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Roderic O'Connor

The Bridgewater Bridge, a project managed by O'Connor (ALMFA, SLT)

Roderic O'Connor (1784–1860), pastoralist and public servant, arrived in Tasmania in 1824 with two natural sons, possibly his reason for emigrating. From an eccentric Irish landowning family, O'Connor had family wealth and gained a large land grant; extremely able, he increased this to 11 properties and 65,000 acres. Lt-Governor Arthur appointed him one of three Land Commissioners, then Inspector of Roads and Bridges, where he managed major projects, including the Bridgewater bridge. Hot-tempered, outspoken, but intelligent and possessing common-sense, O'Connor quarrelled with many officials and others, but his journals give an excellent picture of the colony. A large employer of convict labour, O'Connor favoured continued transportation and was nominated by two governors for the Legislative Council, 1844–48 and 1852–53. His major property, Connorville, is still owned by descendants.

Further reading: ADB 2.

Alison Alexander