Joseph Dominic O’Neill (1902-1975)
Gladys Dalma Bowen

Joseph Dominic O’Neill, known as Dominic, was the fourth youngest of Patrick Joseph O’Neill & Ann Mary Houghs fourteen children.  He was born at Beechwood, New South Wales, 04 Aug 1902; official records (apart from his birth record) have his first and middle names reversed. He did well at school, especially in music. He played violin and appeared in a band in several newspaper items.

Dominic married Gladys Dalma Bowen (b. 30 Jan 1907, d. 1986) at Kempsey in 1928.

Dominic managed the Coopernook Hotel for several years on behalf of his aunt by marriage, Mary Jane Thompson, who had purchased it for her two daughters Myra and Kath.Notice of the transfer of the license appeared in Taree’s The Northern Champion on Wed 9 Jul 1930:

Coopernook Hotel Transferred. — On Monday last the Licensing Magistrate, (Mr. Oram, P.M.) transferred the license of the Coopernook Hotel from Mr. W. A. Henderson to Mr. Dominic Joseph O’Neill, of Kempsey. The new licensee has been assistant manager in his father’s hotel at Kempsey. He is a young man, who will be 27 years’ old next month, and in the management of the Coopernook Hotel he will be assisted by his wife…

However, he ran into insolvency problems (Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, Thu 17 Nov 1932). The Macleay Argus reported the bankruptcy case on Fri 10 Feb 1933:


On Thursday before the Bankruptcy Court the public examination in bankruptcy of Dominic Joseph O’Neill was held.

Mr. W. S. Sheridan appeared for O’Neill.

Dominic Joseph O’Neill stated that he had filed his statement of affairs. He had kept his books in connection with the Coopernook Hotel. He attributed his bankruptcy toi depression and the closing of the mill at Coopernook, and takings dropped from £80 to £90 to £28 to £32. He commenced on 8th July, 1930, and finished on 9th September, 1931. His capital amounted to £20, which was the amount of his rent for one week. There was a judgment in favor of Tooheys for £226/0/11. He had paid £992/8/11 to Tooheys while he was at the. hotel out of £1218/9/. For the last six months he paid cash for all goods received from Tooheys, Limited. He had no complaint from his aunt as regards the manner in which he ran the hotel. it just became impossible.

The Magistrate declared the public examination concluded, and the court adjourned.

He managed to be discharged the following year (The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 21 Jun 1933).

Three years previously Dominic had been convicted in Sydney for failure to connect a premise with the sewer; from The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 30 Jan 1930:


Dominic J. O’Neill was proceeded against at the North Sydney Police Court yesterday by Mr. C. K. Corrigan, chief health inspector of Willoughby, for having failed to connect premises at 3 Chiltern-street, Willoughby, with the sewer, after having been ordered to do so by the local council. He was fined £10, with 8/ costs.

Mr. Dignam (for the defence) said that a man named Terry, who was the real owner of the premises had refused to execute a transfer, and O’Neill, who lived at Kempsey, had no interest in the property, Terry being the actual occupant.

The inspector said that Terry was the original owner. O’Neill had been prosecuted in July last, and fined £5 for a similar offence.The sewer, he added, had been available for three years, and the premises were the only ones in the street that were not connected.

The family had moved back to Kempsey in 1932, and in 1936 Dominic took over the license of the West Kempsey Hotel, the hotel his father had once owned (Macleay Argus, Fri 17 Apr 1936). That was his position in the 1937 electoral rolls. In1937 he was charged and convicted of “failure to keep bar closed”; from the Macleay Argus on Fri 7 May 1937:


Dominic Joseph O’Neill, charged with failure to keep the bar closed during prohibited hours, was represented by Mr. W. H. Sheridan.

The Magistrate said it had been held that his verdict was wrong in law, and he saw no alternative but to convict. He thereupon imposed a fine of £2, with 8/ costs, and allowed 21 days to pay.

Dominic enlisted in during WWII (Service Number NX126758), however his record is not yet available on line.

In the 1949 rolls Dominic is simply listed as barman; the family then lived at 22 Verge St, Kempsey. In the 1954 to 1963 rolls they show up at 24 Rudder St, Kempsey, when Dominic’s employment is listed as clerk. The family had moved to 59 Myra Ave, Ryde, by 1968, and were still there in 1972. He is then listed as an assistant.

Dominic died on 20 Aug 1975 in Ryde, Gladys in 1986.

They had eight children.

Their oldest, Peter Patrick O’Neill, married Ellen Grace Quinn and the couple had two children.

Peter was with his father driving near Kempsey when they witness a plane crash. From the Macleay Argus on Fri 14 Dec 1951:


The tragic death of a young Kempsey pilot,and his passenger, following a plane crash near Smithtown on November 11 was inquired into by the District Coroner (Mr. N. L. Parker) in the Kempsey Court House on Saturday morning.

Mr. Parker found that the injuries  of the two men were received when the engine of the plane stalled, causing the plane to dive and crash.

The inquest involved the death of Nereo Alvin Parisotto and Luciano Favotto – pilot and passenger of the plane.

Domenic Joseph O’Neill, of 32 Rudder Street, East Kempsey, said he was employed by the Department of Works and Housing at the Kempsey aerodrome. He was driving in a motor car with his son, Peter, along the Pacific Highway, near Clybucca, when he saw the plane flying towards Kempsey. There were children in the car and as they were intent on seeing the plane the car slowed down to about ten miles per hour.

“I saw the plane do a complete loop and as it came out of the loop it straightened out and attempted to gain height. I could not hear if the engine was running- or not. The plane suddenly went into a spin going towards the ground and crashing,” said O’Neill.

Witness also gave evidence of going to the plane. Parisotto had on his safety belt but it was broken at the back. He did not notice any sign of breathing by Parisotto, but his pulse was very erratic, and there was a slight movement of the stomach.

Witness told the Coroner that- the plane was at a fair height when it started to spin. Since the crash he had learned various things about the height of planes from airmen.

Height Of Plane

To Mr. Sheridan, O’Neill said that the plane was at a fair height when it looped and appeared to be attempting to gain height when it came out of the spin. There was sufficient room for the pilot to come out of the loop to his knowledge. The plane would be between 1000 and 2000 feet when it came out of the loop. After the plane came out of the loop it appeared to go into a spin and dive to the ground.

Peter Patrick O’Neill, 22, son of the previous witness, said that Parisotto’s safety belt had broken from where it was secured to the plane. Parisotto and Favotto were both wearing helmets.

“You mentioned in your statement that the plane -was 300ft. when it came out of the loop,” said Mr. Sheridan, and witness replied that the height of the plane was far greater than what he first said, it would be in the vicinity of 1000ft…

photo of Ellen Grace Quinn and Peter Patrick O’Neill c.1951 (courtesy of member Shaune Walsh)

The family lived at 26 Broughton St, West Kempsey (1954 electoral rolls), Peter being described as a salesman. Peter suffered heart disease and passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, on 17 Sep 1955, aged just 26.

Their next child, Elizabeth Mary O’Neill, was born on 30 May 1931 and married Henry Joseph Allsop on 18 Jul 1953; from the Macleay Argus on Wed 12 Aug 1953:


Nuptial mass was celebrated at All Saints Catholic Church, West Kempsey, at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July l8, on the occasion of the marriage of Elisabeth, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. J. O’Neill, of Kempsey, and Henry, second son or Mr. and Mrs. N. R. Allsop, of Maitland.

Rev. Father McEvoy was celebrant at the Mass, and also officiated at the wedding.

The. bride’s gown, along classical lines, was of ivory slipper satin, featuring three-quarter length sleeves and a train. The veil was of embroidered Brussels net, and the colourful bouquet consisted of camelias, geraldton wax and sweet peas.

The bridesmaid, Miss Stella Hollis, wore a gown of lemon lace and organza, with a matching hat. Roses and sweet peas comprised her bouquet.

The groom was attended by his brother, John, as best man.

The children’s choir delighted with their singing during Mass and the wedding ceremony.

Mrs. O’Neill received the many guests, at the reception in the Memorial Hall, in a black, crepe gown, with pink accessories and a spray. She was assisted by the groom’s mother, who also wore black, with a red spray of carnations. Among the guests were Mr. and Mrs. K. O’Rourke (née Miss Anne O’Neill), of Sydney, Miss Joan Allsop, of Maitland, and Miss Mel Ashby, of Grafton. The bride wore a junior navy frock and coat, with white and navy accessories, when she left for Katoomba, where the honeymoon was spent.

Elizabeth passed away on 01 Aug 2011.

Note that we do not publish names of people still living without their permission, unless they appear in a public or official document. If anyone in this family can assist with additional information, photos and stories, we be pleased to include them: email

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