Captain Charles, Engineer of Charity

The remarkable life of Charles Gordon O'Neill

Stephen Utick
AUD $39.99
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The extraordinary life of 'Captain' Charles Gordon O'Neill - colonial engineer, inventor, parliamentarian, philanthropist, and principle co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and New Zealand.

The extraordinary saga of the colonial character 'Captain' Charles Gordon O'Neill is told for the first time. An engineer, inventor, parliamentarian and philanthropist, Charles was a principal co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and New Zealand.

Born of Irish parents in Scotland in 1828, O'Neill travelled to the colonies in 1863 with driving ambition, matched by entrepreneurial vision. A brilliant engineer, he helped create town plans, railway routes and tramways across New Zealand. Elected to the New Zealand parliament as a goldfields MP, he warned of the risk of climate change from destroying forests. He moved to Sydney in 1881 to work for the poor of Australia. Beginning in Sydney's wild Rocks district, he pioneered many charitable initiatives and established the St Vincent de Paul Society in New South Wales. His foresight was vindicated as the colonial age of gold was followed by the economic depression of the 1890s. In a bitter twist of fate, despite all his technical skill, access to capital and political connections, O'Neill died a pauper amid the slums of The Rocks in 1900.

'a fascinating, meticulously researched and detailed study of the life of Charles O'Neill The themes of personal sacrifice in the cause of social justice and the fight against poverty are universal and still contemporary.'

Professor John Warhurst, The Australian National University

'Utick rescues a singularly intriguing character from undeserved obscurity; and in so doing makes an important and fresh contribution to the written histories of New Zealand and Australia. This is an elegant and informative narrative that should appeal to a wide readership.'

Associate Professor Hugh Laracy, The University of Auckland

Author bio:

Stephen Utick has postgraduate degrees in philosophy, theology and science and society, and has worked on science and research policy in Commonwealth Government departments for 25 years. He has been a volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society since the age of 20, and researched Charles O'Neill's life together with retired professional engineer Vince Dever, a Fellow of Institution of Engineers Australia, and also a member of St. Vincent de Paul Society for the past 16 years.

Royalties from this book will go to the St Vincent de Paul Society's work for the homeless in New South Wales and New Zealand

Category: Other books
ISBN: 9781741753783
Table Of Contents: Acknowledgements

Prologue: The Pauper's Bequest (Sydney 1900)

PART I: Scotland (1828-1863)

1 Young Charles O'Neill

2 The Christ of the Poor

3 A Public Reputation

4 Captain Charles O'Neill

PART II: New Zealand (1863-1880)

5 The New Iniquity'

6 Goldfields Politician

7 The Politics of Progress

8 Lessons from Abroad

9 Parliamentary Roundabout 1872-1875

10 Backlash in The Thames

11 City of Wellington

12 Charitable Endeavours

13 Professional Pride

PART III: The Australian Colonies (1850-1880)

14 Sacred Quest

15 Gerald Ward's Legacy

PART IV: New South Wales (1881-1900)

16 Foundation in The Rocks

17 Money for Rent

18 Social Respectability

19 Captain' Charles at the Helm of Charity

20 Plans, Politicians and Protectionism

21 Economic Depression

22 Humiliation and Ruin

23 Poverty and Pestilence
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: April 2008
Page Extent: 288
Format: Paperback - C format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Biography & True Stories

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