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Saturday, January 9, 2010

HANNELL, Clarence Hewson

Among many names bandied around under the epithet 'Pioneers', 'Founding Fathers', or 'Forefathers', would, in Newcastle NSW, be the name of HANNELL. Yes, the name of James HANNELL, JP., M.L.A., would definitely be there, and probably at the top of the list, due to his efforts to have Newcastle incorporated as a City, which eventually happened on June, 7th, 1859. As a result of his tireless efforts for Newcastle, in general, he was voted, unanimously, into the position of Mayor of the fledgling metropolis. When Hannell came to Newcastle, around 1830, twenty-odd years before incorporation, there were approximately 550 people living there (1833). Indeed, he should be at the 'top' of the aforementioned list.

Another person, equally entitled to be considered towards the top on any list, for Newcastle, and sharing the same surname, is Clarence Hewson HANNELL, JP. Although he may not be as prominent as some, he certainly left his mark on the development of the city. Certainly, an identity in the society's philanthropic and sporting circles. He was the Harbour Master, a position which he held for around 26 years.

Clarence Hewson HANNELL, (b.15/10/1836-d.4/3/1909) was the eldest of 11 children, born to James and Mary HANNELL.

Educated in Newcastle, Clarence rarely ventured from Newcastle, for any lengthy periods of time. He did once, however, sail to England to further his studies, but returned as soon as possible, to assume the position as Harbour Master, in the busy Port of Newcastle. One of his Uncles, Jesse HANNELL, Signal Master, as well as the first Lighthouse Keeper at the Nobby's Lighthouse, preceded him in this role. The other Uncle, was John HANNELL, my 3xG. Grandfather. John was a hotelier (Wheat Sheaf Inn), property owner (Hexham), Northern Coach rest point, and river pilot.

So, as a family of note, they were at the top of my (any) list - First Mayor (also first MLA), First Lighthouse Keeper, and Prominent person/Harbour Master, and a Hotelier and River Pilot of note.

On the 2nd June, 1859, a year of tremendous activity in Newcastle, Clarence married Maria Phoebe TIGHE, (b.4/2/1840-d.9/8/1904). Maria was the daughter of another famous Irish family, in Newcastle. Robert TIGHE, (b. c.1798-d.5/3/1844). Maria's father, was a Policeman (Chief Constable in 1839), and a Hotelier, and landlord of the Union Inn, which he took over after John Butler HEWSON moved to the Woolpack Inn. The Union Inn was situated on the North-Eastern corner of Hunter and Bolton Sts, where the National Bank is now situated, in Newcastle. This hotel was eventually purchased (again) by John Butler HEWSON.

Tighe's Hill, an industrial suburb of Newcastle, just near Maryville, was named after A.H.P. TIGHE, an earlier resident, who in 1843 bought the estate. He was no relation, I believe, to Robert's family.

The Newcastle suburb, Maryville, was named after Clarence's mother, Mary Sophia HANNELL, née Priest.

Clarence and Maria Phoebe had a large family of 11 children:

Esmond, b.30/4/1860-d.7/9/1908 married Sophia BAIRD, b.1862-d.23/10/1926 on 1 Jan. 1886
Clarence, b.10/10/1862-d.6/1/1904 married Sarah Evelyn GREGORY, on 23/1/1884
Edith, b.24/4/1864-d.14/9/1944 married William George Burton SMITH, on 16/11/1887
Stephena, b.17/8/1865-d.11/11/1866
Amy, b.11/10/1867- d.? married David William MILLER, on 18/2/1891
Herbert, b.13/3/1869-d.22/1/1889
James, b.13/9/1871-d.10/1/1873
John, b.14/12/1872-d.14/1/1873
Phoebe, b.16/2/1874-d.4/1/1951
Edgar, b.3/9/1875-d.24/5/1877
Horace, b.17/11/1877- d.? married Emily ?

The family lived on the 'Hill', in Newcastle, in a home called 'Oomoobah House'. Many parties were held there over the years.

From the ages of 17 to 25 years , Clarence was the Amateur Rowing Champion of Newcastle. This probably cemented his love for sport, in general.

In more philanthropic endeavours, Clarence took over the mantle from his father's efforts, to bring a modern hospital into reality, in Newcastle. I believe that as many as 16 fund-raising concerts were held, as well as fronting the Government for support, to raise over ₤3500.00. Such were the efforts of James and Clarence, that a wing of the Hospital was called 'The Hannell Wing', in appreciation. This wing, and hospital, no longer exist. The wing was demolished in 1924.

Clarence wove his charitable magic for many other worthy causes, too, including benefits for shipwrecks, floods, the Bulli mining disaster, school-funds, Seamen's Missions and Churches. Truly, a wonderful humanitarian.

As a patron of sport, at 6' 3" tall (approx. 1.9 mtrs) Clarence, was somewhat imposing - like his father (1.98 mtrs and 133kgs). His bulk, however, was moderated by his cheerful disposition, and he was a favourite of all who met him. His father had been the President of the Newcastle Cricket Club, The Regatta, and The Jockey Club, and so it was that Clarence took administration positions in those institutions.

The Hannell Cricket Challenge Cup - c. 1880 -

For many years, he was the official starter and President of the Regatta Club, Secretary of the Jockey Club, Umpire and Hon. Secretary of the Cricket Club.

Clarence was also the Chairman of the Public School Board, and in that capacity, laid the Foundation Stone for the Superior Public School, in Newcastle.

Clarence was also an accomplished musician and actor, featuring in many local productions of plays, such as 'Othello', 'Hamlet', and as 'Dampier', in 'Shylock'.


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