Search billions of records on

Private James O'Donnell (c.1836......1922.)


Back To . . .12th Foot East Suffolk Regiment
  • Born : Circa 1836
  • Where Born : Limerick, Ireland
  • Occupation : / Soldier
  • Date Arrived : 6th November 1854
  • Ship Arrived on : "Empress Eugenie"
  • Rank on Discharge : Private
  • Regimental # : 3226
  • Date of Enlistment : July 1854
  • Where Enlisted : Cork
  • Date of Discharge : 1861
  • Where Discharged : Sydney
  • Died : 4th. January 1922
  • Where Died / Buried : Melbourne/Footscray Cemetery
  • Parents Names :
  • Spouse's Name : Rachel Waters
  • Born : 28th February 1835
  • Where Born : : County Meath, Ireland
  • Occupation : Child's Maid
  • Date Arrived : 29th September 1854
  • Ship Arrived on : "Caroline Middleton"
  • Died : 4th June 1922
  • Where Died / Buried : Melbourne/Footscray Cemetery
  • Date Married : 27th July 1857
  • Where Married : St. David's Cathedral Church, Hobart Town
  • Spouse's Parents : John and Rachel Waters.
  • Descendants
    This information was kindly supplied by Bill O'Connor" E-mail address


    Area Settled :
    Children :
    1 . Henry James. (b.: 22 December 1858 at Port Arthur ... d) .Married Kate Bullen (b.......d.)
    2 . James Henry. Born: 2nd June 1860 at Darlinghurst Barracks Sydney ....d.)Married Caroline Evans(b.......d.)
    3 . Rachel. (b.......d.) Married E.J. Wood Decd.(b.......d.) , Married P. Bendell (b.......d.)
    4 . Margaret(b.......d.) . Married Mr. McQuirk (b.......d.) Decd., Married Mr. McQuirk (b.......d.)
    5 . Mary(b.......d.) . Married John Kierce (b.......d.)
    6 . Nora (b.......d.). Married Tom Dugan (b.......d.)
    7 . Kate(b.......d.) . Married William Fewster.(b.......d.)

    History & Achievements :

    At the age of 18 years James O'Donnell ran away from his home in Limerick, Ireland to join the British
    Army. He was cut off from the family with a shilling and was forbidden by his father to ever return and was not allowed to communicate with his family. However he did write to his mother through the family Nanny.
    James joined the 12th East Suffolk Regiment at Cork, and it was in November 1854 that they arrived in
    Melbourne. At this time "miners were revolting on the Ballarat goldfields and detachments of the 40th Regiment and the 12th Regiment were in Ballarat trying to keep order in the diggings. Major General Sir Robert Nickie led the rest of the Melbourne based 40th Regiment and the newly arrived division of the 12th Regiment, together with blue-jackets from two naval ships on a remarkable 20 hour forced march over hot dusty roads to Ballarat. By the time the main force arrived the troops in Ballarat had stormed the the Eureka Stockade and routed the miners" (from an undated Melbourne Newspaper article)
    After 12 months in Victoria a detachment of the 12th Regiment wastransferred to the penal settlement of
    Port Arthur in Van Diemans Land. Captain Atkinson was in charge.They arrived at Van Diemans Land from Victoria on 29th December 1855.(Record of British Military Forces serving in Tasmania from 1803 - 1870 shows among other dates1855 1866: 12th Regiment (East Suffolks) 12 Officers, 35 NCOs and 222 men. The Old Twelfth or the Old Dozen. Served at Port Arthur 1856 - 1861.)
    It was at Port Arthur that James met and married Rachel Waters. Rachel at the age of 19 years had arrived
    at Van Diemans Land 12 months earlier as a free settler and had the position of maid to the children of the Officer in Charge at Port Arthur.
    Rachel arrived at Hobart Town aboard the Caroline Middleton from Liverpool on 29th September 1854. She was the youngest of 10 children and was a twin. She came from County Meath, Ireland and was educated to read and write and able to do needlework. James and Rachel were married on 27th July 1857 at St. David's Cathedral Church in Hobart Town.
    James served on the Tasman Peninsula from 1856- 1858 and their first child Henry James was born there.
    Then James went to the Maori Wars leaving with troops under Major Hutchins on the 12th January 1859 per "Salem" via Sydney.
    On returning from New Zealand in 1861 he received the Maori War Medal and took his discharge.
    James, Rachael and their two sons moved to Melbourne where they had five more children all girls.
    James found a position with the Melbourne City Council where he was employed until his retirement at the age of 70.
    When James died the following article together with a photo appeared in a Melbourne newspaper.
    "Mr James O'Donnell, who died at his residence 15 Thompson Street, Kensington on January 4th was an old soldier of the Imperial forces. He was employed as overseer of convicts in the early settlements of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania and was present at the Eureka Stockade. Subsequently he served in the Maori war in which he served as aide-de-camp to Major Millen of the 12th Regiment. For 45 years the late Mr. O'Donnell was in the service of the Melbourne City Council and he has been a colonist for 66 years. He leaves a widow, seven children, 31 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren."
    (The 20 great grandchildren grew out to 65 great grandchildren) James died on 4th January 1922.
    Rachael died just five months later on the 4th June 1922.
    Copyright B & M Chapman (QLD) Australia
    Last revised: August 22, 2002.