June 14, 2015

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.


May 30, 2015

WATSON, Lydia Josie

Life was simple, easy going, and basic, for Lydia Josie Watson. She had four brothers, and one sister, who, like everyone who met her, loved her dearly.

Josie, as she was to be known, a quirk of the family was to be called by their second Christian name, was born on 11th August, 1923, to Albert Edward and Lydia Ada WATSON. The family moved a few times and Josie was born in a suburb of Maitland, NSW, known as Louth Park. Fortunately, this home had some space for children to play and Josie and her siblings took advantage of it ...

Josie with big-brother, Les ...

Josie, on the Maitland 'dirt-track' ...

Josie and Les ...

A young Josie, with L-R: Les, Ken, and Noel ...

In her youth, and now living in Lorn, Maitland, Josie loved acting, and dress-up. She often participated in Plays. This, of course, was a family interest, and nearly all got stuck-in to the 'part'.

It's amazing what you can do with Arnott's biscuits ...

As Snow White ...

... as the Prince ...

... with her sister, Enid, (Prince and Princess) ...

...and in her father's old uniform, from the Great War ...

Her family often ventured on summer vacations, with relations, making wonderful memories, for all ...

Josie loved singing, and was a regular in Eisteddfods ...

In 1943, during the height of World War II, Josie married Noel Roy SUKER, who was best friends with her brother, Les. Noel also came from Maitland, and whisked Josie off her feet, so to speak. They were to live in Mayfield, Newcastle, before moving back to West Maitland, with a baby daughter, Margaret Helen, born in 1945. Helen was soon to be joined by Jennifer Anne in 1949, and me, Robert James in 1951.

Good on you, Mum !

see also: WATSON, Lydia Josie - A "Photos only" Addendum.


WATSON, Lydia Josie - A "Photos only" addendum.

Carried forward from WATSON, Lydia Josie.


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 for a short while, by his wife, Ada, who passed away in 1987. The four sons Albert Kenneth 1976, Charles Leslie James in 1994, Robert Noel in 2012, and Stewart William in 2015. The two daughters, Lydia Josie 1994, and Nellie Enid in 1986. The end of an era.

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.