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Kevin Izod O'Doherty, convict Queenslander

About the convict

... born in Dublin, in 1824, where he was educated for the medical profession, his studies being continued on the Continent. In the troublous times of 1848 the doctor gave offence to the Government of the time ...
Pugh's Almanac, 1896
Portrait of Kevin Izod O'Doherty

Physician and political activist

Born: 7 September 1823, Dublin, Ireland
Convicted: August 1848
Sentence: 10 years transportation
Ship: Mount Stewart Elphinstone
Transported: Arrived New South Wales on 31 October 1849
Died 15 July 1905, Torwood, Brisbane. Buried in Toowong Cemetery

Further reading

This memorial (petition) was written by Kevin Izod O'Doherty to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland after his trial on 1 November 1848.

"Richmond Prison
November 20th [1848]

To The Lord Lieutenant
May it Please Your Excellency

Some kind friends having intimated to me their intention of presenting a memorial to the Government for a remission of the punishment awarded to me by the sentence of the law and having urged the necessity of a repentant submission upon my part, I have looked back on my past motives and conduct and have reflected on the expression of the sentiments to which I gave utterance on the day of my condemnation.

I have suffered much in mind and body – torn from the bosom of an affectionate family – incarcerated during five months in the vilest of prisons, - cut off from all communication with my friends – subjected to every privation which could render a man miserable; - ruined in my prospects;- condemned to banishment for the best years of my life I may well be excused if I gave way to momentary exasperation for there was sufficient cause to disturb the equilibrium of a less sensitive mind than mine. I was in no condition to measure my words nor to observe that punctilious deference to the animadversions of my judge which in cooler moments I might have deemed becoming. So far in apology for what escaped me on the day of my condemnation.

With regard to my past motives I can only say that I would consider myself unworthy of being spared a particle of my punishment were I capable of seeking for it by any abandonment of principle or compromise of honour. I avow that my motive was to contribute to the relief of my countrymen from their unexampled sufferings -: a motive in which the most exalted patriotism need not blush to participate and which has never been questioned as honourable and legitimate. I owe it to myself to state that what I did and what I wrote had the full approbation of my humble judgment as being nothing more than what I conceived I owed to my country under the circumstances in which it was placed. This was the feeling which influenced and guided me in the course I have pursued. I have reflected upon that course and am free to admit that my judgment did deceive me, and I feel that every principle of moral integrity warrants me in deploring the expression of sentiments and in regretting acts which time and the cruel lesson of experience have taught me to consider rash and imprudent.

Looking back therefore at my conduct through the medium of this lesson and with the advantage which time has afforded me for reflexion I have no hesitation in avowing above and beyond the consideration of punishment to be feared or pardon to be hoped for that I do regret the course I have pursued and would be willing to give all reasonable security as to my future conduct in all that regards the peace of the country and observance of public order.

I have the honour to remain
Your Excellencies most obedient
humble Servant

Kevin Izod ODoherty"

This transcription has been published with the kind permission of the Director of the National Archives of Ireland who are the custodians of the original documents. Copies of the original can be viewed at State Library of Queensland on microfilm or through the National Library of Australia Australian Joint Copying Project digitised images.

Transcribed from the newspaper Moreton Bay Courier, 20th October 1849, p.4.

Banner for the newspaper "Moreton Bay Courier", ca.1846



-- The sentence of ten years' transportation each has been at length carried into effect upon Mr. John Martin and Mr. Kevin O'Doherty, the editors respectively of the Irish Felon and Tribune newspapers. On Saturday morning, at half-past five o'clock, a single covered vehicle, conveying the governor of the convict prison depot, arrived at the gates of the Richmond Penitentiary. That official was the bearer of the warrant of the Irish Executive for the delivery of the bodies of John Martin and Kevin Izod O'Doherty. Soon after a body of mounted police arrived, accompanied by the black cart, or prison van, which, with its escort, entered the prison gates and drew up in the inner yard. The query was then put if the prisoners were ready. The reply was that they were asleep, and that they would then be roused. So secret were all the arrangements kept, that none of the public had the least intelligence of the intending removal of the two prisoners. At about half-past six o'clock Mr. Martin issued from his cell, and stood in the prison-hall prepared for departure. He bade a kindly farewell to the governor and officials, and warmly shook hands with one or two gentlemen who were present. Mr. O'Doherty then came out, dressed as if for traveling. Mr Martin expressed himself as in good health, but there appeared a painful shortness in his breathing, and his cheeks seemed flushed. Mr. O'Doherty looked in rather delicate health, but both maintained a sad but firm bearing. As they stood in the hall a side-door opened, and Mr. Smith O'Brien stood in the door-way, having come from his cell to bid farewell to his fellow-prisoners, perhaps for ever. This scene was soon over, and turning away from the door, which closed again on their friend, the two prisoners announced themselves ready. Mr. McManus came down also, and wished to remain and see them take their departure, but this privilege was not allowed him. He took his brief and painful adieu, and returned to the solitude of his prison. After some delay in getting fixed the few articles of luggage belonging to the prisoners, the van, with its escort, issued from the prison gates, where it was met by nearly a regiment of dragoons –- the advanced guard with loaded carbines, and the rest with swords drawn. Mr. O'Ferrall, Inspector of Police, was present. The cortege set off at a gallop along the Circular-road, skirting the city, and struck in on the Kingstown highway at Baggot-street bridge, and thus at a rapid pace proceeded to Kingstown, where, we understand, the Trident war steamer was awaiting the arrival of the prisoners, with orders to proceed, after having received them on board, to Cork harbour, where she will land the prisoners at Spike Island – Weekly Despatch, 24th June.

Disclaimer: This has been transcribed directly from the original document. Any mistakes are from the original document.

Transcribed from Pugh's Almanac, 1896, p.145A

Header for Pugh's Almanac and Directory 1896

O'DOHERTY, Dr. Kevin Izod, was born in Dublin, in 1824, where he was educated for the medical profession, his studies being continued on the Continent. In the troublous times of 1848 the doctor gave offence to the Government of the time, and was arraigned on a charge of treason-felony. After two juries had been discharged without agreeing to a verdict, a third found him guilty, and he was sentenced to ten years' penal servitude, his destination being Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania, where he arrived in 1849. He was set at liberty after a time, on condition that he resided out of the United Kingdom. He went to Paris where he studied his profession, making while there a secret trip to Dublin in order to marry "Eva," of the Nation. In 1856 he was granted an unconditional pardon, and in 1857 he returned to Dublin and took his degrees. After practising for some time, he went to Sydney, and shortly afterwards to Brisbane where he has remained ever since, until recently, when he took a trip to the old country and was elected for West Meath, Ireland. He returned to Brisbane, with the object, as understood, of resigning his seat in the Legislative Council, and winding up his affairs. After a successful career in the Legislative Assembly he was called to the Upper House in 1877, but has now resigned his seat. At the present time he is practising in Brisbane, and is Public Vaccinator under the Central Board of Health. He is also a magistrate of the Territory.

Disclaimer: This has been transcribed directly from the original document. Any mistakes are from the original document.

Transcribed from the newspaper Telegraph (Brisbane), 17 July 1905, p.7.

Title header for the newspaper "The Telegraph" (Brisbane) ca.1905

Death of Dr K.I. O'Doherty

Well-Known Queenslander Gone

The death took place on Saturday evening, at his residence, Westholme, Heussler terrace, of Dr. Kevin Izod O'Doherty; at the age of 81 years.  The deceased, who for many years was highly esteemed as a citizen and as a medical man, had been ill for some time past, and during the last two or three years was relieved of some of his duties in connection with the insane asylum at Goodna,  Diamantina, and Ipswich by other medical men.  Dr. J.Thomson has looked after the lunacy work at Woogaroo, Dr. Espie Dods at Diamantina, and Dr. Flynn at Ipswich.  Last week the deceased suffered a stroke of apoplexy, and he was visited by Dr. Marks on Friday, and Dr. Thomson on Saturday.  He succumbed on Saturday evening, leaving his widow and daughter as sole survivors.  His sons, Dr. E. O'Doherty, Dr. W, O'Doherty (dental surgeon), and Mr. Kevin O'Doherty all predeceased their father.

The late Dr. Kevin Izod O'Doherty, F.R.C.S.I. was born in Dublin in June, 1824, and educated for the medical profession.  Whilst still a student he entered heartily into the "Young Ireland" movement, and joined with R.D. Williams ("Shamrock," of the "Nation") in founding the "Irish Tribune," the first number of which was published in Dublin on 10th June, 1848.  At the fifth number, issued on 10th July, the new journal was suppressed by the Castle authorities, and Mr. O'Doherty was lodged in gaol on a charge of treason-felony.  In the following month he was placed on his trial, but the jury disagreed, and the same fate awaited the second experiment.  Arraigned a third time, he was found guilty, and sentenced to ten years' transportation.  Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) was his destined location for which he sailed in company with John Martin, arriving in November, 1849.  He was at once released on parole, and his professional services were utilised at St. Mary's Hospital, Hobart.  Five years later Mr.O'Doherty received a pardon, conditional on his residing anywhere out of the United Kingdom. Of this he availed himself to settle in Paris, where he resumed his medical studies, making a secret excursion to Dublin in order to marry Miss Kelly ("Eva" of the "Nation"), to whom he had been affianced at the time of his trial, and who had promised to wait for him when their prospects of reunion seemed blackest.  In 1856 Mr. O'Doherty received an unconditional pardon, and in the following year he returned to Dublin, where he was admitted F.R.C.S. in 1857, and L.M. and L.R.Q.C.P. in 1859.  After practising in Dublin for some time with much success, Mr. O'Doherty emigrated to Brisbane, where he took a leading position in his profession, and was for six years one of the members for the capital in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.  In 1877 he was nominated a member of the Legislative Council, and retained his seat till 1886, when he resigned, with the view of settling in Europe.  He was received with great cordiality on his return to Ireland, and was at once nominated and returned to the House of Commons for Meath in the Parnellite interest.  After a few months, however, he resigned his seat in Parliament, and returned to Queensland.  Mr.O'Doherty was for some time president of the Irish National League of Australia, and was chairman of the Irish Australian Convention, held in Melbourne in 1883.

The deceased occupied many positions in Queensland and Brisbane at various times.  He was a member of the old Central Board of Health, and took a great interest in many movements.  At various times he was medical officer to the volunteer forces, and on the consulting staff of the General Hospital.  Since his return from Britain he has gradually ceased to be so well known a figure in the city as formerly, but by all old residents his gentlemanly bearing, his springy gait, his genial ways, and happy words will long be green in their memories.  The funeral is fixed to take place this afternoon at 4 o'clock at Toowong Cemetery.

Disclaimer: This has been transcribed directly from the original document.  Any mistakes are from the original document.