O’Shanassy, Sir John (1818–1883)

O’Shanassy (pronounced O’Shawnassy), (Long John or Big Jack) left Tipperary for Sydney in 1839. On the voyage he was often up in the rigging alone with a book — he was always a “determined self-improver”. Arriving in Melbourne, he was persuaded to stay. For a year or so he ran a pub (The Australian ), in Collins Lane, and then began ‘raising sheep at Western Port. Lack of capital and scab in sheep beat him. Back in Melbourne, He opened a draper’s shop at 99 Elizabeth street, which, owing mainly to the energy of is wife, became a thriving business and in the Gold Rush the source of a substantial fortune. Politics He became active in local politics and was soon the acknowledged leader of the Irish catholic community. A forcible, but not eloquent speaker, formidable in debate, scathing in attack when roused, sound in his rasp of constitutional questions, and gifted in ‘parliamentary capacity’, he was Premier three times. He was a founder of the Anti-Transportation League, an advocate of Separation from New South Wales, an agitator for full responsible government, a rigid opponent of protection, State education, and the squatting interests, against whom he worked to open up … Continue reading O’Shanassy, Sir John (1818–1883)