Andrew Jack OChin 1917 to 1978

Jack O’Chin is born at Hughenden and bought to Cherbourg (then known as Barambah) as a child by his mother. Jack, who soon becomes known as Chinny, is schooled to grade 4, then in 1930 commences at the manual training workshop where he learns joinery, carpentry and plumbing. He is soon made workshop monitor. He becomes a skilled craftsman making artefacts, toys and furniture.

Jack O’Chin is a keen sportsman, playing cricket and rugby league. During the 1930s he is regarded as one of the best rugby league fullbacks in Queensland. He starts playing football in earnest at the age of sixteen years and remains with the game for the following thirty years. The sportsground at Cherbourg is named in his honour, Jack O’Chin Oval.

In the 1950s, Jack O’Chin is involved in the scouting movement, becoming a scoutmaster. He becomes involved in the economic welfare of the Cherbourg community, managing the curio shop and helps in developing the pottery training program. He is remembered for his achievments in community affairs such as education, sport, church, welfare and social programs, and being an accomplished musician plays regularly at concerts in Cherbourg and other centres in the South Burnett. He and his wife, Nellie are the managers of the Boy’s Dormitory at Cherbourg for 25 years.

Jack O’Chin is the first chairman of the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community Council when it is set up in 1966 to advise the Queensland government on Aboriginal affairs. He is the first warden appointed under the Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act and is a foundation member of the Relics Advisory Committee. Jack O’Chin is the first Aboriginal person to represent Queensland at a national conference on Aboriginal welfare that is opened by the prime minister, Sir John Gorton, in Melbourne in 1968. In 1969 he is appointed to the Captain Cook Bicentenary Committee. In June 1978, Jack O’Chin is awarded the Imperial Service Medal by the Queen in recognition of his long service to his people, his community and the Australian government.

In August 1978 Jack O’Chin died suddenly at his Cherbourg home following a stroke which occurred three days before his 61st birthday.

“Jack was willing to do anything and everything to help people. He was a scout master, he was a pie cooker to sell at the Welfare Hall to raise money for their equipment. He was involved in sports and encouraged the young ones. He used to have a couple of teams and train them. The Council wanted to name the oval after him because he did so much for the community.” - Nellie O’Chin 2011


Leave a comment


The Cherbourg Memory is an initiative of the Rationshed Museum and brings together the photos, videos, oral history recordings, documents and other artifacts of our lives on this settlement. It a website, an archive, an educational resource, a recording project, a research data-base, a store of the people’s stories and an interactive space for comments and engagement. We encourage the people of Cherbourg, the Indigenous communities in Australia and others who have experience of our settlement to help us create a living archive of Barambah-Cherbourg. So find out a little more about the Cherbourg Memory, discover how you can Participate, or find out how you can Contribute to the development of the Cherbourg Memory.