Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jean Hall (nee Staniland) - autobiography

My grandmother Jean Frances Hall (nee Staniland) typed (on a typewriter) a short autobiography at her home, 12 Burns St Croydon NSW, in January 1992, and revised and extended it on April 1998 in pen. I find it interesting - it doesn't include any of the stories I remember hearing from her as a boy, though it is written with the intention of describing her family in detail.

Jean Staniland (1917-2003), only child of Ruby Amelia (nee Ewer, born Wellington NSW 1887, died 1969 Burwood NSW) and William James Staniland (born Glebe NSW 1886, died 1962 Woy Woy NSW).

Her biography:

"BORN ... Jean Frances STANILAND, 10 March 1917 - only child of William James STANILAND and RUBY AMELIA STANILAND (nee Ewer) - at 12 Burns Street, Croydon. As I write this, (January 1992 obliterated) April 1998 I have lived here all my life. I married John Hall, formerly of Burwood on 21 April 1951. On 12 April 1952 a daughter was born to us, Elizabeth Anne Rubelia Hall (Rubelia being a corruption of my mother's name, "Ruby Amelia". On 21 February 1954 a son was born and given the name Andrew James Hall.

My first recollection of life at No. 12 Burns Street, Croydon was a good hard smack from my mother for picking a mandarin off the tree. I could not understand why the punishment was so hard. I can still feel the smack. As an only child I suppose you become introverted to a degree and I made my own amusements. I had a cat which always scratched me. As this infant child I can recall a few incidents which shows up the loneliness of an only child. (I understand my mother would have like more children but it was not to be.)

I should explain my mother was a talented singer and pianist who formerly lived at Annandale Street, Annandale, a suburb of some distinction in those days and she was very much involved with Choral Societies as well as the Philharmonic Choir of Sydney. As a member of the Sydney Phil. Choir she sang in the choir as a backdrop to Dame Nellie Melba and the Italian singer, Totti Del Monte (Italian). Also Hunter Bailey Presbyterian Choir where she was a featured soloist. To be transplanted to an outer suburb with little transport denied her of many of her activities.

. . . . . . . . . . .

I was married to John Hall in 1951. He was a Clerk (Base Grade in the Personnel Branch. I was appointed as Typist Gr.1 in 1940, the war as at its worst and we use to have air-raid drill to the basement of the new portion of the GPO.

. . . . . . . . . . .

After war service John Hall continued to see me and we talked of marriage. The question of religion was a problem to us - not us but to family. My family made me very miserable and I would have liked to go away and never be seen again. But John Hall hung in and on 20 April 1951 we were married at a Catholic Church, St Therese, Ryde Rd., Ryde. My parents would not come to the wedding, nor would Jack's father, altho' the boys and Marie would have liked to. Miriam, Phil and Sylvia came as witnesses. We came back to Croydon where we had tea in a marquee then set out for Pt. Macquarie by train. Lorna has told me she and her mother wanted to come to the church but "they were not allowed". We bought the house from Dad and I must say from then on there was harmony about religion.

From the time I married Jack I never looked back.

He looked after me, nurtured me, gave me courage - he adored me!

As a postscript I cannot fail to mention the wonderful celebration for our 40th wedding anniversary. If our wedding celebration was stinted and without warmth, the efforts made by Andrew/Clare and children and Elizabeth and Mark were overwhelming.

(Following in handwriting, probably written in 1998):
I must add that my mother, just prior to her death, apologized to for any hurt he had suffered. My mother spent the last few months of her life here at No.12 while Jack and I looked after her. His concern for her was outstanding and he bathed her every day - always with the usual instruction - "jump in the bath, Mill!" (He always lifted her in!).

(on her aunt and uncle:)
Ethel Staniland (Pa's sister) married Frank Crane and they had 3 children - John Crane now living in Melbourne, Olive Moulang (nee Crane) (lived at Lane Cove), William (Bill Crane, now living out of Port Macquarie (Wauchope).

Albert to me was a mystery. He had the appearance of a Chinaman - but not slanted eyes. His skin was yellow with straight black hair which came to a point at the side of his ears - like Asians. Just where the features came from I will never know. Just for the record I must say when Andrew was born at ---- Hospital, Stanmore, Dr Christoph held him on his arm wrapped in a blankie and said "Here he is!" I thought "My goodness it's Albert"! However, ever since that day I have not seen any evidence of the likeliness. Albert did all the wrong things and did not worry about his mother. Ethel, I am sure got a tongue bashing from her mother so it fell upon Jim (Pa) to look after his mother. She was very demanding and there were many times whe my mother and and grandmother were at each other's throats. As grandmother became aged Mum was very caring of her. One night she had a heart attack and died in a private hospital in Burwood. It was a happy ending for everyone.

My early years were spent at Five Dock Public School. From there I went to Burwood Domestic Science School - passed my Intermediate Cert Examination and passed an exam to proceed on to Metrop Business College, I made application to sit for the Public Service Entrance Exam. Within a short period I was instructed to proceed to the P.M.G. Dept as a sternographer. All this was done on my own initiative. I had help from nobody.

I was appointed to the Personnel Branch P.M.G. Dept and my ability as a sternographer was always given praise. John Hall was a Clerk in te Personnel Branch and I became aware that he was always close by! There were times when I wished him further, particularly when there was a new Clerk in the Branch.

War was in full swing. John Hall was conscripted into the Army - or I should say "was swept into the Army" and just prior to the evidence of the Japanese invasion he was transferred to the Air Force.

They were terrible years - years I would not like to see my son or grandson's have to endure.

I was regarded as a good member of the Personnel Branch P.M.G. Dept. I had to undertake very responsible missions not the least being spending the night at the G.P.O. typing information on the condition of the Ausrtalian troops in New Guinea which had to be handed to General McArthur - United States then in Sydney and which we handed in to his quarters on his arrival in Sydney and his accommodation in a very secret area.

(2 pages of family notes followed)

Jeremiah Joseph EWER (father) - born at Bathurst
Mary nee TREVITHICK (mother) born Grenfell (Wellington obliterated)
Married 8 June 1885 at Sydney

(next page)
Born Lincolnshire, England 1860

Born Staffordshire, England 1861
(ANNIE SNAPE - arrived as Assisted Migrant on SS. Illawarra in 1883 with sister Lucy - Annie 23 Lucy 15


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