Death of Mr. O'Sullivan - A Mallee Pioneer Passes
After a lingering illness, extending over several months, Mr. Owen O'Sullivan (who was familiarly known as Hughie) breathed his last at his residence, Ryan, Street, Rainbow, on the morning of Friday March 19th 1929. Deceased who was 59 years of age was born 1970 at Linton near Ballarat, and attended school at Happy Valley and Wycheproof.
Shortly after leaving school at the age of 14 years, he accepted a contract to carry the mail from Dimboola to Cow Plains, the journey there and back occupying a week. Leaving Dimboola at an early hour on Saturday mornings he would travel via Jeparit to the Lake Albacutya Station (at that time the property of the New Zealand Loan and Agency Co.) the first day, resuming the journey on the second day, he would reach Pine Plains Station (owned by Mr. Septimus Miller) arriving at Cow Plains Station (the property of Messrs. McDonald and McPherson) on the third day.
The return journey occupied three days, the same stopping places being observed. Deceased followed this occupation for several years the track from Jeparit northward skirting the eastern side of Lake Hindmarsh, a three chain road west of Rainbow town common and continuing in a month - easterly direction leading to the Albacutya Station. Deceased frequently referred to a sensational experience he had near Antwerp in 1889, when returning with the mail from Cow Plains. On the outward journey there was no indication of rain, but shortly after leaving Jeparit a heavy downpour set in and increased in severity during the next couple of days causing the Wimmera river to overflow its banks, with the result that he had to swim across the flooded road. Fastening the mail back to the horses head he essayed the task of leading the animal by the reins, and after an exciting struggle in the swirling stream the deceased and his horse reached terra firma in safety.
Subsequently deceased lived with his parents at Lake Hindmarsh near Jeparit. He acquired a Mallee block about three miles north of Rainbow, where he successfully followed agricultural and grazing pursuits for many years.
Some twenty years ago the deceased took up his residence in the town and lived there ever since.
Deceased a noted bushman and was acquainted with every inch of territory between Rainbow and the Murray. Many years ago the Police and black trackers were lost in scrub country north of Nypo and on the suggestion of Constable Dunkley, deceased's services were requisitioned to make a search for the missing party and he traced the wandered to the area north of Hopetoun.
When the Wyperfield National Park was established deceased acted as "guide, philosopher and friend" to Sir James Barrettt, Dr leach and other members of the party which visited the park for the first time. He also piloted Lord and Lady Somers and party from the Yaapeet to Underbool, through the National Park, Pine Plains and the scrub northward in September 1927. During the past few years the deceased has been entrusted with all the arrangements for the annual pilgrimages to the National Park by Sir James Barrett and party, his knowledge of the country and its peculiarities was of much advantage to the visitors to the park.
In his younger days deceased was successfully associated with the Turf in SA and Vic. He often referred to the one of the best horses he ever owned was the racer hurdler Otahiety (an Aboriginal name) called after the O>T.I.T> well on the eastern bank of Lake Albacutya. Amongst other winner that passed through his hands were Country Girl, Bronlock, Alfreda, Goldseeker, Jackie, Dolly, Pearl and Jeparit.
Deceased what a founding member of the Albacutya Race Club (since defunct) the Rainbow Turf Club and St Patrick's Face Club, and held office in both institutions at the time of his death. For many years he held the grazing license on Lake Albacutya frontage, and he was also grazing leasee of the bed of Lake Albacutya during the years it was dry 1902 - 1909. Afterwards he purchased the freehold of Pine Plains.
He took a keen interest in the National Park and has been a member of the committee and caretaker since its inception. He was generous to a fault and no deserving cause was ever unheeded.
Deceased married twice his first family consisting of seven children :- Bella (Mrs Keely WA), Dorothy who is on the teaching Staff of the Local HE School, Molly, Jack, Nora, Frank and Patricia. And in the second one, Eileen and Carmel. The deepest sympathy was been expressed to Mrs. O'Sullivan and family, who have been bereft of a devoted husband and a loving father. There are also left to the mourn their loss, an only sister and a brother. Mrs. T. Mellington of Jeparit and Mr. Lewis O'Sullivan of Geelong.
The funeral took place on Sunday March 31st. requiem Mass being held in St Mary's RC Church prior to the cortege moving from the sacred edifice Fr Filburn officiating. The motor hearse was preceded by the brethren of the M.U.I.O.O.F. in regalia. The long precession of motor cars (est. 120) bearing mute but eloquent testimony to the respect and esteem in which the deceased and his family and relatives are held throughout the district.
The concourse of mourners around the grave was one of the largest ever seen in the local cemetery, and included friends of the family from Warracknabeal, Jeparit, Dimboola, Hopetoun, Beulah and other centres. A deeply solemn and impressive service was conducted at the graveside by Fr Filburn, whilst the customary service of the M.U.I.O.O.F. was read by Bro J.W.A. Peters,.
The casket was almost hidden with floral tributes, including several dome wreaths of artificial flowers.
The Coffinbearers were Messrs W.K. Darth, Roy Junn, J.Clark, J. James, A.F. Merritt and W.P Prior, the mortuary arrangements were carried out by Mr. A.J. Barton.