Home' Hunter Its People : June 2010 Contents 30 THE HERALD Thursday, June 24, 2010
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NEWCASTLE'S first Mayor, James Hannell was born
in Parramatta in 1813 but raised in Newcastle by
He was a policeman, auctioneer and blacksmith before
becoming owner of the Ship Inn in 1839, after which
he became a wealthy land owner, crusaded for school
construction -- he personally financed a school at Wickham
-- and was elected Mayor in 1859 until 1862, again in 1868
and 1869 and for a third time in 1871. When Wickham
Council was formed he became its first Mayor and was also
twice elected to NSW Parliament.
He built Newcastle School of Arts, worked for Newcastle
Hospital and advocated a better port. He was a justice of
the peace, magistrate, had an interest in the artillery corps,
was a church warden of St Johns, president of Newcastle
Regatta and a judge and president of Newcastle Jockey
He died in 1876 and he and his wife Mary, after whom
Maryville is named, are buried in a tomb behind Christ
Hannell St is named after him and another Hannell
legacy is believed to be the landmark fig tree near
Honeysuckle Drive, thought to be the last of nine planted
by Mary to give shade on summer days.
Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David was a remarkable
man, a Welsh-Australian geologist who became a
household name while still alive after discovering the
Hunter Valley coalfields, serving with distinction in World
War 1 and leading the first expedition to the magnetic
Born in Wales in 1858, he became interested in geology
and in 1882 was appointed Assistant Geological Surveyor
in NSW. He investigated tin deposits in New England
before surveying the Hunter coalfields in 1886 where he
discovered the Greta coal seam.
In 1891 he was made Professor of Geology at Sydney
University, a position he held until 1924, and also
spent time as president of the geological section of the
Australian Association for the Advancement of Science,
and undertook a series of surveys to the Pacific atoll of
Funafuti which made his name as a geologist.
In 1907, at nearly 50 years old, he joined Shackleton's
expedition to the Antarctic and in 1908 led the first ascent
of Mount Erebus. The same year he led a three-man party to
the magnetic South Pole, successful after a dangerous three-
month journey. On his return David was swamped with
awards and wrote a number of publications on the trip.
When World War 1 began David set up the Australian
Mining Corps and joined them as a Major at age 58. By
the end of the war he had been awarded the Distinguished
Service Order and been promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel.
In 1920 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order
of the British Empire and, back in Australia, helped set
up the Australian National Research Council and was its
first president, and began writing The Geology of
the Commonwealth of Australia, dying i
without completing his work, finishe
a collaborator in 1950.
IRENE HALL >>
Born in 1888 in Sydney, Hall
trained as a nurse and became
head nurse and deputy-matron of
Royal Newcastle Hospital in 1914.
Five months later she became
matron and during her 43 years
in office her name became
synonymous with the hospital
whose nursing home, built in
1960, was given her name.
In her induction address she
told trainees that ''you will find
that my school can be likened to
the British army, there is only one
difference -- they have slackened
discipline, I have not''.
Hall edited the Matrons' Handbook
Lectures to Trainees and in 1950 published a paper
on the Importance of Ethics in Nursing.
She worked tirelessly to improve the status of nurses
and was a council member (1927-58) of the Australasian
Trained Nurses' Association, a foundation member and
fellow of the College of Nursing, Australia, president of the
state branch of the Florence Nightingale Committee of
Australia, and a delegate to congresses of the International
Council of Nurses in London in 1937, Atlantic City in
1947, and Rome in 1957. She also supported civic and
Hall was awarded King George V's silver jubilee (1935)
and Queen Elizabeth II's coronation (1953) medals, and
appointed MBE in 1957.
She retired because of poor health in 1958, and died on
August 11, 1961, in ''her'' Royal Newcastle Hospital.
EDWARD CHRISTOPHER MEREWETHER
The son of the Town Clerk of London, E.C.Merewether
was born in 1820 and came to Sydney in 1841, working for
a number of Governors over the next decade, including
spells living near Kempsey and Armidale.
In 1861 he became general superintendent of the
Australian Agricultural Co and moved to Newcastle,
building The Ridge on Burwood Estate. He became owner
of Burwood Estate and had to negotiate with himself when
the company wanted to mine beneath it.
In 1876 he moved to Sydney where he became a local
director of the London Chartered Bank, was president of
the NSW branch of the Royal Geographical Society and
in 1887 financed exploration in New Guinea where the
Merewether River is named after him. He was president
of the Australian Club, Sydney Lawn Tennis Club, vice-
president of the Belvedere Cricket Club and a Fellow
of the Imperial Institute and a member of the Linnean
Merewether died in 1893 and until then was a benefactor
of many causes. He paid for building St Augustine's
the Newcastle suburb that bears his
n in Germany in 1855, Menkens was
ewcastle's most signifcant architect
etween 1880 and early 1900s, but that
didn't stop him from being jailed after
speaking out over inferior lightning
rods on Jesmond House.
Menkens was jailed for a year for
refusing to pay 40 shillings plus 126
pounds in costs for slander damages
after his outburst, but spent his time
in jail designing buildings, many now
Menkens migrated to Australia in
878, first to Adelaide, then Melbourne
d, in 1881, to Maitland and the
owing year to Newcastle.
met success with work on Newcastle
f Arts, Waratah's Deaf and Dumb
d Hamilton's Mechanics Institute and
won a competition to build the main Presbyterian
Church, St Andrews, and in 1891 a competition to build a
new Newcastle Town Hall, although this did not come to
Menkens went to jail in 1895 but became more successful
on his release and designed a number of commercial
buildings in Newcastle, including five warehouses.
An eccentric and gambler who once described his dog
Mick as his best friend, Menkens visited Germany in 1907
to visit his mother and on his return settled in Randwick,
where he died from cirrhosis in 1910.
Menkens probably shaped Newcastle's character more
than any single person with at least 28 major inner-city
THE HUNTER ...
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