Thomas Macartney Condell was born in Ireland in 1882, fourth child and first son of Thomas Condell and his wife Sarah (nee Macartney). After completing his school education Thomas studied law and went on to practise in the Irish courts. In 1911 he migrated to Australia with his younger brother, Charles Henri Condell. The brothers settled in Orange, where Thomas worked as chief clerk for solicitor Donald Pilcher at Russell Chambers in Lords Place.
In November 1914 Thomas – aka Mac – was admitted by the Full Court in Sydney as a solicitor. He established a practice in Gaskell Street in Canowindra in premises adjoining Victor Hoare’s tailoring establishment. Thomas joined the Canowindra Town Band, for which he played the violin.
In December 1915 Charles travelled to Cootamundra to enlist in WWI, nominating Thomas as his next of kin. Thomas followed his younger brother’s example and volunteered his services in October 1916. He embarked from Sydney on 2 August 1917 and arrived in Glasgow on 2 October.
Thomas proceeded to France in November 1917. In January 1918 he was taken on strength with the 4th Divisional Train. He was transferred to Australian Army Pay Corps (AAPC) on 6 July 1918 and promoted to ER Sergeant on 23 August 1918.
In December 1918 Sergeant Condell was transferred to the Australian Army Service Corps, then, in January 1919, the Education Service and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
On 30 April 1919 Thomas proceeded to England and was promoted to Lieutenant. He returned to Australia in August, and his appointment with the AIF terminated in September.
Shortly after his return to Australia Thomas purchased the late AJ Shewcroft’s solicitor’s practice in Orange. In September 1923 he married Ethel May Seymour at St. Phillip’s Church in Sydney. The couple’s first child, Morna, was born in 1925. Three sons followed; one – Derrick – died tragically in April 1930 after accidently consuming strychnine in the form of Alophen tablets.
Thomas and Ethel were prominent public figures in Orange. Thomas was an alderman on Orange Municipal Council in the 1920s and 30s, a member of the Orange Jockey Club, the Diggers’ Race Club and the Orange Nationalist Association. He was treasurer of the Orange Players’ (OP) Club and also a proficient golfer. The couple socialised with the Dalton family and Doctors Howse and Paton.
On the morning of Saturday 8 February 1936 Thomas worked in his office until midday, then spent a few hours with Ethel in the garden. At about 6.45pm he returned to the house and, remarking that he felt faint, requested a glass of water. He then suddenly collapsed and died. He was 53.
Four years later, in 1940, Ethel married Thomas Henry Oates, retired grazier from Belgravia, widower and father of eight. Ethel outlived both husbands; Oates passed away in April 1950, and Ethel in December 1988.
Thomas Macartney (Mac) Condell is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and the Orange Golf Club Honour Roll. He is also commemorated on the Law Society of New South Wales Roll of Honour unveiled on 19 July 2016 by His Excellency the Honourable TF Bathurst AC, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales.
Thomas’ brother, Charles Henri Condell did not return for the war; he was killed in action in France in December 1916.