17 February 2014

Celebrations 1913 style

This 1913 account of the Golden Wedding celebrations of my maternal great grandparents, John O'Dea 1835 -1930 and Maria O'Dea (born Crowley) 1841 - 1929, reflects their Irish roots. Reports of this celebration appeared in three papers of the times, with this account providing the most detail and background to their lives.
One of the eleven grandchildren mentioned was my mother, Hannah Horgan (born O'Dea.) It sounds like a jolly good time was had by all with songs and recitals. This was one of the things my mother liked to do too, gather family together and enjoy a singalong around a piano.


The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. John O'Dea was celebrated at their residence, Clare Villa, Hamley Bridge, on August 8, by a family gathering. The event by special request consisted only of members of the family circle and relatives available. After the feast was partaken of the family joined unitedly in wishing the old people further happy years, and expressed pleasure that they were spared to that golden privilege that it is the lot of few to enjoy. The evening was spent in cardplaying, singing, and reciting in a manner that embodied a thorough family reunion, and was of a nature that recalled a repetition of many evenings of yore, before the spirit of roving and romance divided those that clustered round the one hearth. 

Mr. O'Dea arrived in South Australia with his parents by the ship "Time and Truth" in May, 1854, from County Clare, Ireland, at the age of 19. He travelled from Port Adelaide to Bagot Station, near Kapunda by the motor of the day, the old bullock dray. The family settled there for about eight years, and during intervals with other pioneers he carted copper from the Burra to Port Adelaide. He tells many thrilling tales of those days, when they were all new chums, and when the word hardship had no meaning for them. 

Mrs. O'Dea (at that time Miss Crowley) arrived in Melbourne with her sister in December, 1862, at the age of 21 years, having also come from County Clare. They came to Port Adelaide a week later, where they were met by her brothers, of Bagot's Gap. The couple were married at the old church of St. John, Kapunda, by the late Rev. Michael Ryan., on August 8 following, and took up their residence in Pinkerton's Plains, where Mr. O'Dea had then taken up land within two miles of their present home. 

The Plains in those days were in their wild state, with kangaroos and emus, and visits of the blacks were not unknown. That was years before the railway was built or Hamley Bridge was even talked about. Mrs. O'Dea, with other lady settlers, used to walk to Stockport (eight miles), as it was the nearest place in those days where the necessaries of life could be obtained. They have seen Hamley Bridge grow from nothing to its present prosperous state, and it is now an enjoyable portion of theirs to have a comfortable home in one of the best sites in the town, having sold their farm 18 months ago. Both are still hale and hearty, and much enjoyed their family reunion after half a century of happy life. 

There are five living members of the family-Messrs. P. J. and M. J. O'Dea, of Ngallo, Victoria; Mrs. C. Kain, and Misses M. I. and H. T. O'Dea, of Hamley Bridge and 11 grandchildren. The son, P. J. O'Dea, was one of the first persons in Hamley Bridge who was instrumental in starting a branch of the United Labor Party, and he was afterwards assisted by his brother, M. J. O'Dea.

1913 'GOLDEN WEDDING.', Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), 16 August,1913 p. 5 Section: Magazine Section, , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105588635 


  1. A lovely report - More meat on the bones for you.

    1. Thanks Jill, so many folks, so many stories,

  2. Hi..enjoying your blog...I have done a bit family history. My Dad was Ronald Kain..His grandfather Coleman Kain married Bridget O'Dea.,,so we have a connection...Ros

    1. Hi Ros - Delighted you've found this. I now have an accompanying photo of the occasion, badly damaged but am working on photoshopping it. Bridget and Coleman Kain are in the picture. My email address is on the About page if you would like a copy of that photo.

    2. Thankyou....I just commented on page with new photos...I do have that photo and knew some of the names but not all..My grandfather was Martin Kain.


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