Tag Archives: Harman

M is for…Methodist

This really should have been a post for the “W” week of the Gould Genealogy Alphabet challenge, but I have another “W” word in mind for that week (guess which word that will be).  To be precise,  “W is for…Wesleyan Methodist” would have been more apt as it is the branch of Methodism that the Harman family followed, but due to an overload of “W”‘s, I’ll turn it upside down and make it “M is for…Methodist”.

What did I know about Methodism before I discovered the Harman’s faith?  Nothing except for a link to temperance.  Therefore, over the years I have tried to find out more about the religion as I think it is definitive in finding out more of what the Harmans were really like, especially James and his brother Walter who were Local Preachers with the church.

It was the role of  local preacher that I discovered was one of the characteristics of Methodism.  This from the “Advocate” of Burnie on August 16, 1952 gives something of the background:

The Methodist Local Preacher. (1952, August 16). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69442373

I have also found that James did preach at Hamilton Methodist Church on occasions, found in the history  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  by Joan A. Smith (1999).  The Hamilton church was originally at 41 McIntyre Street before moving to Lonsdale Street in 1913.  In May this year a gathering was held recognising 150 years of Methodism in Hamilton.

The Byaduk Methodist Church built 1864, was the first church in the town and a weatherboard Sunday School was added in 1889.  Located on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road which runs through the town the Byaduk church, along with the Hamilton church,  are now Uniting Churches.  This cam about after three churches, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational came together in 1977.

FORMER BYADUK METHODIST CHURCH

Prior to the Byaduk church’s construction services were held in the home of John B. Smith, an early leader of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.   In 1866, Smith went to Portland  and travelled a circuit which took him throughout the south-west.  His recollections were published in The Portland Guardian of June 25, 1928.  If you have Kittson, Lightbody or Hedditch links, this is worth reading in full.

Early Methodsim. (1928, June 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64266132

Smith was also a co-author of the book The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria  available online.  Of course there is a lot in the book about John Smith himself who “.. had a clear grasp of the plan of salvation, and a touching and pathetic way of speaking of the “wrath to come”.”(p.269).

Also of Smith:

“The well-worn family Bible used morning, noon, and night for family worship, told of his love for the Psalms and the words of the Lord Jesus and few could use them (even the deep vast words of the fourth gospel), or the plaintive phrases of the Psalms, or the less familiar lines of shaded beauty found in our Hymn Book, with greater feeling and effect” (p269)

The influence of this holy man of God and of other kindred spirits make Byaduk a bright spot in the Hamilton Circuit, while the personal worth and , social standing of Mr. Peter Learmonth as a Christian and a citizen, and the active sympathy and generous help of the Wissins’ and Learmonths’ on the one hand, and the uno-rudsins labours of devoted Local Preachers on the other, have served to sustain the cause and comfort the Minister’s heart”(p270)

Peter Fraser in Early Byaduk Settlers, describes an early Methodist service at Byaduk:

“They conducted the services differently from now.  In singing hymns. the preacher read a verse and the congregation sang the verse, then he read another and the congregation sang it and so on to the end of the hymn.  In prayers, most of the congregation knelt; and when the preacher was praying, some in the congregation would sing out AMEN, BE IT SO HALLELUIAH and other words, while others in the congregation would grunt and groan all the time, but it must have been a nuisance to the preacher as the Methodist Ministers stopped it many years ago.” (p. 14)

Peter also names some of the local preachers of which there was an abundance.  They included Mr John Henry Oliver senior, father-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman, and his son John Henry junior.  Also Daniel Love, John Holmes and Samuel Clarke, just to name a few.  George Holmes senior, father in law of Julia Harman, was superintendent of the Sunday School for over 40 years.

James and Walter seemed the most devout of the Harman family, with both spreading the word as local preachers. Also, Walter and his wife Lydia established the Sunday School at Ensay and Walter travelled many miles preaching.  Walter’s son Henry was an elder of the Omeo Methodist Church and I have previously told the story of the Omeo Methodist Minister Ronald Griggs .  The church closed ranks around Griggs and continued to support him at the time of his murder trial in 1928.

The post In Search of the Extraordinary Monster looks at the Port Fairy Methodist church.  Port Fairy was the home of the Harman family before they moved to Byaduk

Reuben James Harman, son of James and my gg grandfather,  was buried in the Methodist section of the Ballarat New Cemetery, with the faith continuing on to the next generation.

GRAVE OF REUBEN JAMES HARMAN & EMMA LORDEN – BALLARAT NEW CEMETERY

I know there is so much more to find about the Harman family link to the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  My ggg grandfather was a great servant of the church and saw some changes during its development in Byaduk and Hamilton.   He was still alive when the Hamilton Methodist Church moved to Lonsdale Street, but  a major change occurred a year after his death.  In 1917, the Methodist Church of Australia at its Melbourne conference ruled that local preachers were to become known as lay preachers.

METHODIST CONFERENCE. (1917, May 26). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), p. 6 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50927004

A post on the website Gospel Australia, has a great post “Poor Old Tom Brown”.  I have included the link but now the site is only working intermittently.   It  describes a man who was a Local Preacher in New South Wales and he is very much how I imagine James Harman to have been.

If you have Western District family  who were Methodists, I highly recommend you read the The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.  Various towns throughout the Western District were represented along with many names.  Other areas of Victoria are also covered.

If any one has any idea how I can get a copy of  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  I would love to hear from you.  There is a copy in the reference section of the Hamilton Library but it would be nice to have a copy of my own.

There is one question about the Harmans and their Methodist faith that I may never have answered.  Why did Joseph Harman, father of James and Walter, change his religion from Methodist to Presbyterian by the time of his death in 1893?  Mentioned in his obituary in “The Hamilton Spectator” it has had me wondering ever since I first read it.

 


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

I have previously posted on the Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses of my family members, but as people could hurt themselves in so many ways in the 19th and early 20th century I thought I would share some more.   I have included a couple of people  related to me, but most are just everyday people doing everyday things.  If you click on the “victim’s” name it will take you to Trove and the original article.

RABBIT SHOOTING

Beware the perils of rabbit shooting.  Henry Beaton , Reverend T Scanlan & John Kinghorn all knew the dangers, at least in hindsight.

Poor Henry was climbing through a fence with his Winchester when it went off and shot him in the foot.  John Kinghorn, a somewhat accident prone lad, lost the flesh below his thumb after the barrel of his gun exploded in 1890.  On another day not long after, he was riding to Hamilton with the Byaduk Mounted Rifles when another horse kicked him in the leg resulting in a severe leg injury to John.

Reverend Father Scanlan was shooting rabbits with Reverend Father Timmins.  Father Timmins wounded a hare so Father Scanlan pointed his gun through a hedge to take a last shot when the gun exploded, wounding him in the thigh.

A search at Trove found 1624 article headlines containing “Peculiar Accident”  So what characterizes a peculiar accident?  Well  Mrs C.E. Lewis qualified after a cow’s  horn ripped her eyelid.

Mr W.B Edgar made the grade while trying to relive his golfing days only to have some protective plovers attack him.

Peculiar Accident. (1937, August 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276868

An over exuberant crack of a stock whip resulted in Stephen Moodie’s peculiar accident. Another peculiar accident occurred to an unknown, and probably embarrassed customer of Page’s store in Warracknabeal. Lucky in-store video surveillance was not around then or the footage may have made it to a 1920s equivalent of Funniest Home Videos.

A PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1929, March 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72606226

Young Alex McIntyre would have thought twice before he messed with a bottle of spirits of salts again.  Deciding the best way to make sure the cork was in the bottle was to stomp down on it with his boot, he caused the bottle to explode.  It was enough to blow the hat from his head.  Luckily he escaped with minor burns and a dose of sense.

While the following peculiar accidents were not headlined as such, I do believe they fall into that category.  Feeding peanuts to a leopard at Melbourne Zoo did it for David Horsfall and Mrs Hill of Casterton found a lost needle in her hand, 35 years later.

Miss Gladys Makin would have been wary of yawning after her peculiar accident in 1908.

PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1908, March 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72808154

“Eyes Damaged by Paper” was the headline for Mr H. Fosters  peculiar accident.  From the Minyip “Guardian” newspaper, Mr Foster took paper cuts to a whole new level.  Fingers are the usual victims of the dreaded paper cut, but the gentleman managed to have the paper he was carrying pass over his eyeball.  Several days in a dark room was the remedy.

PAINFUL ACCIDENT. (1916, January 25). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73868145

The headline “painful accident” was found 2149 times at Trove, although I think most accidents would fit this description.

Walter Greed of Hamilton was a victim of painful accident in 1891.  Walter was the son-in-law of Reuben Harman and husband of Jesse Harman.  While working at his uncle’s coach building business Walter’s hand became caught in a studded drum used to prepare stuffing for carriage seats.  Once released, he ran, blood dripping, to Rountree’s Chemists in Gray Street where his hand was bandaged.  The chemist recommended Walter attend the Hamilton Hospital where it was found he had no broken bones.

It goes without saying that Mr Matthews’ accident was painful.  While mustering sheep in the Grampians in 1898  a fall on to dry sticks saw one of them enter three inches into his leg.  Wood was also the cause of Mr J. Sullivan’s painful accident near Warrnambool.  A chip of wood flew up and hit him in the eye, resulting in the eye being removed.

I feel bad  smiling while reading the following article.  But when I begin to visualise what John Brisbane was doing it is becomes cartoon like, particularly if I think of what might have happened and thankfully didn’t.  Apologies to John’s descendants for my mirth.

PAINFUL MOTORING ACCIDENT. (1946, July 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64408475

SOME UNFORTUNATE RELATIVES

Death by misadventure best describes the unfortunate death of my gg uncle and again spirit of salts proved a very dangerous substance.  In 1939, Ernest Richard Diwell drunk spirits of salts thinking it was whiskey.  This was a fatal mistake.

Only two years earlier, Ernest’s, uncle William Diwell had his own misadventure.

Advertising. (1937, June 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276046

I could go on all day with examples.  I have hundreds of them including “unusual accidents”, “extraordinary deaths” and articles with headlines such as “Horse Jumps in Side-Car” and “Cakes Flew When Horse Bolted”, but I will save them for another time.


H is for…

If ever there was a time to enter the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the  Alphabet challenge, that time would be now.  “H” has a arrived.

When my descendants look back at my HISTORY, they will see the letter “H” recurring.

The marriage of Sarah Elizabeth HARMAN and Thomas HADDEN in 1904 brought together two of my “H”‘s.  They settled in HAMILTON and had a daughter, my nana Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN.

Thomas HADDEN & Sarah HARMAN

Sarah HARMAN was not the only one in her family to keep her initials after she married.  Her sister Ellen married a HANKS and she became Ellen HANKS of HARRIET Street HORSHAM.

HADDEN and HARMAN are two of the four main family names that make up the maternal side of my family.

HAMILTON too, features in my HISTORY.  Nana was born there and I was too.

Looking across Melville Oval, HAMILTON

I lived in HAMILTON for 18 years, the town that was formally called the Grange.  If that name had remained, my entry in this challenge may have been “G” for Grange, Gamble and the Grampians.

Nana’s middle name was HENRIETTA  which I used to find quite amusing.   Later I learnt that her name came from her great-aunt HENRIETTA HARMAN, an HONOURABLE lady but one, it would seem, with a lonely HEART.

Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN (left) & her younger sister, Enda

Another “H” which will go down as part of my HISTORY is HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians.  Many HOLIDAYS were spent there and, at times, it has been a place I have called HOME.

HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians

May my HISTORY also show that I liked HORSES.  It was HORSES in HAMILTON, HORSES in HALLS GAP and HORSES on HOLIDAYS in HALLS GAP, HORSES everywhere.

Finally, my HOBBIES include the HISTORY of  HADDEN, HALLS GAP, HAMILTON, HARMAN and, of course, HORSES.

HORSES in HALLS GAP

So, when I get over my obvious preference for the letters “M” and “R”, I can safely say “H” is one of my favourite letters as so much close to my HEART starts with “H”

***Apologies to the, HAZELDINE, HICKLETON, HODGINS,  HOLMES, HUNT and HURRELL families to whom I also have links.


Hobbies, Passions and Devotions

The activities of my ancestors outside of their usual occupation is always of interest to me.  Their sports, pastimes, hobbies and social activities often help define them as people and sometimes those activities are present in later generations.  Also, it can lead to further information from club records and results in newspapers.

In some cases, much spare time was devoted to the church, maybe on the committee such as William Hadden or as a lay preacher like James Harman.  James was also able to find time for his other passion, ploughing competitions, not mention various committees, such as the local school.

Richard Diwell had an interest in the Hamilton Horticulture Society, but also indulged in photography. The photo in the post Elizabeth Ann Jelly was one of Richard’s using a camera with a timer, a new development in photography at the turn of the century.

My grandfather, Bill Gamble, grandson of Richard Diwell, had many interests particularly before he married.  He played cornet with the Hamilton Brass band and was a committee member of the Hamilton Rifle Club and a state representative shooter.

He also loved fishing, motorcycles and like his grandfather before him, photography.  As a result we now have hundreds of photographs of motorbikes and fishing trips.  He even developed his own photographs.  His passions of photography and motorcycles were passed on to his son Peter.

Many of the Holmes and Diwell families were members of Brass Bands at Casterton and Hamilton.  Alfred Winslow Harman was a rifle shooter and I recently told you about Nina Harman, wiling away the hours completing tapestry carpets.

I recently found an activity which previously hadn’t been present in my family, greyhound breeding.

James Stevenson was the grandson of James Mortimer and Rosanna Buckland. He worked as a manager at “Hyde Park”  a squatting run north of Cavendish until it was split up in 1926 for the Soldier Settlement scheme.  After this James moved to “Glen Alvie” at Cavendish where he described himself as a grazier.

In 1927, he advertised five well-bred greyhound pups for sale.  At £4 each, he stood to earn £20 if he successfully sold them.  A seemingly profitable hobby indeed.

Advertising. (1927, February 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73082854

James would have needed a good return on his pups as the sire’s stud fees would have been pricey given Cinder was imported by successful breeder, Mr Dickie of Bacchus Marsh.  The article from the time of Cinder’s arrival in Australia in 1923, reports the dog remained in quarantine for six months.  Because of a rabies outbreak in England, there was an extension to the time spent in quarantine  only a short time before his arrival.

In 1927, the time of James’ advertisement, greyhound racing using a “mechanical hare” began for the first time at the Epping course in New South Wales.  It took longer for other states to adopt the “tin hare” where they continued with the traditional field coursing.

SPORTS AND PASTIMES. (1923, September 7). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 6. Retrieved June 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65041056

 

WHAT DID YOUR ANCESTORS DO IN THEIR SPARE TIME?


Volcanoes Revisited

I wrote about the volcanoes of Western Victorian and the South-East of South Australia in the post “Western District Volcanoes – Are They Sleeping?”.  It has been a popular topic so I thought I would share this new video found at You Tube about the volcanoes of Mt. Gambier, South Australia by Geoff Oliver.

This is the first in a series Geoff will present on the Volcanic sites in the area including the south-west of Victoria.  I look forward to seeing if Geoff will visit the Harman Valley.


Nina’s Royal Inspiration

Watching the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant, made me think of how much Nana would have enjoyed it.  She loved everything royal, and while she was not always a regular reader of the Australian Women’s Weekly like Grandma Riddiford was, you could always count on her buying issues with the British royal family on the cover.  Not to mention the special publications for events such as the marriage of Charles and Diana and the birth of their sons.

It also reminded me of  an article I found at Trove of another Harman descendent and her link to the Australian Women’s Weekly and how she found royalty inspiring.

Nina Harman was born in 1895 at Barnawartha, Victoria, daughter of Walter Graham Harman and Ann Gray, and grandaughter of George Hall Harman and Rebecca Graham.  In 1921, Nina married engineer, Jonathan Welsh. During the 1940s and 50s the couple were living at Wattle Vale, near Nagambie.

Nina took up tapestry around 1952 when Jonathan became ill as she found it “soothing”.  They later moved to Ivanhoe, Victoria and Jonathan passed away in 1961.  Her carpet, pictured in the “Weekly” on July 6, 1966, helped her overcome the loneliness brought about by the death of her husband.

 

SHE STITCHES CARES AWAY. (1966, July 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 12. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44024749

What amazes me is that the carpet cost $1200 in materials and was insured for $5000.  How much would that be today?

Queen Mary’s own tapestry carpet inspired Nina.  The Queen completed the carpet  in 1950 at which time she donated it to the British Government to sell and retain the funds.  Queen Mary worked tirelessly on the carpet despite pain from sciatica.

QUEEN DEFIANT. (1950, February 8). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49696596

The Queen passed away in 1953.  The following article which appeared in the Woman’s Weekly on April 8, 1950 may have helped inspire Nina.

Queen Mary’s carpet. (1950, April 8). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 11. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55184154

 

Nina passed away in 1985 aged 90.  I wonder how many more tapestries she completed over the 20 years after her “Weekly” appearance?

 

 

 

 

 


Everybody Happy?

This is the third draft of this post and definitely the last.  Researching this subject has taken me through several twists and turns.  I’ve gone from happy dancing around the room, to slumped over the keyboard with frustration to happy dancing around the room again.

In my post Left Behind, I alluded to a discovery which linked  Mary Ann Harman to Australia.  It was Passenger Lists which led me to my subject and those same Passenger Lists which have contributed to my despair, leaving me desperately searching for answers.

So far, I have bookmarked close to 100 newspaper articles, watched film archive footage, listened to sound archive footage, read musical scores and entered into a lost world of entertainment, vaudeville.  I have gone from the stages of the Bristol Hippodrome to the Melbourne Tivoli, from the BBC to the ABC.

Basically, I could not share this story until I knew the truth.

So without further ado, let me introduce to you the star of the show -

!!!!!!!!!RUPERT HAZELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!RUPERT HAZELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rupert Alexander Hazell was born in West Ham, London in 1887 .  He was the son of Charles George Hazell and Harriett Sarah Loats, daughter of Mary Ann Harman and granddaughter of  Byaduk pioneers, Joseph and Sarah Harman.  Charles Hazell worked on the wharves and Rupert followed him there to work, first for the Royal Naval Stores and then the Port Authority.

But Rupert’s heart was not in it.  He was funny, a born comedian.  Despite passing the necessary examinations to enter the Civil Service and in turn delighting his parents, he wanted to share his humour.  With that and his musical talent, he said goodbye to the Civil Service.

In 1913, he formed his first partnership, marrying Florence Adele McKnight at Kingston, Surrey.  Adele worked as a saleswoman at a costumers and is possibly where she met Rupert.  Years later, it would be revealed that Rupert had a great interest in ladies’ stage costume.

The following year their son was born and christened with the same name as his father, Rupert Alexander.

Rupert was already treading the boards when he enlisted for WW1 in 1916, listing his occupation as entertainer.  He was an acting sergeant in an English hospital, one that saw ANZAC troops as patients.

It was writing songs for Music Hall star George Robey, that saw his career take off.  From there he was impressing Wal Pink and vaudeville director Albert De Courville.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMOR. (1927, February 5). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40762292

Radio came to England in 1920 with Dame Nellie Melba making one of the first broadcasts on  Marconi’s test station,  2MT  at Essex. Rupert too was one of those early broadcasters, being one the first comedians signed by the Marconi Company.  The Marconi Company evolved into the BBC in 1922, with whom Rupert broadcast with for at least the next two decades.

In 1922, Rupert travelled to New York for Broadway show, Pins and Needles co-written by De Courville and Pink, with lyrics co-written by Rupert.  He also appeared in the show for the month of February.

The 1923 Royal Command Performance was Rupert’s next big appearance, before King George V and Queen Mary.  After this event, advertising for his shows promoted him as “The Man who Made the King Laugh”.

In 1925, Rupert Hazell hit Australian shores for a tour of the Tivoli circuit.  With soprano, Miss Elsie Day (her stage name), they toured Sydney and Melbourne with both critical and popular acclaim.

The visit turned into a four-year stay, with Hazell not returning to London until 1929.  During the time he became a radio star with the ABC with stints in all the Australian capital cities and New Zealand.

Always accompanied by Elsie Day, their vaudeville act consisting of Rupert’s jokes and Elsie’s songs.  Taking on a clown like appearance, Rupert had wild hair and a funny little hat. Elsie was always dressed in her famous crinoline dresses.  Rupert greeted audiences with the familiar opening:

“Hello People. Everybody happy?”

This advertisement for the Tivoli , Melbourne has Rupert and Elsie on the bill with their show “Harmonylarity”

[No heading]. (1925, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 32. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page443364

Around the Studios. (1929, September 5). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37675276

By 1928, Rupert Hazell was well-known around Australia thanks to radio broadcasts, vaudeville shows and speaking engagements with groups such as Rotary.  According to the The Register (S.A), Rupert and Elsie were the first performers to fly between venues.

BY AIR TO BROADCAST. (1928, July 31). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57063715

POPULAR ARTISTS ON THE AIR. (1928, August 1). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29283864

Not only was Rupert a comedian, broadcaster and composer, in 1925 while in Australia he  patented his invention the Cellocordo, an instrument like the Phonofiddle invented by A.T. Howson.  Rupert also played the Phonofiddle but also did much to promote his version.

Display Advertising. (1926, March 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 20. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3741055

MUSICIAN aka HAZELL AND DAY

Copyright Image courtesy of the British Pathe www.britishpathe.com. Click on the image to go through to the British Pathe website to view this and other footage of Rupert.

It is around this time in Rupert’s life where questions start to come up.  I had read many articles at Trove about the pair’s 1920s visit and a later visit in 1933-34.  On several occasions newspapers reported Elsie as Rupert’s wife.  If “Miss Elsie Day” was a stage name, was I to assume that her real name was Florence McKnight?

It was a search at the UK National Archives that uncovered a record of divorce served on Rupert Alexander Hazell by Florence Adele McKnight in 1929.  The same year  they both supposedly returned from Australia.  But why did Rupert continue to perform with Elsie into the 1930s and beyond if she was Florence?

I had to find out the true identity of “Miss Elsie Day”.  I went back to the Passenger Lists and once again studied Rupert’s entries.  One would expect that Miss Day would travel using her real name.

There was another “Hazell” listed on three occasions.  The first was in 1929 on their return to London.  Accompanying Rupert on the voyage was Eva Hazell, vocalist.  Very interesting. Also interesting was they each listed a different residence on their return to London,  Rupert at 74 Cornhill, London and “Eva Hazell” at 28 Salmon Road, Kent.

In the later records, 1932 from South Africa and 1934 from Brisbane, Rupert was travelling with Sarah Eva Hazell.  Their address was the same, 13 The Fairway, North Wembley.   The 1932 record listed Sarah as “wife” and on the 1934 record as “soprano”.  On each record there was a 15 year age difference between Rupert and Eva, when there was only a two year difference in age between Rupert and Florence.

Eva.  That name rung a bell.  I had found a marriage record from 1931 listing  Rupert Alexander Hazell marrying a woman with the surname Pank.  Further investigation revealed her full name was Eva Pank.  I had initially assumed this record was for Rupert junior as I thought Rupert senior was happily married to Florence “Elsie Day” McKnight.  I also found the death record for Sarah Eva Hazell from 1988.  Things were starting to look a lot different.

I was now working on the assumption that “Miss Elsie Day” was Sarah Eva Pank.   That would mean when Rupert and “Elsie” were in Australia the first time, they were not married.  Then, on their arrival back in England, Florence was waiting with divorce papers.  Two years later in 1931, Rupert finally married his”Miss Elsie Day” and they returned to Australia, legally man and wife.  But I could not make such claims without proof.

Back to Trove and I began to read through articles from the first visit, comparing them to the second.  Was there any way reporting on their relationship was different on each visit?  I analysed every interview looking for clues.  With no paparazzi following the couple, there were no scandalous rumours, but there were some differences.

On the earlier visit,  articles mentioned Rupert Hazell appearing with Miss Elsie Day or his partner Miss Elsie Day.  On one occasion “The Register” (Adelaide) reported Elsie was Rupert’s wife and he referred to her as his “little grandmother”.

BROADCASTING. (1928, July 11). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 13. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57056909

BRIGHT COMEDY VAUDEVILLE. (1928, February 15). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 25. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21223381

After the formal reporting on the “relationship” during the 1920s visit, the first article after they stepped off the boat at the Perth on their return to Australia was totally different:

A BROADCASTING STAR. (1933, December 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32777824

I love this article.  They couple were certainly living the good life.

ATTRACTIVE PERTH GIRLS. (1934, January 23). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32795395

Getting copies of  divorce papers were a possibly but a quote of £63 for a digital copy was it making less of option, although I was getting desperate. I then remembered a comment on a photo on Flickr from the ABC Archive.

The photo is of Rupert and “Elsie” to the right with 3LO Melbourne’s Fred Williams.  The comment, from Claire, mentioned that Elsie Day and Rupert were her gg aunt and uncle.  Before I parted with my money for the divorce record, I would contact Claire.

A prompt reply came back with the contents giving me cause to happy dance around the room once again.  Claire told me Elsie Day’s real name was Eva Pank or Sarah Eva Pank.  She was Claire’s gg aunt on her maternal side.  Claire’s dad has a tree at Genes Reunited which I will check out when I finally get this post finished.

I had noticed advertisements from 1924/5 for the Bristol Hippodrome with Rupert performing his show “Harmonylarity” accompanied by Eva Parke.  I now believe that was Sarah Eva Pank and that was when their relationship begun.

I can now move on.   There is so much more I could tell you about Rupert Hazell’s life.  His philosophies of comedy and the audience , topics he spoke of regularly, are a fascinating insight into early 20th century entertainment.  I also tried to strip back the grease paint to find the “real” Rupert and revealed a complex, intelligent man not afraid to give his opinion, especially about his own talents.

Determination and hard work took him from the ports of London to the stages of the world.  He saw comedy move from vaudevillian  performances, to radio and in his last years, television, a medium he would have enjoyed being a part of, but I have no evidence of his involvement.  Rupert passed away in 1958 at Hampstead, London aged 71.

When I first discovered Rupert, my only question was if the Harman family in Australia knew of him.  I feel they probably had no idea of their family link as contact between the Harmans of England and Australia may have ended once Mary Ann passed away in 1873.  All the same, it is nice to think Sarah Harman of Flemington, aged in her early 80s by that time, may have tuned her wireless to 3LO and listened to her great-nephew Rupert.

Am I happy?  Yes I am Rupert!

                                                                                                                                                                                     

THANKS

I must thank Alison Rabinovici who has researched Rupert and his Cellocordo, including for a piece at the Jon Rose Web Project site.  She replied to my enquiry promptly and offered many places to look for further information.  She has since followed up with more contacts and I thank her for all her help.

I big thank you must go to Claire Hardy, the gg niece of Sarah Eva Pank.  Without her, I would still be tearing out my hair spending every waking moment reading, rereading and analysing.  Thanks to Claire I can now move on to something else.  Some would suggest housework…

                                                                                                                                                                                      

SOURCES

1891, 1901, 1911 England Census

British Army WW1 Pension Records (1914-1920)

British Newspaper Archive

British Pathe

England & Wales Death Index (1916-2005)

England & Wales Marriage Index (1916-2005)

Flickr

FreeBDM

Hippodrome Bristol

National Archives of Australia

Papers Past

Trove Australia

The Jon Rose Web Project

The National Archives (UK)

UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960


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