Born Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, Ireland

Father's name said to be Michael, but surname may not have been O’NEIL as child was possibly raised by Grandmother.

Two entries on the Latter Day Saints I.G.I. show births for Michael O’Neil -
  • b. 1831 Ireland - Rel: John B Hanigan - no parents listed
  • b. 3 Aug 1831 Cathedral (St Mary) Limerick, Lim. Ireland.
        Father - Michael, Mother - Sarah

We visited Sixmilebridge, Co Clare in 1999 see photos and wouldn't you know it - the regular Priest was away, and although the Priest we spoke to had lived there all his life, he knew nothing of what was in the Church records!!!

A publican in the village told us that the O’Neils were “hill people”.

Townland of Sixmilebridge, Barony of Lower Bunratty, Parish of Kilfinaghta, County Clare, Munster - sounds SO Irish, one can almost feel the ancient heritage, smell the smoke from the peat fires and hear the wind gusting across the wide expanses of lush emerald green......

But our romantic images of cosy fireplaces and rolling grassy hills present a picture that hid the grim reality - no food, not much work, no chance for the people to make their way in the world.

So the Irish left their homeland by the 1,000’s and ventured far away in search of a better life.

As a graphic illustration of how things were changing in this little area of the Emerald Isle, population of Sixmilebridge went from 1,491 in 1831 to 848 in 1841 (data taken from 1841 Gazeteer of Ireland).

No doubt many of these villagers embarked on the perilous journey across the unknown to Australia - amongst them OUR Michael O’Neil!

  • DOB - estimated from Death Certificate - circa 1831
  • DOB - estimated from Marriage Certificate - circa 1827 OR 1833
         (a crossing out of age - could be 26 or 32)
  • DOB - estimated from said age at time of marriage - circa 1830
  • DOB - estimated from age 26 when possible ship arrived in 1859 - circa 1833

His obituary states he “was born in Co Clare, Ireland in 1831 and he was thus 94 years of age at the time of his death. He came to Australia in 1856 in “The Lord Raglan”, and reached Port Adelaide in February 1857.”

There does not appear to be any mention of him on the passenger list of “The Lord Raglan”, but an entry that matched his age etc. was found amongst those listed on “The Escort” which arrived in 1859.

NOTE: Either of the above entries could possibly be correct - or incorrect. As stated below “Names, dates and information are presented with the best intentions.” I am always happy to adjust my details if and when new information comes to light.

After landing in South Australia Michael found work as a farmer in the Gawler, South Australia area. It is believed he was employed by a Doctor. Here he met and married Ellen Agnes McSheehy.

Michael and Ellen decided to try life in the South East of South Australia - they relocated to Mt Gambier where they spent the remainder of their lives. The O’Neil family collected a large holding at Worrolong just out of the town - there is a road there today bearing their name.

Michael and Ellen are both buried in the Lake Terrace Cemetery in Mt Gambier - see photos.

Their many descendents are scattered far and wide - many still in South Australia.

1 Michael O’Neil b. __ __  1827 d. 25 Feb 1925 
  m. Ellen Agnes McSheehy m. 05 Dec 1859 b. __ ___ 1839 d. 25 Dec 1894 
  Died of asthma. Smoked corn-cob pipe.                                     
  Wedding attendants - William Sheehan (his X mark),Mary McSheehy                    
   2 Mary Ellen O’Neil b. 12 Dec 1860 d. 24 Jul 1945 
     m. William Ryan b. 1859 d. 14 Dec 1899 
   2 John O’Neil b. 09 Oct 1862 
   2 Patrick Francis O’Neil b. 03 Apr 1864 d. 25 Dec 1938 
     m. Margaret Ann Preece m. 1894 b. __ __  1867 d. 22 Nov 1943 
     Used to light his mother's corn cob pipe for her - said that was why he took  
     up smoking.                                                                   
   2 Margaret Maria O’Neil b. 21 Aug 1866 d. 05 Sep 1866 
   2 John Joseph O’Neil b. __ __ 1868 d. 03 Dec 1931 
     Bachelor - lived at farm at Worrolong with Margaret & Theresa                 
   2 Michael James O’Neil b. 1870 d. 22 Dec 1963 
     m. Helen Ellis b. 1880 d. 31 Aug 1956 
   2 William Thomas O’Neil b. 18 May 1873 d. 03 Apr 1960 
     m. Rose Agatha Costello m. 25 Apl 1906 b. 08 Sep 1878 d. 30 Aug 1954 
     Apprenticed to McSheehy from Casterton. Lalor McMahon,son of Jack McMahon,    
     ran undertak.bus,Jack McSheehy wkd.for him & took over bus.on death of McMahon
     James Thos.McMahon undertaker for Michl.O’Neil 25/2/1925                      
     He and Rose met at Millicent. Wedding breakfast held at Residence of Bride's  
     parents - 11.30 am (ceremony St Alphonsus Church, Millicent - 10.30am)        
   2 Margaret O’Neil b. 1875 d. 1951 
     Spinster - lived at farm at Worrolong with John & Theresa                      
     Found dead in paddock on way to McMahon's for help.                           
   2 Theresa O’Neil 
     Spinster - lived at farm at Worrolong with Margaret & John                     
     Died prior to death of Margaret.         

Names, dates and information are presented with the best intentions.
Family history being what it is, although much time, effort and
money is expended, we can never know it all!


  • Who were Michael O’Neil’s parents?
  • Who were his siblings (if any)?
  • On which of the two ships did he sail to Australia?
  • Where in Ireland was Ellen Agnes McSheehy born?


    If you noticed any inconsistencies or errors, or if you
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