Hugh O'Donnell


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Mary Lakeman

Hugh O'Donnell

  • Born: 1769, Sligo, Ireland
  • Married: 24 Jul 1798, Plymouth, Devon, England 1
  • Died: 25 May 1834, Smith St., Parramatta, N.S.W., Australia
  • Buried: Catholic Cemetery, Parramatta, N.S.W., Australia

   Another name for Hugh was Hugh O'DONALL.

  General Notes:

Compiler's 4 x great grandfather

  Research Notes:

He became a soldier as an adult, about the turn of the 19th century. Certainly, 1798 found him in Plymouth, Devon, marrying Mary Lakeman. Perhaps joining the army lead to his meeting Mary who was a Devonshire girl, born ca 1775. Three children were born to them while they lived in England; John, Thomas and Hugh Frederick.

The 18th April 1809 found him being transferred from the 18th garrison of the 102nd. Regiment to the 73rd. Foot, 1st. Bn which was stationed at Colwell Barracks on the Isle of Wight. On the 28 August 1809, the 'Anne II' sailed from Cowes Road London. The vessel hove to off the Isle of Wright to take on board members of the 73rd. regiment, including Hugh O'Donnell, his wife Mary and sons, John aged 10, Thomas aged 3 and Frederick Hugh aged 12 months. John was to be part of an escort for convicts to NSW. Army records show him to be 5'9" tall with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

The 'Anne II' was a 647 tonne transport, possibly Spanish built and taken as a prize of war. Captain Charles Clark in command, the vessel also carried 197 male convicts, other members of the 73rd regiment and their families, convict overseers and a crew of 50 men. She was armed with 20 guns.Other passengers included Rev. Samuel Marsden, his wife Elizabeth, their children and a companion for Mrs. Marsden, Rev. Cartwright together with 2 missionary artisans for New Zealand. The Military Officers aboard were Captain Maclean, Lieutenants Parnell and Drury and Assistant Surgeon Martia. The last three had their families with them. A young maori chieftain, Ruatara was also on board. He had been kidnapped by Captain Cook in 1787 and was teaching the language to the missionaries to facilitate their assimilation in New Zealand. Her cargo also included "5 merino ewes with young" which King George III had presented to the colony of New South Wales and were to be the sole charge of Rev. Marsden throughout the voyage.

The 'Anne II' sailed via Rio, the cape of Good Hope and hence to New South Wales where she arrived on 27th February 1810. The following extract from the Sydney Gazette, March 3 1810, describes the arrival.

"On Tuesday 17th Feb 1810 arrived from England the 'Anne' transport, Captain Chas Clarke with part of the 73rd regiment and 197 male convicts having lost 1 overboard on the passage whose name was Pope. These people are in a healthy state and express the highest satisfaction with their treatment in passage. The military officers are Capt. Maclean, Lieutenants Purcell, Drury and assistant surgeon Martin, the 3 latter gentlemen accompanied by their families. Also have arrived Rev. Samuel Marsden and lady and the Rev. Mr. Cartwright and family."

The colony was barely a dozen years old. Governor Lachlan Macquarie had a month earlier, taken over the reins of a settlement in turmoil. The previous governor, William Bligh had been unceremoniously removed by supporters of the New South Wales Corp. (the Rum Corp.) in the Rum Rebellion over a year previously. Hugh had been many years in the British Army and had transferred to the 73rd. (now the 2nd battalion of the Royal Highlanders - the Black Watch.) only months before his departure for New South Wales.

While Hugh would have seen magnificent coves and inlets with unsullied golden sandy beaches as the 'Anne II' sailed into Sydney Harbour, Sydney town itself presented a sorry sight. Streets were still dirt tracks along which livestock roamed unchecked. Public drunkenness was rife particularly in the Rocks area, site of numerous bawdy houses and grog shops. He would have seen the working parties of fettered convicts shuffling about their daily toil, sullen and resentful. The Rum Corp. had been redesignated the 102nd. and was replaced by Governor Macquarie's 73rd Highlanders. Over the following months, the Governor transformed the town. Church attendance became compulsory for troops and convicts alike. Work on public buildings became a priority; St. Phillip's church finally acquired a roof, a new hospital, post office, Justice Court and many other buildings were built. Hyde Park was planned and begun. Licensed houses in the Rocks were reduced to about 20 and public drunkenness decreased. The old rows were transformed into 50 foot wide streets, cleared of roots, livestock and renamed. Bridges were widened, markets enlarged and rebuilt.

In 1814, the 73rd Highlanders left for Columbo, Ceylon, to be replaced by the 46th Foot under George Molle. Governor Macquarie formed a Veteran Corps from remnants of the NSW Corp. and any members of the 73rd. who did not wish to return to England at the conclusion of their tour of duty. Hugh availed himself of this offer on 24 Mar 1814. His pay for the previous 90 days was 3 pound 18 shilling and 9 pence. As a member of the Veteran Company, Hugh became eligible for a grant of land.

According to the 'Old Chum' Truth newspaper 22nd November 1918, when Hugh went to receive his grant, the governor was present. When the location and area of land had been pointed out to Hugh, he was totally disgusted. The grant comprised a poorly section of what is now Balmain and Drummoyne.

The governor remarked "This is your land O'Donnell and I trust you are satisfied."
"Pooh your excellency" replied Hugh. "It would not keep a goat."
"Very well, O'Donnell, if you are not satisfied, select your allotment." Macquarie answered.

Hugh selected 100 acres west of what is now Rookward cemetery in the suburb of Liberty Plains, now called Concord. The area apparently had a poor water supply and was heavily timbered. The grant was signed and sealed on 30th June 1823, by Governor Thomas Brisbane who replaced Gov Macquarie in 1821. The wheels of bureaucracy ground slow even then!
The 100 acres was actually in the County of Cumberland in the district of Parramatta. A condition of the grant was that Hugh employ one convict to help work the property. The said convict was to be victualled and clothed agreeably to government regulations. This block adjoined land grants given to his sons Thomas and John, both of 60 acres.

Hugh served in Capt. Brabyn's Coy from 1814 until it was disbanded in 1823. The company was reformed in 1825 and again disbanded in 1831. Hugh does appear in the records for this period although he is finally discharged in 1832. The 1828 census shows 20 acres had been cleared and Hugh owned 7 head of horned cattle. He had 2 convict servants by then; 31 year old Sarah Coing and 31 year old William Duffy. Both were free of servitude.

Hugh is noted on several jury lists. Several more children were born to him and Mary in Australia. Hugh was a devout Catholic and because of this was never promoted past private while in the army. He is mentioned as Sergeant O"Donnell in the 'Old Chum' article but this is an error. He and Mary retired to a home in Smith St., Parramatta. Various widowed daughters and other family members lived with them from time to time. This property may have been the "Three Crowns Hotel" of family 'myth'. "Old Chum" in the Truth newspaper of 22 Sep. 1918, speaks of the memories of several old locals. They recalled a Mrs O'Donnell who was owner of the "Three Crowns" but retired before the 1830's and it was then a private house. The article has many errors so this too may be incorrect. Hugh died on 25 May 1834 while living in the Smith St. house.

Hugh O'Donnell, private for 32 years

First in 18th garrison, 102nd Regiment and later
New South Wales Veterans Company G
Discharged in consequence of disbandment
Conduct - very good
Signed by mark
About 57 years
Height 5'9"
Dark brown hair
Grey eyes
Fair complexion
Labourer 2

   Marriage Information:

Hugh married Mary Lakeman, daughter of John Lakeman and Mary Pepperell, on 24 Jul 1798 in Plymouth, Devon, England 1. (Mary Lakeman was born in 1775 in Charleton, Devon, England, christened on 1 Jan 1776 in Charleton, Devon, England, died on 11 Jun 1850 in Parramatta, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia and was buried on 13 Jun 1850 in St. John's Anglican, Parramatta, N.S.W., Australia.)

   Marriage Notes:

Hugh O'Donnell of the Invalids and Mary Lakeman of this Parish

Married in this Church by Banns No. 12

John Gandy, Vicar

Witnesses: Tho: Richards, Joseph Boyce


1 Plymouth Parish Registers, Marriages, no. 27.

2 Compiler, Private research shared by Morrie Kerle and Gay Cooke.

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