Patricia O’Donnell (1945–2018) was an important and influential figure in Victoria’s hospitality, culinary and cultural life over many decades, as a restaurateur, hotel owner and publican, and as a facilitator of cultural events at the institutions she owned and managed. Moreover, she was a generous patron of the arts and sat on a number of Boards.
From 1978–2002 Patricia was the co-owner and manager of the heritage-listed Mietta’s Queenscliff Hotel, which earned many hospitality and tourism awards. She later established the North Fitzroy Star as a much-loved and sought-after inner-city dining and events venue. She was a founder, and deputy president, of the Queenscliff Carnival of Words; host, for many years, of the Queenscliff Music Festival and the annual Writers’ Dinner during the Melbourne Writers Festival; and a board member of the State Library of Victoria 1999–2008, the Abbotsford Convent, the Australian Art Orchestra and the Mietta Foundation, as well as on the executive committees of the Friends of 45 Downstairs and the Mietta Song Recital Competition.
Obituary in The Age
Patricia O’Donnell was one of Melbourne's most treasured restaurateurs, cultural patrons and stylists. Her influence on many aspects of our cultural life was profound. She helped shape Melbourne's cultural landscape through formal positions of leadership at institutions including as a member of the State Library Board of Victoria, and a director of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation and the Australian Art Orchestra…Read more
Belinda Probert eulogy
Everyone here will have been greatly saddened to hear of Patricia’s death. Many will also have been very shocked. Patricia was in some ways a profoundly private person – despite her inexhaustible public life and wonderful sociability – and this explains, in part, her failure to forewarn everyone…Read more
Suzie Forge eulogy
My friendship with Patricia began in the then sleepy hamlet of Queenscliff in the late 70s. I was called upon to help with shaping the old hotel that she, Tony and Mietta had just bought. Don’t imagine the place had any of the verve, style, or popularity it has today. Far from it, the town was a backwater, totally off the beaten track, not connected by ferry, of course, just a run-down watering hole. Buying it then was a masterstroke and a brave one…Read more
Pauline Nestor eulogy
Many of you here today can speak much more adequately than I can about the magnitude of Patricia’s contribution to the cultural and social life of this great city. And those contributions will, no doubt, be celebrated in public and private for years to come. Suffice to say, however, that Melbourne could not have wished for a better citizen. Patricia regarded this city as her own. She made it her business to know what was going on – and, Lord knows, she seemed to know everything. She looked on any piece of bad architecture as a personal affront, and she rejoiced at any improvement…Read more
Mark Rubbo’s Tribute in Readings Monthly newsletter
Not many of you will have heard of Patricia O’Donnell, who sadly passed away last month, and that’s the way she liked it. However, she had a huge impact on Melbourne’s cultural and culinary life that needs to be recognised…Read more
Books + Publishing Tribute to Patricia O’Donnell
Literature patron Patricia O’Donnell has died, aged 72. O’Donnell was a significant patron of the arts in Melbourne, and was a founding donor of the Stella Prize…Read more
Interview with Patricia O’Donnell for students at The Academy of Mary ImmaculateRead more
Lachlan Tulloch school project on the life of Patricia O’DonnellRead more