Patrick Joseph Felix Valentine O'Neil O'Carroll was born at Castlepollan in County Westmeath, Ireland. He was educated at St Vincent's College, Castleknock then St Stanislaus College, Rahan and Dublin University before completing his medical training at St Cecilia School of the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin.

Dr O'Carroll, sometimes known as Paddy, sailed to Melbourne aboard the Queen of the South in 1862. The following year he accompanied a party of Australian military settlers to Auckland on the Star of India. He was appointed first to the Auckland Militia and then to the Waikato Militia. While stationed with the Waikato Militia he was present at several battles, including the attack on Gate Pā in 1864.

In 1865 he was ordered to Taranaki where he was placed in medical charge of the mounted troopers and accompanied General Chute on his march around the east side of Mount Taranaki. Dr O'Carroll maintained his links with the military throughout his time in Taranaki and was awarded the New Zealand Medal, Imperial long service decoration and the Victoria decoration.

Dr O'Carroll also had a long association with New Plymouth Hospital, first as a surgeon and later as medical superintendent. W.H. Skinner described him in his book Pioneer Medical Men of Taranaki as "One of the best known and popular surgeons of his day and generation in North Taranaki." Skinner goes on to say Dr O'Carroll was "A typical Irishman, full of humour, of abounding hospitality, and generous to a fault, he was beloved by all classes of the community."

O'Carroll married Alice Carrington, the daughter of Octavius Carrington, in 1869 and they lived for many years in a large house at 228 Devon Street East (town section 1448) which was later converted to the Devon Boarding House.

Dr O'Carroll suffered a serious stroke in 1897 and made only a partial recovery. He eventually returned to Ireland where he died on 14 August 1903, aged 60.

Note: Dr O'Carroll is said to have been born in 1843 or 1844 which would have made him around 19 when he sailed to Australia, very young to have already completed his medical training.

Related Information


Portrait of "Dr. O'Carroll" (Collection of Puke Ariki PHO2011-2527).


Obituary of Dr P.J. O'Carroll (Taranaki Herald 17 September 1903).


Biography of the late Dr O'Carroll (Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1908).


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