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Henry Michael O'Hara (1853–1921)


It will be learned with regret that Dr Henry Michael O'Hara, one of the best-known surgeons in Australia, died at Portsea at 7 o'clock last night, aged 67 years. Dr. O'Hara was educated at Geelong College, under the late Dr. George Morrison. He entered the college in 1871, and matriculated from there in 1873. He was captain of the cricket team in 1871. On leaving school he went to Ireland to study for medicine and became a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, in 1877, obtaining his fellowship in the following year. After gaining experience he returned to Australia, and settled at Brighton, where he soon established a large practice. He first came into notice as a surgeon after the rail- way accident at Jolimont in 1881, when the Brighton train was telescoped. Dr. O'Hara was practising at Brighton then, and many of the injured were his patients. In the crop of actions against the Victorian Railways department which followed that accident Dr. O'Hara was a leading witness and he frequently appeared in the law courts as a medical witness. He was a most skilful surgeon, and his reputation extended beyond Victoria.

As a young man Dr. O'Hara was a fine athlete, and his physique and general bearing made him a noted figure in Collins street. He was interested in racing at various times, and was reputed to be the owner of Ben Bolt when that horse won the Caulfield Cup in 1886. He was also noted as a fine amateur singer, and his services were always at the disposal of those who were organising charity concerts. He may be described as a volatile Irishman, with the kindest of hearts, and there are numerous instances of his professional ability having been given free to those who could not afford to pay the high fees his reputation commanded. He was for many years on the honorary staff of the Alfred Hospital.

Dr. O'Hara was thrice married. His first wife was the daughter of Mr. Edward Klingender, a well-known Melbourne solicitor. His second wife was the daughter of the late Mr. James Osborne, of Elsternwick. It was a sad coincidence that each of these ladies should have lost their lives as the result of buggy accidents. His third wife, who survives him, was also a Miss Osborne, a cousin of his second wife. Dr. O'Hara had three sons at the war—Captain W. E. O'Hara (Australian Army Medical Corps), Captain Osborne O'Hara (Royal Irish Fusiliers, who was killed in action in France early in the war; and vaudeville stage in America.

Original publication

Citation details

'O'Hara, Henry Michael (1853–1921)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 September, 1853
Cork, Ireland


7 April, 1921 (aged 67)
Portsea, Victoria, Australia

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