Michael O'Dea

M, b. 15 June 1823, d. 13 July 1876
Last Edited=21 Jun 2016
     Michael O'Dea was born on 15 June 1823 in Boheroe in the Parish of Aglishcormick, County Limerick, Ireland; Godparents were Daniel Ryan and Winnefred Ryan.1 He married Mary Purtell on 1 June 1848 in Yass, New South Wales, Australia; The marriage record indicates that the place of the wedding was Bowning, New South Wales.2 Michael O'Dea died on 13 July 1876 in Kirkstall, Victoria, Australia, at age 53.3 He was buried in Tower Hill Cemetery, Tower Hill, Victoria, Australia.
     He immigrated on 31 July 1844 to Australia; Michael and Mary Purtel immigrated to Australia as bounty emigrants on the same ship, the St Vincent. The records state that he was a farm Labourer aged 20, from New Palace, Co Limerick. Both parents dead. Catholic. Could read: "Has a sister in the Colony married to a man named Lynch." The householders certifying character were from Caherconlish. His employer in Ireland was named as Thomas Dea(sic).4

According to the Lynch family research, Michael followed his sister Bridget O'Dea Lynch to Australia. Carroll family research finds that Michael arrived in Sydney and it is thought that he then went to The Gap near Yass in New South Wales. He married Mary Purtell in 1848 at Bowning, New South Wales. Michael left for the 1849 Californian Gold Rush. He returned to Yass in New South Wales before travelling south to join his sister Bridget in the Tower Hill district in southwest Victoria. He was a tenant farmer on the Rutledge's "Farnham survey" at Look Out Hill. Michael acquired the Crossley property, Cloverfield, in 1852. He travelled to Ballarat after this date in search of gold and was thought to be at the Eureka Rebellion in 1853. The Eureka Encyclopaedia (Corfield, Wickham and Gervasoni, 2004) records that he returned to Crossley and became a member of the Belfast District Road’s Board from 1858 until 1861. In 1861 he sold his stock and farming equipment after purchasing the Carleton Inn, Killarney, though he retained the land. Records show that he was licencee of the Inn from 1861. The hotel operates today as a motel. It has been twice rebuilt after fires. The Port Fairy Banner noted “Another of the early settlers at this district has gone to his”long home.” We allude to Mr Michael O’Dea whose death took place on Thursday last. For some time previously Mr O’Dea had been suffering from a complication of disorders arriving principally from consumption. The deceased was a very old resident of the district although, in reality, not a very old man. He came to the Western District from California many years ago, and was one time proprietor of the Carleton Hotel, Killarney, which building was erected by him, but afterwards partially destroyed by fire. After the fire Mr O’Dea devoted his attention to farming pursuits in which he was very successful. In the days of the old Belfast District Road Board, Mr O’Dea for several years was a member of the body, but beyond this he took no very active part in public affairs.” Family legend has it that Michael’s capacity to buy land, build a pub and set up as a trader in Ballarat came from his gold earnings. Michael O’Dea left his property to his daughter Mary Lenehan.

Family: Mary Purtell b. 25 Aug 1817, d. 18 Jul 1894


  1. [S48] Roots Ireland, online http://www.rootsireland.ie
  2. [S47] Michael O'Dea and Mary Purtel, Michael O'Dea and Mary Purtel Marriage.
  3. [S14] Michael O'Dea, Michael O'Dea Death.
  4. [S49] NSW Indexes to immigration and shipping records, online http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.asp, Reel 2135, [4/4785] Page 183; Reel 2454, [4/4900].