Hugh O'Donnell
Mary Lakeman
Richard Crabtree
Margaret Champain
John O'Donnell
Elizabeth Peace Crabtree
Daniel Morris O'Donnell


Family Links

1. Jane Rankin

2. Sarah Elizabeth Roberts

Daniel Morris O'Donnell

  • Born: 4 Nov 1844, Hunter's Hill, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia 3 4
  • Christened: 1 Dec 1844, Hunter's Hill, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia 4
  • Married (1): 13 Jan 1864, Boliva, Tenterfield, N.S.W., Australia 1
  • Married (2): 1883, Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia 2
  • Died: 30 Jan 1921, Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia 5

  Research Notes:

Daniel received his education in Sydney.

While still a youth, he accompanied his father to the Ballarat and Bendigo gold fields, where he became a miner. He pursued this career in mining in the Tenterfield district. Squatters moved into the New England district about 1835. One of these was one Edward Irby who claimed 50000 acres which became 'Bolivia Station". Irby, Daniel O'Donnell and a third man, A C Andrews, worked the station. Certainly, Daniel was working in the district by 1864 as he married Jane Rankin at Bolivia Station on 13 Jan. of that year. Jane was the daughter of one of the workers, George Rankin, who was killed when a tree fell on him. George was a lay preacher in the Wesleyan church. Mrs. Irby took in the widow and two daughters. She brought them up and educated them.
(Jane reputedly kept the blood stained shirt belonging to her father until her death, when it disappeared, no doubt disposed of by Daniel's second wife.)

Daniel probably became permanently involved in the property as a result of the "Robinson Land Act" ,1868. It introduced limits to the size of holdings that could be claimed. Irby's way of dealing with this was to introduce ghosts into the claim. However, once Daniel secured his tenure, he became a real partner.

In 1878, Daniel along with Irby and Andrews, purchased 40 acres at Vegetable Creek and developed a tin mining industry. The land forms the site of the township of Vegetable Creek - now Emmaville. While running this mine, the three gave employment to 108 men in addition to running a large store which provided the miners with the necessities of life, and a blacksmith. The firm flourished and their property increased in size to 1000 acres.

On 25 September 1878, the following advertisement appeared in the Glen Innes Examiner to the effect that, "Edward Irby, A C Andrews and Daniel O'Donnell were dissolving their partnership." Following the dissolution of the partnership, Daniel O'Donnell remained proprietor of the estate and it continued to flourish.

He became interested in all aspects of mining in the district and assisted to a great degree in opening out new mines. He became a large shareholder in; "Little Britain", "Little Wonder", "Rose Valley", "McDonald's Reef", "Surprise", "Webb and Pyes", "McRoneues", and was closely associated with many others.

While still in partnership, he gave land on which is erected the public school, Mining Institute and Masonic Lodge hall (he was a leading mason). He also gave the Chinese miners and gardeners the site for their Joss House.

Throughout the early days, the O'Donnells lived at Bolivia station. Daniel and Jane had 11 children. They lived well and entertained a great deal. Riding parties and kangaroo drives were popular. Kangaroos were in plague numbers. Afterwards all guests would return to 'Bolivia House' for refreshments or a meal. Jane had plenty of household help and either a French or Chinese cook. Daniel's stables would supply horses for visitors without a mount.

Daniel was very keen on horses and owned many, all stabled and in the care of a groom whose duty it was to keep the horses properly fed and groomed at all times, harness washed and greased and buckles shining. Most of Daniel's horses were of Arab blood. He was an outstanding whip and often drove a four in hand of big horses, 17 hands and full of spirit. One particularly beautiful grey race horse, 'The Earl', belonged to Jane. Once, when driving home from Tenterfield, Daniel and Jane passed a string of horses being exercised and Jane fell in love with the grey. Later, Daniel bought the horse as a surprise for Jane. Daniel used to race 'The Earl' until some cruel person put pepper balls up his nostrils, breaking his wind and his heart. He had to be destroyed and the incident cured Daniel of racing horses forever.

There were few good roads in the area, excepting the town of Emmaville itself, only rough tracks cleared out to the various mines, so the ability to ride well was essential. Maurice and Elizabeth O'Donnell, two of Daniel's children, used to deliver the pay to outlying mines along these tracks in a buggy and pair. Once when returning from one such trip, a fierce storm broke. They stopped and cut saplings to tie to the back of the buggy to act as breaks as they descended a steep bank to a creek to be forded - no bridges. The creek rose rapidly and part way across one of the horses fell into a deep hole and couldn't raise its head above water. Maurice climbed along the pole, cut it free of its harness. Horses, buggy and the two eventually made it safely across.

Daniel O'Donnell was 6' 1" tall and 16 stone in his prime. None of the O'Donnell men were under 6'. Late in life Daniel was injured by a falling tree and forced inactivity saw his weight climb to 20 stone. A series of personal tragedies followed making his old age emotionally painful. In 1916, his daughter Carmen died, then his second wife Sarah died in 1917, followed by son Kingsley in 1918 in WW I, granddaughter Lucy (Maurice's daughter) in 1919 and finally the impending death of his youngest daughter Nea from venereal disease acquired as the result of a disastrous marriage. Daniel had retired to Coolangatta after Sarah's death in 1917 and he died there at his home "Biralee" on 30 Dec. 1921, just 6 months before his daughter Nea who is buried near him in the Tweed Heads cemetery. 2

  Marriage Information:

Daniel married Jane Rankin, daughter of George Rankin and Mary Ann Graham, on 13 Jan 1864 in Boliva, Tenterfield, N.S.W., Australia 1. (Jane Rankin was born on 6 May 1842 in West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia 6, christened on 21 Aug 1842 in West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia 6 and died on 12 Dec 1882 in Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia 7.

  Marriage Information:

Daniel also married Sarah Elizabeth Roberts, daughter of Frank Roberts and Sarah J. Cooper, in 1883 in Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia 2. (Sarah Elizabeth Roberts was born in 1857 in Paddington, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia and died on 26 Aug 1917 in Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia 8 9.

  Marriage Notes:

Unable to locate this marriage in the NSW BDM Index.


1 NSW Registry BDM (marriages), 3175/1864.

2 Research shared by Morrie Kerle and Gaye Cooke.

3 NSW Registry BDM (births), V18441127 28/1844.

4 Australia Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981, Batch # C13544-9.

5 Queensland BDM, 1921/C552.

6 Australia Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981, Batch # C13544-5.

7 NSW Registry BDM (deaths), 8241/1882.

8 Ibid, 13789/1917.

9 Australian Cemeteries Index,

Home | Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 30 Nov 2015 with Legacy 4.0 from Millennia