Category Archives: Harman

W is for…What Else Could It Be?

Naturally I had to rejoin the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge at “W”.  W is for Western District and that means a lot to me not only because this blog is called “Western District Families”.  I was born and raised in the Western District and all the families of my maternal lines, going back six generations, chose to settle in the wonderful Western District.

One of the highlights of the Western District is the geography.  Entering from the east, the Western Plains lead to the rise of the Grampians and on to the volcanic plains and green rolling hills beyond.  To the south are the forests of the Otways, the south-west coastline and volcanic Tower Hill .

I will take you on a geographical journey through the Western District, just a glimpse really, beginning with two colonial artists, Nicholas Chevalier and my favourite, Eugene Von Guerard.  These  artists and others, traipsed around Victoria sketching and painting.  Von Guerard also travelled to Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand.  Looking at their paintings reminds me of the lives they lived for the sake of their art.

Chevalier’s sketch shows the Serra Range including Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians.

View of the Grampians, Western District [art original] N. Chevalier.
State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/100967

Moving south-west, dormant volcano Mt Eccles near Macarthur has played a part in my family history.  My gg grandfather Reuben James Harman, son of James Harman, owned property at Mt Eccles.  It was also a favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

Crater of Mt. Eccles, von Guerard, Eugene,1811-1901,artist.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/46307

I prefer von Guerard’s depiction of Lake Surprise, the crater lake of Mt Eccles, to my own (below).  I remember as a child asking about the name “Lake Surprise”.  The answer:  When you get to the top of the crater and see the lake, you get a surprise.  Fair enough.

LAKE SURPRISE, MT ECCLES CRATER LAKE

A little north of Mt Eccles is the volcanic lava flow, the Harman Valley at Byaduk, named after my Harman family.  In the distance is the source of the lava, Mount Napier.

THE HARMAN VALLEY, BYADUK

To the south-east is Tower Hill, another dormant volcano.  It lies between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

TOWER HILL

Further south is the famous Loch Ard Gorge, named for the Loch Ard which wrecked on the treacherous coastline.  The only two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were washed on to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge.

I find standing on the beach in the Gorge a haunting experience.

LOCH ARD GORGE

East along the coast line is one of the most iconic views, not only of Victoria, but Australia.

THE 12 APOSTLES

North-west, and back where we started, are the Grampians.

HALLS GAP, GRAMPIANS

The Grampians are a perfect place to leave the subject of the Western District and move on to another “W” which has been a part of my family since the 1860s, the Wannon River…

W is for…Wannon River

The Wannon River begins its’ flow at the base of Mt Abrupt in the Southern Grampians.  It flows toward Dunkeld, around the base of Mt Sturgeon and leaves the Grampians heading north-west toward Cavendish. Along the way it passes by Mokanger , workplace of both the Mortimers and Haddens.  Through Cavendish, it passes close to the cemetery, burial place of members of those two families.

From Cavendish, the river begins a southward journey toward two of the Hamilton district’s jewels, the Nigretta and Wannon waterfalls.  As the river progresses west, the Grange Burn joins the Wannon, having flowed from just east of Hamilton, the city founded on the Grange.  This section of the river was another favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

On the river flows to Tahara and then Sandford. I have family links to Sandford with Julia Harman, daughter of James Harman residing there with her husband George Holmes.  Two children were born their including WW1 casualty Arthur Leonard Holmes.  My gg uncle William Diwell also spent some time around Sandford.  In 1914, he completed extensions to the St Marys Church.

The Wannon River then joins the another great river of the Western District, the Glenelg River, having passed through some of Victoria’s most beautiful countryside.  It is not surprising Joseph Hawdon, travelling overland to Adelaide with Lieutenant Alfred Miller Mundy of the 21st Regiment in 1839, endorsed Major Thomas Mitchell’s description five years earlier. Major Mitchell followed the Glenelg River from its’ beginnings in the Grampians through to the sea at Nelson. It is little wonder all of my direct ancestors stayed in the Western District after settlement.

(1839, September 26). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8723904

After the merge with the Wannon, the Glenelg flows on to Casterton where I have many family links.  My ggg grandfather George Jelly, father of Elizabeth Ann Jelly, was one man who could say he had conquered the river.  His obituary read:

“He was a remarkably good swimmer and by his abilities in this direction was instrumental in saving many persons from drowning and rescuing the bodies of many others who had perished in the river” 

He even dived for the bones of Robert and Mary Hunt, murdered by George Wains in 1860.

By the time the Glenelg River reaches the sea, it, the Wannon and Grange Burn have passed by many of the places my ancestors lived, worked, fished, swam and were laid to rest.

The Wannon River between the Nigretta Falls and the Wannon Falls, about 20 kilometres from Hamilton, would be the section most frequented by myself and my family before me.  My own memories come from family visits, Sunday drives with Nana, school excursions and birthday parties.

The following views near the Wannon Falls are from the State Library of Victoria Collection and were captured around 1878 by  Thomas J. Washbourne , a Geelong photographer.

Wannon River Scene – Washbourne, Thomas J. photographer.Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53092

Wannon River Scene Washbourne, Thomas J.,photographer.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/52931

THE WANNON RIVER AT THE WANNON FALLS

Of the two waterfalls, I prefer the Nigretta, especially after rain.  The Wannon Falls could be described as pretty in the way they drop off the edge, but the Nigretta Falls are, at times, spectacular.

Nigretta Falls on the Wannon River
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – collection: Cogger album of photographs http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41740

The Vagabond (John Stanley James) described the Nigretta Falls in his series “Picturesque Victoria” which appeared in The Argus.  In the  April 4, 1885 edition of The Argus , The Vagabond wrote of his visit to the Wannon.  He enjoyed the hospitality at the Wannon Inn and then marveled at the “miniature Niagara”

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1885, April 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6073697

This photo taken in August this year by my friend Catherine, after good rain, sees the Nigretta looking like the minature Niagara Falls as described by The Vagabond.

NIGRETTA FALLS – Image courtesy of Catherine Huisman

It was pleasing to see that the old viewing platforms still remain at the Nigretta Falls.

NIGRETTA FALLS VIEWING PLATFORM

An impressive wooden staircase now leads down to the falls, but the original steps remain.

The Wannon Falls (below) holds memories of walking beyond the viewing platform, down to the rocks and behind the falls, but only when they were flowing lightly as they are in this photo.  A new viewing platform now prevents such precarious escapades, even undertaken while on school excursions!

I have two framed prints of the Wannon Falls by Louis Buveot, painted in 1872.  One hangs on a wall as a constant reminder of Hamilton, the Wannon River and the waterfalls.  The original hangs in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. To see  the original click on the link – Wannon Falls

The topic of the Wannon River gives me an opportunity to share my all time favourite family photos.  As a little girl when I first saw Nana’s old photo album, these photos captured my imagination.  When Nana came to live with us she kept her photo albums in her wardrobe. I would take them down, sit on her bed and go straight to this photo.  It was near the beginning of the album which had black, much turned pages.

From right: Nana, (Linda Hadden), my great-grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Harman) and my great auntie Alma’s (Nana’s sister) mother-in-law Mrs Issac William Short (Catherine Gissane Tilley).

They are standing on the original lower viewing deck.   The four photos from a day at the Wannon where originally very small.  It wasn’t until I enlarged them on a computer, that I noticed Nana’s coat hanging on the railing.

I think the reason I like this photo is because Nana looked exactly liked she did when I knew her, but with long braids and I still can’t believe she was only about 15.  Even the small research assistant thought Nana was the lady in the middle when he first saw it.  He only knew her as an older person and does not think of her as having been a child too.

The second photo was taken from the lower viewing deck, looking toward the upper level.  I didn’t like standing here as a child and as you can see the rail was high at the front  and difficult to see over and to the right of  Nana was a gap between the fence and the rocks.  I much preferred the lower deck.

Recent years have seen a rotunda built at the Wannon Falls reserve with information about the waterfall, the local geography and history.

On our visit, the small research assistant said “Look Mum, they even have family history here for you”  He was right. There is a lot of my family history at the Wannon Falls.


Trove Tuesday – Matter of Relativity

Try and get your head around this article I found at Trove.  It appeared in The West Australian and the Adelaide Advertiser in December 1951.

I am almost certain this is my first cousin 4 x removed, Amelia Harman, daughter of Jonathan Harman.  Amelia married Christopher (Chris) Bell of Heywood in 1901.  They had three children,  Millicent Irene (born 1901), Clarence Jonathan (1902) and Christopher George (born 1903) all born at Heywood.  Clarence died in 1905.

If it is Amelia, the three children in the photo would be descendants of Christopher George Bell.  I believe that he may have married twice. Cheryl would be his daughter, Helen his granddaughter and Lynette his great-granddaughter.  At the time of the photo, Christopher was working as a senior constable of police at Casterton.  He would have been around 48 at that time. I’m still trying to do the maths!

Amelia would have been around 87 at the time of this photo.  She passed away in 1957 aged 91.

 

MATTER OF RELATIVITY. (1951, December 14). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49005300

 

Another amazing thing is the three girls are all nine months old! Cheryl, Helen and Lynette would be 61 now.  If they or any other Bell family members see this, I would love to confirm if this is Amelia Harman.


False Alarm

Reading the list of newspapers waiting to be released by the NLA’s  Trove,  I noticed the Port Fairy Gazette would not be far away.  Out of interest, I ran a search for “Port Fairy” and bingo many “coming soon” articles came up.  As my Harman and Bishop families lived in Port Fairy at various times, I went straight for a search on “Harman”.  Eleven matches came up with nine  relevant to my Harmans.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw one of the article previews:

Mr James Harman, Byaduk, aged 85, died last week. He landed in Port Fairy in 1853 and…..

It looked like it could be my ggg grandfathers obituary.  I search for his obituary every time Trove releases a new paper.  To date all I have found is the following snippet from The Argus:

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1630566

Brothers Walt, George and Jonathan all had lengthy obituaries why not my ggg grandfather.  Even the shadow dweller, brother Alfred had a Family Notice when he died!.  It did seem that my only chance was to search the microfilmed Hamilton Spectators at the Hamilton History Centre .  The hard part about that is getting to Hamilton.

Trove’s release of the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) happened today and yes, the much-anticipated article was available.  I clicked on the link.  This is it, I thought.  What did I find?

Personal. (1916, August 24). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88010281

Twelve more words than the preview.  Only 12 words.  How can I expect any more in The Hamilton Spectator?  How I can ever expect to find any mention of the death of my ggg grandmother Susan Read, wife of James, who died in the same year?

On the bright side I found a couple of good Bishop related articles and a nice article about my gg uncle Charles James Harman prior to his departure for Egypt during WW1. So far, only 1916 is available but  based on the results so far, I think I’m bound to find more when the other years become available.

It was a big day for Trove today with 13Victorian titles released and another Western District paper,  the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (1914-1918) was among them.

Also of interest to me are the Flemington Spectator (1914-1918) and the Wangaratta Chronicle (1914-1918)Sarah Harman and her husband George Adams lived in Flemington and so far I have found plenty of “Adams” matches in the Spectator but none for Sarah or George yet.  Herbert George Harman, nephew of James Harman was a reporter for the Wangaratta Chronicle for over 50 years and I have found matches for both him and his father George, mostly to do with their Masonic activities.


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.

 


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


Left Behind

I have told you about the original Harmans of Byaduk and their time in Cambridgeshire, their journey to Australia and their life beyond.  What I haven’t told you about is the family members that were left in England.

Yes, Joseph and Sarah Harman had children that did not make the voyage to Australia, thus never getting the opportunity to live the long and prosperous lives of their siblings.

For most of the children, it was death that robbed them of the life changing experience.  For Mary Ann, the eldest living daughter, it seems marriage and children sealed her fate.

The children of Joseph and Sarah that did not travel to Australia were:

 

James:  Born 1827, Cambridgeshire, Died 1827, Cambridgeshire

Mary Ann:  Born 1829, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1873, Poplar, London.

Alfred:  Born 1833, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1851, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire

Arthur: Born 1842, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

Ann:  Born 1847, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

Betsy/Elizabeth:  Born 1849, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

 

James was first born of Joseph and Sarah but he died as a baby.  Alfred was the fourth born child and he appears on the 1841 England Census.  His death was registered in January 1851 thus missing the 1851 England Census.

It was that census in 1851 that Arthur, Ann and Betsy appeared, all born after the 1841 England Census.  The question is, what happened to them between 1851 and 1854 when Joseph and Sarah and three children sailed for Sydney?  I have not found death or marriage records for these three children.

Second born child and eldest daughter Mary Ann was married in 1847.  Her husband was James Loats, who was living with his family in the same street as the Harmans, Drury Lane, Melbourn.  After their marriage they continued to live in Drury Lane in their own house.

At the time, none of the family would have even heard of Australia let alone considered making it their home.  However, on three occasions from 1852,  Mary-Ann said goodbye to family members beginning their journeys to Australia.   It began with James and his new wife Susan sailing on the “Duke of Richmond in 1852.  Then the three boys, George, Jonathan and Reuben .

In 1854, the last goodbyes came when her parents sailed.  Around this time Mary Ann was living in London.  Maybe she was at the docks.

Mary Ann and James had 10 children that I can match on the various census and vital records.  The first three children were born in Melbourn,with the remaining seven born in London.  James was working as a labourer at a coke oven.  Mary Ann died in 1871 at just 43 leaving four children under 10.  Aside from her brother Reuben, all the siblings that immigrated to Australia lived to around double that age.

Recognition of the Harman family is clear with the names of the Loats children. Julia again proves  a popular Harman name, possibly the earliest record of that name in the family.

 

Betsy/Elizabeth: Born 1849, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire

Julia:  Born 1851, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1856

Harriet Sarah:  Born 1852, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Marriage:  Charles George Hazell, 1874 West Ham, London; Died:

Mary Ann Harman:  Born 1854, Camberwell, London

Wilfred:  Born 1857, Camberwell, London; Died 1857 Camberwell, London

Julia Mary Ann:  Born 1858, Rotherhite, Surrey; Died 1900 Holburn, London

Laura: Born 1861, Bromley Middlesex

Grace:  Born 1864, Bromley Middlesex

Joseph Harman:  Born 1867, Poplar, London

Jesse:  Born 1868, Bromley, Middlesex

 

I had always hoped I might find an Australian link  through the Loats line, especially as I know of the name from the Hamilton area.  I have found two links.

Firstly, aboard the “Duke of Richmond” with Susan and James Harman was Thomas Loats, the brother of James.  Thomas settled in the Western District.  It makes me wonder how close  James and Mary Ann may have come themselves to settle in  Australia.  What stopped them?

Secondly, thanks to the granddaughter of Joseph and Sarah Harman, Harriet Sarah Loats, I have found a link taking a Harman descendant where none have gone before.  However, this post has gone on long enough and I will need to dedicate a whole post to my exciting find.  Stay Tuned!  (That might be a clue).


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