O'Connor loved his family and he loved people. He married Susan Letitia Ness in 1873 and together they had seven children. He suffered the great sorrow of losing one of his children in a domestic accident while in New Zealand. He and his family were known to be generous hosts. His home was a happy place to be.
He loved horses and rode them for pleasure and also as a means of transport when inspecting his projects. And he was good at it - he was well known for his horse riding skills.
He was a compassionate man who looked after his workers. He had a good example in this. His father had treated the share-farmers on his property in Ireland with compassion during the potato famine, even though this cost him his farm. O'Connor was known for being fair with the people who worked for him - though he was strict and meticulous and expected the same from his workers. So the compassion and the fairness moved from one generation to the next.
O'Connor had given himself to his family and to many others around him he cared for his workers - he was born from compassionate, caring people, and that was with him all his life. Through his courage and brilliance, used in service to others, he brought a better life to countless thousands. He deserves recognition as one of the great men of Australian history.