The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/McDonnell, Lieut-Colonel John
McDonnell, Lieut.-Colonel John, J.P., was born in Cork in 1829, and having emigrated to Australia entered the public service of New South Wales as clerk in the Immigration Department in Sydney in August 1854. After receiving several promotions he was entrusted in 1858 with the compilation of the general statistics of New South Wales, including what is now known as Queensland, in which colony he was appointed a clerk in the Police Department in Feb. 1860, becoming secretary and chief clerk in the same department in Oct. 1869. Having filled a number of other responsible offices in various departments of the Queensland Civil Service, he was appointed to his present post of Under-Secretary of the Post and Telegraph Department in July 1870, and became senior officer in command of the volunteer forces (honorary) in 1874, major commandant (also honorary) in 1877, and lieut.-colonel commandant in April 1878. In Nov. 1879 he retired from the command of the volunteer forces, and was placed on the staff with the rank of lieut.-colonel. In Feb. 1883 he was made Acting Commandant of the forces, but resumed his rank on the staff in Jan. 1884, on the arrival of Colonel French from England. He has been a member of the Immigration Board since 1872.