Former Jesuit associate presumed fifth crash victim

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One of the five Australians presumed to have died in Wednesday's plane crash at Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia was former Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) worker Liz O'Neill.

On Thursday evening, Liz was the only remaining presumed victim, following the official confirmation of the other four Australian victims. It is expected that the identity of the woman thought to be Liz could be established as early as Friday.

Liz's family have been involved with the Jesuit parish of St Canice's at King's Cross, in Sydney, for many years. A former student of Kincoppal, Rose Bay, she worked with the Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre in the early 1990s, before volunteering as office manager of a Hong Kong legal project with which JRS Australia was involved.

After working with JRS, she joined the Department of Foreign Affairs, working initially in public relations at the Press Gallery in Canberra.

She visited East Timor, Bougainville and Bali after the first bombing. More recently, Liz worked as the Public Affairs counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

With the events in East Timor, the Bali Bombings, the Embassy bombing, the Tsunami and Aceh, the Corby trial, the central Java earthquakes, the 'Bali 9' arrests and trial, and the various other Australian Indonesia issues, it has been a full few years for her," said Fr Peter Hosking SJ, a personal friend.

"Liz was an enthusiastic, vibrant and restless person," he said. "She was energetic, personable and confident. She had wide interests and a good sense of humour. She was a generous and good friend."

She is survived by her husband Wayne Adams, and their nine month old daughter Lucinda.



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My condolensces on your loss of Liz O'Neil. My thoughts and prayers go out to her husband and child. After all the fantastic work she has done, Liz's soul will be rewarded no doubt.

Australia (and the world) needs more peace and human rights activists like Liz, than it does war and privilege activists like so many of our leaders.

As always, regards to Eureka Street.

Frank Donovan
Frank Donovan | 09 March 2007


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