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He served the community of Pentridge from 1853 to 1882. He was the man who, in 1867, called a public meeting to discuss the potential for a change of name, as "Pentridge" was seen as too evocative of the gaol. As a result of this meeting, the name of the suburb was changed to Coburg. He now has a street named after him in that suburb.
During his time in Melbourne, he was responsible for the building of four churches: Beveridge (1857); St. Ambrose Church (1869); and Woodstock and Epping (1879). All four were constructed from local basalt in the Gothic architectural style.
In the 1880s, he baptized and ministered to Ned Kelly before the bushranger was hanged in 1880. Fr O'Hea was described by Hugh McCrae "as a burly priest, developed like a Thessalonian bull, fisted like a Castor or Pollux; yet withal a learned man, a witty one, and a friend of the masses."
He retired in 1882 and lived in retirement in what is now Mercy Convent.
He died in 1903, at the age of ninety.
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