6 August 2019

A fitting tribute 100 years ago

An active community leader

2019 - influenza has killed 83 in Queensland so far this winter but 100 years ago....
1919 - influenza killed around 15 000 across Australia

Grandfather Patrick Joseph O'Dea was one of those victims in August 1919. This tribute appeared in the Pinnaroo and Border Times on 15th August 1919, one week after his death.

Death of Mr P.J. O’Dea.

"Profound regret and deepest sympathy was expressed throughout the Mallee districts on Friday last, when the sad news of the death of Mr Patrick J. O’Dea, the well-known and highly respected farmer, of Ngallo, became known. 

The late Mr O’Dea had been attacked with influenza about three weeks ago, which complaint turned to broncho-pneumonia. On Sunday, August 3rd, he was taken from his home at Ngallo to Nurse Pahl’s Private Hospital at Pinnaroo, and although he rallied a little during last week, he gradually grew worse and died last Friday at about midday. 

The deceased was highly popular in the district, and took a leading part in almost every movement for the welfare of Ngallo and district. The late Mr O’Dea for a number of years, occupied a seat as a Councillor for the Shire of Walpeup, and for a period was President of the Walpeup Shire Council, during which time he served the Ratepayers faithfully and well. He was also a fluent speaker and was called upon to voice his sentiments at many public functions, and his demise will be a decided loss to the district. 

The late Mr O’Dea was 42 years of age at the time of his death, and leaves a widow and six young children to mourn his loss. The funeral which took place from Mr R. McCabe’s residence, Pinnaroo, on Sunday afternoon, was well attended, the cortege being a lengthy one. Owing to the services of a priest not being available, Mr E. J. Kain, of Ngallo, read the burial service at the graveside. The sympathy of the district is extended to the relatives of deceased in this sad bereavement."

Patrick had been an active member of the community in the region and was regularly mentioned in the local newspaper advocating for the school, the farmers and the church as well as being called upon to chair meetings and propose votes of thanks at many social occasions. One of those six young children was my mother at just 7 years of age, yet throughout her long life she remembered him with great fondness. 

R.I. P. Patrick Joseph O'Dea 18 October 1877 - 8 August 1919. Further information about Patrick appears in these earlier posts A victim of the influenza epidemic and Where did they get those names? That post includes his 1907 wedding photo.


  1. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris
    A wonderful tribute, how hard on his wife and young family.. What with the affect influenza and pneumonia still have on us, this serves as a timely warning to take care of our health.


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