May 21, 2015

WATSON, Albert Edward

My Grandfather, Albert Edward WATSON, was, perhaps, the most genuine, honest, decent human, I have ever met. Apart from that, he was the nicest person I've known. He was my Mum's Dad.

Albert was born in Lorn, Maitland, to Alfred James 'Jim' WATSON and Lydia Elizabeth GARDINER, on the 24th August, 1892. He married Lydia Ada OSBORNE, in 1914.

Albert worked as a grocer, saddler, stonemason, guard and railway porter, and then moved to the Postmaster General's Department, as a postman. It had been when he was 20 years of age, in 1912, that he joined the Volunteer Fire Brigade. In 1962, there were 14 members of the Maitland Volunteer Fire Brigade, and 7 honorary members at the Maitland Ambulance Station. Volunteers were on call 24 hours per day, and only received a small remuneration for fires they attended.

The Volunteer staff are summoned to duty by 3 blasts of the station siren, and by means of a house-bell, installed in their homes. They did 2 'drills' per month, which include practice runs, pump tests, and the use of all fire-fighting equipment. The resident country inspector tests them every three months, so the volunteers have to be fit and ready, at any hour.

Years of Service, are indicated by the chevrons on their tunics. Four of the Maitland Brigade had 20 years of Service medals.

Albert, at 73 years of age, and upon his retirement in 1965, had 53 years of continuous Service. He had been the Captain of the Brigade for over 10 years, and as a mark of respect and gratitude for this tremendous selfless effort, Albert was presented with the brass helmet he had worn during his service.

The representation of members from brigades as far afield as Sydney, Newcastle and the Coalfields, was a small mark of the respect in which Albert was held. The representative of the Board of Fire Commissioners, Mr Mallam, said; "...the length of service Mr Watson had attained, would be impossible by volunteers in the future, with the introduction of a retiring age (65) ...".

Along with the helmet, Albert was given a silver tea service by his replacement captain, Mr. Ron Jarrett, who had served with Albert for over 20 years!

In an interview by the Maitland Mercury, after he retired, Albert remembered that when he first started in the brigade, at Lorn (Maitland) "...all the equipment we had...was a hand cart, with a hose wound around a drum, a stand pipe, and a few other basic items." He went on to say; "Two men grabbed hold of a single shaft to pull it along - sometimes, if we were lucky, we got a lift with a truck!"

When he transferred to the more modern Brigade at West Maitland, "the fire-cart was drawn by two horses, and they had a 'smoking steam engine' to draw the water out of the mains!" Albert attended over 1000 fires. Imagine the changes he saw from 1912 to 1965!

After retirement, Albert and his wife, Ada, enjoyed their garden and grandchildren. Every Saturday after lunch, Grandpa, as I called him, would pick me up in his car and we'd go to his niece's cake shop! Wow! Those were the days!

Albert passed away in 1970. He was survived by his wife, Ada, four sons and two daughters.

Sorely missed.


May 02, 2013

HANNELL, James (Walton) - 200 years old.

Mr. James (Walton) Hannell, was free-born on Dec.1st, 1813, and to mark his 200th birthday, later this year, I write this small dedication to his family life, his beloved wife, Mary Ann Sophia (née Priest) (1819-1884), his dedicated career in both Local, and State politics, as well as his love for community service, which has ear-marked James, and his family, particularly his son, Clarence (1836-1909), and laud them as pioneers and probably Founding Fathers, of Newcastle.

James Hannell (1813-1876), along with his brothers, John (1815-1891), and Jesse (1818-1895), was born in Parramatta, to Elizabeth Hannell (1792-1874) and James Walton (1763-?). Having been transported to Parramatta in 1812, for 7 years, it was in 1820, that Elizabeth was further transported to Newcastle (for Life), for her part in a further crime, leaving the three boys in the care of Ticket of Leave man, and Scourger, Walton, an ex-Coldstream Guard. It is believed that the boys did not like being associated with Walton, so followed their mother, to Newcastle, in the early 1830s. By that time, Elizabeth had already mothered a daughter, Mary Ann (1820), with a fellow convict, John White (c.1800-1826), and, following that tryst, had finally, on May 28 1828, married (her first and only), by reading of Marriage Banns, to John Butler Hewson (1800-1874), also a convict. The family was, by all accounts, a happy one. James, and his siblings, finished their schooling at the Christ Church school.

James, who, at 6' 6" and 133 kgs, was an imposing fellow, entered the Police force in 1833, and resigned in 1836, to take up the mantle of Newcastle's first licenced Auctioneer. His career blossomed, and he became the licensee of the 'Ship Inn', a well-known, and frequented, establishment for Newcastle businessmen, as well as the venue for Oddfellows Lodge, and many, many sporting meetings. Naturally, this assisted in James becoming a very popular person in the budding township. Newcastle's population was growing (#1377 in 1842), due to an increase in immigration of men seeking employment in the coal industry (A.A.Company). The industry was in dire need of improvement to the port facilities, and due to his increasing popularity, James was asked to head a deputation to the then Gov. Denison. That was in 1855, and it was around the same time, that thoughts of incorporation of Newcastle, as a city, were being nurtured.

James was, again, foremost in the advocacy for the incorporation, and so it was, in June,1859, as a result of the first Council of aldermen meeting, James was elected as the first Newcastle Mayor - unopposed. He served in that capacity for four consecutive terms - 1859-60-61-62 and again, in 1868-69 and 71.

James was also elected representative for Parliament, for the City of Newcastle electorate, in 1960. Re-elected in 1864, retaining his seat until 1869. This was the government of his good friend, Sir Henry Parkes. In 1872, he contested the seat for Northumberland, and was elected, virtually, un-opposed, with an over-whelming show of support.

His family life was no less a highlight, sharing 11 children, with Mary. His eldest son, Clarence Hewson Hannell, was to assist his father in the fund-raising efforts for the Newcastle hospital, the foundation stone of which was laid by James, on Nov. 9th, 1865. Many years later, section of the hospital would be called 'The Hannell Wing'. Clarence continued efforts, following his father's death, in 1877, and was, himself, President of the Board of Newcastle Hospital from 1892 to 1909.

James also became the first Mayor of Wickham, when it's Municipal Council was formed.

Always interested in sporting events, James was, amongst other things, the inaugural President of Newcastle Cricket Club, founding member, Judge, and first President of the Regatta Committee, and the first President of the Newcastle Jockey Club. He really was a 'first' of his kind.
James was a member of the parochial council of the Christ Church, and, together with Cn. John Fetcher, had many heated arguments with Bishop Tyrrell, who was the target of Hannell's vitriol in a fruitless action in the Supreme Court. Apparently, James raised the objections of the parishioners to Tyrrell, in the Legislative Assembly.

His interest, and support of, the community was as varied as the Mechanics Institute, the School of Arts.

James was also a bench Magistrate.

He lived on what was to become Hannell St., in Wickham (formerly known as Smedmore), now the site of a Mobil petrol outlet, in a home he built for his wife, Mary, the daughter of Edward Priest, a Port Stephens lighthouse keeper.
His brothers, John and Jesse, were also pioneers, with John, this writer's 3 x great grandfather, a hotelier and river pilot, at Hexham, and Jesse, being a hero of many harbour rescues, was also the first lighthouse keeper at what was to be called, Nobbys, and also the first Signal Master for the port.


April 02, 2013

200 Years in Australia!

Our family began it's tenure in Australia, 200 years ago, on 25th October, 1812, with the arrival of Elizabeth HANNELL.

As the story goes, Elizabeth was tried, found guilty, and transported to Australia, as a penalty for her crime of theft: simple grand larceny. It was during her initial days in the Parramatta Female Factory, that Elizabeth met fellow convict, James Walton.

The first of three sons, James, was born on 1st December, 1813, followed by John, 27th August, 1815, and Jesse, 15th November, 1817. The boys were all Free-born. Elizabeth never married Walton, who worked as a 'Scourger', but did have the boys baptised and given the surname of Walton. Of course, the occupation of scourger was not a well accepted one, and the boys, sometime in the early 1820's, preferred their mother's surname of HANNELL.

Fate again played a hand in Elizabeth's life. Originally sentenced to only seven years, which should have expired in 1818, or 1819, Elizabeth returned to her nefarious ways, by committing herself to abetting some dastardly criminals in Forgery of Receipts, in the Garland case...(see: Elizabeth Hannell - Addendum 1). She stood trial at Sydney, on 29th June, 1820, and was sentenced to 'Life' , in Newcastle. On the 27th July, 1820, she was transported to Newcastle, on the 'Princess Charlotte'. Her three sons stayed with their father, in Parramatta. It wasn't long after arriving, that Elizabeth struck up a 'friendship' with another convict, named John White. On the 10th May, 1821, a daughter, Mary Ann WHITE, was born, and was the first baptism registered at the Christ Church.

The 'partnership' of Elizabeth and John didn't fair much better than her previous one, and Elizabeth was once again on her own - with a young child. John White died on Nov. 13th, 1828, 27 months after the only 'legal' marriage of Elizabeth to John Butler HEWSON, on 28th Aug, 1826, by reading of the Banns. It was at the Governor's pleasure, but with reservations due to the character of the 'participants'. However, it proved to be a long marriage and an apparently happy home for Mary Ann, who was to be known as Mary Ann White, then Hannell, then Hewson.

It is not known exactly when, but in the early 1830's, the three brothers came to Newcastle to be with their mother. It appears to be the last we ever hear of their father, James Walton. From what we do know, the 'family' in the Hewson household was happy. It was to be the start of a dynasty of Hannells, which became known as one of the 'Founding' families of Newcastle.

One doesn't have to search very far to come across the name of Hannell, in Newcastle, or be made aware of the influences of the three brothers, James, John and Jesse, on the early history of Newcastle. Whether it be in the field of Politics, Sporting facilities, Business, or Maritime safety, the name of Hannell rang out. From the 1840's through to the turn of the century, and further, some note has been mentioned, or recorded.

We have a lot to celebrate, and a family to be proud of. I have tried to keep up with the additions and subtractions of a family tree of enormous proportions. If you happen to come across this, or other stories by me, please feel free to contact me, via comment, or preferably, email.


April 01, 2013

CARROLL, Martin James - Is the story true?

From the earliest time I can remember, the story of Martin James CARROLL, the enigma, has been bandied around the family, embellished by uncles and aunties, cousins and kin - all without any factual back-up, that I have seen.

My great, great, grandfather, Martin, was born in Loughrea, County Galway, in Ireland - some say, in 1829, some say, in 1833. According to the East Galway Family History Society Company Ltd, who looked up baptismal records of Martin James Carroll, son of James CARROLL, and Bridget BURKE, and found them in the R.C. records, was born in 1829. He was one of eleven children registered to that family. Carroll was not a common name in Loughrea. A quote from a letter, dated June 6th, 1996, written by Angela Canning, from the Society, stated:
"Even though his age was recorded as 33, in 1866, placing his year of birth at 1833, I am confident that the 1829 entry is the one you seek. Early 19th century church records usually do not record a second Christian name, whereas in this family, three children were given two Christian names."

The children of James and Bridget, was listed as: Patt Joseph CARROLL - 05.04.1821, Maria Ann CARROLL - 20.04.1823, William CARROLL - 09.01.1825, Ellanora CARROLL - 16.10.1826, Elizabeth CARROLL - 06.08.1828, Martin James CARROLL - 19.10.1829, Michael CARROLL - 26.08.1831, Joseph CARROLL - 26.08.1831, James CARROLL - 21.12.1832, Matilda CARROLL - 29.10.1835, and a second child named Joseph CARROLL - 1836 (date not recorded).

James CARROLL, the father, whose death was recorded as 1867, aged 84 yrs, suggesting a birth date of 1782-83. His occupation was listed as 'Sieve Maker'. No record of Bridget Burke was noted.

Now, the question which has been plaguing researchers in the family, for years. Martin James Carroll owned, according to the older family members who met him, a gold signet ring, which was emblazoned with the Family Crest of the BURKE family, which were part of the Clanricarde family. Several of the older family members saw this ring and it's disappearance has also been an annoying enigma. The question is, was Martin James Carroll a descendant of the Clanricarde family (2nd Marquess), through his father, or mother? Once again, a quoted passage from Angela Canning:
"As to your theory concerning the father of Martin James CARROLL, I have no way of confirming if he was the 2nd Marquess. However, in the light of the fact that Martin James is the sixth of eleven children I feel that it is unlikely. If Bridget Burke had been a close relative of the Clanricarde family, she would most probably have been Church of Ireland. It is possible that Martin James had the Burke crest on his ring, which may have come from his mother. It is true that the 2nd Marquess had a number of illegitimate children, but it is unlikely that any maintenance was paid towards the upkeep of these children - or if it was, maintenance wasn't excessive. If a child were illegitimate, it's baptismal record would usually state same."
In another letter, dated August 11, 1996, Ms. Canning wrote:
"A number of Burke families, who were Catholic landholders lived in the Loughrea area. For example, the 'Burkes of Ballydoogan', in the Parish of Kilmeen, adjacent to Loughrea, were extensive landholders. Again, I have no way of confirming if the above family is linked to yours, although it is one possible explanation for Martin James Carroll's education and wealth. Families such as the 'Burkes of Ballydoogan' were landlords and gentry, many of whom sent their children to the European mainland to be educated, particularly France and Spain.

Unfortunately, records do not commence early enough tom include the birth of Bridget Burke or to allow us (to) link Bridget to one of the many Burke families in East Galway."

This would be borne out in the fact that Martin was educated to the highest degree. It was established that he was trained as a Catholic Priest at Dublin University, but was not ordained, and that he studied music, possibly abroad. He could speak several languages fluently.

He migrated to Australia, where he became very good friends with a family named Dalton, who were pastoralists from the Orange, NSW. The Daltons were also great friends of Martin's future father-in-law, John Hannell, and it was during a visit to Orange, that Martin met John Hannell and was invited to Newcastle. He came, met John's daughter Jane Elizabeth, and married her.

My aunty Dolly (Dorothy Margaret HEPBURN, née CARROLL), was fortunate enough to be strolling through an old city square of London, in 1949, when she came across Mr. Musset's Heraldic Studio. She saw a young artist putting the finishing touches to a Crest Motto, which turned out to be for the eldest Lascelles heir. It was the same Crest and Motto as on the signet ring of her grandfather, Martin! She was invited to Mr. Musset's office where she told the story in details that she remembered. He spent an interesting amount of time with her and finally said he would check it out, and that she should return in 2 weeks.

Two weeks later, she returned to Mr. Musset, and was delighted to know that her story had verifiable details and that she was 'entitled to the Crest' but that a special part of it was reserved only for the heir. He said that one has to establish accurate claim, before the request is granted. Aunty Dolly also stated that, to her best recollection, Martin was raised in Clanricarde castle and that Bridget was indeed the Lady (Bridget) Ann Burke, the daughter of the Earl. Mr Musset read details of the Earl of Clanricarde. The clan name was, of course, Norman French, and the family was De Burgh. He changed to Burke when he settled in Ireland.

As far as I can establish, this is connection to the Earl and family, seems to be all fanciful rubbish, but the right to the Crest appears valid.

This is the Burke Crest concerned, together with the Carroll family crest... the Motto being Norman French - 'Ung Roy - Ung Foy - Ung Loy' which translates as 'One King - One Faith - One Law'. The Carroll Motto "in fide et in bello fortes" translates as "loyal and valiant'.

August 22, 2012

Kevin Ashley BACON - Olympic Horseman

I have not had the privilege of meeting Kevin Ashley BACON, my 2nd Cousin, once removed, (his Grandmother Eliza, and my Great Grandmother, Emily, were sisters), but it would be a pleasure not often afforded to anyone in Australia. Kevin tends to occupy himself with 'horse people' of the world, and lives in Europe (Paris ?), as far as I know. However, that doesn't stop me from writing about him and his services to the sport of Show Jumping.

Kevin was born in Dungog, NSW, Australia, on the 20th March, 1932, to Royal Charles 'Roy' BACON and Ethel Irene BACON - née COOTE.

I don't know anything of his childhood, growing up in Dungog. He still has family living in the area, as far as I know, which means I do, too. I remember my Grandmother, Pauline, telling me stories of Kevin's prowess, during my youth, and with each telling, Kevin seemed taller, stronger, more daring, and more successful, than before. He certainly had a 'fan' in Pauline. I think that was primarily due to her close relationship with Emily.

Kevin represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympics, in 1964, where he finished 7th in the Team Show Jumping event, with Thomas Fahey and Bridget MacIntyre. In the Individual event, he finished 30th, on a horse called 'Ocean Foam', owned by International showjumping course designer, the late Ted Dwyer.

His peculiar style of riding was to mark Kevin as unique, and the most common remark was about how much daylight was visible between Kevin and his saddle. It was often the case that Kevin was actually not touching the horse, except with his hands! He soon became a favourite on the jumping circuit and certainly, during his time, probably the foremost show-jumper in Australia. Kevin was to compete in a further two Olympics. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, he placed 18th in the individual show jumping event on his horse 'Chichester'. He teamed up with John Fahey and Sam Campbell to be placed ninth in the team show jumping event.

In the Australian Show Jumping Championships, conducted by the Equestrian Federation of Australia, in Canberra, during 1969, Kevin won both the first, and second places! He rode 'Rajah' into first place, and 'Simon' into second place... quite an uncommon feat.

At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, he placed 37th in the individual show jumping event, once again on his horse 'Chichester'. Later, when he teamed up with Guy Creighton and Barry Roycroft, they placed equal 9th in the team show jumping event.

1976 was also to be a special year as it was at the Nations Cup event in Melbourne, that Kevin teamed up with to ride in the Australian team with Robbie Allen, Eric Musgrove, and Gavin Chester, to beat the French and New Zealand teams, in the first truly international teams event in Australia.

Kevin's career had, by now, well and truly taken off, and he was winning regularly on international circuits, including four-time champion at Madison Square Gardens, and several Grand Prix contests in Paris and Canada. His famous horse, 'Chichester', was ridden by Kevin, to win the Berlin International.

In 1994, Kevin Bacon was awarded the Order of Australia Medal, and on 2 November 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his equestrian achievements.

A true sporting Champion!

The book - "Kevin Bacon: Australia's Extraordinary Horseman": By Betty Lane Holland was published in 2002 and is a remarkable and heartwarming story of an Aussie battler who rose to be hailed as one of the greatest show jump riders in the world.