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Members’ biographical register

Desmond Henry O'Neil

Date: 27 September 1920
Place: Subiaco, Western Australia
Son of Henry McLelland O’Neil, labourer, and Lillian Frances Egan
Marriage and Family
Married 18 March 1944, St John’s Church, Fremantle (Church of England) to Nancy Jean Culver (circa 1919–26 September 1997), daughter of Robert Hammond and Sophie Mabel Garth
Children: two daughters
Date: 25 September 1999
Place: Castledare Retirement Village, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Educated convent schools, Aquinas College and Claremont Teachers College 1940
Employment History
Joined Education Department as monitor 1939
Member Citizens' Military Forces commissioned Lieutenant 28 July 1940

Enlisted Australian Imperial Force 5 August 1941
Captain from 22 September 1942, Australian Corps of Signals, 3rd Australian Division
Served in Australia, New Guinea, Bougainville and New Britain
Discharged 13 March 1946
Undertook a three month Education Department refresher course
Headmaster Roebourne State School 1947–1949, Dowerin Lakes 1950–1951, Wilga 1952–1953, Nyamup 1954–1955, Donnelly River 1956–1957

Deputy headmaster Collier School 1958
Joined party 1958
Date Elected
21 March 1959
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
No inaugural video is available as filming did not start until May 2003
Search for speeches by Desmond O'Neil
Year Retired/Resigned
Canning; East Melville
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA Canning 21 March 1959–31 March 1962
  • MLA East Melville 31 March 1962–23 February 1980

  • Minister for Housing and Labour 16 March 1965–3 March 1971
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition 5 June 1972–8 April 1974
  • Minister for Works, Water Supplies and the North-West 5 June 1975–10 March 1977
  • Deputy Premier, Chief Secretary, Minister for Police and Traffic, Regional Administration and the North-West 10 March 1977–5 March 1980

  • Member Joint House Committee 1964–1965, 1971–1977
  • Member Public Accounts Committee 1971–2 August 1972
  • Member Select Committee on the Fremantle Buffalo Club (Private) Bill 1964
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
  • Represented WA branch Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at General Conference, Malawi, 1972 and at 8th Australian Area Conference, Hobart, 1965
Chairman Lotteries Commission 1980–1984
Chairman WA Greyhound Racing Association 1981–1985

Colonel Commandant
Royal Australian Signals 5th Military District 1984–1985
Secretary North West Jockey Club 1947–1949
President Donnelly River Mill Workers’ Club 1956–1957
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume two 1930-2010, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2011, p. 201.
Further Information
Transcript of interview with Gail O’Hanlon 1994 (State Library and WA Parliament Library)

West Australian, 23 March 1959.
Who's Who in Australia (1983)
Western Australian Parliamentary Debates, 12 October 1999, p. 1745–1746.