Born: 1826; Died: 1899; Married: 1. Jane Daley; 2. Catherine Nelson
John O'Brien was born on 12 October 1826, one of six children born to Matthew (Snr) and Mary (nee Barry) from Charleville, Limerick, Ireland, all of whom emigrated to Australia. Brothers Daniel and Patrick had sailed on the 'Jane Gifford' arriving in Sydney on 13 February 1841, and were living in Penrith when the remaining siblings arrive on the 'Royal Saxon' on 26 June 1844. On arrival John - listed as 'farm labourer' and unable to read or write - joined his brothers at Penrith, but by the time of his marriage to Jane Daley, he was living at 'Glenwood' in the Ginninderra district.
Jane Daley emigrated to Australia with her sister Ann on the 'Inchinnan', which arrived in Sydney on 13 February 1849. Jane was sixteen, a 'house servant', and like John, unable to read and write. She evidently found her way to the Ginninderra district, where she was living at the time of their marriage at St Gregory's Roman Catholic church, Queanbeyan, on 20 November 1850.
Jane was destined to live only another eighteen years, dying in 1868, but by that time had given birth to ten children - Mary Ann, Patrick, Matthew, Ellen, John, William, John James, un-named infant, Daniel and Bridget. Four of them died in childhood, and at leasts two of the remainder, it is believed, did not marry. The second son, Matthew O'Brien, became very well-known in the district. At the age of fifty-two, John married again on 1 January 1878, at St Augustine's in Yass. His second wife was Catherine ('Kate') Nelson, a housemaid in Queanbeyan. John was a farmer at Jeir. There were no children from this marriage.
John died at Pound Hill, Queanbeyan on 17 September 1899 and was buried at the Queanbeyan Roman Catholic cemetery. Kate survived him by nearly seven years, passing away on 26 August 1906.
- Brown, J. O'Brien. Family tree of John and Jane, Canberra 1985
- Gillespie, L. L., Canberra's pioneer families, Supplement to Canberra Times, 15 Feb 2000
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra. Forerunner to Canberra, Ccampbell, 1992