Sunday, July 21, 2013

Norman Hall 1965 letter

My great grandfather Norman Hall (b. 1896 Dubbo NSW, d. 1972 Melbourne Vic) wrote at least three letters on his family history. One of these letters was written in the year prior to his death in 1971, to my aunt Elizabeth and father Andrew, who were then in their late teens.

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 as a young man seeking the family history. Chris MOLONEY sent me scans of this.

1971 Mar: Typed letter of 5 pages to my grandparents, father Andrew and aunt Elizabeth - ‘Jack, Jean and cherubs’ - in response to a request from Liz about the family history. My father 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).

Not everything Norman written is absolutely correct (according to genealogical research) but he was mainly accurate, and his memories of the family, his usage of the English language, and the stories he retells are a delight. The Hall family historian was my grandfather's brother Frank HALL (1923-2005), and his handwritten annotations made at some later stage can be seen in the scanned letter.

Norman was born in Dubbo in 1896, son of Alfred Ernest HALL, a teacher (1870 Yass NSW - 1954 Ashfield NSW) and Bridget Ann MOLONEY (1875 Redfern NSW - 1942 Ashfield NSW). Norman married Mary Ellen BANFIELD (1889 Hay NSW - 1940 Lewisham NSW) at St Francis, Paddington, NSW in January 1918, trained as a chemist, and they had seven children including my grandfather John (1920 - 1996). After Mary Ellen died of stomach cancer in 1940, Norman looked after the children alone, and after later moving to Wollongong he met and married Averil Agnes SAXON-JONES nee SAYER in 1951. They moved to Melbourne, where Norman lived the rest of his life.

I have finally transcribed the 1965 letter, included below. Norman wrote the letter to two of his MOLONEY cousins, after reuniting with them at the funeral of Norman's sister, Winifred NISSEN nee HALL (1903-1965). Win died on the 14th of July 1965, so it took a few months for Norman to sit down and write to Nell (Ellen Elizabeth LOVE nee MCCARTHY, 1910-?) and Eileen (Eileen Bridget ELEMENT nee MCCARTHY, 1914-1999).

15 December 1965

Dear Nell & Eileen,

No doubt the unfamiliar address and writing will have you intrigued – so I will start off by saying it is your cousin NORMAN HALL who is writing. You will recall we met at Win’s funeral (R.I.P.). Time is one of those things which escapes me – and as I promised to write (and am only just doing it now) I thought I had better include BOTH my cousins in the one letter. It’s strange how we lose touch with our relatives – our own work worries separate us I suppose – and we just drift apart. When Win was alive she was about the last link with the family – and I wouldn’t like to completely lose sight of our relations now.

Of course my memory can go back a long long way. Far back in the times of the century when Grandfather John Moloney (of happy memory R.I.P.) lived in Redfern (No. 110 Pitt St) with Grandmother Ellen and the family. You may know about the family – there was Joe (Uncle Joe), Mary, Alice (who died in infancy), Nell, Will, Bridge (my mother) and Mag (Auntie Mag, your mother – and lastly Jack or Johnnie who was affectionately known as “LITTLE JACK” – though he was a handsome well built big man.

Uncle Joe married Veronica Kellet they had 3 children, the eldest Nellie was what would be called a “Glamour girl” these days. Vera was next and then a boy – they also adopted a boy.

Aunt Mary married an Austrian named Petrich – they had no kiddies and he predeceased her many long years ago. Mary kept a little shop later in Waterloo – later she passed on.

Nell married W.A.Coleman, they went to WA and had a bad time there – returning to Sydney he started building at Botany and did well. They had 3 kiddies Nellie – one other girl – and George. When they returned from WA it was your mother and Dad who housed them and looked after them till they got on their feet. Both Nell and Coleman are long since dead (R.I.P.).

Bridge, my mother, wed my father at St. Vincent De Pauls church Redfern – some 18 months later I was born, followed by Claude, Kathleen (who died in 1911 aged 12) and Win.

Little Jack (Uncle Johnnie) was in the Post Office – he married and went out west to Brewarina. I believe he had a large family but lost sight of them all.

Will was a real handsome, hale fellow, well met!! He married KATE LAFURA – who was not a Catholic. There were 2 sons – JACK and ANOTHER LAD. The marriage did not last. Will was “divorced” by Kate (divorce was very rare then and considered a social stigma). His son Jack (we called him “MOLO”) remained with his grandparents at 110 Pitt St till after his grandmother died – then stayed with us in Junee for a while – he went into the Railways as a Clerk and remained in that service till he retired or died. He was a quaint chap – very brainy, and he surprised us by marrying a very glamourous young girl “Marjorie Cooper”. The courtship was most unusual and romantic too (it’s a story on its own). She was then 16.

I leave “Auntie Mag” (your mother) to the last purposely. As a child “Auntie Mag” was a person of great wonderment… I really adored her. She had charm, beauty and above all a HEART OF PURE GOLD. To the kiddies – especially me – she was marvellous!! Once or twice she favoured us with a visit to Braidwood when I was a little soul. I recall perfectly when she wed your Dad. He had an agency shop in Cleveland St – later a newsagency nearby in the same area – then moved to Erskineville. If my memory is right you (Nell) were born at the Cleveland St. shop. After that we gradually drifted away – I went to the country -  etc. – and later married. Had a large family (7) – and of course got little time to keep in touch. While my mother was alive – (and later Win) kept some touch with the family.

My wife (Nellie) lived but a year or so after our last child and cancer took her off very quickly. In the intervening years I brought the children up myself – they all have GOOD jobs – all have married, and I have 21 grandchildren, 3 of them being triplet boys. Well with the family “off my hands” I was living alone – then I married again at 60 – a young lovely widow. We have one gorgeous little girl now 9 years. A real beauty – and exceptionally talented.

Well, though of a very advanced age I am still at work (an Industrial Chemist) – and like it well.

So much for family history. I hope it has not bored you – if you are like me you will like to think over our ancestors. Grandfather John Moloney was a great man – I always described him as LOOKING EVERY INCH AN EARL. Through him most of our families have inherited so many of the qualities of the IRISH, even my little girl has a terrific sense of Irish humour.

I have a son (an acting University Professor) who is a real replica of grandfather John Moloney – Scholar all!!

Of my brother (Claude) he married many years ago – has one son only and 6 or 7 grandchildren. He was a MAGISTRATE before he retired some years ago.

I should have mentioned that when I remarried I went to Melbourne to live because my young wife “liked Melbourne weather” – and it is not a bad place either. We have rather a nice place and it’s very convenient. Some 20 or 30 years ago one of my boys with his wife and family went to England to do his Doctor of Science degree at Cambridge University – I got him to visit Ireland to locate any of the Moloney Clan – alas – he did locate some – but they were the very young generation and not even sure they belonged to our branch of the family.

By the way Grandfather Moloney “rests in the sleep of peace” at the old (now closed) Waverley Cemetery. May he rest in peace!!!

Well Eileen Nell I hope this recital of family history does not bore you – we have some remarkable ancestors!!! I never tire of thinking of them myself. I do hope life has treated both of you well happily. With the very short time available at the funeral I had no time to really ask how life was treating you – and your families. You see I could only get out for the one day of the funeral and had to be back.

Have not seen Pat (Win’s daughter) since – by the way her married name is MRS STAN BELL.

At one time Uncle Joe’s eldest daughter, Nellie, (the one I called the “Glamour girl”) used to visit my mother and Win at Scott St. She had married – her married name being MRS STEWART – but I don’t think she had been around for a long time. Last time I spoke to Win about her she said she had lost all her looks and really looked ill. Let’s hope she is well and happy – however I don’t know her address.

Uncle Will’s son (the Jack Moloney I mentioned before who wed the 16 year old Marjorie Cooper) I believe is dead – his address too is also unknown to me.

I will address this to you Nell, and ask you to pass it on to Eileen when you visit her or she calls to see you.

And while I think of it I have an old friend (he has been retired many years) living somewhere in Wentworthville. His name is H.L. (HARRY) FULLAGAR – it is possible you may have heard of him.

Well my Dear Cousins I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this (I hope you both enjoy reading it) – it brings back too wonderful, clear memories of your mother (Auntie Mag) – with the heart of gold – especially when she was in her twenties – and she looked so wonderful – no wonder we kids worshipped her. May her dear Soul find eternal happiness and rest – And so I will close – wishing you both – and your hubbies and families every good and perfect wish for the season of Christmas – and a wonderful New Year.

Will send a separate Xmas card to each of you as well.

Very Sincerely

Your Cousin

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