Monday, January 12, 2009

1968 Norman Hall letter

Norman Hall wrote three letters on family history that have been uncovered, dated as follows and sourced as follows in order:

1965 Dec: Handwritten letter of 4 pages to ‘Nell and Eileen’ following ‘Win’s funeral’. Nell and Eileen were daughters of Margaret Moloney (1880-1944), and as such, Norman Hall’s cousins. Chris Moloney sent me scans of this letter.

1968 Apr: Typed letter of 8 pages to Tom Element, son of the aforementioned cousin Eileen McCarthy. This was in response to a letter from Tom seeking the family history. Chris Moloney sent me scans of this.

1971 Mar: Typed letter of 5 pages to my grandparents, father and aunt, ‘Jack, Jean and cherubs’, in response to a request from Liz about the family history – Dad gave me a copy of this letter. Norman passed away the next year. Included with this letter were four ‘family trees’ that are very accurate for Moloney, and very inaccurate for Hall (he didn’t even know his grandfather’s name, William Hall, father of Alfred Ernest, from Yass). This letter has already been transcribed and posted on my blog:

I have now transcribed the 1968 letter to Tom Element (a Moloney descendent):


April 10th 1968

Dear Couson Thomas,

First my apologies for the delay in answering your welcome letter - it is a very laudable job you have taken on in writing the family history. Some three or our years ago I myself started on the same - alas - I am afraid I never got very far.

However, I will carry on with what I know.

My earliest recollections are of my mother's parents, JOHN & ELLEN MOLONEY. They were both of Irish stock, JOHN MOLONEY being related to the Irish nobility, being a first cousin of the Earl of Emly (a peerage which is now vacant). See Burke's Peerage or Debrett's Baronage, Knighthood etc. Both volumes available at the Public Library. JOHN MOLONEY & his BRIDE, were, I believe, both born in Limerick, at a place known as 'Tower Hill'. One of my sons (Frank) who visited the Old Country some 4 years ago, attempted to get in touch with any remaining Moloneys at Tower Hill. He did contact people of that name there, but apparently they had no connection with our own folk.

On arrival in Sydney JOHN MOLONEY & HIS BRIDE settled in Redfern, residing at 110 Pitt St, Redfern, quite close to the Parish Church of St Vincent de Paul. This church still stands. For many many years the Parish Priest was Father P.J. O'Regan, and the Parish Records will show details of the family marriages etc. My own mother (Bridget) was married there, also, if my memory serves me correctly, my unt 'Mag' as we called her (Your grandmother, Thomas). At that time Redfern was quite a fashionable suburb.

JOHN MOLONEY became Headmaster at the famous Cleveland St School. At that time (it was before Sir Henry Parkes time), it was a 'Denominational School' - that is, each religion had its own school. Anyway, JOHN MOLONEY remained Headmaster for many years, finally retiring on a pension. It would be about 1908 that his wife died. [R.I.P.] However he continued to live there at 110 Pitt St, until some 2 years or so before his death about 1911. Just before his death he became rather feeble, living his last aer or two with your grandmother who had since married. It was your own grandfather {Owen McCarthy} who registered the death of JOHN MOLONEY at the District Registrar at Redfern.

When my son Frank was abroad, I got a copy of his death certificate - later I handed that to my sister Win (then Mrs W Nissen) of 23 Scott St Croydon, or to my eldest son Joe. - (Mr. J.G. Hall of 106 North Ryde Rd Ryde. I cannot be sure actually who got that certificate. Win has since died, but if it was in her possession her married daughter - who still lives at 23 Scott St will have it. Her name is Mrs. Stan Bell & she is on the phone as also is Joe at Ryde. I suggest you give them both a ring.

JOHN & ELLEN MOLONEY raised a large family: I am not quite sure about the ages, though what follows is pretty correct:


The children of John & Ellen Moloney were: (in order of birth)

(A) Mary, narried a chap of Austrian birth named PETRICH. Petrich had been to the Klondike goldfields to seek his fortune. I believe he did only reasonably well. He was a quiet hard working chap. When I stayed with them for a short period about 1910, they lived in Drummoyne. Their parish church was St Mark's, then under the care of the late Father Peter Kline (of happy memory) who later was chief f the Divine Word Father's house at Midson St. Epping. Father Kleine is long since dead.
Mary and her husband had no children.
Petrich died about 1912, Mary later setting up a small confectionary business near a picture show in Waterloo. We saw her every Christmas when we had Xmas dinner with my mother (Bridge) at 23 Scott St. Petrich was really a good fellow. Mary was a rather reserved, stolid, matter of fact lady. I cannot remember the date of her death - it could be about 1924 or so.

(B) Joe. I am not sure whether Joe or Mary (above) was the eldest. JOE married Veronica Kellet - a rather austere type who had a magnificent singing voice. I myself always considered her a bit 'hard'. They had four children: The eldest (Nellie) was a rare beauty and a most charming girl - in later years she married a chap named Stewart - and electrician I believe - I never met him, During the depression of 1930 onward they had a pretty poor time and Nellie - once a beauty - deteriorated badly. Nellie used to visit my sister Win at 23 Scott St for some years, the visits eventually ceased and we do not know what became of her. JOE's second child was also a girl, VERA. She was a bit difficult to sum up, not as attractive as Nellie, - I believe she eventually married, but have no details.

JOE, in addition had two boys, much younger than the girls, one of these 'GREG' if I recall correctly was his natural son. I believe he later turned out badly. The other boy (can't recall his name) was adopted, later he ran a GARAGE at Bondi or thereabouts and did well. I believe he turned out a good chap and stuck to his mother & father throughout.

JOE & VERONICA lived at Glebe for a while - I boarded with them for a short period. Later they took a house at Oatley (I went with them). Oatley was then almost bush, but as we had a water frontage & a boat we had lots of fun. This would be about 1911 or 1912. From Oatley we all moved to Summer Hill and were joined by Veronica's brother (a tram conductor named Frank Kellet). After that our was separated & I never saw any of them again. JOE was a manly chap, industrious and good living. He was a 'free lance' photographer & eked out a rather meagre living. In his younger (unmarried) days he took to drink


and became a thorough drunkard. However, he soon reformed and throughout his long life never again touched a drop. He was a really good photographer.

(C) NELL. Nell was quite a loveable character and a sense of humour second to none. She married a chap who was Town Clerk of Waterloo, his name being William Arthur Coleman. There was a bit of scandal about the Council funds and it resulted in W.A. Coleman getting the 'sack'. They went off to Western Australia to start anew and W.A. Coleman became a carpenter and a good one too.

However, things in the West got bad and they returned to Sydney. As they had nothing by now, your Grandmother (whom we always knew as 'Aunty Meg' took them to live with her in Abercrombie Street where 'Mag' and her husband (Owen McCarthy) had a newsagency and estate business. They remained there till they got on their feet, then W.A. Coleman got operating as a builder. The building business prospered and before long he built himself a nice home at Botany. NELL & COLEMAN had, if memory serves me correctly again) three children: Nellie, George & one younger girl. We do not know what happened to them. Of course both NELL and COLEMAN are long since dead.

NELL had a bit of a weakness for the 'Grog', but usually managed to keep it under control. Nevertheless she was a good sort and her sense of humour was wonderful.

(D) JOHN MOLONEY. To distinguish him form his father he was always called 'Little Johnnie'. This was rather humourous since he was about 6 feet 2 inches tall. Only an inch or so under his father. It was 'Little Johnnie' who gave me my first lessons in electricity - a career that was later to last for over 30 years. Little Johnnie was a telegraph operator at the Sydney GPO - the most tough telegraphists job in the Commonwealth. Later he became Postmaster at Brewarrina and, I believe, retired from there. He had several children, some of whom I will refer to later.

(E) WILL. I should have placed WILL before Little Johnnie. Anyhow WILL was a real dashing type - a real lady killer - a hale fellow well met - with devil a care in the world. He soon got into bad company and hit the 'grog'. His father came to his aid many times - even starting him in business as a photographer - however the camera & gear soon went into 'Uncle' at the THREE BALLS round the corner - in other words he pawned it.

About this time he got hold of himself, met a girl called KATE LAFURA who had a ver bigoted Protestant mother. Notwithstanding he and Kate were married. They had two children John (whom we all called "MOLO" to distinguish him from the other 'Little Johnnie' and another son whose name I have forgotten at the moment. I will call him "MOLO" from now on, and refer to him again.

(F) BRIDGE. Bridge (my mother) followed WILL in order of birth. She was very young when she met and married my father - ALFRED ERNEST HALL - to my mind one of the greatest men who ever lived. He was a school teacher, spending over 51 years in the Department.


My Dad was about 25 when they were married - my mother about 20. The Dad was a convert - and the BEST I ever knew. They were married at the Redfern Church of St Vicent de Paul by the same priest I mentioned before (Father, later Monsignor, O'Regan). They lived at Dubbo for two years (where I was born in 1895), then 13 years in Braidwood, then Junee, Grafton, finally Granville, from which school my dad retired. He lived to about 85. After retiring they lived at 23 Scott St Croydon. M mother was a real Lady in manners and deportment, skilled in all sorts of needlework, oil painting, music (she was a fine pianist) - in fact she had every talent one could imagine. There were 4 of us in the family, two boys and two girls. NORMAN (that is me) born in 1896 at Dubbo, CLAUDE, born 1898 at Braidwood, KATHLEEN born Braidwood 1900 and WINIFRED (WINNIE) born 1902 or 1903. Kathleen died of meningitis at Junee about 1911. She has rested in the sleep of peace in the Junee cemetery for the past 57 years. R.I.P.

NORMAN (that is me) lived with the family till they went to Junee in 1910. I forgot to mention that my dad taught there before Grafton) from then I went to St Joseph's Hunters Hill for some years. I should mention that I have a grandson there now!!!!! - but more of him later. From St. Joseph's I went into the bank, then to the Water Bd. in Sydney, then into the Power Stations (which were then run by the Railway Dept. - 32 years I spent there - then Chief Chemist to Coal Research in Wollongong, thence into Private Practice, thence to ICI Melbourne, and finally at the ripe old age of 63? to the Fire Protection firm of PYRENE in Melbourne. The reasons for these changes I will now give. During the period I was boarding in Sydney (I omit some 12 months war service in World War 1), I met a girl, MARY ELLEN BANFIELD, some 13 years older than myself. She had been a teacher on my father's Staff at Junee. - Anyway we 'fell in love' got married (we were married in the Church of St Francis in Paddington) and had a family of 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls. The children were Joe (1918), Jack (1920), Tom, Frank, Marie, Ted and Joan. Joan lived but a year, dying of secondary pneumonia). All the rest of the family are married, well and happy. I have 23 grandchildren. All have been marvellous - all have married happily - all are very well off.

My wife NELLIE (God rest her soul) died shortly after Joan. They lie buried together in Section 10 of the Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood. The following years passed quickly as I brought the children up with no outside help. (We were living at Burwood then). JOE, the eldest, married Adelle GALLOP (They have three children, 2 boys, 1girl), the eldest JOHNNIE is now engaged to be married. GARY the second is at St Joseph's Hunters Hill and the third Julie still at school. JACK married Jean STANILAND. They live at Croydon, 12 Burns St, a few steps from Scott St. They have two kiddies, Elizabeth and a boy. Both are still at school. Jack is in the PMG Dept. Head Office. (By the way, my eldest boy JOE is an industrial chemist with IGI). TOM is Engineer with the Electricity Commission. He maried Marie Parker (they have 4 children). Frank is associate professor, Uni. of NSW (two children Laurie and Maryellen), MARIE married Kevin SHERLEY, (7 children, the eldest TERRY being a school teacher, among the kiddies are TRIPLET BOYS, now about 9 years old. KEVIN is an accountant in his own business, he suffers from war service illness. TED is a surveyor, partner in the biggest surveying firm in NSW. He is


a real live wire. He married in very romantic circumstances - these I will briefly relate. As a lad about 20, he met a Dutch girl (JEANETTE EVERSTYN), she had come here with her parents who had detested Australia and decided to go back to the land of tulips, gin and windmills. Jeanette of course had to go with them. After a month or two of overseas telephone calls every night at about 5 pounds a pop, Ted asked Jeanette if she'd marry him if he came over. It was on. Ted sold his car, packed his bags, and got as fast as he could to catch the very first boat. It happened to be the old 'Otranto' on her last voyage before being broken up. Well, he got to Holland O.K., but by this time Jeanette had decided it was too big a break. They therefore departed - friendly like - but sad.

Well, with the world in front of him, Ted got busy to explore the Continent. He did Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, France, then turned to Ireland & England. There he worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. Thence to Scotland. Eventually, getting fed up, he decided to go to Canada, but FIRST, another look over the Continent. Whilst in Belgium, who should he meet but Jeanette (she was visiting a married sister in Bruges) - well, it was all ON again. There was considerable difficulty in getting permission to marry in Holland, the only Catholic Bishop was against it, the Civil Authorities required: (a) Permission from the parents of Ted (b) Documentary evidence he was free to marry, (c) Proof of his age. You see, unless the person is over thirty two in Holland, you must have parental consent. Then there was the Bishop to get over, he got over that by contacting an English Bishop he had met while in England. We cabled for the necessary consent, and, as his mother was now dead (I will mention that later) I had to get proof in the form of a death certificate. When all these documents were ready I had to see the local Dutch Consul and get every paper stamped (at 1 pound a time too). Anyway, after all the smoke had cleared away, Ted & Jeanette were married in the Cathedral Church at Rotterdam. A readl Dutch wedding, carriage with 6 white horses, top hat and everything that opens and shuts.

After marriage they were pretty broke, but managed to scrape up the fare home. Since returning some years ago they have really done well. Ted has a very nice home, beautifully fitted and furnished at Dee Why overlooking the water and they have 4 lovely kiddies - all paid for too, and two new cars which they trade in each year. So this is the position with my family and grand-children.

As for myself, my wife Nellie (NEE MARY ELLEN BANFIELD) became ill and died of cancer in 1939. The best medical care could not save her – we had Doctor Sir Ben Edie – anyway she died at Lewisham and was buried with her daughter Joan at Rookwood.

After the family was married & I was left on my own, I went to Wollongong, bought a new hom (my daughter Marie got the old one) there and lived on my own for years. Then out of the blue came a golden headed beauty young enough to be my daughter – I saw, lost and was conquered. She was from Melbourne. However, it was not to be for the present – we had to wait for years – being finally joined in the bonds of HOLY MATRIMONY by an old friend Father O’Brien, of happy memory, at St. Alouysis Church Caulfield.

This angel of mine was a young widow, originally a Sydney girl,


she had married an eye specialist when quite young. He left her very well off when he died – and it was her wish we live in that home in Melbourne. We still live here. At this stage I was 60 years old!!! However, we were soon blessed with a girl, YVONNE – Yvonne (now 12) is even more beautiful and even more talented than her mother. It is amusing to have people stop my wife in the street to tel her ‘how fond your father is of your little girl’ - we always have a good laugh over that – and invariably the person making the remark is far more embarrassed than either the wife or I. However, the wife still looks quite a young thing indeed.

She has two children by her first marriage – so – altogether, including step children, I have 10 on my hands. Well, naturally, I had to give up my work in Wollongong & find a job in Melbourne. Despite my now advanced age I am STILL at work. Well that’s enough of me. Let's return to the JOHN MOLONEY FAMILY.

And before I go too far I must fill in all about WILL (E) page 3 which I should have added before.

I'm afraid WILL'S drinking, devil may care habits eventually brought his downfall. His wife (KATE) left him, then started divorce proceedings (It was one of the very earliest divorce cases in Australia) and obtained her divorce. When she left WILL she took the younger of the boys, abandoning "MOLO" (young young John Moloney). "Molo" stayed with his grandfather (the original JOHN MOLONEY) & GRANDMOTHER untill the latter died. A few years later when Auntie Mag (your grandmother) took over the care of the Original JOHN Moloney, "Molo" came to live with us at Junee. We got him a job as a clerk in the Railways there, later he transferred to Sydney and remained with the Railways till he retired. From time to time we saw him. On one occassion he brought a beautiful girl out to see us. Her name: Marjorie Cooper, age about 16.

"Molo" had been boarding with the girl's mother, fell for the daughter (and she for him) and they planned to marry. This did not suit Mr. Cooper. Out went "MOLO", neck & crop - his belongings after him. Nothing daunted MOLO returned to the fray, this time with a borrowed ladder to scale the high brick fence surrounding the Cooper home. Mr Cooper then developed a plan - he would get his wife to spirit Marjorie away during the night to an aunt up to glory in the top of NSW. The plan was put into action - however - as a detective MOLO had no equal - next morning (as bold as brass) MOLO arrived. The frustration of the plan induced Mrs. Cooper to relent - her consent was given on the spot and they were married at once. Despite the entirely different characteristics of the two they lived happily and raised a large family. I believe MOLO is dead, have not heard of them this 15 or 20 years.

MARJORIE was always the brightest girl ever - "MOLO" sullen and morose - he would argue on ANYTHING - he had no manners - in fact he was a difficult character. He and I fought like tigers - on one occasion taking bullock whips to each other. I never recall who won!!!!!!!!!

Of course, his neglected years whilst his Grandfather was really unable to look after him must have been responsible. Once, on my own mother's advice he wrote to his mother (who by now had remarrried - she married a tailor at Maitland named Randall & Molos brother also took the name 'Randle') - 'Mrs' Randle replied that she completely


disowned him. Poor MOLO, it must have had a teriffic effect on him.

There is a sequel to this story :-

Returning to my mention of 'Little JOHNNY', years later, one of 'Mrs' Randles children by her second 'husband' pai court to one of Little Johnnie's daughters. How it ended I will probably never know.

I must now return to my own mother BRIDGE. Early in her life she developed heart trouble - I was a little fellow when she had her first attack in the middle of the night and Dad was away for a day or two. She had these attacks all her life and the amount of brandy she had to consume had serious effects later. In her latter years she was very difficult to live with. Her end came suddenly. One afternoon she lay down for a rest - she never awoke. (R.I.P.)

(G) Lastly we come to your own GRANDMOTHER, affectionately known as "Auntie Mag". Mag was handsome, gay and generous to a fault. She dressed with taste and distinction and had a real Irish wit. Kids she just could not resist - she would spoil them - shower them gifts of money and toys and was, in fact the idol of every kid she knew.

No doubt your Mother wil have much news of her than I could give. When still young she met a much older man - OWEN McCARTHY - was swept off her feet and joined to him in HOLY WEDLOCK. The rest you know. Frequently - or anyway - from time to time she visited my mother at Scott St. To me she remains a happy memory. Like all of us she had a few faults - her most queer one being her art of exaggeration. - You know how a fisherman when he catches a tiddler.... by the time he gets to work the next day it has become three feet long? ....Well, that was Auntie Mag. May she rest in peace.

(H) JOHN MOLONEY (I mean the original) had one other child who died in infancy. ALICE was her name.

I am not sure whether the original JOHN MOLONEY is buried at WAVERLEY Cemetery (since closed) or at the Church Cemetery at LEWISHAM. The latter was eventually transferred to Rookwood, headstones and all. Wherever he is may he rest in peace.

By the way, I remember calling on Auntie Mag just after your Mother was born. There was a song 'YIP I ADDY AY' which was a hit at the time. Little Eileen in her pram used to laugh at it and loved it. Oftimes Auntie Mag sang it to her.

There remains little more to be told. I should mention that my brother Claude became a magistrate and lived his life in the precincts of the Court. He married CLARINDA SARAH NOWLAND, they have one son BOB who fought in New Guinea. Claude is long since retired. He lives at Wollongong. His wife to is still hale & hearty. BOB is married, he has (I think) 7 kiddies, but is


living with his father & mother apart from MAISIE hiw wife.

I almost forgot to mention my sister WIN. Well Win married ARTHUR CAMPBELL NISSEN. They lived, first at Granville later with my father & mother at Scott St. Two children were born to the marriage PAT (now Mrs. Stan Bell living at 23 Scott St) and Shirley survived only a year or two.

Arthur and Win did not live together long - candidly I could not blame Arthur - however, he did attempt ro divorce her on one occasion (without success) and after leaving her opened a boat shed somewhere down near Port Hacking. He predeceased Win by a few years.

By the way I have just recalled a peculiarity of Aunti Mag - she was a great one for praying to St. Joseph for anything she wanted - and by the way was almost always succesful in her petitions. One the rare occasions when she had a 'knock back' she retaliated by taking her statue of that Great Saint out in the rain and leaving hm stand there!!!

Unfortunately I have no letters or documents handy. Most of my records are in my mind, the others, official documents of deaths, births, burials, etc were sent to my eldest son when I began to realise I was getting well beyond the span of life allowed to most.

It is therefore I suggest you try PAT (Mrs. Stan Bell) of 23 Scott St , to see of she has any of Win's records handy. No doubt the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages at Redfern could turn up a lot of official data.

Meantime, I hope the attached can be of some help to you and I wish you every joy in your history of the family.

I hope too that your Mother and Family are well and happ.

Very sincerely,
2nd.Cousin (Norman Hall)

Please give you mother my kindest regards and do please excuse my typing.


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