J.B. O’Reilly’s has been a huge hit in the West Leederville area since 1993 – that’s over 20 years of delicious food and quality Irish tipple. We made a committed decision not to expand into other venues so as to concentrate on the quality of this establishment, and we think we’ve made the right choice. We are a family-run business with a regular and friendly local clientele – we value our customers, and are always eager to please. We think that our commitment to our customers, and our continual focus on the Perth pub scene, makes J.B’s unique in this regard – a sure sign of a real local.
Our restaurant is separate to the main bar, which makes for cozy and private dining. Service and quality is our hallmark here and our team wishes you a happy experience every time you visit. Also feel free to check out the delicious drinks at our bar, before, during, or after your dinner.
Who was JB O’Reilly?
John Boyle O’Reilly: A hell of a fella
John Boyle O’Reilly was born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, in 1844. Shortly after enlisting in the British Army for the sole purpose of creating rebellion within the ranks, he was arrested for that selfsame rebellion. This (pretty obvious) outcome meant that he was shipped off to the penal colony of Western Australia for twenty years. O’Reilly quickly became known as a man with a way with words: he took on the esteemed position of Editor of the convict newspaper the “Wild Goose” aboard the prison ship “Hougoumont”, and wrote poems to lift the spirits of his fellow convicts.
In 1868 he was transferred to Bunbury to work in a convict road gang, and was given clerical duties because of his ability to write. This was an opportunity that allowed him to make plans to escape, through his friendship with Father McCabe. McCabe and O’Reily hatched a plan for O’Reilly to take a hidden boat to sea to meet the American whaling ship “Vigilant”. However, the fated meeting never took place and O’Reilly was forced to hide in the bush for two weeks. Eventually he was picked up by the “Gazelle”, and brought to freedom by faking a tragic drowning (that convinced all of the crew but one). When the police arrived, the crew was in the throes of grief, and the police were convinced that O’Reilly had passed away. Being the trickster that he was, O’Reilly soon surfaced out of a ship’s locker, the crew rejoiced, and they set off on their way.
In November 1869, O’Reilly arrived in Philadelphia, and continued on to Boston to settle. He became the editor of the “Boston Pilot”, and formed a reputation for himself as a humanitarian, writer, poet, and speaker. In the mid 1970s, due to his experience with the Western Australian penal system, he hatched a plot with co-conspirators John Devoy and Henry C. Hathaway to travel back to Bunbury, and help some of his old fellow inmates escape. The escape was carried out with only minor trouble (a steamboat ploughing towards their escape rowboat), and the convicts made it to their ship unharmed. In the meantime, the steamboat dashed off, picked up some soldiers, and took chase, but to no avail — warning shots were fired, but O’Reilly’s boat hoisted the American flag (the sailor’s way of pulling the middle finger), and sailed away.
O’Reilly’s experiences in Western Australia strongly influenced his writings, many of which have received worldwide acclaim. J B O’Reilly died at Boston on 10 August 1890, at a young age of 46 years old. Perhaps all that bloody drama took it out of him.