Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alfred Ernest HALL (1870-1954)

I have written previously on my G-G-Grandfather Alfred Ernest Hall, and with the aid of Tom Element have been putting together a time-line of his teaching placements.

Alfred was born in 1870 in Yass, to William Hall (1843-1912) and Eliza Jane nee BLISS (1852-1925). Norman Hall's letter on family history in 1971 (http://thehistoryofmatt.blogspot.com/2007/12/letters-of-norman-hall.html) states that he left home at 14 to teach (about 1884). In 1885 a Civil Service List published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Alfred was listed “Hall, Alfred E., Class 4, pupil teacher, Public school, Burrowa”  - so he was a student teacher by the age of 15. Burrowa is quite close to the family farm in the Spring Creek area outside Yass.

University of Sydney archives show that Alfred started there (matriculated) on Apr 11 1890 and finished exams in Dec 1892, graduating in 1893. The University Calendars for those yours show that he gained Class II honours in mathematics in the 1890 matriculation exam. First year exams in December 1890 he passed Latin, French, Maths and English. Second year exams in December 1891 he was at University as an evening student and again passed Latin, French, Maths and English. Third year exams December 1892, again as an evening student he passed Latin and French.

In 1890 he was a 'full time' student, but in 1891 and 1892 he was registered as an evening student and probably continued teaching. In the list “Teaching staff in Public Schools 1891 (Journal of the N.S.W. Legislative Council - 51 pages)” Alfred is listed at Darlington school, a Class 1 school, as a Temp. Assistant, classification 2A, who entered the service in January 1885. The school was across King St/City Rd from the University of Sydney, and the original school building stll stands, now restored on the expanded University of Sydney campus (http://www.facilities.usyd.edu.au/projects/heritage/old_school.shtml).

Alfred Ernest Hall (1870-1954)
Graduation from University of Sydney, abt 1893

While living, learning and working in the Darlington, Redfern and Sydney University area Alfred met Bridget MOLONEY, the daughter of teacher John MOLONEY who lived on Pitt St, Redfern, and was teaching at another school close by, the Cleveland Street School. I don’t know how he met Bridget though it was likely related to geographical proximitiy or perhaps via a teaching connection to his future father-in-law. It certainly wasn't though Church as Alfred was Protestant and the Moloney's were Catholic.

Norman Hall notes that Alfred converted to Catholicism, and he married Bridget on Wednesday 17 April 1895. The marriage certificate shows that Alfred was teaching at Grafton, and had returned to Redfern for the wedding. Easter was on the previous Sunday so the marriage probably timed with school holidays. Bridget received permission to marry from her father as she was under 21.

Following their marriage, Alfred and family moved on to Dubbo, where Norman was born in 1896 and Claude in 1899. They then moved to Braidwood where Kathleen was born in 1901 and Winifred in 1903. The book 'Braidwood Central School - A history of Education in the bush 1849 - 1999' shows that Alfred was headmaster of the school from January 1899 - June 1910. As well as being at the Public School, Alfred is listed in Sands Directories  as Secretary of the School of Arts, and the Literary Institute. The Braidwood Literary Institute functioned for almost 100 years as the social centre of Braidwood with a library, billard tables, and large hall which was the main venue in the town for concerts, dances and balls. The original building still stands in Braidwood as the offices of Palerang Council.

Amazingly, the front cover of the book 'Braidwood Central School - A history of Education in the bush 1849 - 1999' shows a photo entitled "Just the Girls", Braidwood Superior Public School, 1902. At the back right of the very large group of girls Alfred Hall can be seen.

In 1910 Alfred was promoted to be headmaster of the larger school at Junee (also in country NSW).

The Braidwood Dispatch
Saturday July 2 1910
Braidwood Public School
Mr. A. E. HALL, master of the Braidwood Public School, has been appointed to take charge of the Superior Public School at Junee. This means considerable promotion to Mr. Hall as the school at Junee is of a higher grade than the Braidwood School, and consequently will carry a higher salary. Mr. Hall has had charge of the Braidwood School for 11 or 12 years, during which time he has brought it into a higher state of efficiency and imparted a sound education to the pupils. He has been most painstaking and indefatigable in his work. As a townsman he has given his assistance in advancing all good objects for the benefits of the community and his departure from amongst us will be generally regretted. He does not propose leaving here to take up his new position for another fortnight. We have not learned the name of his successor.

The Braidwood Dispatch articles found by Tom Element also describes in length a valedictory dinner and speeches (to be posted separately due to length). The speeches refer to Alfred's dedication as headmaster, including lessons to the other teachers on Saturdays. His involvement with the Literary Institute and the cricket and football clubs was also highlighted. He was given a gold watch and chain, and cuff links as parting gifts. Alfred makes mention of the fact he will pass down the watch to a son, and indeed that has happened from Alfred to his son Norman to his son John to his son Andrew.

The Braidwood Dispatch
Saturday July 2 1910
Braidwood Public School
MR. HALL, the last master of the Braidwood Public School, took his departure on his bike yesterday afternoon for Tarago, from whence he would take the train for Junee, to take charge of the Public School there. His wife and family went away earlier in the week.... Mr. and Mrs. Hall were the recipients of several presents prior to their departure, in addition to which a handsome traveling bag was presented to Mr. Hall by the teachers and pupils of the school.

Their daughter Kathleen died of meningitis in Junee in 1912 - she remains buried there (http://thehistoryofmatt.blogspot.com/2008/09/kathleen-may-hall-1901-1912.html). Following this time I have not been able to track Alfred's movements as closely (I haven’t accessed NSW Electoral rolls yet). My subsequent understanding comes from two main souces; Norman Hall's letters and Joseph Hall's memoirs. These together indicate that he was appointed headmaster at Sutherland Public School around 1918, and moved to Granville where he was appointed headmaster at South Granville Public Primary School in 1922. About 1930 he was headmaster at North Strathfield, and was living at 23 Scott St Croydon in that year according to the electoral roll.

Alfred and his grand-daughter Joan Ellen HALL (1932-1933). Joan was the daughter of his son Norman HALL and daughter-in-law Mary Ellen nee BANFIELD (1889-1940).

In Norman Hall's 1968 letter on family history (http://thehistoryofmatt.blogspot.com/2009/01/original-of-norman-hal-1968-letter.html), Norman states that his father spent almost 51 years in the Department, and that after retiring he lived at 23 Scott Street Burwood. As he started in 1885, this means he retired about 1936, aged 66.

Bridget died in 1942, and Alfred died in 1954. When I visited Sydney recently I went to Rookwood, and was very surprised to find that Alfred and Bridget were not given a headstone. The cemetery have since confirmed this – I cannot imagine why it is the case.

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