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Hall Family



Corinne Helen Christine Hall

b. 27 Dec 1915, Paignton, Devon England

m. 21 Dec 1940, Dunedin New Zealand, age 24 to Norman Stace

d. 14 Jun 2011, Hobart Australia, age 96. Buried at Pontville, Hobart Tasmania.


Corinne was born in the town of Paignton in Devon, southwest England, the youngest of seven children. It was just a month after the First World War had ended. By then her oldest sister Florence was 20 years old and would be married within two years in Sydney Australia. Oldest brother Arthur was 19 years old and a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Marines. Another brother, Theo, had died age 1 in 1902. There had then been a long break before another three daughters were born within five years of each other – Mary (May), Kathleen “Jean” and Corinne.

When she was 6 or 7 years old Corinne, her younger sisters and parents, emigrated to Australia. Her older sister Florence and brother Arthur had already emigrated to Australia and their parents decided to follow. 

Over the next few years the family lived in country New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Corinne spent her teenage years living in Nedlands in Perth, where she attended high school and the University of Western Australia while her parents continued to travel. Her sister Florence and brother John were living in Perth – John married in Perth in 1931 but later moved to Rhodesia. Florence had married in Sydney in 1920 but by 1936 she is recorded as living in Perth where she was a water-colour artist; later she moved to Nelson in New Zealand. 

Around 1938, when Corinne was age 20 or 21, she moved with her parents to New Zealand where she started to study medicine at university. She met Norman in Dunedin and they married in December 1940.


Corinne Hall in Nedlands, Perth c. 1938



Norman remembers Corinne

The following story was written by Norman Stace in 2003:

Norman remembers Corinne

Dearest Corinne  --  a beautiful name! -- was born on 27 December 1915, in Paignton, Devonshire, England, the youngest of a family of seven children. Her parents were both born in London:  her father was of Scottish descent, and her mother’s people came from Cheshire in the North of England.

In 1915 the First World War was raging, and her dad was in the British army in France.  He survived;  but the post-war years were full of uncertainty,  and the family was restless,  wondering where to raise their children;  they spent brief periods in North Scotland, in England  (Swanage), in Guernsey, in  Cannes, France:  all the time debating whether  they should migrate to Canada or South Africa or Rhodesia,  as other relatives had done.  Her mother had a comfortable inheritance, and they could have gone anywhere ----   BUT WHERE?

The matter was resolved when a sad letter came from the eldest daughter who had married an Australian major with a wheat farm in Northern New South Wales; a disastrous fire had left them in terrible trouble.  And so Australia it was to be.

Corinne would have been 6 or 7 when they arrived, and what a change Australia made!  As a little child she had been pale and somewhat ailing with a perpetual runny nose and a handkerchief always pinned to her dress: wartime rationing in England could not have helped.  But Australian food and sunshine and the open air wrought a transformation:  she entered into the work on the farm with gusto; being the smallest, her job was to milk the cow, and to bring in the horses in from the great paddock.  One of her much older brothers told me, many years later, of his memory of this little kid with a great big grin, riding the old draft mare, rounding up the  horses  for ploughing,  singing and talking to them.

This is the Corinne we know;  always doing more than her share of work,  her easy empathy with animals,  and who could overlook that  happy smile!

Let’s go fast-forward fifteen years to 1940.  Corinne had graduated Bachelor of Science, majoring in Geology and Zoology, subjects chosen from a love of learning, but not a source of income in the 1930’s Depression years.  She learned the stand-by of secretarial and office work, but after a few years found this unsatisfying.  So 1940 found Corinne at the medical school in Dunedin, New Zealand, with an aching heart from an unhappy love-affair, determined to let romance go by,  and to concentrate on her aim of graduating with a second degree in Medicine.   

Corinne and I had known each other for several years as casual acquaintances: we had many mutual friends but our paths didn’t often cross.  But in 1940, I had a lucrative post-graduate fellowship based in Dunedin: we became friends, then good friends, then somehow, fell in love and decided to marry at the end of the year.  So on December 21 1940 we were married at All Saints Church.

The war was raging, and not going well. It may seem strange that at such a terrible time we could even think of romance, let alone marriage; but we were in love, and that says it all.  How the war changed her destiny, together with tens of millions of others!

Corinne was 24, soon to be 25.  Let us now “fast forward’ and take snapshots at each 15 years of her life.

At 40, 1955 Corinne in Australia had come through the difficult postwar years, with truly primitive living conditions:  but now she had a new house, with a civilised infrastructure.  But not just a house, for by 1955 Corinne’s family was one thoughtful teenager, two ever-busy boys, and a cheerful 5 year old girl.  Also for three years she had looked after her elderly, ailing father-in-law (my dad) and his care was to continue for ten years.  Each day, 21 meals had to planned and prepared; housework, clothing, bedding, shoes and much much more had to be organised & done.  Access to a car meant new horizons:  diligent studies to become a most successful Scripture teacher for 6 or 7 lessons weekly at primary and secondary schools and each Sunday. In particular she was an active member of a committee initiating a new Anglican girl’s school in Parramatta  ---  today’s  most successful Tara. This is just the briefest outline of what was done with unfailing love, care, and good humour.

Back: John, Helen, Peter. Front: Nigel, Corinne, Norman, Brenda

Fast forward now another 15 years to 1970; age 55.  Even busier!  One more in the family, by 1970 a 13-year old boy, making 5 children in all.  The older four had grown up and finished their tertiary studies:  two had married and two were working overseas.  During this fifteen years, the family had become more complex; lots of coming and going; friends and friends of friends were always encouraged and welcomed.  Corinne had made a beautiful cherishing home not only for her family but also for deeply treasured friends.  Only I know of the unceasing love, and sheer hard work done so efficiently, so thoughtfully, so unobtrusively during this time of launching our family into the world.

In this period we began to greatly enjoy overseas holidays,   a change from earlier years of pinch-penny vacations.

All this time Corinne continued her strong Christian work as a Scripture teacher, influencing generations of children in primary and secondary schools. 

The next fifteen years, 1970 to 1985: age 70.  This period was hall-marked by the arrival of grand-children, a pleasure which has to be experienced to understand its joy.  Corinne, with a happy heart, did what was needed to make our grandchildren -- each one so different, and so lovable -- welcome at our home; and this bond has endured.


Corinne and Norman at Peter Stace’s wedding, 1974


Two other things stand out. In 1981 we spent three memorable months in Britain and

Europe, the first time since 1922 that she had visited the land of her birth.  Also I retired in 1982, to buy a macadamia farm in Northern New South Wales.  Once again, Corinne showed her home-making skills by creating a great little house, very practical, very welcoming, a delight to live in. We spent 18 years there: a most happy time for us both.  Her warm, levelheaded and sincere personality created a circle of friends who we still treasure. Corinne maintained her strong commitment to Christian teaching, influencing new generations of pupils at local schools.

The end of the Nineteen Hundreds; 1986 to 2000 --- age 71 to 85.  The happy time continued, working hard on our farm and travelling; but as the millennium approached we had to make a decision to retire.  And so in 1999 we moved to Tasmania, which we have loved. The 2000’s. These years have seen us change from active and sprightly to  elderly,  but Corinne continued to show her art and skill in making a warm,  welcoming household.

Tasmania and Tasmanians have been wonderful, far exceeding our very high expectations when we arrived here.

Each day I have looked at Corinne, and given a heartfelt prayer of thanks that such a wonderful person has been my wife, the mother of our children, and the grandmother of the second generation.  God has been very kind to send such a blessing to this world.


Farm at Dorroughby, c.1986. Tom, Clare, Emily, Brenda, Norman, Roger, Sara, Peter, Corinne, Auvita


The Hall and Venables family





The Hall family from Scotland


The following story was written by Corinne Hall (Stace) in 2003:

If an expatriate Scots man or woman thinks sentimentally of home, he or she will probably think of the Highlands with its Glens and heather and the magical drone of the bagpipes.

For centuries the Highlander was a clansman deeply loyal to his chieftain and ready to answer his call when action was needed. Each Clan was a loosely knit group of folk of the same name and family bonded together by custom. For centuries there had been interchange across the Border between the Scots and the English, but after the Stuart Kings cemented the thrones of England and Scotland, the Highlanders chafed at the English presence.

It was the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie from exile in France in 1745 which aroused the national pride. The Prince secretly landed by boat on the West Coast not far from Fort William, and sounded the call to arms which brought many Highland clans to his side. His purpose was to oust the English and establish himself as king. His success was enormous and he led his army of Highlanders over the Border into England with little resistance, almost to the city of London itself. But the joy of success was shattered by the news that and English army of fresh soldiers had assembled at Inverness in the North of Scotland. The Prince had to march his weary troops back to meet the English at Culloden – just east of Inverness. The exhausted Highlanders were easily routed and many were slaughtered.

The battlefield exists to this day with a record of that dreadful encounter, but the sprit of the

Highlanders was shattered by what followed afterwards: The Prince escaped to France: the victorious commander forbade the use of Gaelic and the wearing of the tartan and insisted on the use of the English language: wholesale killing of rebellious families went on. A sad glom filed the mountains and the glens. Worse still, their own Chieftain chose to live a city life and put factors or Stewarts on their estates to collect rents from the crofters, a notion quite foreign to the peasant’s farmers who had always claimed their small holdings as their own. Life became intolerable and many a crofter who once grew his own food for his family could no longer survive. SO became the emptying of the Highlands. Poverty and starvation drove them to seek a life beyond the seas and many went to Novia Scotia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where their native ability and persistent endeavour laid down valuable foundations in Education and Industry in these colonies. 

But although many thousands of Scots left their homeland they didn’t all migrate beyond the seas. A wonderful flowering of scholarship and invention enabled many Scottish minds to usher in the enormous success of the Industrial Revolution.  Once every village home had its loom where weavers spent his day making cloth of wool, now it was done at factories along with the weaving of cotton and linen imported from Ireland and America. So creating the great textile factories of Paisley and Peebles not far from the wealthy city of Glasgow. To aid the steam powered machinery the necessary coal was not far away particularly along the upper Clyde Valley around Lanark as well as other places. Coal pit owners mercilessly worked the miners and their families under shameful conditions and pay. Once a man joined a coal pit he was indentured for life and was refused permission to seek work elsewhere. Finally ship building along the Clyde brought workers to congregate around the Glasgow area which son spread outwards and westwards to incorporate villages. One such village was Johnston where we met our ancestor James Hall. 

 “Were you born in Scotland?” I once asked my father. I was curious because he used to wear a tartan tie and would take long walks in the Highlands.  

James HALL, says genealogist Mr Simon HALL of Canberra, was born in 1795 in Johnsonville, a hamlet west of Paisley in Renfrewshire in Scotland. He kept a grocers shop in Johnsonville, but his customers were not wealthy people, but probably weavers and workers in the textile and woollen industry whose main needs were oatmeal, salt and beer with very few luxuries which they couldn’t afford.

James being a frugal man himself may not have wanted much more, that is until he met Margaret BARR of similar age as himself.

Margaret was a lass from Paisley: she was bonnie and strong with a cheerfulness which could bring a smile of joy from James. She was little more than eighteen years old when she and James were married at a small church at Kelbarchan, not far from Johnsville. The two set about reviving and improving the grocery shop. Margaret was always full of ideas: James was the patient worker who great full put Margaret’s innovations in to effect.

Children came along. First there was Janet, then Sarah. Then a son James, who was so sickly and poorly that Margaret hastened back to her girlhood parish of Paisley Abbey to seek baptism for her dying baby. Their next son prospered: he was also called James, born in 1827.

But death was never far away in those weary and impoverished times. Little Sarah died at the age of six. The baby, William Barr Hall was only a few months old when Margaret, watching her husband working at the shop, saw him suddenly collapse on the floor. She screamed “my husband has been struck down by God”. Neighbours rushed in and carried the poor man to his bed.  A doctor was called, but it was too late. James Hall had died of a stroke.  There is a grave stone in the Paisley Abbey cemetery marking his grave. It says “James HALL husband of Margaret Barr Hall and father of daughter aged six” (Someone is forgetting his other children? Bre) He was thirty five years old.  

Margaret was left with three children to care for: Janet, promising young lass of seven or eight; little James two or three years, and baby William just a few months old. Then there was the grocery shop which was Margaret’s only source of income. 

She closed the shop for a few days whilst she reorganized her routines with the children, but she needn't to worry. Little Janet at eight years took control of the nursery; she laughed and played with toddler James and could even hold the feeding bottle for baby William.

Back in the shop, Margaret did her best to carry on as James had done but she soon found that she was losing customers because she closed at six pm. instead of the usual seven pm. The money in the till seemed to shrink whilst the debts grew. The worst moment came when an overdue amount came from her supplier, Robert Miller, Wholesale Provisioner. Margaret wrote a pleading note for an extension of credit: she would work harder – she wrote; she apologized for the delay in paying. Work harder she did, but she couldn’t make up the areas.

After several months a young man appeared at the shop. He politely introduced himself as Robert Miler Junior. He inquired about her problems, her children and her business. He listened patiently and when she had finished he said “Mrs Hall, my father and I are very sorry to find you in such distress: will you allow me to help you re-organize your management so that together we can get your business working profitably?” For nearly a year, young Robert Miller spent Fridays afternoons checking her shelves and re-ordering needed stock and canceling orders for unpopular items which working class Scots seldom use. He seemed to enjoy the weekly visits and although he was strictly business-like and rarely allowed any unprofessional warmth to change his countenance, Margaret began to look forward to his visits. She felt the pleasure of the improved business under her own name and she liked the candor and Robert’s very occasional smile. After a time, Robert told her that his father wished to retire from business and he wanted Robert to take over as manager of the firm. 

“Why don’t we make a team together?” he told her, “you sell the shop and join with me as Grocery

Provisioners. That way we can make a home for the dear children and you will be my beloved wife!” Margaret accepted. This time Margaret’s trip to Paisley Abbey was a happy one – she entered as Margaret HALL and came away as Margaret Barr Millar. It was 1832, and she was 37 years old.

Margaret strove to bring up the children nicely and to assist Robert in the business. He was now calling himself Provisions Merchant and he dealt in wholesale goods which required a storehouse instead of a shop and his customers just like the ones James Hall had provided. For more than ten years they worked the Paisley district supplying the little grocery shops but their returns were sometimes marginal. By this time Margaret had developed a god business head and she saw that people of the Border Country, especially in Ranfurly Shire were factory workers with very basic needs and unlikely to buy the luxury goods which carry higher profits. She also observed that many business folks were moving away from the Boarder for places in England where life was possibly easier. So she discussed with Robert the idea of re-locating to London as many Scots had already done. At first Robert was aghast – leave Scotland, the land of his birth! NEVER. But his god sense prevailed as all good Scots do, and they began to plan to reopen a warehouse near the River Thames with the idea of supplying food for the multitudes of refugees swarming into England from the Continent. These people were escaping religious persecution in their home countries because the

Edict of Nantes had been rescinded which had previously allowed religious freedom. There were Huguenots from France, silk weavers and dyers from Flanders and Belgium, Jews with their black hats and curly whiskers and their propensity to be associated with finance, all gathering around the docks along the Thames. On the dirty waters of the river Thames, coal lighters bringing coal from the Clyde river Valley or coal pits of Newcastle kept gangs of noisy men carting their coal all over London – the sot smearing the walls of windows and walls of houses and public buildings a dirty grey.

The Robert Miller Wholesale business opened at Tower Hill where the East end of London spread out into the cramped little hovels of Stephney, Spitalfield and Whitechapel.

Margaret chose to live there. She looked around the newly developed suburban land of Lewisham on the South Side of the River. She found a villa where she felt she could provide a real home for her Robert, her beautiful young Janet and her two growing sons James and William. Robert later sought a new location nearer the heart of London and found premises at Tolley Street on the South side of London Bridge. Here he would supply the grocers for wealthy Surrey patrons who had a taste for sweet butter and fine chesses. He realized his need to know more about the growing trade with the Irish dairy importers. One trader’s name of prominence was “Pontifex and Woods” Robert sought Margaret’s help in getting to know more about these people. 

It wasn’t hard, for the Woods family also lived at Lewisham: their teenage sons and one daughter were of similar age as Margaret’s children and the two families became friendly. The young Woods boys had ambitions of seeking African adventures in the South African provinces of Natal and told dazzling stories of wealth farming tobacco under the hot African sun using black labour. But James and William Hall’s future was with the wholesale provisions business because Robert was teaching them the trade and was preparing to take them into partnership as Miler and Halls. Also, James Hall had fallen in love with the beautiful daughter Anne Woods and he was eager to marry her.

And so the marriage of Miss Annie Woods, daughter of the late Mr.  & Mrs. James Woods’s son of the late James Hall & Mrs. Hall was arranged. 

Anne’s mother had been Miss Pontiface. 

Margaret was sad that her son’s father, James Hall was not there to see his son James married but young William ably supported his brother at the ceremony and Margaret felt glad of that. She watched the beautiful young 18 year old bride serenely make her marriage vows at the Baptist chapel in Denmark Place, Lambeth. 

It was the first of June, 1859 – a glorious sunny day to start a glorious new venture.

Margaret was apprehensive about the idea of James and Anne taking up an agency in Ireland to buy butter, cheese and other farm products for the firm Millar and Halls. She was going to miss him; her only surviving daughter, Janet had married a young man from Renfrewshire by the name of Barr.

Probably no relation as it was a very common name in those parts, and now lived in Scotland. William was still living at home in Forest Hill, working with Robert at Tolley St Warehouse. They were excited about leasing part of the Haberneum wharf where the little packet steamers plying from Sligo in Ireland to London would unload the butter and cheese. Business was picking up and everyone was enlivened by success.

James and Anne – now known as Annie remained in Sligo for six years where four of their eleven children were born. Robert and William kept the London business going but sometime in 1861 Robert died leaving William to manage on his own. It wasn’t until the mid-sixties that James and Annie returned to London when once again the two brothers worked from the same premises. Both men sought more rural outlook to build their homes and moves south of the river to the district of Coulsden. James felt the importance of a business man to need a fine house so he built a fine mansion which he called “LISADEL” after a house by the same design he had admired in Ireland. Here his eleven children enjoyed semi-country living. Family legend has it that during the development of the site for the garden, a shipment of tinned meat was found to be contaminated and was condemned. Not put out, James ordered that the tined meat to be laid for his future carriage way. Unfortunately James died in 1882. His young family was still growing up so Annie was forced to sell Lisadel as her husband had left very little money. The mansion still stands – for a while it was part of the Croydon Council Chambers; later it was converted to four high class flats. Simon Hall and his father Richard Hall visited the house in the mid 1970 1980’s and photographed it from many aspects. 

William also built himself a fine home in Coulsden where he lived with his first wife Ellim Vernez, where they had three sons. When Elim died, Margaret came to live with William and his second wife who mad her very welcome. She had a longing for her homeland where people spoke as she did. She even longed for the chill north winds which she understood how to wrap up against, and the fitful shafts of brilliant sunlight which could glorify flowers and trees with sudden brilliance. But she felt old now; she had lost two husbands who had been very dear, as well as the two children. She was grateful to be part of William’s warm household. 

She died one cold November in 1870.


Now I must go back to James and Annie in Sligo, Ireland, where their four children were born. Of their four children the eldest, a daughter called Annie, was beautiful and she was talented in art and, when grown up in Southern England she won the attention of a young artist of Dutch Javanese extraction, by the name of Jan Toorop. After their marriage they made their home in Holland, Annie did not return to live in England and became a Roman Catholic. Their one child, Annie Caroline Pontifex has always been known as Charlie Toorop and became an artist like her father but her work is marked by a boldness of style. Jan Toorop became a Court Artist painting symbolic pictures of which the “THREE BRIDES” is the most outstanding. The theme of ‘good vs. bad’ in the Impressionist style with the sensuous beauty of Art Nouveaux, Jan Toorop's work included many portraits but at the turn of the century his work ceased to be of importance. Charlie Toorop’s art continued to be prominent throughout the twentieth century.




Two sisters Janice Pontifex Hall and Laura Eveline Hall were spinsters who lived together in Croydon and had always lingered in my memory as aunts to whom I sent childish Christmas letters. 

The Hall men mostly migrated to the colonies, Edwin Barr Hall went to Canada, many of the others to South Africa. Arthur John Hall born in 1873 Coulsden, was our father; he remained in England to marry our mother Ellen Beatrice Venables because his future Mother-In Law forbade any marriage arrangements to involve “Darkest Africa”.  Father’s lifelong long desire for Africa was fulfilled through their two sons Arthur and John finding occupation there. He and our mother both died in Cape Town after a long life of farming mainly in Australia. 

They returned to Cape Town in 1943 after being resident in Melbourne for several months. 

Corinne born in Paignton Devon, England, lived in many places. She lived in many places with her much travelled family until her marriage in 1940.   



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