Georgina and family leave Ngallo

My mother related the story of arriving in Hamley Bridge, South Australia as a young girl, helping her mother and older sisters struggle to carry their limited luggage from the train station. I set out to find a date and the circumstances of their arrival. A recent trip to attend a family wedding and visit my siblings in South Australia provided an opportunity to acquire a wealth of family related stories and photos.

Ngallo houseAfter the death of her husband Patrick Joseph O’Dea from influenza in 1919, my maternal grandmother Georgina Ellen O’Dea continued to live and work on the plot of land at Ngallo, in Victoria just over the border from Pinnaroo South Australia. The young couple had settled there in 1911. 

The house they had built, seen in the picture here, was home to the young family.  Georgina, aged 29 and now widowed, was mother to six children aged from 11 years to just 9 months old.

Michael James O’Dea, Patrick’s brother had married Ethel Bennett in 1918.(1) They were living on a block nearby with Ethel’s son Albert John Bennett (known as Jack or Jackie) who had been born in July 1917 to Ethel Richards and James George Bennett, (Georgina’s brother).(2)
James Bennett had died while on a visit to his sister and her family in September of 1917 when the baby was only two months old.(3) Michael married the widowed Ethel in October of 1918.

So in 1919, after Patrick’s death in August, the two young families living close by struggled to come to terms with the changed conditions. As Patrick had died intestate, near neighbours Edward John Kain and John Bernard Barry provided affidavits and surety for Georgina. Papers of administration (4) were issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria in November of 1919 and probate settled in October 1920 after the duty of £22/5/2d had been paid.

Georgina continued to work hard to keep the dream of their own farm alive, but by 1923 she had taken the decision to return to Hamley Bridge to be near her deceased husband’s O’Dea relatives and her sister Mary Olive Bennett who had married Daniel Casaretto. They also lived in Hamley Bridge. A farewell function held on March 13th was reported in the Pinnaroo and Border Times.

ODEA_Georgina_1923_farewell

Farewell Social.

On Tuesday evening. March 13th, the Ngallo Hall was again taxed to its utmost capacity with well-wishers of Mrs P. J. O’Dea and family, and Mr J. Burford, who are leaving the district.

Mr S. S Coburn occupied the chair, and referred to the loss that the district would sustain by the departure of their guests. He wished them every success and prosperity in their new sphere.

Mrs O’Dea was made the recipient of a parcel of stainless cutlery consisting of 1 doz table and 1 doz desert knives.

Mr M. O’Dea suitably responded on behalf of his sister-in-law and thanked them all for the many kind things said about them and also for their beautiful gift, which, he contended, would remind them of the many kind friends they had left in Ngallo and surrounding districts.

The sale of the farm, horses and cattle as well as all the implements followed on March 15th. The care of 640 acres with 10 horses and 21 cattle as well as the 100 fowls would have been quite a burden even with help from her brother-in-law and kindly neighbours.Ngallo sale 1923

The subsequent departure from Ngallo started a new period in the lives of this family. One wonders if the weight of the dozen table and dessert knives added significantly to the luggage burden being borne from the train station that day in 1923.

The children’s unmarried aunts in Hamley Bridge, Hannah Teresa and Margaret O’Dea were kind to their nieces and nephews. They were still living at “Clare Villa” caring for their elderly parents.

View of house known as ‘Clare Villa’, Hamley Bridge at 1st September 2016

clare villa

More of Georgina’s life is recalled in the post 50 years on.


1. Groom Given Name(s): Michael James, Last Name: ODEA, Bride Given Name(s): Ethel Last Name: BENNETT Marriage Date: 1918, October 09 SA marriages Book/Page: 277/538

2. Given Name(s): Albert John Last Name: BENNETT Birth Date: 1917, July 29 Gender: M Father: James George David BENNETT Mother: Ethel RICHARDS Birth Place: Adelaide SA births Book/Page: 3A/443

3. 1917 'Family Notices', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 6 October, p. 27. , viewed 11 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87412751

4. 1919 'Classified Advertising', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 1 October, p. 19. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4680369

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