of officials, the members of the two teams, and an illuminated address to Mr. O’Neill himself by members and supporters of the club. This deservedly popular player, all-round sportsman, and exemplary citizen was lionised by the admirers of the club, the phenomenal success of which it was conceded was due to the stimulus he had given the game as a secretary and a leader, together with the sportsmanlike influence he had been instrumental in bringing about generally.

Tue 19 May 1925, as a referee:


Muswellbrook’s juniors registered another win in the Harvey Cup challenge competition, defeating Denman juniors by 6 to nil. R. Delforce and H. Brind were the scorers. Mr. J. O’Neill was referee.

Quite extensive descriptions of games in which Jack featured are described on Tue 24 Jun 1924 and Tue 15 Jun 1926.

The paper on Tue 06 Jul 1926 recounted the response of the Musswellbrook Football Club to having games it won taken away from them because they had a paid coach in charge of the team also play for the team. A letter Jack wrote as Secretary reads as follows:

(To the Editor)

Sir,- The members of the Muswellbrook Rugby League Football Club consider it a duty to the citizens of Muswellbrook, and the public generally, to inform them of the proceedings which took place at a meeting of the general committee of the association, which was held at Aberdeen on Saturday night last. Under instructions from the committee of my club, I am, therefore, writing this letter.

Some little time ago a resolution was passed by the general committee to prohibit coaches, receiving remuneration for their services as such from the clubs they coached from playing with such clubs. At the committee meeting at which such motion was passed, it was opposed by the Muswellbrook delegates, but supported by the delegates of all the other clubs represented at the meeting. The result was that the committee, through the president, called upon T. Dolahenty and myself to make an affidavit that Coach Tandy, who for some time has been coaching and playing with Muswellbrook, was not receiving any monetary compensation from the club for his services, and in default of the affidavit being furnished to the committee before June 26, Muswellbrook was to be disqualified for all matches in which Mr Tandy played after the motion was passed. Messrs. Dolahenty and myself considered the committee had no power to call for the affidavit in question, and did not make it. Consequently, at last Saturday’s meeting, the team was disqualified in respect of the Denman and Aberdeen matches, these being the ones in which Mr. Tandy played since the passing of the motion in question.

At the meeting Muswellbrook was represented by Messrs. C. P. McCooe and T. Dolahenty. The former moved a motion to the effect that to pass the motion, referred to above as to playing coaches, was beyond the committee’s powers, and consequently void. Mr. McCooe argued the matter at some length, contending that the powers of the committee were both prescribed and limited by the constitution of the association, and proceeded to enumerate the powers granted the committee by the constitution, pointing out that none of them gave that body power to prescribe who should play in competition matches. Mr. T. Dolahenty supported the motion and argued that the by-laws of the association stated that any player residing in the district for 28 days could play in competition games, and that the committee had no authority to make a rule, altering such by-law. Mr. E. N. Gaden and Mr. V. Hall, both of Scone, opposed the motion, and contended that the general committee of the Upper Hunter Rugby League Association and the association were one and the same thing; that the committee could pass any resolution it liked; that the League in Sydney had no control over it; that the constitution did not govern it; that it could alter the constitution whenever it liked, and that there was no rule it did not have power to break. In support of these contentions they argued that because the committee had always thought it was the association, and had always considered it could do what it liked in the past, and acted accordingly, it could pass any resolution it now felt inclined to pass and make it binding on the association. Lengthy and at times acrimonious argument followed between the Muswellbrook delegates and the gentlemen from Scone. The motion was defeated, all delegates present voting against it, except Messrs McCooe and Dolahenty.

Yours, etc..
Hon. Secretary Muswellbrook Football Club.

The paper on the following Friday reported on a meeting of the Club’s committee that took place that evening. “After a long discussion a motion was passed by 8 to 6 to the effect that unless the Association recanted by 6 p.m. to-day Muswellbrook would withdraw from the competition.”

The year 1926 also saw Jessica and Jack marry. First we read, on Tue 12 Jan 1926:

Personal.- Had a call during the holidays from Mr. Jack O’Neill, of Muswellbrook (son of Mr and Mrs. H. O’Neill of Taree). Jack is as big and burly as his dad. It is also said that his days of single blessedness are drawing to a close. Wingham “Chronicle.”

Then, on Tue 16 Mar 1926:

Miss Jessie Lucas, who is to be married to Mr. J. O’Neill on Wednesday, was entertained by a large number of friends at a novelty tea last week .

The wedding itself (on March 17) was covered by several papers, including The Sydney Morning Herald on Tue 06 Apr 1926 and the Freeman’s Journal on Thu 15 Apr 1926, but the source for both was probably The Scone Advocate‘s report on Thu 1 Apr 1926:


O’Neill – Lucas.- A wedding of much focal interest was celebrated at St. James’ Church, Muswellbrook, on St. Patrick’s Day, the contracting parties being Jack, of Muswellbrook, and son of Mr. and Mrs. H. T. O’Neill, of Taree, and Jessica, daughter of Mrs. Lucas and the late Mr. Francis Lucas, of Muswellbrook. The Right Rev. Monsignor P. J. Roche, V.G., officiated at the Nuptial Mass and during the marriage ceremony. The bride entered the church on the arm of her brother, Mr. J. Lucas. She was gowned in a Parisian frock of crystal beaded georgette, with a silver lace train, lined with shell pink georgette and veil of Honiton lace. She also wore a coronet of orange blossom buds and pearls. The bridesmaid, Miss Nintie Lucas, sister of bride, was gowned in shell pink beaded georgette, and carried a bouquet of pink cactus dahlias and fern. Two train bearers were also in attendance – little Moncie Arnoult and Gloria Anderson, sweetly dressed in Alice blue and coral pink frilled georgette frocks respectively, with Dutch hats to match. They carried lucky horse shoes of georgette and orchids on their arms. The bride’s bouquet was of white Nurse Cavill roses and pale pink and white carnations. The bridegroom was attended by his brother, Mr. Pat. O’Neill, of Taree. During the ceremony the Mass of St. Cecelia was sung by St. James’ choir, under the conductorship or. Mrs. Schadel. At the offertory, Mrs. Arnoult sang in good voice Gounod’s ‘Ave Marie.’ After the ceremony, the immediate relatives were entertained by Mrs. Lucas, at ‘Lucasville.’ Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill afterwards left by car for the Mountains and Sydney. “Muswellbrook Chronicle.”

Soon after the wedding Jack decided to go out alone in business and purchased the license for the Railway Hotel in Scone. From the Muswellbrook Chronicle on Fri 18 Mar 1927:

Mr. J. O’Neill, of Muswellbrook, has purchased the Railway Hotel, Scone. Muswellbrook people will regret to lose Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill. The former has taken a leading part in sporting, circles, and it was due to his energy that the Muswellbrook Football Club had such a successful run during the past few seasons.

Indeed Jack swung straight into life in Scone; Fri 20 May 1927:

Mr. J. O’Neill, erstwhile of Muswellbrook, has been appointed captain of the Scone Football Club.

However, Jack was not an immediately good businessman, because on Fri 16 Sep 1927 we read:

An application was made by Henry K. Byrnes for the transfer of the license of the Railway Hotel Scone, from John Patrick O’Neill to applicant. Granted. The new licensee comes from Bellata.

This may have been the cause; from Fri 18 Nov 1927:

[Industrial Department] v. John Patrick O’Neill, until formerly licensee of the Railway Hotel, Scone, for failing to pay two employees the proper wage. Mr. E. N. Gaden applied for an adjournment until 14th December. At the request of the Inspector, the evidence of two employees in question was taken and the case adjourned.

Less than a year later The Northern Champion, on Sat 03 Aug 1929, reports him running the Wauchope Hotel:

Mr. Jack O’Neill, of the Wauchope Hotel, is at present laid up. His brother, Mr. Pat O’Neill, of Taree, went over during the week to lend him a helping hand.

Jack ran the Wauchope Hotel for about ix years. The Dungog Chronicle, on (Tue 04 Sep 1934, reports him selling this pub:

Mr. Jack O’Neill, founder of the Country League O’Neill Football Cup, has sold out his hotel at Wauchope. He is a brother of Mr. Pat. O’Neill, of the Bank Hotel, Dungog.

and on Fri 09 Nov 1934:

Mr. Jack O’Neill, brother of Mr. Pat. O’Neill, of the Bank Hotel, Dungog, who sold out of the hotel business in Wauchope a couple of months ago, has purchased the lease of the Town Hall Hotel, Newtown, and has commenced in his new sphere.

In the 1954 electoral rolls, Jack is shown as the proprietor of the Town Hall Hotel, 326 King St Newtown; his son William Patrick is listed as the cellarman and his son John Patrick as the barman.

By 1955 Jack was involved with the Hampton Court Hotel in Kings Cross. From The Muswellbrook Chronicle, Tue 11 Jan 1955:

News of Former Resident

Mr. Jack O’Neill, mine host in the early twenties of the Royal Hotel, Muswellbrook, and during that period captain of the local football team and also a prominent cricketer, is now managing director of Hotel Hampton Court, Kings Cross, Sydney. He will be pleased to see any of his old pals during their visit to Sydney, and will give his personal attention to their needs.

Jack was a regular visitor to Musswellbrook. The Eaton’s Hotel came into the hands of an aunt and a sister at different times, and was mentioned in two news items:

Visitors to Muswellbrook are Mrs. H. O’Neill, of Port Macquarie, and her two sons, Mr. Jack O’Neill, and Mr. Patrick O’Neill. The party are the guests of Mrs. O’Neill’s sister, Mrs. F. E. Arnoult, at Eaton’s Hotel. Mr. Jack O’Neill, now licensee of the Town Hall Hotel at Newtown, renew old acquaintances with many friends of the days when he led the Muswellbrook Blues to victory on the football field. His brother, Mr. Patrick O’Neill, is the licensee of the Artarmon Hotel. (Tue 18 Oct 1938)


Mr. Jack O’Neill, formerly of Muswellbrook, was a visitor at the weekend and was the guest of his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Richardson, at Eaton’s Hotel. In his younger days, Jack led the Muswellbrook footballers to many victories in Upper Hunter games. (Tue 27 Jun 1944)

Jack & Jessica’s family:

01. John Patrick (b. 01 Sep 1926, d. 24 Feb 1989)

02. William Patrick (b. 08 Sep 1928 in Wauchope, 31 May 2018 in Taree)

03. Private

Jack with Mary Jack with his mother, Mary Jane

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