By Stephen Utick
The intense saga of the colonial personality 'Captain' Charles Gordon O'Neill is informed for the 1st time. An engineer, inventor, parliamentarian and philanthropist, Charles used to be a critical co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and New Zealand. Born of Irish mom and dad in Scotland in 1828, O'Neill travelled to the colonies in 1863 with riding ambition, matched by way of entrepreneurial imaginative and prescient. a super engineer, he helped create city plans, railway routes and tramways throughout New Zealand. Elected to the recent Zealand parliament as a goldfields MP, he warned of the chance of weather switch from destroying forests. He moved to Sydney in 1881 to paintings for the negative of Australia. starting in Sydney's wild Rocks district, he pioneered many charitable projects and tested the St Vincent de Paul Society in New South Wales. His foresight was once vindicated because the colonial age of gold was once by means of the industrial melancholy of the Nineties. In a sour accident, regardless of all his technical ability, entry to capital and political connections, O'Neill died a pauper amid the slums of The Rocks in 1900.
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Additional info for Captain Charles, Engineer of Charity: The remarkable life of Charles Gordon O'Neill
It would provide him with a uniform. It also gave Charles the opportunity to be featured in the background of a Victorian painting. North of Glasgow, beyond Loch Lomond and the town of Aberfoyle, lies the beautiful Loch Katrine. It was little known until Sir Walter Scott 43 Captain Charles PAGES 18/2/08 10:40 AM Page 44 Captain Charles, Engineer of Charity featured it in his poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’, published in 1810. In the late 1850s, in order to provide a clean water supply for the City of Glasgow, an aqueduct was constructed from the loch to the outskirts.
Glasgow journalist Peter Mackenzie was inspired by the actions of Police Sergeant John Walker in trying unsuccessfully to save the life of an Irish mother and her child dying of starvation. During the 1860s, Mackenzie launched a campaign for Sunday soup kitchens. The aim of these would be to serve both Irish and Scottish poor. 15 At the same time, soup kitchens were not the answer either. The Society’s pioneer work in Glasgow and other industrial cities of Europe showed that charity could be organised in a more effective and respectful way, despite the prevailing social climate of suspicion and bigotry.
Baudon wrote to Charles on 13 March 1860: We have heard with satisfaction that the Presidency of the Provincial Council of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, for the Western District of Scotland, has devolved upon you, by the unanimous vote of the Conference; and that the office was not long vacant. An extra charge has thus been given you by our good Lord rather than an honour, and it is this spirit that ought to sway a true member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. 11 Between 1859 and 1861, under Charles’s guidance, Society income rose to more than 1100 pounds per annum, practically all of which was disbursed to the poor directly with a balance of 130 pounds retained for ongoing purposes.