James Edward O’Neill (1885-1964)
Annie Elizabeth Turner (1888-1975)
James Edward O’Neill, known as Jim, was born in Tea Gardens, just north of Newcastle, NSW on 05 Jan 1885, the oldest of James Henry O’Neill and Elizabeth Hagon‘s six children.
Annie Elizabeth Turner was born on 18 Sep 1888 at Runnymede near Casino, NSW. Her parents were Henry Turner & Agnes Annie Rubina Perry.
Jim & Annie married in Casino in on 05 Jun 1909. The family story is that Jim worked on a dredge on the Richmond River while at the same time studying to become a teacher. He may well have met Annie during that period, however the O’Neill family knew the Turner family from the 1880s when [branches of] the two families lived nearby each other in the Upper Paterson district. Jim’s first cousin once removed, William O’Neill, had been involved in a fight between Annie’s father Henry and Henry’s brother Thomas Turner (see the article that appeared in The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser on Sat 17 Feb 1883 and can be on William O’Neill’s page).
In an announcement of their wedding that appeared in The Grafton Argus and Clarence River General Advertiser on on 21 Jun 1909 there was this:
Wedding bells chiming at Casino. Mr. James Edward O’Neill, of Dobie’s Creek, …
Furthermore, in the report of their wedding (The Richmond River Express and Casino Kyogle Advertiser, Fri 11 Jun 1909) one of the gifts listed is from the school students at Dobie’s Bight, a small hamlet about 13km north west of Casino. The newspaper item is difficult to read. This is part of it:
On Saturday morning last the Roman Catholic Church, Casino, was the scene of a very quiet but pretty wedding. The Rev. Monsignor Ahern was the officiating minister, and the contracting parties to the long binding and interesting ceremony were James Edward (eldest son of Mr. James O’Neill, of Newcastle) and Ann Elizabeth (eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Turner, of Runnymede). Both the parties are well known and highly respected, and that accounted for the large number of relatives and friends who attended the church to witness the ceremony. At 11 a.m. punctually the bride, who looked as a bride should look, happy and contented, entered the church with her father, who gave her away. The bridegroom and his best man, Mr. F. O’Neill, were in waiting at the altar rails. The bride, who was attended by one bridesmaid, her sister Ethel, wore a dainty gown of white ivory silk over glace silk, Empire style, with long train, the bodice beautifully tucked and trimmed with very … The following is a list of the presents received. … Dobies Bight school children, set of carvers and half a dozen china cups and saucers. …
The question about how they met is probably answered in The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser which ran a 50-year retrospective series on some of the residents who had lived in the district. On Tue 11 Jul 1933 this report appeared reminiscing on the marriage of Jim’s parents:
On the 1st July, 1883, at Bulladelah, James O’Neill and Lizzie Hagan were married. They went to live at Hawkes’ Nest, Port Stephens, where Mr. O’Neill was engaged in the dredge service. Later on he was moved to the Richmond River, and back to Newcastle, where he retired some five years ago and took up residence at Merewether. On Saturday week the family entertained the old couple at the golden wedding festivities, the chairman being the oldest son, Mr. Jms. O’Neill, jun., who has had exceptional advancement in the service of the Education Department. He never attended college or training school, yet from a small country school he rose to be headmaster of Cook’s Hill Public School, with 36 teachers under him.
It was in 1907 that dredging the Richmond River was decided on; from The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 10 May 1907:
RICHMOND RIVER CONFERENCE.
A conference was held here to-day of delegates from the municipalities, shire councils, and others in reference to harbour works and river dredging. The Mayor of Lismore presided. It was decided: — (1) That whilst the meeting approves of the Minister’s contemplated dredging of the Richmond River, …
It appears that dredging had been completed by 1912 (it appears in the Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser on Wed 31 July 1912 in an article entitled What Labour Has Done). All of this implies that James Henry O’Neill and his family had been relocated to the Richmond River for some years from 1907. In fact Jim’s first appointment as a teacher occurred on 05 Sep 1907 (this date appears in Jim’s entry in all the Public Service lists up to 1924). The policy at the time was to place a new teacher close to where they lived – hence in his case to Dobie’s Bight School. Indeed, Jim is mentioned as a teacher of the school at a picnic in 1909 (with obvious all-round athletic ability!); from the Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser, Sat 15 May 1909:
DOBIE’S BIGHT SCHOOL PICNIC
On the morning of May 5th gladsome crowds wended their way to Dobie’s Bight school, the occasion being the holding of their annual picnic. On previous occasions this picnic has been a gala day in the district, but the present picnic eclipsed all previous records, fully 350 persons attending. From an early hour the committee in charge of the sports, ably assisted by Mr. O’Neill, the popular teacher, were busy conducting athletic events for the elders, and all sorts of sports for the school children. Every event was keenly contested, which fact reflects great credit on the handicappers. At 1 p.m., the ladies in charge of the catering announced luncheon, when this crowd of happy and joyous people sat down to an excellent and sumptuous repast.
The following were some of the principal events, though, thanks to an excellent arrangement of the committee, every school child received a prize : —
Collectors’ Race — Miss J. McDougall 1, Miss M. McDougall 2.
Married Ladies’ Race — Mrs. Yates 1, Mrs. Alcorn 2.
Mens’ (all-comers) Race — W. Duncan q, J. O’Neill 2.
High Jump — P. Doclan 1, J. O’Neill 2.
Wood-chopping Contest — J. Boyle 1, J. O’Neill 2. This event created great excitement, there being 10 entries.
Dobie’s Bight started as a provisional school in 1907 and there was a requirement that the minimum number of students was 10; by 1912 there were 60 students. Jim was its head teacher for four years to 1912; from The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, Fri 5 Apr 1912:
Mr. J. E. O’Neill, for the past four years in charge of the Dobie’s Bight Public School, and who took a prominent part in the social life of that progressive neighborhood, has been transferred to Swan Bay.
Swan Bay Public School is about 10km west of Woodburn. From The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser 0n Fri 10 Oct 1913:
Swan Bay School Picnic.
The annual picnic in connection with the Swan Bay public school was held on Saturday, 4th October, a large gathering of parents, friends, children and visitors from the surrounding districts being present. Altogether fully 200 persons,of which number about 100 were children, were assembled on the picnic ground adjoining the school. Fears were entertained in the morning that the day would be wet, but happily the sky cleared, and the weather was all that could be desired. The visitors were considerably surprised at the great number of children present, which speaks volumes for the progress of our district. A lengthy programme of sports was run off, and included racing for the children, with boat racing for the school boys, and adults.The catering was done by the parents, and the ladies who worked so hard for the success of the picnic are to be commend for the manner in which they performed their duties. They left nothing undone that would in any way add to the enjoyment of the children. The gentlemen who had charge of the sports worked with a will also, and the programme of evens kept them busily engaged the whole day. As almost everything is judged by the result, which in this case would be the amount of pleasure and enjoyment derived by the children, then it is safe to say that the efforts of the ladies and gentlemen who comprised the working committee for the picnic, met with unqualified success. Every child on the ground received a prize, and each appeared to thoroughly enjoy himself or herself. Luncheon was served round by the ladies at midday, and again in the afternoon. Probably the events which excited the most interest were the boat races. The lads had been training more or less for these events for a fortnight, and a few of the bigger boys showed promise of later on developing into real champions. Both races were handicaps, and both were won by one of the school boys – Reg. Malone. The following are the results of the races, other than the children’s footraces:-
Boys’ Boat Race. – R. Malone, scr., 1; A. McPherson, 13secs., 2; R, Blanch, 15secs., 3.
All-comers’ Boat Race.- R. Malone, 15secs., 1; H. Tyrrell, 8secs., 2; T. Malone, 2secs., 3.
Men’s Footrace.- F. Mellare, 2yds., 1; M. Pezzutti, scr., 2; R. Malone, 3yds., 3.
Ladies’ Race.- Miss E. McDonald 1, Miss Rutherford 2.
Married Ladies’ Race.- Mrs. 0. McPherson 1.
Games of various kinds occupied the time between the races, and many of the adults and visitors kept the tennis court in use throughout the day. Mr.O’Neill, the teacher, is to be complimented on the increasing popularity of the picnics in connection with the school.
Regarding the possible re-opening of Bungawalbin School (about 13km from Swan Bay), The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, Fri 5 May 1916 was complimentary of Jim:
… Should Bungawalbin School be re-opened it is considered a fair enrolment would result, though it is not expected the older scholars would rejoin, as they are, we are informed, progressing so splendidly under Mr. J. O’Neill’s tuition.
After 5 years at Swan Bay Public School, Jim decided to enroll in the University of Sydney, aged 31. From the Northern Star, Sat 23 Dec 1916:
Mr. J. O’Neill, teacher at the Swan Bay School for the past five years, has been appointed to the staff of the Dulwich Hill School, with a view to attending the evening classes at the University and qualifying for his degrees. The farewell social tendered the departing teacher and his wife was one of the largest and most representative functions ever held at the Bay. During his residence there Mr. O’Neill has played a foremost part in all social and patriotic matters, and in addition won a big name for his school as a progressive educational establishment. Mr. V. Dowling presided at the farewell function and amongst those who paid well-deserved tributes to the guests were: Messrs. W. Hunt, H. T. Chisholm, H. Williams, Rev. Oliver Dick, T. Malone, P. Malone, P. S. Malone, and Mrs. J. W. McPherson. Presentations were made to both the guests, as well as to their little son. Mr. O’Neill made a feeling acknowledgment of the kindness he had experienced at the Bay, and bespoke for his successor a continuance of the assistance and good will that were shown to him.
Mr. J. O’Neill, erstwhile of Swan Bay Public School, has succeded in gaining his B.A. degree. He remains at the University until March, in order to complete an honors course in history.
The 1919 Public Service Lists confirm he had been appointed to Petersham Intermediate High; it was from there his appointment to Nimmitabel Public School was confirmed. From the Northern Star, Sat 18 Feb 1922:
J. E. O’Neill, first assistant, Petersham Inter. High to Nimmitabel (5)
The Braidwood Review and District Advocate announced his move from Nimmitabel to Braidwood Public School on Tue 06 May 1924:
Mr. J. E. O’Neill, master of the Nimmitabel public school, has been appointed to succeed Mr. J. Frank as headmaster of the Braidwood public school, and took up duties last week. Mr. O’Neill was president of the Bush Nursing Association, secretary of the tennis club, and held offices in all the local clubs and institutions at Nimmitabel.
The following is part of the description of an event reported in The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal on Fri 27 Nov 1925:
BACK TO SCHOOL
AN INTERESTING FUNCTION
One of the most interesting functions in connection with Back to Braidwood Week was a Back to School celebration at the public school on Tuesday morning. This led to an assemblage of old, semi-old and comparatively old schoolboys and girls. The oldest boy present was Mr. Geo. Fisher, who was a pupil at the school between 69 and 70 years ago. He is still physically and mentally vigorous. …
They were collected together in the old orthodox way by the ringing of the school bell (a relic of old times, by the way) and they were marched into school in the ordinary way. They had forgotten the “goose-step” of course, but they got there just the same.
Mr. J. O’Neill, the headmaster, on behalf of the teachers, extended a hearty welcome to the old students. He trusted that they would enjoy the visit to the old school, and extended to them the fullest opportunities of exploring the little corners where they were put when they were naughty boys and girls. (Laughter). Proceeding, he said when he looked round amongst many of the hard faces present that day and visualised what they must have been like as boys and girls, he certainly did not envy the job their teacher must have had. (Laughter). He would probably have been looking well after his physical well-being. (Laughter). He would not have even liked to be too severe with the girls. (Laughter). However, he hoped they all would enjoy their visit to the old school, and he assured them that the cane was safely out of reach.
The family’s time in Braidwood was short lived. Less than three years later, The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, amongst others, announced his next move on Fri 28 Jan 1927:
VALEDICTORY SEND-OFF TO MR. O’NEILL
On Monday night last the teaching staff and pupils of the Braidwood public school tendered a send-off to Mr. J. E. O’Neill, who has been appointed to the head mastership of the Adelong Intermediate District School, and Mrs. O’Neill at the Oddfellows’ Hall.
The news of Mr. O’Neill’s appointment and projected departure was not definitely known until Saturday, so that there was very little time to make arrangements for the function, especially as he had to leave Braidwood on Tuesday. Nevertheless there was a big attendance of pupils, parents and townspeople.
The Rev. H. F. A. Champion, president of the Parents and Citizens’ Association, who occupied the chair, after explaining the object of the gathering, said it was with mingled feelings of pleasure and keen regret that he presided that night – regret at the loss the school and the town would sustain by Mr. O’Neill’s departure. He had only been in Braidwood a short time, but he had succeeded in leaving a name behind him in school work that would long remain in the memory of the town. He had indeed done wonderful work in preparing children for examinations, and the results of these had been most creditable. Even in last year’s intermediate examination, when the pupils were not nearly ready, and when he had entered them rather than discourage them, he had been very successful. While his departure was generally deplored, it was with very great delight that he had heard of his promotion to the Adelong District School. That school was a strong one, and had had wonderful results in the various examinations, but he felt sure that these would be equally good, if not better, under Mr. O’Neill’s management. Not only was the Braidwood school losing a strong man and an earnest worker, but the town was also losing a strong leader. Whether as a citizen or as a sport he had taken a strong part. Moreover his work in connection with public movements had been characterised by both fairness and earnestness.
Mr. Mackie said he had been associated with Mr. O’Neill a great deal more than most people, both in his school and in public movements. He had always found him a live wire – the sort of man who was necessary in country towns. While they realised that he was going away for his own benefit, they could not help feeling regret that the town was losing a good citizen and a good teacher. Braidwood, in fact, would be better for having come into contact with him, while his fine work at the school would have a lasting effect on the community. He wished Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill God-speed wherever their lots may be cast.
At this stage an apology was read from Miss Hogg, secretary of the Parents and Citizens’ Association.
Mr. W. J. Thomas, Methodist Home Missionary, said that Mr. O’Neill always appealed to him as a man who had an ideal always in front of him and was always reaching forward to secure it. That ideal was to reach the top of the ladder in his profession. His work in Braidwood had been characterised by grit, determination, broadmindedness, and a general spirit of unselfishness. He had tried to help all public institutions in Braidwood without respect to denominationalism. He wished him and his wife a happy and prosperous future.
Ald. J. Grigg said that when the news of Mr. O’Neill’s removal became known all sections of the community were genuinely grieved to lose such a good teacher and good citizen. He had been associated with Mr. O’Neill in the management of several public institutions, and he had always found him ready to do his duly. He was not only a good citizen, but had set a fine example in public work to the community. He sincerely hoped that his appointment to Adelong was only the forerunner of many other promotions in the service, of which his many friends in Braidwood would be very pleased to learn.
Mr. Cunningham, assistant teacher at the school, said that while a fine superior officer, Mr. O’Neill was a good friend, two qualities which were not always found so well balanced as in Mr. O’Neill’s case. While he was going away, his work at the school would remain as a recommendation of the splendid work he had accomplished. His removal would be to his gain and Adelong’s gain. On behalf of the staff of the school he joined in wishing Mr. and Mi’s. O’Neill every success and happiness in their future life.
Mr. Harold Roberts also expressed his regret at Mr. O’Neill’s departure, at the same time congratulating him upon his well-deserved promotion. At this stage an apology was tendered by the chairman for the absence of the Mayor. He also took the opportunity of thanking Mrs. O’Neill for her hospitality to those who presided at the various examinations held in the school.
Master Kelly, one of the pupils of the school, stepped forward and handed Mr. O’Neill a wallet of notes on behalf of the boys and girls at. the school, which they asked him to buy something with in remembrance of the school. He was, he added, asked by them to wish Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill every success and good fortune in their new school and home.
Miss Norma Johnson handed Mrs. O’Neill a silver cake-dish, while another little girl presented her with a bouquet of pansies and maiden-hair fern designed as a fan.
Mr. O’Neill, on rising, to respond, was loudly cheered. He said he had never been placed in a more difficult position. He thanked them all very much on his own and his wife’s behalf for their kindness and their appreciation, and he could assure them that they would always have a very soft spot in their hearts for Braidwood and its people. He thanked all the speakers for their kind remarks. He only wished he was worthy of all the things said about him. If he were he thought he would soon be Chief inspector. He was modest enough to believe, however, that he was not quite so good as that. He admitted that while he had been in the Department he had a goal in front of him; that was to carry out his duties in the school to the best of his ability and for the public benefit. He may not have done this perfectly, but he had at least done the best he could. He appreciated that function because he knew it originated with the children of the school, and the fact that it had been helped by the parents made the pleasure all the greater. When boys and girls received the best education to fit them for after life the schools fulfilled their mission. He always kept this objective in view. He hoped they would treat his successor as they had treated him and extend the same support and kindness to Mr. Beavis as they had done to him. Speaking of his connection with public matters, he had tried to do the same service to them as he had to the school. He had tried to help each institution in town irrespective of religion or politics. While he had had differences of opinion with committeemen and had, he supposed, made mistakes, he had made them with the very best intentions. In conclusion, he said he had been happy in his school life, happy in his social life, and happy with his staff, who had given him their most cordial cooperation. Braidwood was fortunate in possessing such a highly qualified school staff. There were not many schools of the same class which had such a qualified staff. He again thanked them.
The rest of the evening was devoted to dancing, to the strains of the piano and saxophone, presided over by Mrs. Grant and Mr. V. Irwin. Light refreshments were provided, and altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent.
Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill and family left in their car for Adelong on Tuesday afternoon.
For some reason this posting lasted just 12 months; from The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser Fri 16 Dec 1927:
Mr. J. E. O’Neill, principal of the Adelong District School, received notice of his removal to Jerilderie after the holidays. Mr. O’Neill has only been in Adelong 12 months, and his removal comes as a shock. Much regret is expressed, as Mr. O’Neill has not only proved himself an excellent teacher, but a first-class citizen and sport in every respect.
Presumably the school was a catchment for students in the surrounding district because his next move was announced in The Independent, a newspaper from Deniliquin (about 90km away), on Fri 14 Dec 1928:
Mr. O’Neill, Headmaster at the District School, has been promoted to a similar position at Junee Intermediate High School.
On Sat 28 Sep 1929 the Daily Advertiser, a newspaper based in Wagga Wagga, described a visit by the Governor of NSW to the school at Junee:
Gala Day at Junee
Visit of Sir Dudley de Chair
Foundation Stone of New Hospital Laid
Many Important Functions
Junee was beflagged yesterday, and the streets presented a gay carnival appearance. The Governor, Sir Dudley de Chair, whose visit had been looked forward to by all the residents, and particularly by the committee of the Junee District Hospital, received a very hearty welcome from the citizens at the Lyceum Hall, after which he visited the three schools — the Junee Intermediate High, …
The first school visited was the Intermediate High School, where over 550 children were assembled on the play ground to welcome His Excellency. Mr. J. E. O’Neill was host, assisted by Mt. W. J. Keast, president of the Junee Parents and Citizens’ Association. At this school the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were inspected by His Excellency. Seventeen teachers were then presented to Sir Dudley de Chair. In his welcoming address Mr. O’Neill said that it was the first occasion in the lives of the scholars that a Governor had visited them, and it was a land mark in the children’s lives. He knew that in after-life many happy recollections would be forthcoming from that eventful day.
Mr. J. O’Neill, headmaster of the Junee Intermediate High School, has been transferred to Cowra. Accompanied by Mrs. O’Neill he is enjoying a car tour before settling at Cowra.
That posting lasted just two years. The Newcastle Sun announced his next move on Fri 2 Dec 1932:
NEW HEADMASTER FOR COOK’S HILL
Mr. J. E. O’Neill, headmaster of Cowra Intermediate High school, has been promoted to Cook’s Hill, Newcastle.
and announced Jim and Annie’s welcome on Tue 28 Mar 1933. In 1933 and 1934 the family lived at 27 Helen St, Merewether. In 1935 and 1936 they had moved to 20 Macquaries St. On Thu 17 Dec 1936 Jim appeared in a (very grainy) photo (centre of the front row) in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate in a group at the official opening of a new clubrom of the Ex-Students’ Union of Cook’s Hill Intermediate High School. There were many other mentions of Jim in his various capacities as school principal in that newspaper.
The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate reported on Jim’s move from Cook’s Hill to Kogarah on Tue 22 Dec 1936:
FAREWELLED.-The Principal of Cook’s Hill Intermediate High School (Mr. J. E. O’Neill), who has been transferred to Kogarah Intermediate High School, was farewelled by the Cook’s Hill Parents and Citizens Association at a function at the Bar Beach Surf Pavilion. The Chairman (Mr. L. Sullivan), with the principal of the Newcastle Boys’ High School (Mr. N. R. Mearns), the principal of Cook’s Hill Boys’ Primary School (Mr. G. Blair), the Secretary (Mr. A. Hartney), and Treasurer (Mr. A. Coulter), of the association, spoke of a Mr. O’Neill’s splendid work during his four years at Cook’s Hill. The speakers paid tribute to his ability as a teacher and headmaster, and expressed regret at his transfer. Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill were presented with a cut glass reading lamp. Mr. O’Neill thanked members for the gift, and said that he had made many friends in Newcastle. Solos were given by Miss M. Sullivan, Messers. L. Sullivan and H. Winning. Mr T. Mullins was the accompanist.
The Intermediate High School at Kogarah is now part of the present day Kogarah High School. In 1937 the family had moved to 192 Princes Highway, Kogarah. The next records are post-war; from 1949 they had moved into their final home, 215 Rocky Point Rd, Kogarah. Jim retired at the end of 1948.
The Propeller (a newspaper based in Hurstville, a neighbouring suburb) carried an interesting article on Thu 30 Dec 1943 which highlighted an ongoing problem about final school scoring systems, as well as the difficulty of school attendance during the war:
KOGARAH BOYS’ INTERMEDIATE HIGH SCHOOL.
On Wednesday, 15th inst., the boys of the Kogarah Intermediate High School celebrated their annual speech day in their school assembly hall. Mr. O’Neill (headmaster) in his address to the scholars, referred to the new examination system for primary, final and Intermediate examinations, when intelligence tests and good school work would count equally with a reduced number of passes in external examinations. This would give the student an equal chance against the “crammer” who may be lucky in a particular examination. The uncertain conditions during the war had caused much truancy, but he was pleased to say that Kogarah school had fewer truants than most schools. Truancy was guarded against by teachers, police, and officials, because it was a sure road to crime. Mr. O’Neill concluded his remarks by thanking all the teachers and prefects for their co-operation with him during the past twelve months. …
Jim’s retirment was announced in The Propeller on Thu 30 Dec 1948:
KOGARAH INTERMEDIATE BOYS’ SCHOOL.
The annual prize-giving of Kogarah Intermediate Boys’ School was held in the Victory Theatre, Kogarah, …
The awards for academic and sporting proficiency were presented by Ald. Cross, who gave a helpful address to the boys. He also read a letter from the Minister for Education congratulating the school and wishing Mr. O’Neil every happiness in his retirement. A presentation to Mr. O’Neill was made on behalf of the hoys by the school captain.
In his report the headmaster gave an account of the year’s work, and showed, to what extent the school hadprogressed. …
Two photos of Annie, and one of Jim
celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary
Jim died of senile decay on 19 Mar 1964 aged 78 and Annie of heart problems on 12 Sep 1975 aged 86.
Jim & Annie’s family:
01. John Vincent (b. 20 Aug 1910, d. 07 Oct 1981), known as Jack.
02. Edgar Ronald (b. 02 Jun 1919, d. 16 Mar 1994), known as Eddie, or Goog by some.
Jack & Eddie
01. Jack O’Neill married Edna Irene Woods (b. 07 Jul 1918, d. 13 Aug 2008) in 1934. Jack met Edna when, as a primary school teacher at Corindi, NSW, he boarded with her parents. They moved to one and two teacher schools in NSW: Kaungle (near Trundle), Simpsons Ridge (near Bowraville), Rosebank and Tregeagle (near Lismore), Eumungerie (between Dubbo and Gilgandra, Greenthorpe (between Cowra and Grenfell) and Gladstone (on the Macleay River near Kempsey). Their son Colin advised them that Jack’s mother Annie was deteriorating, and so they decided to move to Sydney to help care for her; the move was to Laguna St Public School in Caringbah, where coincidentally Jack’s brother Eddie was a Deputy Principal. Their wedding was described in Grafton’s Daily Examiner on Wed 13 Feb 1935:
At the Roman Catholic Church, Grafton, on December 17, Edna Irene, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Woods, or Corindi, was joined in the bonds of holy matrimony to John Vincent O’Neill, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs, James O’Neill, of Merewether, Newcastle.
The Rev. Father Curran officiated.
The bride entered the church on the arm of her father and was charmingly attired in a gown of white silk lace, veil and coronet of orange blossoms. She carried a beautiful bouquet of white roses, lilies and asparagus, tied wilh satin ribbon, from which was suspended a lucky horseshoe and swastika.
Miss Florence Wall, cousin of the bride, was bridesmaid and wore powder blue georgette, with hat and shoes to tone, and carried a bouquet of pink gerberas, tied with tulle streamers.
Mr. Edgar O’Neill, brother of the bridegroom, was best man, and Mr. Clifford Woods groomsman.
The reception was held at Jordan’s Hall, and a large crowd of relatives and friends sat down to a sumptuous repast in which a beautiful decorated three decker wedding cake took pride of place.
Father Curran presided and in happy vein proposed the principal toast, the bride and bridegroom, which was acknowledged by the bridegroom.
Mr. Edgar O’Neill proposed the bridesmaid and Mr. Cliff Woods responded.
The toast of the parents was proposed by Mr. A. R. Wotherspoon and acknowledged by Mr. E. S. Woods.
The bridegroom’s gift to the bride was a gold wristlet watch and to the bridesmaid a real Morocco handbag.
The wedding presents were numerous and costly and included several cheques.
The bride’s mother wore a frock of navy georgette relieved with beige trimming and carried a bouquet of mixed flowers and ferns.
The bridegroom’s mother chose navy elephant silk relieved with white, and carried a bouquet of red gerberas and ferns.
The bride’s travelling dress was a brown morocain ensemble. The honey moon was spent at Newcastle and Sydney.
Their future home is at Corindi, where Mr. O’Neill has charge of the local school. All the bouquets were the handiwork and cift of Mrs. A. K. Wotherspoon, of Grafton.
Jack and Edna had two sons:
01. Colin John (b. 08 Jul 1935, d. 02 Apr 2020 in Sydney NSW).
02. Brian James (30 Oct 1937, d. 12 Dec 2015 in Corowa NSW).
Towards the end of his life Jack suffered from Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinsons.
James Edward, Eddie; James Henry, Lizzie, Edna; Annie, Geoff Turvey & Colin, Gert.
Three generations; James Henry, James Edward, Jack
Four generations: Jack; James Henry, Colin, James Edward
01. Colin John O’Neill married Patricia Mary Reardon (b. 15 Jul 1944). They have four offspring:
01. Diane Patricia (b. 18 Jul 1972)
02. Timothy John (b. 11 Nov 1973)
03. John Peter (b. 23 Sep 1976)
04. Janice Elizabeth (b. 10 Feb 1978)
Timothy and Annette Stephens have two daughters, Alicia and Lily. Janice has a daughter Louise Elizabeth (b. 10 May 2001).
02. Brian James O’Neill married Gwenda Faulkner in 1957; they had one daughter before separating. Gwenda passed away aged 68 in Lismore on 19 Feb 2005, and Brian in Corowa on 19 Dec 2015, aged 78.