William Henry

William Henry O’Neill (1887-1973
Minnie Therese McCarney (1888-1986)

Jump down to the list of their children

William Henry O’Neill, known as Bill, was the oldest of fourteen children of John O’Neill & Amelia Crimmins. He born on 29 Mar 1887 in the East Maitland district of NSW.

Minnie Therese McCarney was born Kempsey, NSW, in 1888 (record 26674), her parents being William McCarney & Mary Henry.

Bill and Minnie married in Bellbrook, NSW, on 02 Oct 1912. Bellbrook is about 50km north east of Kempsey.

Bill was appointed a teacher on probation at Rocky River on 16 Nov 1903; he would have been just 17 years old:


As can be seen, on 06 Sep 1906 Bill was transferred to Hillgrove, a small mining town about 50km east of Armidale. Until about 1910, his parents owned one of the hotels in Metz, a small township on the opposite side of the gorge on which Hillgrove stood. Bill tendered his resignation on on 31 Jul 1907, but withdrew it and instead successfully applied for leave without pay until 15 Apr 1908.

There is a gap in the records until 1916 to 1920 when he was a teacher at Wyan, about 42km south west of Casino (and very close to Rappville where the author’s grandmother lived).

Between 1921 and 1923 he taught at Bellbrook, about 50km north east of Kempsey.

Then from 1925 to 1927 he taught at Rolands Plains, about 30km north of Wauchope and 50km from Kempsey. The last available recorded year, 1928, saw him at Collombatti Rail Public School, just 12km north of Kempsey.

We now turn to the electoral rolls.

In 1930 Bill was described as a teacher, living with “Minnie Teresa” (note the spelling of her middle name) in Tozer St, West Kempsey. We are not sure at what school Bill taught. However from 1937 to 1949 he was the teacher at Bellimbopinni, a small school just 10km north east of Kempsey along the Macleay River that closed at the end of 2014 after 149 years:

web Bellimbopinni school

Bill was active in the small community there. For example, he was the organising secretary for a fund raising event in support of the Prisoners of War Fund; from the Macleay Argus on Tue 04 Aug 1942:


As a result of Saturday’s gymkhana at Bellimbopinni, it is anticipated that over £200 will be available for the Prisoners of War Fund.

The sports fitted in with military manoeuvres by the 6th Light Horse (Motorised) Regiment.

Mr. W. O’Neill, the organising secretary for the effort, was here, there and everywhere attending to a multitude of duties. A meticulously careful and astute man, whatever he takes up, ‘”Bill” puts his heart and soul into it, and on this occasion he excelled himself.


At an opportune period of the afternoon session Mr. W. O’Neill gathered the official party around the “mike” at the official tent for the opening ceremony. Mr. O’Neill started the ball rolling by extending a welcome to Mr. Vincent, Col. Treasure and all visitors. He thanked all associated with the effort, and said it was difficult to adequately express his gratitude for the co-operation he had received on every side.

He then handed the mike over to Cr. Albert Jeffery, president of the Macleay Shire Council. …

Although he had no desire to single out any one person he did desire to pay tribute to Mr. Bill O’Neill, who had done such a big job arranging all the details for such a day. …

This item appeared in the Macleay Argus on Fri 30 Apr 1943:


Although a fortnight still remains for the Bellimbopinni race and sports fixture, the committee is leaving no stone unturned to see that matters are not left until the last moment. The effort is in aid of the candidature of Miss Ila Sutherland in the A.C.F. queen competition, and the programme is a weighty and mixed one for all classes of horses. These include flag races, hunts, cow pony races, bridles, and the main programme has as its chief item the A.C.F. Handicap, with £5 prize money. Wireless will he installed on the ground, and bookmakers will operate on all events. Messrs. Ray O’Neill (president), Alex Kebby (treasurer) and Bill O’Neill (secretary), assisted by a large committee, are working with a will and patrons are assured of splendid entertainment. A bus service will be run from Kempsey.

Again, there is a gap of a few years. He next turns up listed as a “public servant” (presumably a teacher), living at 1 Wentworth St, Ermington from 1954 to 1968. Minnie is also listed at that address – but Bill would have been aged 81 in 1968, surely not still working at that time! Bill passed away on 16 Nov 1973, aged 88, and Minnie on 16 Aug 1982, aged 96, in Ermington.

Bill and Minnie’s family:

01. Claude William (b. 28 Jan 1914 in Kempsey, d. 21 Sep 1977 in Morpeth)

02. Estelle Mary (b. 23 Jul 1918 in Grafton, d. Apr 2009 in Sydney)

Generation 2.

01. Claude William O’Neill enlisted in the AIF on 29 May 1940 at the barracks in Addison Rd, Marrickville. His army record can be viewed here. In his enlistment papers he stated he was single, worked as a barman. He gave his mother as next of kin.


Claude served in the Middle East from 01 Sep 1941 to 15 Mar 1942, and in New Guinea from 22 Nov 1943 to 29 May 1944, a total of 569 days overseas service and 958 days of service in Australia as an “instrument operator”. His home service included a 15 month posting in Darwin from 28 Mar 1942 to 28 Jun 1943. He was a bit of a lad, by all accounts. He was fined on two occasions for absences without leave. He spent 42 days in hospital a month after landing in the Middle East in 1941 when he contracted gonorrhoea. He was sent to Queensland at the end of August 1943, hospitalised for tonsillitis mid September before embarking at Townsville for Buna in PNG. He arrived back in Brisbane on 25 May 1944; on 18 Jul 1944 he was admitted to hospital for malaria.

His service record on 14 Apr 1945 indicates that a son was born in Queensland. On 07 Jun 1945 he had his next-of-kin changed to Mary Bridget O’Neill née Kelly. Mary’s father was stated to be a Mr F. Kelly of Childers, Queensland. An annotation to an amendment of his next of kin on his Service and Casualty Form states that Claude and Mary were married on 26 Jun 1944. Mary also enlisted in WWII (Service Number – QX40649 : Date of Birth – 17/04/1915), however her record is not yet available on line.:

On 15 Jun 1945 Claude embarked for Borneo, disembarking at Moratai. He was there for just over a month before transferring to Balikpapan in (now) Kalimantan. He arrived back in Sydney on 19 Nov 1945 and was discharged on 04 Dec 1945.

The couple settled down in Morpeth, not far from Maitland in NSW. In the electoral rolls from 1949 to 1936 Claude was described as a cream grader, the couple living at 128 Swan St, Morpeth. In the 1968 to 1977 rolls he was described as a foreman, and the couple had moved to 122 Swan St, Morpeth. Claude passed away on21 Sep 1977 at Morpeth, NSW. Mary survived another 24 years,  passing away on 19 Feb 2011 at Woody Point, Moreton Bay Region, Queensland.

Claude and Mary had three children.

02. Estelle Mary O’Neill married Edward Francis Gillin (known as Ted) in Randwick in 1945 (record 11287). Ted was born in Waverley on 16 Mar 1913 (record 12416), the son of Timothy Joseph Gillin & Gertrude Kathleen Myers.

web John O'Neill & Ted Gillin 1994

Photo of Ted Gillin (R) taken in 1994 at an O’Neill gathering in Dungog. Alongside Ted is John O’Neill, Estelle’s first cousin; both have sadly passed away since.

Ted studied economics at the University of Sydney, graduating with a B.Econs. in 1951. He has an entry in Prabook, which outlines his career:

  • Assistant economist, Rural Bank of New South Wales, Sydney, 1961-1963;
  • Chief economist, Rural Bank of New South Wales, 1963-1978;
  • Independent economics consultant, Sydney, since 1978;
  • Justice of peace, New South Wales;
  • Government tutor and examiner in farm management and agricultural economics, 1957-1963;
  • Member Centre for Research on Federal Finance Relations – Sydney Interest Group, since 1975;
  • New South Wales Economy Study Group, 1977;
  • Book reviewer;
  • Fellow Chartered Institute Bankers United Kingdom. Member (associate) Australian Society Accountants, Chartered Institute Secretaries and Administrators;
  • Member Economic Society Australia (life, president 1973-1974), Australian Agricultural Economics Society (New South Wales president 1976-1977, federal president 1977-1978, emeritus member), Securities Institute Australia, Economic Teachers Association New South Wales (life), American Economic Association, American Agricultural Economics Association, International Association Agricultural Economists.

Ted enlisted at Orange, NSW, Service Number – NX178918, serving from 1942 to 1945. His service record is not yet available on line.

According to Prabook, Ted enjoyed golf, foreign languages, writing and gardening.

The 1934 to 1943 electoral rolls have Ted living with his parents at 1 Coogee St, Randwick East; he was described as an accountant. After the wedding and until 1949 Estelle also lived with the family – Ted was in the army for some of that time. There is a second entry for 1949 which indicates that the couple had moved to 182 Arden, St Coogee. By 1954 they had moved to their permanent home, 1 Bigland Ave, West Ryde.

Ted was a member of Catholic Action. The following is just one example of the several references to him in that capacity: from the Catholic Freeman’s Journal on Thu 20 Jul 1939:

On Tuesday last Mr. E. Gillin put us under an obligation in his lucid exposition of the history and development of Italian Fascism.

From the Catholic Weekly, Thu 8 Feb 1951:

A FORMER pupil of the Marist Brothers’ Randwick. Mr. E. F. Gillin, B.Ec., A.I.C.A., has just been awarded the L. A. Brooke Memorial Prize by the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. This prize is awarded to the student obtaining the highest aggregate marks in New South Wales at the final examinations in Secretarial Practice. Mr. Gillin, besides obtaining first place in New South Wales, gained second place in the Commonwealth at the examinations held in December.

The Catholic Weekly announced the birth of three of their four children.

Thu 8 Aug 1946:

Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Gillin are being congratulated on the birth of a daughter, Mary Elizabeth. Mrs. Gillin was formerly Estelle O’Neill, of Kempsey.

Thu 23 Jun 1949:

R. and Mrs. E. F. Gillin, of Coogee, are being congratulated on the birth of their flrst son, who has been named Edward Damien. Mr. and Mrs. Gillin have two daugters, Mary and Ellen.

Thu 19 Jun 1952:

BARBARA MARY are the names chosen for the third daughter and fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Gillin, of West Ryde, born at St. Margaret’s Hospital on June 15.

Their other daughter was Eileen Bernadette, born in 1947 and passed away at Balmain on 17 Dec 2019.

Edward died on 20 Dec 2001 and Estelle on 07 Apr 2009.

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


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