William 1867

William O’Neill (1867-1948)
Annie Maud McEwen (1868-1960

Jump down to the list of their children

William O’Neill was the second of six children of William O’Neill & Catherine McNamara, born on 25 Oct 1867 in Mount Rivers, Upper Paterson NSW.

Annie Maud McEwen (registered as Ann) was the fourth of possibly eight children of Benjamin McEwen & Bridget McKeowen, born in 1868 in the Upper Paterson: the McEwen family resided at Cooper’s Flat and the McKeowens at Creebank on the Paterson River.

William and Annie married in 1890 at Mount Rivers. William and his father were farmers/graziers, as instanced in several reports on sales in the Paterson region, of which these are just a selection:

The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 10 Nov 1894:

Fat and Store Pigs. — Fairly large number yarded to a large attendance of buyers and excellent prices realised. Store pigs are in very brisk demand. I have sold: For W. O’Neill, 12 at 7s 9d to 8s 6d, 6 at 10s; …

The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 10 Dec 1904:

Fat and Store Cattle. — A fairly large number yarded, which consisted of light cows and bullocks in nice fresh condition, to a small attendance of buyers. Biddings were dull and dragging, and in several lots vendors’ reserves were beyond buyers’ limits, and wore passed in. I sold — J. Beatty, jun., light bullocks at £6 18s; J. Doosey, cows at £5 17s 6d; W. O’Neill, heifers at £3 11s; J. Horn, 2 bulls, at £4 12s to £6 15s; L. Cardow, 3 poddies at £1 15s.

The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 17 Jun 1905:

Store Cattle.— Our yardings were light, several lots advised did not turn up. Buyers were in large numbers, biddings active, and high prices ruling for cattle of all classes. We sold — S.Croach, 2 steers at £2 2s 6d, cow and calf at £1 4s; J. Croach, heifers at £3 6s; C. Woodhouse, 3 steers at £2 5s, 2 at £2 5s, 2 poddies at £1 3s; W. O’Neil, 2 at £1 5s.

The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 7 Jul 1906:

Store Cattle. – Very light supply yarded on the 29th to a large attendance of buyers. Competition was very brisk, and prices red hot. We have numerous enquiries for all classes of stock, and can place any number at good values. We sold: W. O’Neill, cows at £2 19s, -1 poddy at 18s; …

The Maitland Daily Mercury carried this complaint about a land purchase involving William, Tue 28 Aug 1900:


Sir,— Please insert the following in your paper in the interests of justice and the general public.

Sometime ago, I went to Paterson to apply for some government land. The Crown land agent (J. S. Brown) told me in the presence of Mr. Bradford (Manager Commercial Bank) that it was not available and no one could take it up. A short time after, a neighbour of mine (W. O’Neill, junr.) went down and got the same portion of land. I wrote to J.S.H. about the matter, and the only satisfaction I got was that he had made a mistake – I think he wrote a memo to that effect on the back of my letter, – he had not even the common politeness to offer me an apology. At the time this occurred, J.S.B’s father (H. H. Brown) was M.P. for Durham, and the successful applicant, and most of his near relations, were supporters of his.

I have merely stated facts. I leave your numerous readers to judge whether I was fairly treated in the matter. It is now more than three years since this happened. It did not suit me to make it public before for several reasons, which, if necessary, at the proper time and place I can give. Now at the eleventh hour I challenge the fullest investigation of the transaction.

H. H. HOLDEN. Penshurst, Gresford, 27th August, 1900.

William was a strong member of the community. He was appointed onto the local Progress Committee in 1998 (Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, Fri 01 Apr 1898). From The Maitland Daily Mercury, Wed 27 Feb 1907:


The monthly meeting of the local Progress Committee came off on Saturday last. Present : Messrs. H. H. Rooney (president, in the chair), W. P. Power (secretary), Fred. Hopson, W. O’Neill, W. Summericht, F. Lovett. Correspondence from Mr. R. B. Boydell re deviation of the Gob was received, Mr. Boydell promised to bring the shire engineer over to let him have a look at the place. Re the proposed tramline, Paterson to Gresford, the secretary was instructed to put himself in communication with prominent men in Eccleston, Allynbrook, and Gresford, with the object of forming themselves into a strong railway league for the purpose of getting a light tramline constructed from Paterson, if possible, to Allynbrook. A resolution was passed to draw the shire council’s attention to several dangerous places on the road from Lostock to Mount Rivers, which badly need fencing, after which the meeting dispersed. Light rain set in last night, and it is to be hoped it will be succeeded by a good and sufficient fall.

[Editor: the Gob is a hill of almost Alpine height, famous in the locality; occupants of vehicles wear a placid smile of content at the thought of having at last passed its difficult summit.]

mount rivers community

Mt Rivers community
(photos courtesy of Riq de Cavalho, a great grandson)

William was one of three candidates put up for Council. From the Dungog Chronicle: Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, Tue 27 Sept 1921:



Shire of Wallarobba
Extraordinary Election
Riding C

NOTICE is hereby given that tho following NOMINATIONS have been received:-

O’NEILL, WILLIAM (Mount Rivers). Proposers: A. J. Ninness, R. R. White. …

As there are more Candidates nominated than there are Councillors to be elected a POLL will be taken by POSTAL BALLOT closing at the POST OFFICE, DUNGOG at SIX O’CLOCK P.M. on SATURDAY, 15th OCTOBER, 1921.

Each candidate may, by writing, signed by him, appoint one person as Scrutineer.

The result was reported on Tue 18 Oct 1921:


The result of the postal ballot for the selection of a councillor vice R. B. Boydell, Esq., resigned, was announced on Saturday. The voting was as follows: — James Richardson 82 (elected); John Hopson 62, Wiliam O’Neill 23; informal 5.

Like his father, William and his family were also well known local musicians. His father died in 1906, so the first indication we have of his son’s musical ability is this article, from The Maitland Daily Mercury on Sat 22 Dec 1906:


On Friday evening last a very successful concert was held in the local Public School in aid of its library. There, was a splendid attendance, and the programme opened with Mr. W. O’Neill then gave some nice selections on the violin, which were very much appreciated. The second part of the programme … Mr. W. O’Neill‘s violin solo brought forth rounds of applause.

Mount Rivers School Mt Rivers School

An article in the Dungog Chronicle on 26 Nov 1897 mentions the musical ability of a W. O’Neill. This is unlikely to be his father, since two of William Sn’s sisters had died by that time, and the third, Ellen, was married to Francis McNamara; moreover, during the evening song and piano recitals were given by a Miss O’Neill. On the other hand, William Jn had four sisters, none of whom married and all of whom died by 1913:

… Mr W. O’Neill, well known locally for his musical ability, played a selection on the violin accompanied by his sister on the piano …

Then, on Sat 30 Dec 1911:

A very successful plain, fancy, and a dress ball was held in aid Excellent music [was provided by] by Mr. W. O’Neill and …

William & Annie’s family:

01. Joseph Neville (b. 1891, d. ?)

02. Benjamin (b. 29 May 1893, d. 1971 in Queensland)

03. Mary Mozelle (b. 1895, d. 1985)

04. John Clinton (b. 11 Jul 1897, d. 29 Sep 1985)

05. William Xavier (b. 1899, d. 1980)

06. Clyde James (b. 1901, d. ?)

07. Cedda Marcellas (b. 1903, d. 7 Apr 1932 in Queensland), spelt Sedda in the NSW birth register.

08. Patrick Geoffrey (b. 1905, d. 1981 in Queensland)

09. Margaret Ellen (b. 1906, d. ?)

10. Hugh Michael (b. 1909, d. 1984)

In the early 1920s William and Annie made the decision to move and farm in Queensland. From The Maitland Daily Mercury, Sat 19 May 1923. The Mr N. O’Neill listed below is possibly Joseph Neville; Madge is Margaret Ellen, later known as Peg; C. O’Neill is probably Clyde James; The name Master Barry O’Neill is hard to discern in the records and may be incorrect.


A big number of people gathered at the Mount Rivers School on Tuesday evening for the purpose of publicly farewelling Mr. and Mrs. W. O’Neill and family. There were present residents from all parts of the district, and it was very evident that the departing family were very popular, and the school room was not nearly large enough to hold all those present. The early part of the evening was taken up by a banquet, Mr. Thomas Bogan being chairman. Apologies were received from Messrs. F. S. Halsted, P. Bird, H. H. Randall. Valedictory speeches were given by Misses E. M . Coleman, Miss D. Lill, A. J. Ninness, R. R. White, P. White, L. E. Scott, L. Lee, S. P. Lill, and V. Bogan. Mr. W. O’Neill was presented with a cheque and a pipe, Mrs. O’Neill with a Xylonite brush and comb on a tray, Mr. N. O’Neill a fountain pen, Miss Madge O’Neill a manicure set, Master Barry O’Neill a riding whip and a pair of spurs. Mr. O’Neill responded, thanking everybody for their presents and also for their kind remarks and good wishes, and said that he and his family had been at Mount Rivers almost all their lives, and would never forget the place and many friends, Mr. W. O’Neill also responded. Songs were given during the evening by R. R. White and Mr. C. O’Neill. The latter part, of the night was given over to dancing, which was kept up until the early hours of the morning. Mr. V. Bogan was M.C., and the music was supplied by Mrs. F. Mortensen and Mr. M. Bird.

At the Victoria Hotel at East Gresford on Wednesday evening, Mr. T. J. Smith (who is leaving the district) was farewelled by a number of his friends. The function took the form of a banquet and the dining room was very nicely arranged for the occasion, and the tables tastefully decorated, indicating work and care on the part of Mr. and Mrs. Flory. Mr. R. R. White was chairman of the proceedings, and carried out his duties in a competent manner. Numerous toasts were proposed and drunk with enthusiasm, the various speakers being Messrs. J. Beatty, H. H. Randall, C. O’Neill, T. Richardson, G. S. Bamble, P. White, A. J. Ninness, J. Jones, A. Clements, T. Barry. Songs were given throughout the proceedings by Messrs. F. Watson, R. R. White, J . Beatty. C. O’Neill. The guest was presented with a pair of gold sleeve links as a memento of the occasion, and in his reply thanked those present for the links, and for their good wishes, and wished them all good luck and hoped to see them all again as he expected to be back in the district from time to time. The gathering broke up after having spent a pleasant evening.    

grandmother McKeon Annie Maud O’Neill (née McEwen)

Generation 2

01. Joseph Neville O’Neill never married: he had some sort of brain damage and lived in a nursing home in Morriset, NSW. There’s a record of a Neville O’Neill’s death in 1982, father William but no mother or district recorded.

02. Benjamin O’Neill was described as a stockman when he enlisted at Cloncurry, Queensland, on 15 Oct 1915; his full service record can be read here. He was discharged on 31 Jan 1918, having served in England and France from from 19 Sep 1916 until 17 Oct 1918. He was wounded in action on 16 Jun 1917, a fact reported in The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Sat 14 July 1917:

Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill, of Mount Rivers have received a message from the Base Records Office that their son, Private Ben O’Neill, has been wounded.

In fact his injuries had left him with some disfigurement to the side of his face. William had become the chairman of a committee to mark the end of the war. From The Maitland Daily Mercury, Tue 19 Aug 1919:


Peace celebration day in this district had to be postponed on account of the influenza. However, a good number assembled at 10 o’clock on Saturday to celebrate the event at the pubic school. The chairman, Mr. W. O’Neill, briefly introduced the object of the meeting and spoke of the wonderful achievement of the Allies in winning a glorious victory. Mr. Sam. Parish supported the chairman, and in his opening remarks laid great stress on that splendid little nation, Belgium, whose people so gallantly held the enemy in order that France and England might have time to assemble their army and navy. After the reading of the departmental address, and the presentation of the peace medals to the children, the National Anthem was sung, the pianist being Miss R. Egan, who, with her pupils from Colstoun School, also joined in the celebration. The school children, carrying the Union Jack, then marched in procession to the park paddock, kindly lent for the occasion by Messrs Parish and Richardson. After the arrival at the picnic ground a sumptuous lunch was prepared by the ladies, whilst the men looked after the interests of the children at their various games. Dinner being partaken of in right royal fashion,sports were resumed, until the call for afternoon tea was made, after which all dispersed, well satisfied with the day’s outing.  

During the war Benjamin married an English woman named Margaret Eleanor Brown (known as Maggie), whose parents were William Brown & Jane Nelson. They lived for a time in the Northern Territory, before moving to North Queensland. In the 1968 census they lived in Mareeba, Queensland: Benjamin is described as a telephone labourer; Maggie’s middle name is spelt Ellena. His service records include a letter written by him on 30 Mar 1968 from 13 Kearney St Mareeba. They had 4 children. Benjamin died in 1971 in Queensland and Maggie in 1988.

05. William Xavier O’Neill married Kathleen Egan (1898-?). They farmed at Kin Kin in Queensland, and Mary Gabrielle O’Neill was born in 1938. Gabrielle married Harry John Adams and they farmed for many years at Garah in northern NSW. They have since retired to Toowoomba. Gabrielle and Harry have four children, Christopher John (b. 1963), Shona Louise (b. 1964), Neil Patrick (b. 1968, d. in an accident 1970) and Mary Jemma (b. 1970).

06. Clyde James O’Neill married Madge Ward. They lived in Gympie in Queensland and were involved with a number of hotels, including the Queens and the Jockey Club.

07. Cedda Marcellas O’Neill was a farmer at Kin Kin in Queensland and died following an unfortunate car accident. The Brisbane Courier, Wed 22 Jun 1932 carried this report of the inquest into his death:

Mr. Bracewell also held an inquest into the death of Cedda Marcellas O’Neill (29), a farmer, of Kin Kin, which occurred on April 7 last. Evidence showed that deceased was driving a car along tho Cooran-Kin Kin road, when it skidded and rolled over an embankment, deceased sustaining internal injuries. The inquiry was closed.

08. Patrick Geoffrey O’Neill married Inas Allen in 1926 at Lismore, NSW. He was a pilot during WWII and a cabinet maker after the war. They had four children.

09. Margaret Ellen O’Neill married Clarrie Doran in 1947 at Narrabri, NSW. They had one child, Lynn Mary Doran.

10, Hugh Michael O’Neill married Elizabeth Rosetta Potts in Queensland in 1937. Hugh farmed with his father and died in a nursing home in Tewantin, Queensland in 1984. They had six children.

Not much is known about some of these children, so if anyone has any information we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email mick@oneillfamily.id.au.

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