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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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Charles Yelverton O'Connor (1843–1902)

With that sentiment that would speak nothing ill of the dead, we are in sympathetic accord; and endorsing the saying of Washington Irving—that sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which the human heart refuses to be divorced—we deeply feel for those in bereavement through the unfortunate death of the late C. Y. [Charles Yelverton] O'Connor. Such a tribute of sympathy for the survivors as silence could offer would have been our part in the obsequies, more especially as all our criticisms on the public works of the deceased gentleman have been sans malice and purely devoted to the public welfare, were it not for the bad taste of such men as Charles Henry Hoskins, one of the contractors for the Coolgardie water scheme pipes, and such perverted journalists as back him up, in seeking to make it appear that the Sunday Times is responsible for the sad end of the late Engineer-in-Chief. That we break a respectful silence now is due solely to the vulgarity of those who make use of the grief of the mourners to poison the public mind against us. At the grave side of C. Y. O'Connor these degraded beings interrupt the tears and sobs of the grief-stricken relatives to hurl anathemas against the Sunday Times and to indirectly accuse us of the guilt of his death. They had not the wit to see that this is grossly slandering the departed. No honorable, strong minded man is afraid even of the severest public criticism. It is only men of weak intellect, or men who feel and realise some oppressive guilt upon their consciences who are perturbed by questions upon their conduct. The irreverent accusation that criticism drove the deceased to self-destruction is the cruel imputation, therefore, that he was utterly unfit for his public position. The cruelty, of course, consists in its coming in such a cowardly form, on such a solemn occasion, from the professed friends of the dead. At this moment we prefer to say nothing even in justification of our past attitude towards the man when living beyond saying that towards him, as towards all others, we have always been actuated by the highest sense of public duty, which we cannot regret even in the presence of death itself. We are content to wait for the vindication of Time. If, however, those enemies who fear us think they will swerve us from the very often painful task of criticising public characters in the interest of the public weal by shamelessly parading as a shocking example the tragedy that closed the life of Mr. O'Connor they lamentably misjudge us. With all respect and sympathy for the bereaved relatives and friends of the deceased, we even now reply to those base culminators who scream their miserable inuendoes across the newly-covered grave that we shall do our duty at all times, and leave the consequences to the verdict of that spirit of immutable justice which rules the destinies of men.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'O'Connor, Charles Yelverton (1843–1902)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 January, 1843
Castletown, Meath, Ireland


10 March, 1902 (aged 59)
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.