John O'Connor

From Hotels of Ballarat
John O'Connor
Born c.1834
Died 3 February 1886
Nationality Irish
Occupation Publican
Years active 1886
Known for Imperial Hotel
Home town Ballarat
Spouse(s) Mary O'Connor
  • Daniel O'Connor (father)
  • Margaret Keren (mother)

John O'Connor was a publican in Ballarat, Victoria, <1886.

History[edit | edit source]

He was born in about 1834, the son of Daniel O'Connor and Margaret Keren.[1]

O'Connor was the publican of the Imperial Hotel in Armstrong Street, Ballarat.

He was murdered on his way home from the Ballarat Railway Station on 3 February 1886.[2]

MURDER OF A PUBLICAN AT BALLARAT. :Considerable excitement was caused throughout Ballarat on Thursday morning by a report that Mr. John O'Connor, the proprietor of the Imperial Hotel, Armstrong street, had been murdered by a couple of touters named Natte Watt and Walter Cox. It appears that on Wednesday night the deceased proceeded, in company with an acquaintance named Timothy Flannagan, to the Western railway station in order to meet the twenty minutes past ten train from Melbourne. The deceased, it seems, though the proprietor of an hotel and dining rooms, was in the habit of doing a little touting on his own account. Immediately after the arrival of the train O'Connor, who did not succeed in securing a patron for his establishment, was returning homewards with Flannagan, and when in Lydiard-stroet, near Messrs. Brophy, Foley, and Co.'s stores, the men Natte Watt and Walter Cox came up, and, thinking that Flannagan was a passenger by the train and was going to O'Connor's house, they accosted him and asked him if he wanted a bed and board and lodgings, Flannagan made no reply, and Cox then said "Don't you go with an Irishman," and Flannagan said, "It's as well to go with an Irishman as with a Jew." It may be here remarked that Cox is a touter for Jones's Coffee Palace and hotel, and Watts acts in a similar capacity for Cohen's establishment. Cox next remarked "I'd sooner have a pig in my house than an Irishman." Cox then shaped up to Mr. O'Connor, who said " You have been trying to pick a quarrel with me for a long while; if you have any luck at your side you will leave me alone." Cox then struck the deceased, who was an old grey-headed man, several blows on the face and head, and when he had finished the punishment, Watt stepped forward and also punched the deceased's head, one blow felling him to the ground. O'Connor fell on his back; and upon being picked up by his friend Flannagan and a cabman blood was flowing from his mouth and ears, and also from a wound on the head. Deceased was conveyed home in a waggonette in a half-unconscious state, and lingered until four o'clock on Friday morning, when he died. Mr. O'Connor was well known in Ballarat, and was always a sober, inoffensive man. There is an opinion abroad that Flannagan, who is a powerful young man, displayed cowardice in not defending the deceased,. but Flannagan says that he feared attack from several persons who were standing behind him. Mr. O'Connor leaves a widow and three children, and their grief on Thursday, afternoon was something heart rending. The brutal assailants have been arrested on a charge of wilful murder. Both prisoners were present at the inquest in the custody of the police. Watt appeared to realise his awful position, as he shook like an aspen, but Cox did not display much concern. O'Connor must have received a severe beating, as his face is quite black, and his upper lip has swollen to an enormous size. The skull of the deceased had been fractured. The inquest was concluded shortly before seven o'clock on Thursday evening. The jury found the prisoners guilty of wilful murder, and they were committed for trial at the Ballarat Assizes, which open on the 29th inst.[2]

After John's murder, his wife, Mary O'Connor, took over the license until the hotel closed was by by the License Reduction Board in 1892.[3]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1886 Deaths, Ref. No. 155, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1998
  2. 2.0 2.1 1886 'MURDER OF A PUBLICAN AT BALLARAT.', Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 - 1954), 6 February, p. 2, viewed 3 March, 2014,
  3. F. W. Niven & Co's Ballarat and District Directory for 1888-9

External links[edit | edit source]