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Francis William (Frank ) Donovan (1867–1916)

from Freeman's Journal

A well-known and popular member of the legal profession in Sydney, in the person of Mr. Francis William Joseph Donovan, passed peacefully away at his residence, 'Holmside,' Turramurra, on Thursday last, fortified by the rites of Holy Church at the hands of the Rev. Father J. Rohan, of Pymble, who had spiritually attended to the deceased during his illness. Mr. Donovan had not enjoyed the best of health for some months. As a matter of fact, the recent Royal Agricultural Show was the last public function Mr. Donovan attended.

In the commercial life of the city and in the arena of sport, particularly yachting and surf-bathing, Mr. Donovan was highly regarded, not only for his genial disposition, but for his honesty of purpose and genuine comradeship.

The deceased gentleman was born in Balmain 49 years ago, and received his primary education in that waterside town. Later he went to the well-known St. Ignatius' College, Riverview. After the completion of his studies at the college he decided to devote himself to the law, and was articled to Messrs. John Dawson and Sons of Sydney. On completing his final examinations Mr. Donovan practised on his own account, and was later on offered and accepted a responsible position as manager of the real estate department of the Mutual Life and Citizens' Association, Castlereagh-street. About ten years ago he became a partner with the late Mr. F. B. Freehill, and subsequently with Mr. B. A. Hollingdale, the firm becoming Freehill, Donovan, and Hollingdale.

Mr. Donovan was an ardent supporter of nearly all branches of sport. Himself an athletic student at Riverview College, he represented his Alma Mater as one of its sculling cracks with success, and was subsequently for years the representative of the college on the New South Wales Rowing Association. He was founder and commodore of the Johnstone's Bay Sailing Club, and as committeeman and handicapper was for many years associated with the Royal Prince Alfred Yachting Club. In the smaller boats he took a keen interest, and was one of the promoters of the 22-footer champion ship races between New South Wales and Victoria. Despite the many calls on his time, Mr. Donovan became a valued contributor to the Daily Telegraph, in which paper he featured sailing and rowing races.

In other spheres of public life Mr. Donovan was also a prominent figure. When residing at Manly his popularity secured him an easy victory in the municipal elections, and as alderman Mr. Donovan was a success. He was also honorary solicitor to the Animals' Protection Society, and as president of the Liberty League he was a sturdy champion of the rights he believed in.

After leaving college Mr. Donovan retained a warm affection for his Alma Mater, and was a frequent visitor to the picturesque institution on the Lane Cove River. As a member of the Ex-Students' Union he was an ardent advocate for its progress, and some years ago held the office of president.

The funeral of deceased took place on Friday morning from St. Joseph's Church, Woollahra. The 9.30 Mass was offered up for the repose of his soul, after which the funeral moved to the Waverley cemetery. The gathering at the cemetery was large and representative, and included: Messrs. Leslie Donovan (son), James and Ernest Donovan (brothers), J. Brightman, James Irwin, John Irwin (brother-in-law), James Irwin, junr. (nephew), C. Bartle (nephew), B. A. Hollingdale (partner), E. P. Hollingdale, Dr. J. Hughes (president of St. Ignatius' College O.B. Union), P. J. O'Donnell, T. J. Dalton, K.C.S.G., Phil Toohey, W. T. Coyle, L. Kelly, A. B. Polin, W. A. Walsh, H. McEvoy, J. T. McCarthy, D. Hogan (Town Clerk, Manly), J. P. Wright, P. Burke, H. Moses, J. Gillespie, M. McCabe, Dr. Frank Magnus, J. Collins, Colonel Ferris, F. J. Doran, W. Tonge, J. Rankin, H. May, L. C. Kennan, Charles Massey, W O'Brien, J. Farrell, J. Mellion, V. Horniman, J. R. Davidson, E. Stooke (secretary, L.T. Defence Union), T. Fitzgerald, J. Fitzsimons, Dr. Kain, T. McQuade, J. Marks. The United Liberty League was represented by Mr. J. W. Hill (senior president) and Mr. J. Knight Smith (vice-president); while the U.L. Victuallers' Association was represented by Mr. J. T. Donnison. Others present were Messrs. K. E. Finn, E. J. Hogan, W. Carson, C.P.S., W. Purcell, J. Smith, W. T. Moss (secretary of the Animals' Protection Society), E. G. Williams, W. H. Brien, Sep. Jones, Geo. Turner, John Brennan, J. Douglas, P. Burke, A. V. Maitland, Jas. Quinn, W. Farrell, T. L. Mulhall, P. Oldham, J. Somerville, O. Allerdice, J. Davidson, W. H. Brown, J. Ranken, J. Blackman, J. H. De Courcy (Freeman's Journal), R. T. Kelly, J. McLaughlin.

At the graveside the Rev. Father P. B. Lawler, O.F.M., officiated. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. W. N. Bull.— R.I.P.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Donovan, Francis William (Frank ) (1867–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


1 June, 1916 (aged ~ 49)
Turramurra, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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