O’DONNELL, Leon “Swampy”

O’DONNELL, Leon “Swampy”

We have received advice that Leon (Swampy) O’Donnell passed away on Saturday night 30th May 2020.

Leon was an ex Armourer.  Born in Hobart on 28 September 1939, he joined the Navy on a six-year engagement on 4 February 57, and served primarily at HMAS Albatross and aboard HMAS Melbourne.  He discharged in 1963.

He captained the NSW AFL side twice and was a respected Irish/Australian historian.

Leon was given a private cremation with no Service, and leaves behind his wife Carol and daughters Karen and Kelley, who wrote of him:

“After leaving the Navy Dad worked in Sydney for a while then became Chief Purchasing Officer at Australian Newsprint Mills Boyer in New Norfolk Tasmania, where he worked until retirement. He was heavily involved with New Norfolk Football Club where he played and later became Chairman of Selectors. His interest in history particularly about New Norfolk and The Young Irelanders  was a huge part of his life which took him overseas on occasion and he has an unpublished book which we are looking into putting into print.

In recent years Dad was quite ill on and off, but remained in contact with a lot of his old Navy friends. I’ll try and name a few: Eddy “no legs” Ryan; John

Leon at the foot of his drive, Anzac Day 2020, during the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Beachball” Williams; Big Julie Bernie Jeffries;  Jim “Diamond” Pavier; Rat Face Johnson; Dudley McKenzie;  Don Mckaskil; “Big Chris” George Thompson;  Strev Donald; Billy Paul; Ken Staff and Keith Ron ” Sludge” Sedgwick; Dinsley Cooper; Fred Husband; Keith Taylor; Laurence “Swampmouse” O’Donnell (brother); Harry Higgins; Noel “Captain Underpants” Payne and Ian Struhs. There are more and I’m sorry if we missed you.

There is so much more I could add about my wonderful dad he was a big man in stature, mind and heart and will be so missed.
Regards Kelley Hall.”
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Right:  Navy News article of August 1961 acknowledges Swampy’s sporting prowess.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (2)

  • Noel Payne

    Leon O’Donnell captained NSW at Aussie rules after he left the Navy He was a real person with no prejudice, and although he supported Collingwood he was top hand. Forever missed by this gunnery jack – my dear friend Swampy.

    June 25, 2020 at 2:32 pm
  • Ta1lz2ER

    Proud to be known as a friend; a great man.

    July 4, 2020 at 10:37 pm

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