Details: Parent Category: History Category: Recollections | Published: 04 April 2014 | Hits: 157982


The following family history relates to my daughter Emily and her mother Brenda.  It was compiled by my niece Sara Stace, Emily’s first cousin, from family records that were principally collected by Corinne Stace, their Grandmother, but with many contributions from family members.  I have posted it here to ensure that all this work is not lost in some bottom draw.  This has been vindicated by a large number of interested readers worldwide.

The copyright for this article, including images, resides with Sara Stace. 

Thus in respect of this article only, the copyright statement on this website should be read substituting the words 'Sarah Stace' for the words 'website owner'.

Sara made the original document as a PDF and due to the conversion process some formatting differs from the original.  Further, some of the originally posted content has been withdrawn,  modified or corrected following requests and comments by family members.  






Stace and Hall family histories

a summary




Stace Lucas Bannister Fawkner Peed Hall Venables Mears Cutbush Nairn Pontifex 



Compiled by Sara Stace, 2013



Stace Family


Parents Norman & Corinne


Norman Edward Stace (1918 -  2008)

Corinne Helen Christine Hall (1915 - 2011)



Helen   1942

John     1943

Peter    1946

Brenda 1949

Nigel     1957




Norman, Corinne, Brenda, Nigel, John and Narelle visited New Zealand in 1969. They are in this photo with Thora, Gordon, his wife and Rodney Stace.







Explosive Manufacture in Wartime 1940s

The following story was written by Norman Stace in 2003. It has been lodged with the Australian War Memorial:

Purely Personal Recollections of Norman E. Stace

Our son Peter has asked me several times to write a personal account of the WW2 experience, making high explosives in Australia.  I think he had ideas of “bang-bang” and everything being exciting, noisy, and heart-stopping, but in fact the first step in making explosives is to plan, right from the very beginning,  NOT to have bangs in the factory.  Later in the overall picture, of course, the explosive should go off at the right milli-second. On the battle-field; not in the factory!

This early planning results in a detailed set of operating standards and procedures, which must be thoroughly adhered to at every stage of often very complex processes. Naturally,  this doesn’t lead to much excitement;  In fact,  at times boredom can occur, calling for strict self-discipline  -- for example at half past three on a frosty night shift.  So in principle making explosives is not different from any other exacting industrial process.

Australia had commenced manufacturing munitions at a low level early in the 1900’s: in fact explosives were made, for mining and quarrying, in the 1800’s.  However during WW1 many Australian chemists (I mean real chemists, not pharmacists!) were sent to Britain to work in the great new factories built there to feed the insatiable demand for war-time supplies – particularly for shells: cordite to propel them, and high explosives to fill them.

WW1 was the first so called “technological war” which showed that armies and fleets could function -- indeed exist – only when backed at depth by modern industries.  So when the war was over, the returning chemists could envisage the need for Australia to arm itself, using the skill and experience they had gained in Britain.

Between the wars, Australian industries made great strides, and the Federal Government set up, mainly in Melbourne, a munitions complex making guns, ammunition, warships,  aeroplanes and the necessary explosives.  Thus when WW2 broke out in 1939, a great expansion was to take place, and it soon became obvious that a real shortage of chemists existed.  Without some action, it would be impossible to operate the new chemical/explosives complexes planned to be built in Melbourne, Ballarat, Adelaide, Albury and Sydney.

Well, Peter, where does your dad fit in?

In 1939, just as the war began, I graduated in New Zealand with a Masters degree in chemistry, and was awarded a lucrative 2-year Fellowship in industrial chemistry at the University of Otago in Dunedin.  The war certainly started badly, and with several other good friends I volunteered for a scheme to train as a junior officer in the Royal Navy in England.  Much to my chagrin I missed out: the others were accepted.   My professor didn’t comment, beyond saying “be patient”.  Later I was balloted to be called up for the army;  again, nothing happened.

Right at the end of 1940, Corinne and I were married. (Ah, youth!  Best thing I ever did!)

Early in 1941, my Professor (who had been made Scientific Advisor to the Government) flew to Australia, and when he returned things started to become clear.  I was asked if I would be interested in joining a scheme for trained chemists to go to Australia for the war effort; I certainly was: again I was advised to be patient.  

After a couple of false starts, and a bout of pneumonia,  I found myself in a group of chemists and engineers on board a small liner leaving Auckland for Sydney;  blacked out and escorted by an RAN warship. On arrival on July7 1941, (how impressed we were by the Harbour & the Bridge!), we were met and entertained at dinner by the Australian Chemical Institute and  put on the overnight train to Melbourne (first class sleeper, very impressed).  We were met by a large group of senior executives;  taken to an office and signed on to the Australian payroll;  given an astonishing sum of money for “expenses to date”;  given another sum as  “advance of salary”;   told how to claim for expenses,  which seemed very liberal; given advice on accommodation until we settled in.  All most agreeable.  We were then entertained at a slap-up lunch,   and told to look around Melbourne.  In the next several days our group, which was the first of several, was shown over the Maribyrnong Munitions complex.  We saw cascades of 303 ammunition (they could make several millions daily);  gun forging, tempering, machining and assembly;  large-scale forging of naval shells and aircraft bombs; fuses for artillery shells (looking like thousands of wrist watches);  batch after batch of shells being filled with TNT; production lines filling hand grenades with a mixture of  TNT and barium nitrate; a quick look-over the explosive plants; the R&D department; the library;  the Metrology section where they could measure dies and screw threads in ten-thousandth’s of an inch.  This is only part of what we saw: the effect on our group was one of overwhelming astonishment.  We were certainly motivated to become part of Australia’s war effort.

Our guides were sometimes as wide-eyed as we were; apparently our tour of inspection was the first of its kind for thoroughness and scope.

Then the group was broken up, and we each went to our allocated sections; several to Research; some to Development; others to Factory  Laboratories and three to explosives manufacture – I to TNT,  one to Nitro-glycerine, another to Cordite.  It was my good luck to find a fellow Kiwi at TNT:  we had several mutual friends, and he went out of his way to show me the ropes.

For the next fifteen months I was on shift work, which was an ideal way of learning every detail of a plant which in several stages reacted concentrated sulphuric and nitric acids with toluene, ending up with the finished product looking like cornflakes. The chemistry was very simple but there were some surprising little deviations from theory, and these caused the crude product to contain impurities which had to be removed.  The plant was based on processes devised in Britain in a hurry early in the First War, and the purification steps were cumbersome and unhygienic.  The chemist in charge of our plant had the bright idea of changing several key variables – Temperature, pH, Time, Concentration; and a quick trial showed promise.  So he disappeared into the main Development lab, and successfully came up with a greatly improved practical process.  I wondered if our old rattly plant was to be upgraded, but was told only the new, much larger plants would benefit.  This made sense; we could make a mere 25 tons weekly: by contrast ICI’s just-commissioned plant a few miles away made 80 tons and the two new Government factories under construction were each designed for 100 tons weekly. (These latter plants never reached their potential, but more about that later).

Imbued by this example, I looked for a comparable project, and made a thorough analysis of the various plant operations; soon it became clear that a great improvement could be made by a simple re-arrangement – a 60% increase in capacity with no extra labour, and at modest cost.  My report attracted approving comment from the senior staff but no action resulted. (Again, more about that later).

A most important event happened on December 5, 1941---note the date.  Dear Corinne arrived, having traveled across the Tasman by the American Matson liner, and we were joyously re-united.  

Pearl Harbour changed everything, including TNT production in Australia.  We soon had an example; one evening I arrived for the night shift, to find the afternoon chemist in a high state of excitement; he had just been phoned from Geelong docks where a shipload of American TNT was being unloaded.  A sling had broken, some boxes had fractured and bare explosive was lying on the wharf: what to do?  He advised the alarmed wharfie to gently sweep up the scattered flakes and to put them into buckets of water and then just carry on.  Rumour spread that 10,000 tons was on the ship,  and I cannot confirm this, but later on towards the end of the War, I was reliably informed that USA had sent a total of 30,000 tons to Australia. Such amounts overwhelmed our domestic output,  but were tiny in comparison with the half million tons scheduled in US for 1944.

The first general effect of Pearl Harbour was increased pressure for output at all levels:  the Japanese were at our gates, and no-one could foresee how things would turn out.  This push for production had a unhappy outcome.  One sunny afternoon I heard a thump and felt a shockwave: not far away a brown-grey cloud was rapidly ascending from the anti-blast walls of a nearby plant.  My first action was to go quickly over our unit to check if all was OK.  From the top storey I had a clear picture of what was going on; a Detonator magazine had gone up and flames were licking in the wreckage.  Men in bright scarlet overalls (the Det operators all wore these) were running out hoses, and soon had the fires under control.  For a short time, with these brilliant uniforms, the scene was like a stage production of Hades, but this was no make-believe.  The official enquiry, which was published, was quite damning.  Under pressure for output, protocols for the magazines had been breached, and boxes were stacked higher than they should.  A tumble was presumed to have set things off.

I found this spell to be interesting, although shift work was at times physically trying.  Afternoon shift was the best: it was called “gentleman’s hours”; get up late, enjoy a pleasant lunch, stroll to the city for window shopping, and catch the tram to work.  But the first two night shifts were always testing, sleeping in daytime I found difficult:  today we would call it jet-lag.  So I borrowed books on explosives from the Research library, which had an astonishing number and if my head started to droop, or the office grew too cold, I knew it was time to go into the plant and chat with the men who all had the same problem.  For a while, until austerity clamped down, we supervisors could walk to (a rather distant) staff canteen for a fine mid-shift three course meal, and it was always good to “talk shop”, with fellow chemists and discuss the problems of the day.  Sometimes one would be invited to look over another plant in the factory;  I don’t know if this was legal, but in the middle of the night who would know?  In this way we all got an insight of what was an eye-opening variety of activity: torpedo heads loaded with a special “Torpex” mixture; landmines assembled in their scores of thousands; Sulphuric and Nitric acids being made and concentrated; gun-cotton (actually gun-paper, an aussie genius had discovered that eucalyptus fibre was just fine) mixed with nitro-glycerine to make cordite:  cordite extruded into thousands of miles of coarse and sometimes hollow threads, to be chopped into lengths for processing in warm ovens; glycerine nitrated to nitro-glycerine - it gives you a fine headache! – made in 1-ton lots; it was slightly chilling to look at massive amounts of this sensitive material; and always the shell-filling, long rows going into the distance.

And lots more. It was well organized, and it worked. There were thousands of men and women in the factory, and my mind could not help but think that around the world there would be hundreds of similar plants only much bigger.

I should mention “burning –off”. This was a fenced area for disposal of waste explosives; almost all came from the cordite and gun-paper plants as scrap, floor sweepings, or out-of-spec material. These (but not detonating explosives) could be safely burned if not confined. For some reason, this area was under the control of the TNT day foreman, and from time to time he would announce “-burning off today”, and solemnly take out the key to the box marked “Matches” which would then be used to light a carefully-prepared fuse-train leading to the explosives. These would ignite in a spectacular burst of flame. One day he asked me to look at something which didn’t seem right; it was a round green-grey disk with a cheesy texture, about 2ft diameter, weighing about 100lbs.  It certainly wasn’t right, and turned out to be the steamed-out charge of an unexploded Japanese bomb from Darwin; the chemist who emptied it had said in all innocence “— take it to the Burningoff Ground”. A few days later there was a general notice tightening the disposal of scrap and explosive waste. Interestingly, the material was an unusual explosive which reflected the Japanese lack of toluene.

During my first year, a handful of men passed through the unit for special training, and these (including my kiwi friend) were sent to Adelaide to start up the explosives section of a large ammunition factory.  A similar plant was reputed to be under construction near Villawood, west of Sydney.

With time I seemed to become better known: senior men would nod and sometimes know my name, and I wondered if there was any chance of being selected to go to this new factory.  In late 1942 this came true: I was told that I was destined to be the Chemist in Charge of the 100 ton-perweek TNT plant. So towards the end of 1942 Corinne and I, with little 7-month Helen, spent 2 months in Adelaide before going to Sydney.

In Adelaide I had the first inkling that the War was changing,  and this needs some background. The basic assumption on which these great factories had been planned was that WW2 would be like WW1, with millions shells raining down in great artillery barrages, but for Australia at least, it didn’t work out that way. So when invited to look over one of the ammunition assembly plants, I was puzzled to see production at almost a token rate. From today’s viewpoint it’s easy to see the reasons: jungle warfare doesn’t call for lots of heavy ammunition; anyway the Americans were in charge and had their own dedicated massive supply lines; and above all, the terrible defeats on all fronts ceased by the end of 1942: although years of desperate fighting were yet to come, we had started to win.

All this was obscured in the future, of course, so I was puzzled. However, we did get a hint that basic explosives were still in short supply.

Just before Christmas 1942, we went to Sydney and I started work at the new explosives factory at Villawood. No slowdown there! Obviously there had been a slow start in the early war days, and someone was trying to make up for lost time. It had been planned on a big scale, several square miles bounded on the South by the Hume highway, on the West by Woodville road, reaching to Chester Hill and almost to the main waterpipes supplying Sydney. It certainly was a hive of construction industry; rumoured to be fifteen thousand men when I arrived. A severe drought didn’t help, causing water to be severely rationed.

Things proceeded at a headlong pace for several months, and everyone was looking forward to an early start of production. Then, almost imperceptibly, things started to slow down: engineers were moved to new projects; skilled tradesmen became scarce; morale of the awaiting production staff was dented. A late project was the sewer connection, and the unhygienic dunnies were a cause of problems. I went down with severe dysentery (yes, you sure lose lots of blood!). And so 1943 went by, and then even the early part of next year; it wasn’t until well into 1944 that we got going. My small team of chemist supervisors were so keen!  We didn’t realize what was happening, and the penny didn’t drop until I was just assembling the staff (mostly women) for shift work, when a telegram came from the Department in Melbourne “DO NOT REPEAT NOT START SHIFT. CONTINUE DAY WORK ONLY”. So production crawled along at a snail pace: in fact we made no more than a thousand tons.

I realized why my proposal to increase capacity by 60% (it could have been so easily incorporated in the new plant at no cost) had not been adopted. We did have the new procedure for purification, and it was a great success. In fact it was the main reason why we had started at all: after the war I met a senior man from Melbourne headquarters who told me that a production-scale test was required, and we were it. Our quality was much superior to the American TNT being used at the shell-filling plants, and the purification loss was lower. 

Since this is a personal record, I have to say that I was quite busy, despite the slow operating rate. Top-level managers were disappearing to new projects: later I learned they were planning new technology - - the war had ushered in many innovations, particularly for high explosives (RDX; spoken about in hushed voices), propellants and rockets. So rather to my surprise I was given a couple legs up the organization scale, and called on to take charge of the several square miles of many-faceted stores, magazines, maintenance shops and above all, the large acid factories, which fed  the Explosives plant, and recycled  its spent acid. Keeping all this going at a slow rate called for careful planning, in fact it was much more difficult than “going flat out”. The two raw materials were elemental sulphur which was burned and catalysed to make fuming sulphuric acid [105% strength - - I’ll leave you to work that one out] and aqueous ammonia which was recovered from Sydney’s gasworks, dehydrated and burned over a platinum catalyst to nitric acid. Juggling these two acids, concentrating, recycling and mixing them, was something I had to understand very quickly, but fortunately the man in charge was experienced and co-operative and we worked well together, particularly when the time came to close everything down.  Until then, of course, and afterwards, the organization’s structure had to be maintained: telephones, transport, canteens, paymaster (v. imp!) and a million other items all needed attention. So I was busy indeed; firstly keeping things going, then closing them down in an ordered sequence.

It became obvious to everyone that closure was imminent, and by the end of 1944 the program to put the Acid and TNT plants on a “care & maintenance” basis was well on the way. Not a difficult program, merely attention to detail; no trace of TNT or acid must remain. But I merely set things on their way, for early in 1945 I left the Government service, and took a similar position with a Sydney chemical company which many years later became Union Carbide Australia.

Before leaving the Villawood area, I should mention an interesting incident. My boss in Melbourne warned me of an important visit due in a few days: everything had to be in good order. No, he couldn’t tell me what it was about - - just have things in good shape. I assumed it was an inspection team from the headquarters of Explosive Supply to see how the close-down was going, and prepared a summary of what was planned, what had been done and what had yet to be done. On the day, a group of men in civilian clothes arrived, escorted by the Boss from Melbourne: I must have looked as if I was aiming to join them, but the Boss cut me off & hissed in my ear “ - - it’s not for you; push off!”. So it was something secret, but you cannot beat the rumour mill; it turned out that the men were from the British Navy planning to bring the main fleet to the Pacific, and were looking for a site for a major store complex in the Sydney area. The rumour mill even knew that the decision was unfavourable!

Norman Stace, Perth, c.1959


There’s another little story. You will remember that I had been sent to Australia to work in the  Australian munitions industry, and when word of my leaving the Government service reached New Zealand, someone there looked at the original agreement and called loudly and plaintively that “Stace must return to fulfill his obligations”. Sounded ominous! But I was determined to stay in Australia - - anyway, my new job-to-be was to take charge of a substantial complex which had been built to make the raw material for “explosives initiators” (which ensured that the detonator in a shell would in fact set off the TNT). Though not on Government land, everything had been built with Government money: it was a so-called Annexe, a device to use the resources of private industry. So I would still be working, both in fact and in spirit, in line with the original agreement. Someone in Wellington didn’t get the point, and telegrams flew to-and-fro across the Tasman, until a friend in Explosives Supply proposed I contact a Mr Nash, the NZ Technical Liaison officer in Melbourne. My advisor said “ - -  his dad is the politician, Walter Nash”. So when I saw him, my story was ready “ - - We met some years ago :when I kicked a football from the Hutt High School into your backyard and you were kind enough to let me get it back” [quite true]. Of course, he didn’t remember, but it was a good start to the discussion, and he promised to “ - - sort Wellington out”, which he did promptly. And everything went through.  

I tell this story for two reasons: firstly, it’s who you know rather than what you know and secondly, it’s why and how all five of you children were brought up in OZ and not in NZ.

The remainder of the War was spent as the supervisor of a most interesting complex, not too different in principle from the Villawood plant I had just left, but different enough in detail to make the job challenging. Originally built to make Dimethyl and Monoethyl Aniline (the first is the raw material for a high-explosive initiator, and the second is a chemical stabilizer for propellants), neither was being produced at the time: ample supply was available. However there was still demand for the intermediates, (aniline, nitrobenzene, nitric acid and ammonia), and as orders came through, the plants would be started, but at a low overall rate. Operating in this way demanded serious planning and new managing skills, but I took to it like a duck to water. The most interesting work was proposing to convert part of the plant to a new project.

Then came V-E Day, in August V-J Day; and that was the end of the War.

In summary, what had I personally achieved? Without boasting, I had gained a good name (probably better than deserved:  I had the good luck to be the right man when senior positions became vacant), and I was seriously head-hunted by three Managing Directors seeking to create new industries in the post-war world. Also, I could have stayed in the Government munitions. All this, together with the feeling of general optimism in Australia, confirmed the decision not to return to New Zealand, and to stay (at first anyway) in Sydney.

And our family? At war’s end, Corinne and I had two wonderful, cheerful, lively toddlers and the third on the way. An achievement which puts in the shade my slight success in industry!



Pioneers of Tasmania & New Zealand













The Stace family were among the pioneers of Tasmania and New Zealand. Thomas Alfred Stace was born in England in 1780 and emigrated to Tasmania in 1824 with his wife Charlotte and children. The family emigrated again to New Zealand in 1853 with Thomas Alfred, Charlotte, their adult children (including Thomas Hollis Stace) and grandchildren (including Thomas Walter Stace). 


Herbert Walter Stace


b. 26 Feb 1879 in Manawatu, New Zealand (to Thomas Walter Stace and Harriette Matilda Bannister)

m. 1907 to Edith Catherine Peed Lived in Fiona Rd, Beecroft for around 13 years with his son Norman Stace and family Corinne, Helen, John, Peter, Brenda and Nigel.

d. 30 Aug 1964 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (age 85)


Thomas Walter Stace

b. 23 Dec 1850 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (to Thomas Hollis Stace and Amelia Sophia Lucas)

Emigrated to New Zealand 1853 (age 3) with his parents and grandfather

m. 31 Oct 1876 to Harriette Matilda Bannister in Wellington, New Zealand (age 26) 

d. 07 Oct 1921 in Wellington, New Zealand (age 72)

The Stace family bible was a wedding gift from Charlotte Elizabeth Stace to her brother Thomas Walter Stace and his wife Harriette Matilda Bannister in 1876. It includes the marriage certificate and details about the birth of their children.


Register of Births 

Amelia STACE was born at 8 o'clock on Thursday evening August 2nd 1877 

Herbert Walter STACE was born on Wednesday February 26th 1879 at 8 o'clock PM 

Mabel Jessie STACE was born on Saturday March 5th 1881 at 8 o'clock in the evening 

Olive Martha STACE was born on Sunday December 17th 1882 at 1/2 past 1 o'clock AM 

Myrtle Amelia STACE was born at half past 4 o'clock on Thursday night 20th November 1884 

Linda Charlotte STACE was born at 1/2 past 4 on Saturday morning the 9th July 1887 

Rita Marie STACE was born at 1/2 past 1 on Wednesday morning the 14th September 1892 

Aileen Mary STACE was born on Thursday morning the 14th March 1895 at 9.30


Thomas Hollis Stace

b. 9 Jun 1820 in Camden, London, England (to Thomas Alfred Stace and Charlotte Sidney Hollis)

Emigrated to Tasmania in 1824 (age 4) with his parents 

m. 20 Oct 1841 to Amelia Sophia Lucas, Pontville, Tasmania (age 21)

Emigrated to New Zealand 1853 (age 33) aboard the schooner ‘Munford’ with three generations of his family including his father Thomas Alfred Stace (age 73), mother Charlotte (age 55); wife Amelia and their five children including son Thomas Walter Stace (age 3).

Built house in Pauatahanui, Wellington, New

Zealand. House is classified as a historic building. Also established a burial site at Pauatahanui.

d. 29 Oct 1890 in Wellington, New Zealand (age 70)



Thomas Alfred Stace


b. 1780 in England (to Thomas C Stace)

Employed as Stationer and became a Freeman of London in 1807 (age 27)

Travelled to France in 1816 – see passport

m. 1819 to Charlotte Sidney Hollis in England (groom age 39, bride age 21)

Emigrated to Tasmania 1824 (age 44) with his children including Thomas Hollis Stace (age 4)

Built "Stace House" in Pontville, Tasmania which still stands

Emigrated to New Zealand 1853 (age 73) with his three generations of his family including his wife Charlotte (age 55), son Thomas Hollis Stace (age 33) and grandson Thomas Walter Stace (age 3)

d. 9 Aug 1866 in Wellington, New Zealand (age 86)

Thomas Alfred Stace: Freeman of London, Stationer (1807); Passport to France (1816)



Copy of letter hand written in 1847 by Thomas Alfred Stace to his son Thomas Hollis Stace 


Mr T Hollis Stace, North West Bay, Brown’s River [Tasmania]

Ouse Bridge  14 Jany 1847

My Dear Son, 

I got home safe to New Norfolk on Monday 28 Decr  & on the following Wednesday the 30th found  2 carts unloadg at the Wharf ready to take our goods up, we started about noon and stoped at the Wool-pack, Macquarie plains that night, where our carters kept it up nearly all night & consequently lost time in the morng so that we did not start till 8 o’clock, the time they promised to be at Hamilton.   We did not reach our destination till after dark, when we had our bed carried over the bridge and slept in our quarters at the Chapel, the remainder of the goods were left in the carts and got wet by the rain next morng. 

Fortunately the weather was dry the whole journey but very sultry, your mother stood the fatigue tolerably well & is now recovered from the effects of the journey.   The worst part of the road is from the Wool-pack to Hamilton, it is almost impassable in places in wet weather, the latter part up & down a hill or two over a rocky plain like Brighton till you come to a mountain pass, where there is a descent round a deep bason by a (*?sliding)  road which looks quite dangerous, at the foot of this you cross the Clyde at Hamilton, where we dined & were again detained by one of our drivers, but on the whole we cannot quarrel with them as they have not asked us for a shilling  & send five of their children to school.  ---  Mr Martin being in difficulties could not keep his promise in carting up our goods, but as you perceive we did tolerably well.   The sale of his chattles was to take place last week under the Insolvency, I am very sorry for him and trust he will still be able to struggle on.

Last Saturday I saw the Courier & had the gratification to find myself gazetted as Postmaster, on Monday I despatched my first mails. --- We find ourselves among friendly neighbours, our clergyman Mr Wright is a pleasant unassuming man, on Monday he examined the Children and discovered your mother to be a countrywoman of his & knows some of her friends, this will be no dis-service to us, he performs Divine service every Sunday.   Our rooms are very small and it required some ingenuity to stow our things away. ---The Chapel is a neat gothic building standing on a stony rise facing the bridge, the Ouse rushes thru’ it over a bed of rocks.   The land is mostly grazing but most of the flocks are now up the new country.

I date this on my birth-day, being born in A.D. 1780, and have consequently pass’d 67 years in this world, in this Island vicisitude has marked my course, what God in his providence may yet have in store for me either in weal or woe is shrouded in futurity.   I desire  to be thankfull for the good which (* two short words indecipherable) health has been given me and if disappointment and adversity has been my lot, it has been inflicted in mercy.   Our steps are directed by the Almighty by paths we cannot see.

I hope this will find Amelia, yourself & the dear children in good health, this is an unhealthy time of the year for children, your mother would advise that they should have less coffee which is heating. Balm tea either hot or cold is very good for them.

Our love to all & kind respects to the Mr & Mrs Lucas’ families

Ever Yours Affectionately Thos  A Stace


This is a pleasant part of the Island, plenty of wood & excellent water, -- the great drawback is the distance from navigation and the markets. -- The licenced carriers take 4 days to the steamboat store & back, -- how wheat can pay I cannot tell, wool is a different thing. -- The bridge is not yet repaired, every thing has to be carried over and reloaded, the bullocks unyoked to go singly.   We have a store or two near which is a great convenience. 


Thomas Alfred Stace: six-pence IOU, Hobart (1826)





Stace coat of arms







Norman’s paternal great grandmother, Amelia Sophia Stace (nee Lucas) was born in Hobart to Richard Lucas and Elizabeth Fawkner, both from pioneer families of Tasmania and Norfolk Island. Her grandfather Thomas Lucas (Norman’s great great grandfather) had been a marine on the First Fleet which landed in Sydney in 1788 and later emigrated to Norfolk Island and then Tasmania.

Her grandfather John Fawkner had been a jeweller in London before being convicted and transported to Tasmania. His wife Hannah Pascoe Fawkner paid her own passage to travel with children Elizabeth (Amelia Sophia’s mother) and John Pascoe Fawkner (Amelia Sophia’s uncle). John Pascoe Fawkner later went on to co-found the city of Melbourne.


Amelia Sophia Lucas


b. 9 Apr 1820 in Hobart Tasmania (to Richard Lucas and Elizabeth Fawkner)

m. 20 Oct 1841 to Thomas Hollis Stace, Pontville, Tasmania (age 21)

Emigrated to New Zealand 1853 (age 33) aboard the schooner ‘Munford’ with father-in-law Thomas Alfred Stace (age 73), mother-in-law Charlotte (age 55); husband Thomas Hollis Stace and five children.

In 1869 received an inheritance from her uncle, John Pascoe Fawkner, who co-founded Melbourne with John Batman. d. 24 Dec 1894 in Wellington, New Zealand (age 74)





Richard Lucas

b. 20 Dec 1794, Norfolk Island (to Thomas Lucas and Ann Howard). Born two months after his parents arrived in Norfolk Island. 

Emigrated to Tasmania in 1808 (age 14). Family re-located as part of evacuation of Norfolk Island.  m. 25 Jul 1821 (age 21) to Elizabeth Fawkner. She had two children by a previous marriage with Thomas Green. Her brother was John Pascoe Fawkner who co-founded Melbourne in 1835. Held 100 acres of land at Strangford, Tasmania d. Jan 1862 in a horse accident (age 68) 



Thomas Lucas – First Fleet marine

b. 2 Oct 1760 in London, England (to John Lucas and Alice Catherine Westcott)

Became a Freemason in 1784, initiated into the Freemason Lodge of Temperance, London. His Masonic Apron is at the Freemason Lodge in Hobart.

Emigrated to Sydney in 1788 (age 28) as a Marine aboard the ‘Scarborough’ in the First Fleet.

Emigrated to Norfolk Island in 1794 (age 34) on the store ship ‘Daedalus’ with Ann Howard (a convict, not married) and their child Thomas. She had their second child two months later, just as her 7-year convict sentence expired. 

m. 17 Aug 1801 to Ann Howard (age 40). They already had four children.

Emigrated to Hobart Tasmania in 1808 (age 48) aboard ship City of Edinburgh, in last group of settlers to leave Norfolk Island. Granted land at Brown’s River near Kingston, where they are recognized as the first settlers. Thomas Lucas had 530 acres, the largest holding in Van Diemen's land at the time.

d. 29 Aug 1815 (age 56) buried in St David’s Cemetery in Hobart. At his funeral the Masonic Lodge performed their ceremonies over him, as a brother mason.


Thomas Lucas: A marine on the First Fleet to settle Australia 

Talk given by Mr. N.E.  Stace in 1989 to the Northern Rivers  (New South Wales) Chapter of  the Australian Fellowship of First Fleeters

Thank you for the opportunity to tell the members of our Chapter something about my First Fleet Ancestor,  Thomas Lucas.

My aim is to show how the lifetime of this man,   born obscurely 230 years ago, reflected the great events which shaped the world we live in today.  At the same time I will try to relate how Thomas made his way in the world.

Let us now look at the man:  who was he?;  who were his parents?;  how was he brought up?  Well, we have to admit we don’t know FOR SURE.  There’s been a lot of research over the years,  and still there is no hard evidence, no certificate linking his enlistment in the Marines with his parents,  and so on.

However there is a lot of evidence to consider: for example his gravestone at St. David’s Park in Hobart in Tasmania:-

THOMAS LUCAS, a marine settler, who came from England with His Excellency, Governor Phillip, at the first forming of the Territory of New  South Wales,  Who died 29th August, 1815 (aged 56 years).  ANN LUCAS, wife of the above, who died 10th June 1832; aged 74 years.

This puts his birth in 1759, and a survey of British records for that year (and also for 1760, since the marine records show 1760 for his birth year) has disclosed several tantalizing clues.  He may have been the son of a Devonshire farmer, he could have come from Kent, or from Kingston-on-Thames, or from Plymouth.  

I’m inclined, personally, to think none of these is correct:  most probably, Thomas was born into a French Huguenot refugee colony, which had flooded into London about 70 years earlier. (In 1685 Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes, thereby stripping from French Protestants all civil and religious liberties.  In the subsequent upheavals and massacres  the survivors fled from France,  many to England where their skills led to a rapid development of the textile industry).

On May 10 1758, Antoine Lucas, a bachelor, and Louisa Renoir, a spinster, were married at St Clement Dane’s Church by the curate Isaiah Jones.  The witnesses were Gille Vivien and Thomas Ferrion.

Nine months and 14 days later, on 24 February 1759, Louisa was delivered of a son at the British Lying-in Hospital.  She was 31 years old, and was discharged on March 22: it must have been a difficult birth to call for a stay of 4 weeks.  The baby boy was baptized Thomas on February 25.  I think he grew up to be my marine forefather.

I was informed some years ago, by one of his descendants, Miss Dulcie Lucas, a Hobart historian, that Thomas told his son that his father had been a silk merchant in London.  The two had quarreled, and Thomas joined the Marines “ see the world”.  There is also evidence at the Hobart Masonic Temple of his mason’s apron dated back to four years before he left London.   I think we have the right man.

The Thomas Lucas we know certainly had been well brought up.  In Norfolk Island he was recorded  (after his discharge) as a “painter and glazier”,  and thus had been taught a trade before becoming a marine.  Also at a time when many were illiterate, he could write.  Many records exist of his firm clear signature.

Although his early years are not in clear focus, Thomas suddenly comes sharply into our view on Tuesday February 27 1787.  On that day he was in a detachment of marines (1 captain,  2 lieutenants,  2 sergeants,  2 corporals,  26 privates and 1 drummer) which boarded the “Scarborough” transport .  This ship of 420 tons was 5 years old, and was skippered by Captain John Marshall.

A few days later on March 4, 184 convicts were taken on board:  subsequently the number was increased to 210. English jails were bursting, but the Fleet was not yet ready to go to New South Wales,  and several months went by before it sailed on Saturday May 12, 1787.

Let us turn our attention, for a moment,  away from our Thomas on the “Scarborough”, and look at the convoy of 11 tiny ships setting out from England to colonise an utterly unknown land,  a whole new continent, 8 month’s voyage from home.  On board were 568 male and 191  female convicts plus 13 children;  206 marines with 27 wives and 19 children;   20 officials and servants:  a grand total of 1044 persons.  Also there were about 300 ships’ crew who would return with their vessels.

Looking back,  we can only marvel at the sublime assurance,  the self-confidence,  the sheer barefaced gall of the British  politicians  and officials who conceived, planned and directed this enterprise.  It’s quite clear they were sure of the outcome  --- it would succeed,  and succeed it did.

Back now to Thomas.  He was one of a “mess”, a small group of 6 to 8 men who drew common rations which they prepared and ate together.   We have an excellent record of this “mess”,  as one member kept a daily diary,  and at last we get a first glimpse of Thomas the man.  It’s what the diary doesn’t say  that gives us the clue: in the eight months’ voyage he was mentioned only once, having  “..fallen down the aft hatchway”. He didn’t get the “stripes”(i.e. wasn’t flogged) for being drunk,  for insolence,  for theft,  for  fighting,  for disobedience,  for “unsoldier-like behavior”.   Many others were.   Thus we can say that our Tom was a wellbehaved and sensible man who kept out of trouble,  who didn’t make enemies,  and who went through the dull daily routines of watch-keeping and sentry duty, day and night for eight long months.

How dull it must have been!   We today who fly to England in one day,  and complain of even one hour’s delay,  can have no idea of the deadly tedium of being cooped up in a tiny ship, with a hundred or more others.   No wonder some of the marines misbehaved!   But Thomas didn’t.

After the long slow voyage came the excitement of landing,  first at Botany Bay and then at Sydney harbour,  right where the city now stands.  The fleet anchored at 6 in the evening on January 26 1788, now celebrated each year on Australia Day.

On shore the marines were camped in tents in two companies:  Thomas was under the command of Captain Shea.   Here we lose sight of him as an individual ---  he is just another man in a scarlet uniform.   Thus he would have been standing to attention at the first Church Parade on February 3, attended by all officers, marines and male convicts.

What was life like for a marine private in the first few years?  The short answer is  “Not very hard”  Their commander Major Ross was adamant that the marines were not to be supervisors of convicts,  but to be a guard against enemy attack.   Thus we can see Thomas going through the time-passing routines which all soldiers use between wars:  sentry duty day and night in wet weather and dry, polishing boots and buttons, cleaning weapons, daily parades,  collecting rations and so on.

Exceptions were likely to be brutal and shocking, as when six marines broke into a food storehouse and were caught.  The diary of a fellow marine records their hanging in simple, moving words.

However on June 3 1790 one event did have a happy ending.  Seventeen months after landing, with food running desperately short, and no word from England, suddenly a sail was seen!  It was the “Lady Juliana”, arriving after a ten-months voyage, bearing bad news and good:  the bad news,  a storeship the “Guardian” loaded with critically needed food and supplies had been lost after hitting an iceberg off the cape of Good Hope.  The good news; on the “Lady Juliana” were 226 female convicts.

One of these was a spinster,  Anne Howard,  my great-great-great grandmother.  Her crime?  She was the nurse to the the wife of Mr John Reader of St Giles-in-the Fields, London, and had been found with  “...a corded dimity petticoat (3 shillings), 2 muslin aprons (2 shillings each), and one child’s lace cap (10 pence)”.  Tried at the old Bailey on 12 December1787, she was found guilty of stealing,  and sentenced by Judge Recorder to seven years transportation.  We shall see how the sentence changed her future life, and ultimately changed it for the better --- you can decide when you hear her story.

When she landed Anne would have been 28 or 29 years old:  the records are confused.  Indeed from her tombstone she may have been 32.

Thomas and Anne lived together unmarried,  and on December 29, 1791 son was born, to be baptised Thomas by Reverend Richard Johnson.

The Norfolk Island connection

All this time, each marine had to face a decision:  at the end of his term of service, should he return to England,  or should he stay and receive a free grant of land?  Initially, very few were prepared to accept discharge in the raw new colony, but as time went on more were willing to stay.   Thomas could have returned at the end of 1792, but the records show that he decided to remain in Australia.   In April 1792 he volunteered to join the “New  South Wales Corps” as a corporal for a five year term,  after which he would be given a free title for a farm.

This decision shows another aspect of Thomas’ character.  He had a child, and his de facto wife had an unexpired sentence:  many of his fellow marines thought nothing of deserting their women and children.   But Thomas chose to stay: he was a loyal man.. 

In 1794 on September 26,  Thomas,  Ann and young Tom were shipped  to Norfolk Island on the storeship “Daedelus” as part of a relief detachment.   Eight days after sailing from Sydney, Ann and the boy were landed,  but rough weather delayed unloading the soldiers for another  week. Those of you who have been to Norfolk will know how difficult and dangerous landing can be, even today.   There is no harbour,  and open boats have to come over the coral reef through heavy surf.

In my mind I can see the little family,  thankful to be reunited  -- Thomas in his scarlet uniform,  Ann 6 months pregnant,   and the toddler young Thomas.  I can see them walking together up the beach to their new home, the subtropical paradise of Norfolk Island.

On December 20 Ann gave birth to a fine boy I can say this because he is my great-great grandfather!).   A few days earlier Ann’s 7-year sentence had expired, and she was no longer “subject to the Kings’ authority”.  Thomas, of course was still a soldier and had to wait for another two and half years for his discharge.  I’m sure they both looked forward to the magic date of April 6, 1797 for on that date he was to be paid off.

In passing,  it’s interesting to note his last pay:  for 103 days he received two pounds eleven shillings and sixpence,  which equates to three shillings and sixpence a week,  or sixpence a day.   He was also granted 60 acres of land, and now we see another side of Thomas:  he was a good farmer.   I’ve actually stood on what was his farm;  it’s rolling country close to the modern airport terminal.

Some of the discharged marines found their lives as independent farmers to be harder than they expected,  but our Thomas did well and prospered.   Many records exist of his selling wheat, maize and pork to the Government stores.

All this time, the two lived together unmarried,  producing two more sons,  making four in all.  Each of these boys are shown in Norfolk Island records with the surname “Howard”,  but this was sorted out,  in a kind of way,  when at last an ordained minister came to the island.  And so on Monday August17, 1781 after a defacto relationship of 11 years and four sons, Thomas and Ann became legally wed.


The marriage register is interesting.  It bears the groom’s usual clear strong signature (seen many times on receipts from Government stores);  on the other hand,  Ann and the two witnesses “made their marks”  ie they couldn’t write.

So Thomas,  Ann and family settled into their life on this beautiful and fertile island,  with its superb climate.   I like to think their life was happy and peaceful.  It was, for sure, full of hard fruitful work.   However it had to come to an end, for the governments in Sydney and London decided to close down Norfolk Island, and to move everyone to the newly settled, much larger, island of Tasmania.



Right: Thomas Lucas and Ann Lucas (nee Howard) are honoured at St David’s Park, Hobart. 




Pascoe Fawkner

Elizabeth Fawkner

b. 7 Feb 1795 in East London, England

Emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1803 (age 8) when her father (John Fawkner) was indicted in

London for melting down stolen jewellery and transported for Life. Elizabeth, her brother (John Pascoe Fawkner) and mother (Hannah Pascoe) accompanied the voyage as free settlers on board the 'Calcutta'.

m. 1809 (age 14) to Tom Green (age 24) former convict, who had been transported on the same ship as Elizabeth and her parents. He died leaving her a 16-year old widow with two children (one of whom died shortly after)

m. 1816 (age 21) to Richard Lucas (age 21)

d. 23 Apr 1851 (age 56) in Hobart. Her brother ultimately became renown as the eminent politician and founder of Melbourne, John Pascoe Fawkner. He bequeathed part of his substantial estate to her children when he died in 1869.


John Pascoe Fawkner

Brother of Elizabeth Fawkner, uncle of Amelia Sophia Lucas. He bequeathed part of his substantial estate to her children when he died in 1869. He was only 5 foot 2 inches tall. b. 20 Oct 1792, in East London, England

Emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania in 1803 (age 12) when her father (John Fawkner) was indicted in London for melting down stolen jewellery and transported for Life. His mother (Hannah Pascoe) and sister (Elizabeth Fawkner) accompanied the voyage as free settlers on board the 'Calcutta'.

1814 convicted of aiding convicts to escape. Sent to Newcastle for three years.

m. 5 Dec 1822 (age 30) to Eliza Cobb. The Ceremony was said to have been performed in a Blacksmith's Shop with the anvil used to support the bible.


Many convict ships brought with them the arrival of women in the Colonies and was cause for great excitement.  Men rushed to the ships to choose a 'wife'.   According to John’s memoirs one such ship arrived in Hobart on the 11th October 1818. Johnny was amongst the men waiting for the vessel to disembark its female cargo and he chose the handsomest girl on board. She was willingly accompanying him when they came upon another fellow who laughed at Johnny’s intentions, knocked the little man aside (he was only 5 foot 2”), walking off with the woman.  Johnny strutted back to the ship and chose the homeliest looking girl onboard said to have had a pock marked face and a caste eye, Eliza Cobb.  

She had been sentenced to 7 years transportation for kidnapping  a four-month-old baby boy.  At her trial it was stated that on apprehension she had told the constable that the child was her own.  It is considered that Eliza in fact did have an infant child at that time and it had died.  In her grief she had sought another to take its place. 


Founded the 'Launceston Advertiser'.  Obtained a license and built the 'Cornwall Hotel'.

1835 Purchased topsail schooner, Enterprize, which arrived in Port Philip 26 Aug 1835 – which was to be the future Melbourne. More info at

d. 4 Sep 1869, buried at Carlton, Melbourne

John Pascoe Fawkner and the ship Enterprize


Hannah Pascoe

b. 1774 in Cornwall, England

m. 13 Jan 1792 to John Fawkner in Cripplegate, London

Children John Pascoe Fawkner and Elizabeth Fawkner

In 1801 her husband was convicted for melting down gold and silver from stolen jewellery. He was to be transported to Australia as a convict.

1803 Hannah was intent on keeping her family together and gained permission to travel on the same ship with her two children, John Pascoe Fawkner and Elizabeth Fawkner, as a 'free settler' together with several others who had also arranged passage on the 'Calcutta' [2nd voyage to the Colony]. Hannah was said [memoirs] to have been displeased with her allocated sleeping quarters and 'paid the boatswain Wyatt, 20 guineas for his cabin in the forecastle'. 

Upon arriving at Sullivan Cove Hannah ‘was again not happy with her allocated accommodation especially in sharing a small tent with two other families and John built a rough hut.' 1806 Hannah undertook a three-year return trip to England, to claim her father’s inheritance. d. 7 Mar 1825 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia







Harriette Matilda Bannister 

Harriette Matilda Bannister (1853 – 1912) Herbert Walter Stace’s mother, Norman’s grandmother) was born in NZ, the third daughter of fourteen children of Edwin Bannister and Mary Tutchen.


Edwin Bannister

Edwin Bannister (1827 England – 1895 New Zealand) was Norman’s great grandfather. He was born in Dudley Castle in England. In 1840, when Edwin was 13 years old, his family travelled to New Zealand on the ship Bolton.[1]  

He was secretary of the Order of Odd Fellows (Antipodean) in New Zealand for 28 years.

He was initially apprenticed to the New Zealand Gazette, and subsequently joined the Spectator and

Cook's Straits Guardian, the original Wellington newspaper; the Independent, and then the Evening Post. He continued on to the Government Printing Office, remaining there until he finally retired from active city life to his farm at Woodlawn, beyond Johnsonville. 

He was survived by 40 grandchildren at the time of his funeral.




Mary Tutchen 

Mary Tutchen (1829 England – 1917 New Zealand) was Norman’s great grandmother.

Bearing fourteen children with her husband Edwin Bannister, and living to the age of 87, Mary Tutchen was a pioneer of Wellington, New Zealand. 

She arrived in New Zealand with her parents in 1841, age 12, aboard the Arab.[2] When they arrived there was no wharf or housing – the families lived aboard while the men built the wharf. They moved to Happy Valley, then Hawthorn Hill in Wellington, now named Tutchen Street. Her mother was Sarah Banger. The Banger family can be traced back to 1599 in Dorset, England.

Mary Tutchen (wife of Edwin Bannister), c1870 and c1913  3


William Bannister 

Norman’s great grandfather

Edwin’s father William Bannister was manager of Lord Ward's estates – Limestone Works and Dudley Castle – for 30 years. He lived in a beautiful place called 'The Old Park'. The house was approached by a carriage drive lined with white and blue flowered lilacs. He was allowed a gig with two horses and two servants. When William's father died, the family convinced him to leave his position with Lord Ward to manage the Delph Clay Works (a family business). One or more of William's brothers did not cooperate with his running of the business and the business ran into trouble. He then went into the business of coal pits. When one of the coal pits being flooded William decided to emigrate to New Zealand.

William, his wife Mary Eades, and their three sons travelled from England to New Zealand on the ship Bolton in 1840.

The Bannister family can be traced to 1669 in Sussex, England.







Edith Catherine Peed 


(1881 England - 1965 NZ) Norman’s mother

Norman’s mother, Edith Catherine Peed (1881-1965), was born in London and moved to New Zealand at age 11 with her parents Edward Lightwood Peed and Susannah Steerwood, aboard the ship Tongariro. She passed her teacher’s exam at age 21, with a special mention for domestic economy. She lived to age 84. 

Her brother William Arthur Peed died age 28 in WWI and is buried at Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria.4 Her sister Imogen died age 13 by accidental drowning. 

4 7th Australian Light Horse. Died of wounds 29th March, 1918


Edward Lightwood Peed 

(1861 England -1938 NZ) Norman’s maternal grandfather.

Edward Lightwood Peed was a nurseryman and florist from Lambeth, Surrey in England. His father John Peed (1832-1901) was also a nurseryman / horticulturalist in Lambeth; while his grandfather Jonathon Peed (1791-1854) was a shepherd on Haling Park Farm. 



1861 Census lists John Peed, Nurseryman & Seedman of Croydon (head), wife Elizabeth, and sons William G (age 5), Thomas (age 3) and Edward L (9 mo).   

Notice of death for Jonathon Peed, shepherd and wife Sophia.


Susannah Steerwood

(1855 England – 1930 NZ) Norman’s maternal grandmother.

Edith’s mother was Susannah Steerwood also born in London. Susannah’s family was from Bethnal Green (inner East London) where her father John Matthew Steerwood (1822-1903) was a dyer. Both of Susannah’s parents, John Matthew Steerwood and Charlotte ‘Susan’ Nash, lived to around age 81. 




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.   



Fasham Nairn




The following story was written by Corinne Hall (Stace) in 1997, with the assistance of her nephew Simon Hall:

Fasham Venables  (1827-1897)

When, in the 1920’s, my sisters and I were growing up, somewhere in Australia or New Zealand --  for we moved around quite a lot -- we often sat around the kitchen table on Saturday  morning, cleaning the special silver pieces which were kept in a special leather case.  There  was a silver snuff box;  some William IV silver servers with the King’s head and the date and silver Hallmark;  a hip flask with  a silver cover, and numerous other  little things; each had a story about Mother’s family in England, and we implored her to tell us more.   

She spoke of a bell foundry connected with her family; of her father’s legendary travels to Australia as a young man, years before his marriage, and how he broke his leg in a  wagon accident and had to be left by his mates in the bush by a creek for several weeks.   When help eventually came ...... he had recovered!   She spoke of a connection with Millwards, the needle manufacturers; in all these stories she was rather vague -- but they were exciting enough to linger in our memories and to wonder about our interesting forebears.   We never knew any grandparents -- they had died many years previously and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins were far away across the world.

Mother said her father’s christian name was Fasham.   We were puzzled.   How could a conventional family like ours, with conventional names of Richard and Luke and John come to have such a strange name?   But she didn’t know, and couldn’t explain.  She just accepted it as a matter of fact.

One thing we did know: Mother was immensely proud of her maiden name -- Venables.  We knew she had inherited, for her own use, some money from her family.  Her marriage to Arthur Hall produced seven children, of which five were given Venables as their middle name -- only Jean and I were left out: but we were compensated by having  three christian names each!   In fact, so much merit has been associated with “Venables” that it has persisted (as a given name) into the subsequent third generation, even when the surnames have changed.

Florence, my oldest sister by nearly twenty years, used to tell me that the Venables came over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.   She said they were foresters whose task was to care for the king`s deer.   As a girl I imagined my ancestors dressed in lincoln green, each with his bow slung over his shoulder and with a quiver of arrows at his belt, keeping wolves at bay and protecting the fine stags for the king’s pleasure. --- A pretty story!

But the modern story of the name can be told.   Simon Venables Hall of Canberra,  grandson of my brother John Venables Hall, and Simon`s brother Justin, have made extensive  researches in England, following wispy leads from the memories of my sisters May and Jean, and particularly from Mother`s little Birthday Book which Jean had in her possession.   Starting from this web of names, addresses and birthday dates, Simon has back-traced names and dates in the Counties of Cheshire and Shropshire to a Richard Venables, born 1711 at Prees in Shropshire;  but that was as far as he could find.   It was from this Richard Venables, and from his wife Margaret (Pye), that our Venables name

has descended.  Was it their vigour and vitality which filtered and flourished to produce my

Mother`s comfortable inheritance?                                                                                                                          

OR WAS IT ..... ?

Research answers the question.   Yes, a Venables did exist in those early days. He established  himself in an estate  at Kinderton, Cheshire, where a memorial to him and his family rests in the village church,   His estate employed rural workers, some of whom may have assumed the name Venables as was the custom of allotting  surnames in times gone by.

When my husband and I were in Chester, in Cheshire in 1995, our host knew the name very well and declared that his old great-uncle Venables, who had been a blacksmith, was the inspiration of the old song “under the spreading chestnut tree”!!!  I consulted the local telephone book and found  no fewer than 32 Venables:  they lived and worked in the magnificent countryside  of  Cheshire and Shropshire, and in the various towns including Whitchurch and Prees.

Thus the earliest recorded  Venables that Simon  has found  in Parish Registers is Richard Venables of

Prees, born 1711 who married Margaret Pye.   Two generations later, a boy Cornelius was born; and

Cornelius became the patriarch of the family to come.  He and his wife Mary (Prince), both born in Prees, moved to the bigger town of Whitchurch in Cheshire where they opened a draper shop and reared a large family of 7 sons and 6 daughters.   Who would guess that this little draper shop in the North of England would start a commercial enterprise which was named in Charles Dickens’ dictionary of important 19th century London business houses, and which continued for nearly a century?

In 1825, the family moved to London, the hub of the commercial world.  London was abuzz with industry and commercial development. Ships from all over the globe went in and out of the dockyards; steam trains were just starting to transform the whole world, and to move goods and people with unprecedented speed.   There was a great influx of population into the city to meet and service this commercial expansion.   

The family lived in Whitechapel to be close to the docks on the Thames.   Here in 1830 William (born 1799) was able to raise enough capital, around thirty thousand pounds, to open a store as a silk merchant and draper.   William and his brothers were country boys whose only experience was in their father`s draper shop in little far-off Whitchurch, yet here they were trying their hand in this great commercial world where rogues and rogue lawyers  cruised the  scene like sharks.

Perhaps foolishly, William accepted a loan from his uncle (Mr Prince, his mother`s brother), as well as a loan from his own brother Richard (born 1808). In partnership with a Mr Warfield, he opened a warehouse and a shop employing several staff.   Something went wrong: Mr Warfield dissolved his partnership and removed his £1,500stg:  Uncle Prince called in his £600; and brother Richard, emigrating to USA, sought repayment of his £400.   Their staff lingered on for 6 months without pay until finally William was declared bankrupt in January 1834 and cast into debtors` prison.   Nasty accusations were made about fraudulent disposal of stock, but nothing dishonest was ever proved against him, except that his “Balance Sheet was incomplete”.   William employed an accountant to rectify this oversight to the satisfaction of the Commissioner, but by that time he had already served the full sentence of four months.  The affair was thoroughly publicised in at least four separate issues of the London “Times”. 

William and his brother Thomas had been over-bold, perhaps a little foolish,  but they were learning fast.   William continued with his draper shop.   The younger brothers Charles and  Robert and John opened another store in Aldgate Street, not far from William, as wool merchants and drapers.   It is quite possible that William`s stock had been bought at cost by the brothers.   The new store traded under the name of Thomas Venables and Son.

We now need to concentrate on John. His good business mind helped the firm to expand and to prosper, and before long he was the major director. He was unmarried; but in 1834 he became aware of a Mrs Ann King. 

Ann’s early life is of interest.  She also lived in Whitechapel, born in the late eighteenth century into the family of John and Elizabeth Millward.   John was a gun-maker, and for many years was the “Proofmaster” of the London Gunmakers Company. The Millwards lived next door to a warehouse owned by the East India Company which traded extensively with India and the far east.   No doubt Ann caught glimpses  of exotic  goods from distant parts of the world,  but particularly she would have seen the handsome men of the sea who sailed the ships which brought these cargoes to London.   She met and became friendly with a mariner named Charles Clippingdale King, and in 1823 they were married -- just one month before the birth of their daughter Ellen.   Charles King may have been at sea a lot,  or perhaps he was just not interesting enough to hold Ann, for she met another mariner; this time the handsome wealthy Captain Fasham Nairn, a gentleman of Sussex, with a London address, and descended from a long line  of learned men of the cloth who had the care of souls in various parishes  in England.   Strangely, there was a predominance of the name Fasham throughout the  Nairn family tree.

Captain Fasham Nairn had been twice married before he met Ann, but she seems to have been the girl he was looking for.   In 1827 Ann bore a son who was baptised Fasham Nairn King, and either Charles King or his brother John King signed the baptismal certificate.  Of course we cannot know for sure, but it seems almost certain that the boy was not the true son of Charles King.

Soon afterwards Charles King died.  Ann and Fasham Nairn appear to have kept domicile together until his death in 1834.   He was buried at Whitechapel:  his substantial fortune -- less any entailed money -- was left to Ann.

Ann was now a widow with two dependent children; Ellen King 10 years, and Fasham Nairn King, 7 years;   she had money but no home.   Like many a woman in similar circumstances, she offered herself as a respectable housekeeper to a gentleman’s home.   She entered into employment with John Venables as his housekeeper.   Perhaps it was her good management and her womanly  charm, or perhaps even her money,  but on  1st July 1837,  a lovely summer day, John Venables and Ann were married.  So John became stepfather to Ann’s two children.  

Young Fasham Nairn King was probably a bright child, responsive and eager to learn.   There is no real record of him as a lad, for he was not in the 1841 Census, nor is there any record of birthday celebrations. He was 7 years old when his own father, Fasham Nairn died, and 10 when he joined the Venables family; but he must have had lingering  memories of those days with his father and perhaps a longing to have adventures like the brave sea captain..   If the story of the Australian experience is true -- and our Mother was convinced it was -- Fasham would have started to think about going there when he was 18 years old (at least), around 1845.  We don’t know how long he stayed in Australia or what he did, but we do know that he was back in England for the 1851 Census, and that his name was then FASHAM VENABLES.

Back at home he may have known that John wanted him to work in the family firm;   perhaps he was swayed by the uncertainty of a life of adventure, or by his loyalty to his mother and gratitude to his step-father, or perhaps by the certainty of a city job;  for whatever reason, Fasham Nairn King rejected his birth surname and unconditionally  joined his adoptive family.   In 1859 he married Matilda Cutbush (1833 -1897). Their three children were John Luke Venables (1859-1934), Matilda Marion Venables, (1866 -1945) and my dear mother Ellen Beatrice Venables (1873 -1945).   

I was saddened to realise that Fasham was not truly a Venables; that my mother had not been descended from a long line of Venables; and that my own grandfather did not  carry the strain of that old patriarch Cornelius;  that the link with Cornelius and his little draper shop in Whitchurch was no longer mine to delight in.

In my grieving I fell into a reverie: I imagined I was standing on the shore-line of an ocean beach where waves alternately washed and receded over my feet with the ebb and flow of the tide and the wind.   In my imagination the moving sands beneath my feet were like the living building blocks of my life.  As I watched, the strong undertow of a wave drained all the soft sand dragging it far off to sea leaving my feet unsupported.   “My Venables genes have gone!” I wept -- but moments later a new wave rushed in forcefully bringing in fresh sand and debris to swirl around my feet.  I saw now that the new sand was like my new heredity.   I looked down and saw a tumbling shell.   I picked it up; it was new, it was unique, it was interesting, it was mine!  It was the NAIRN factor!

Fasham became the driving force of a family firm which was known by the best tailors in London as the suppliers of the finest woollen suiting for men.  They also provided the navy blue serge for the officers and sailors of the Royal Navy.  It was Fasham’s expertise which built up a fine business and with it his considerable fortune, one quarter of which my mother, his daughter, was to enjoy tenancy during her life.   It was Venables money which paid my school fees and helped me -- in part - through University, and it was Venables money which supported my family’s comfortable though frugal lifestyle through the Great Depression of the 1930’s. When mother died, her estate allowed all of her six surviving children to enjoy an infusion of capital when our families were young and growing, and for this we are ever grateful.



I realise now that Fasham had made a big sacrifice when he forsook his own family name to embrace his adoptive family, for he never referred to it and my mother seems to have been totally unaware of the change.   He and his wife were gentle godly people; they died within a few weeks of one another in 1897 and are buried in the church yard of St Johns, Old Coulsdon, in the south of London.  The Celtic cross marking their grave was still standing when we visited it in 1981.


Origin of the name Fasham Nairn


There appears to be a total of eight Fasham Nairns in the family history: four with direct lineage and another four in other branches of the family. 

The four directly-related Fasham Nairns pass from father to son from 1731 to 1897. To clarify which one is referred to in the text below, they are listed as Fasham Nairn I, II, III and IV although they are not referred to in records as such.

There remaining four Fasham Nairns who are related but not part of the direct lineage, are listed at the end of this section. 

Fasham Nairn I (1731 to 1810) 

Son of William Nairn and Susanna who had nine children in 11 years from 1727 to 1738. Fasham was their third child. 

Fasham Nairn I married Sarah, and they had three children: Fasham II (1757-1845), Sarah (b.1761) and John (b.1766). Fasham Nairn I was listed as a pawnbroker on his son John’s birth register:


Fasham Nairn I owned farm land at Barnett’s Place in Sussex about 30 miles south of London. On his death he left a will, and there were a number of court cases contesting it, including one which ended in the sale of some timber from the farm at Barnett’s Place. 


Reverend Fasham Nairn II (1757-1845) 


The son of the original Fasham Nairn, Fasham Nairn II had a long and illustrious life, working as a Reverend and Vicar until his death at age 88. 

He was a student of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University. He studied from 1782 to 1790 completing a BA (1786) and MA (1790). 


From 1785 he worked as a Chaplain at Charwelton. On completion of his MA in 1790 he became Reverend of Little Bealings in Suffolk and Vicar of Walton, until his death in 1845. 

The record below dates from 1835 in the Clerical Guide to Church of England:



Fasham Nairn II married Mary Chamberlain in 1793:


He had three children with his wife Mary Chamberlain: Fasham III (1793-1834), Mary (1798-1825) and Ann Francis (1799 to ?).  Below is Ann Francis Nairn’s birth extract:

And a death notice for daughter Mary in 1825:    

Fasham Nairn II appears to have owned land at Horsted Keynes (south of Gatwick Airport) and leased it to others (record 1798). It is not far from Barnet’s Place where other family land was located.  


Captain Fasham Nairn III Esquire (1793-1834) 


Like his father, the Reverend Fasham Nairn, Fasham Nairn III attended Cambridge University, but at St John’s College. He is sometimes referred to as Captain Fasham Nairn. 

Fasham Nairn III had a potted relationship history – his first wife (name unknown) had died by the time he was 27. He then married Mary Dixon Beal, with whom he had two children, but divorced in 1830. He also appears to have had a relationship with Ann Millward, who gave birth to a Fasham Nairn in 1827, before his divorce. 

Fasham Nairn III married his second wife, Mary Dixon Beal, at St Martin in the Fields in 1820. The marriage certificate lists him as an ‘esquire + widower’.

Mary and Fasham III had a child shortly after they married, Mary Anne Nairn (1820-1900).  In 1837 there is a marriage record of Mary Anne Nairn whose father is listed as Fasham Nairn. She married John Fisher Keyzar and moved to Wales after 1861, living to age 80. They had several children, one called Fasham Nairn Keyzer (b.1841) who went on to name his son Fasham Nairn Emery Kayzar (b. 1865 in London). See later section on additional Fasham Nairns.

Back to Fasham Nairn III: He and Mary had a second child, also Fasham Nairn. He died at just 5 weeks old (29 March 1823) and has a plaque erected in St Margaret’s in West Hoathly in Sussex, south-west of East Grinstead (about 35 miles south of London).

A few years later, Mary (nee Dixon Beal) divorced Fasham Nairn III in 1830. It is likely to have had something to do with his relationship with Ann Millward, who named her child Fasham Nairn King in 1827. He may then have taken up domicile with Ann Millward before he died in 1834 and she remarried in 1837 Fasham Nairn III is often listed as residing in Barnett’s / Barnet’s Place, Sussex, which was originally owned by Fasham Nairn I. This was the address quoted for Fasham Nairn III in 1825 when his sister Mary Nairn died age 27, and is noted in records of his own will. It is located 4 miles east of East Grinstead, about 30 miles south of London. 

Fasham Nairn III died at age 41 (1834), eleven years before his own father, Reverend Fasham Nairn, died. 


Fasham Nairn King IV (later knows as Fasham Venables) (1827 – 1897)

Fasham Venables was baptised Fasham Nairn King in 1833 when he was age six. It’s not clear who his real father was – John Clippingdale King, Charles Clippingdale King, or Fasham Nairn III? There is no explanation as to why he was given such specific name as Fasham Nairn King.

His mother was Ann Millward (1804-1849). She had married Charles Clippingdale King (b.1799) on 11

May 1823. She was 19 when she married and gave birth to Ellen King just one month later. Daughter

Ellen King wasn’t baptised until she was seven years old, where her father was listed as John

Clippingdale King (Master Mariner with Boat Builder crossed out above it). Perhaps John was Charles’ brother, or even his father. Ann Millward (now Ann King) had a second child named Fasham four years after daughter Ellen.

Her son, Fasham was baptised at age six. On the baptism record his father is listed at John

Clippingdale King (M.Mariner), the same as his older sister Ellen, and his date of birth 3 March 1827:


Fasham IV’s sister (or half-sister) Ellen King went on to marry Jebez Abbott. She lived to age 87 (1910).  She had nine children, the 8th of whom was named Fasham Abbot (1855-1935) who would have been Fasham Nairn IV’s cousin. 

 Meanwhile, Fasham IV’s mother Ann King (nee Millward) married John Venables in 1837, age 33, when her children Ellen King and Fasham IV were fourteen and ten respectively.  John Venables was a highly successful businessman with a woollen drapery business, Thomas Venables and Son. Ann and John had no children.

Fasham IV adopted his stepfather's family name Venables sometime between 1841 and 1851. There is a long documentary chain that proves beyond reasonable doubt that Fasham Venebles is Fasham Nairn King (please contact Simon Hall if you are interested in this documentation).

In 1851 (age 24) Fasham is listed in the census as a Venables, and a resident of Aldgate in London working as a woollen draper, the business owned by his stepfather John Venables.

In 1859 (age 32) he married Matilda Mears Cutbush. They had three children John Luke (1859-1934), Matilda Marion (1866-1945) and Ellen Beatrice (1873-1945).

In 1897 (aged 70) he died in Surrey, England. His wife Matilda Mears (nee Cutbush) died two weeks before him.  His youngest daughter, Ellen Beatrice, inherited a sizeable amount of property from the settlement of the will of her maternal grandfather, Thomas Mears. She is Corinne Hall / Stace’s mother.

Other Fasham Nairns


  1. If Fasham IV’s father was indeed Fasham III, then he would also have a half-sister Mary Anne Nairn when their father Fasham III was still married to Mary Dixon Beal. This half-sister had a son married John Fisher Keyzar, and had a son Fasham Nairn Keyzer (b. 1840) who later moved to Wales. This makes him the half nephew of Fasham IV (Nairn King / Venables). He married Emma Steward in York in 1863. They had a son Fasham Nairn Emery Keyzer  (1865 – St Pancras, London – 1931).  
  2. Thomas and Mary Aveling had sons named William Aveling Nairn (b. 1797) and Fasham  Nairn Aveling (b.1805). The name William Aveling comes up in some material relating to the  will of Fasham Nairn I [some requirement for an Aveling to change his name to Nairn?]


Industrialists of Whitechapel Rd, London

Several family branches of Corinne’s family originate from Whitechapel Road in inner east London.


The Importance of Being Luke

Mentions Thomas Flood Cutbush, Luke Flood Cutbush, Matilda Catherine Mears, Mary-Ann Mears. 

This memoir was prepared in 1998 by Mrs Corinne Helen Christine Stace, Arthur Road,  Dorroughby,  Lismore  NSW Australia.   Her mother was born Ellen Beatrice Venables who married Arthur John Hall.   Many of the facts on which this little story is based have been provided by Simon Venables Hall. 



It was a late March morning in 1829.   Yellow daffodils were aglow in the spring sunshine, their golden heads dancing joyfully in a light breeze.   But there was no joy at the graveside of Mrs Luke

Flood Cutbush;   sombre black clad mourners stood with heads bowed while  the minister of St Marys Church, in the London suburb of Whitechapel,  read the prayers before the coffin was lowered carefully into the  grave.

The dead woman was only twenty two years old.  She was born Matilda Catherine, but was known as Catherine, elder daughter of bellfounder Thomas Mears II and his wife Matilda.   The mourners solemnly moved away, first having clasped the hand of the young grieving husband.   Luke’s father, Thomas Flood Cutbush placed a comforting hand on his son’s shoulder and gently drew him away.   Together they walked through the ancient  graveyard to pause at a monument which they both knew quite well.

Eleven years had passed since young  Luke, as a lad of fourteen, had seen his great grandfather laid to rest.   There had been a big crowd of people present and many kind words had been spoken, for great grandfather had been a churchwarden and treasurer of the parish for many years and was widely known for his generosity to  the needy.   Luke re-read those words which had been inscribed on the stone:-

Luke Flood;   died 18 Feb. 1818,  aged 80 years           

“Universally loved;   dying in peace
lamented by meritorious persons
peculiar serenity of temper
obliging disposition

most honourable, most kind and sincere
friend;  bright and rare example
of Christian to the world.”

 “Your great grandfather, Luke.   He was a great man and you were named after him” said Tom.   “Luke Flood is the man who gave the Cutbush family the name of  “Flood” and every generation, so far, has it.”   Tom warmed to the subject.  “My mother” he said “was Luke Flood’s daughter named Clarissa,   Now Clarissa was  an impetuous young woman who wanted to marry my father when she was only sixteen years old, so of course the young couple had to get parental permission.  It was after that marriage that the Flood and Cutbush families combined in business as house decorators to form “Cutbush and Flood;  Glaziers and Painters”.     

Tom Cutbush paused for a minute and then he went on, “my father never  touched a paintbrush in his life -- he was not part of the firm.  No, he was always a clerk in the office of the Ordinance at the Tower of London and I think it was the uniform which my mother liked -- at first  at any rate.  Thomas Hoskins Cutbush, clerk, Tower of London.   The pay was good --ninety pounds a year, and they were happy.”  

The two men walked on and out into the street where they parted, each wrapped in their own melancholy thoughts.

Luke was not given to self-pity.   He was proud of the family firm “Cutbush and Son, Painters and

Glaziers” and he was glad to get back to work after his wife’s  untimely death.   The shop was at 30 Whitechapel Rd and the premises had been in the family since 1791 when old Mrs Flood and her son had been corn chandlers.   By 1809 it  was known as “Cutbush and Flood,  Painters and Glaziers”  and was worked by uncles from both families.   Now, in 1829 it was just  “Cutbush and Son” ---  Luke’s father and himself.

Father and son were both proud of their busy, tidy little shop.   Luke looked at the big deal table where the glass was cut.   At one end of the table a locked drawer held his diamond  glass cutters -- carefully sheathed in leather pouches; his long rulers, set-squares, dividers and geometry tools;  hard and soft lead pencils and his notebook.  Beneath the table a wooden box, half filled with straw, safely held the glass sheets.    The fashion was for twelve-pane windows and Luke had to cut many square or diamond shapes to fit each window.   The handblown glass sheets had little bubbles of air and many other flaws which distorted light,  so he had to select pieces very carefully if the job was for a quality customer.   The rejects would be used for cheaper jobs;  there were always customers looking for a discount.

Down in the cellar Tom Cutbush kept kegs of white and red lead and big flasks of linseed oil and bottles of turpentine.     Much of Luke’s time was spent  in grinding with pestle and mortar the white lead with linseed oil mixing them  gradually to make a smooth paint that would brush easily onto wood surfaces.   There were jars of pigment such as umber and red oxide and the beautiful,  expensive blue lapislazuli;  but these were for special colours.  Much of their needs came in big tins of ready-mixed oil paints from commercial dealers, and part of Luke’s work was  to stack these on shelves,  and to keep accurate records in a stock book.   Tom was very particular;  everything always had to be spotless,  and in perfect order.

This was the beginning.  The business grew with London,  and both father & son  prospered and became well-to-do.                    

Tom Flood Cutbush lived with his wife upstairs in a residence above the shop.   Luke knew it well, for he had grown up there.   Suddenly he realised that his father might retire some day and then the residence would be his,   The thought startled him.   How could he manage without a wife!   Could he ever marry again?   Yes, but WHO?  The answer came like a flash of light:

MARY-ANN!  Mary-Ann Mears was the younger daughter of bellfounder Thomas Mears II and devoted sister of Catherine, the poor woman who only recently had been laid to rest.   

The Mears family had originally come from the cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent. In 1781, young William Mears had become interested in bellfounding when the bells of the great Cathedral were being re-cast and tuned: Whitechapel Bellfoundry had the contract and had done the work on the smaller bells in London. However the big bass bell was too heavy to be taken to London, and had to be re-cast near the Cathedral. The spot chosen was a big sandy yard, known as the “bellfield”, and there men dug and shaped a hollow in which the mould was carefully made for the molten bellmetal. William watched the whole process to the final polishing , tuning and hanging with the rest of the chimes in the belltower of the Cathedral. Thrilled by the wonderful events, he asked to join Whitechapel bellfoundry to learn about bell metal and how to create the wonderful peals of music which he could hear from the bells. After some years, he and his brother Thomas became master bellfounders and owned the business at Whitechapel.


Throughout the nineteenth century several generations of Mears sent peals of beautiful and important bells throughout the world. Many people are familiar with the cheerful timekeeping chimes which are broadcast by the BBC from the clock tower at Westminster, London. The deep tones at the hour come from “Big Ben” the famous thirteen and half ton bell which was cast at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry. Just as famous is the noble bell, commissioned in 1753 from Whitechapel (before William Mears time) for the State House of Philadelphia, North America.   Later the State House was renamed Independence Hall when in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted.   The original bell was recast in Philadelphia, carries the inscription “Proclaim Liberty Through the Land to all Inhabitants Thereof” and was named  “Liberty Bell”   Sadly  it has suffered several cracks and is now without voice -- but it remains the symbol of liberty for all citizens  of USA.

Back to Luke: he was made welcome into the home of his former parents-in-law.   Mary-Ann was pleased to see him and a new romance blossomed.   In  1831 Luke found lasting happiness when he and Mary-Ann were married at the parish church.

Two and a half years later, their only child --a daughter--was born and they named her Matilda.   She was a quiet, thoughtful girl and her parents lavished every possible care on this their beloved daughter,   They chose her friends carefully and gladly associated with the Venables family whose emporium, Thomas Venables and Son in Aldgate and Commercial Street had become a popular and successful business house.   So, when Mr John Venables’ talented business son, with the unusual name of Fasham,   asked for Matilda’s hand in marriage the Cutbush parents were delighted.   Here, indeed, was a marriage with excellent prospects especially as young Fasham Venables was anxious to make his home away from the industrial area of Whitechapel to live in better suburbs along the river Thames,  thus joining the general trend of prosperous businessmen to become “upwardly mobile”.   The Cutbush family went North ,  to the Leabridge Road,  crossing the small River Lea,  but the Mears set up homes at Charleton, in Kent, on the South Bank of the Thames.   The Blackheath cemetery,  not far away holds many Mears graves. 

Not long after Matilda’s marriage in 1859, a fine boy was born and  named John Luke Venables.   He pleased his grandparents with his good looks and quick understanding of the value of money.   Several more years were to pass before a quiet, thoughtful little daughter, Matilda Marion Venables was born and she grew to delight the elders with her clever drawings and skilful needlework.   But if her elder brother was worldly, Minnie, as she was fondly known, was more often found to be studying her Bible and in joining in good works in the parish.   

In 1873, when the Venables family were living in Beverley Rd, Barnes, their third child was born. Her parents named her Ellen Beatrice, but called her Nell.   This fun-loving little girl was taught to play the piano, which she did well, and to speak French, which she did indifferently.   She was not sent to a formal school, but was given private tuition.   It was as Nell Venables that she married my father Arthur John Hall of Kenley in 1896 to become our dear mother, and to successfully raise two sons and four daughters.     But that’s another story!



About Whitechapel Road, London


The Flood, Cutbush and Mears families lived on Whitechapel Road for many generations, from at least the 1680s, and owned property.

The earliest record is for Luke Flood (born around 1689). His death recorded says he was “Luke Flood from the Road Side” St Mary Whitechapel. He was age 73 and died of fever.


 Luke Flood, and his wife Ester Flood (nee Howard, also recorded as Esther Flood and Hester Howard) have at least twenty records between 1754 to 1779 of land tax collections for houses. These are mostly recorded as Roadside, St Mary Whitechapel. 

The earlier of these records (1754-1762) are in Luke Flood’s name, and from 1762-1779 are in Esther/Ester Flood’s name. One of the last records says “Luke Flood for followg Houses}… Esther Flood…. 18.8”. We can assume this is Luke Flood junior (Luke and Ester’s son). 

So, where exactly was Roadside?
Stanford’s 1862 map of the area shows ‘Roadside’ just above the letter “L” in the word Mile End (which is the eastern continuation of Whitechapel Road) and again two blocks east [highlighted in yellow below].
The source has a very detailed map:  click here



Another map at around that time, Booth’s Poverty Map, doesn’t have Roadside listed, but it is interesting to see the levels of middle class and other classes living in and around that area. Whitechapel Road itself was lined with “middle class and well to do”.



Later generations of the Flood family came to own the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This was located at the corner of Whitechapel Road and Fieldgate, a block east of St Mary itself. 



Whitechapel Bell Foundry


Corinne’s maternal great grandfather, Thomas Mears II, was an owner of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry from 1805 to 1844.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry was originally established in 1570. An entry in the Guinness Book of Records lists the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as Britain's oldest manufacturing company, having been established during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and in continuous operation since then. In 1970 the Foundry celebrated its 500th year, and it is still in operation today[3]. Whitechapel Bell Foundry's long history spans the reigns of twenty seven English monarchs, and among the royal visitors to the foundry were King George V and Queen Mary who came to witness the casting of two bells for Westminster Abbey.

The Mears family was associated with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry from 1781 to 1865. Bells cast at the foundry during the Mears family’s ownership include Big Ben in London (made by George Mears), and St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. 




The first Mears at Whitechapel[4][5]

The Mears family originated from Kent, near Canterbury. When bell makers Lester and Pack cast the 3½ ton ‘Great Dunstan’ bell for Canterbury Cathedral in 1762, they undertook the work within the Cathedral precincts because it was difficult to transport a bell of this size from London. While the work was being done a young man, William Mears, came by every day and watched the whole process. He seemed so interested that he was brought back to London and taught the craft of bell founding. Within 20 years he became a partner of the firm (Chapman and Mears) and took over after Chapman died. A couple of years later William’s brother Thomas Mears became a partner and continued to run the business for another 20 years after William died. 


The Mears family continued to own and run the bell foundry until 1865 (William, Thomas I, Thomas II, George). Here is the list from the first mention of the Mears name to the last (1781 to 1865):7


  • 1781 Chapman and Mears
  • 1784 William Mears
  • 1787 William and Thomas Mears
  • 1791 Thomas Mears I (pictured)
  • 1805 Mears and Son
  • 1810 Thomas Mears II
  • 1844 Charles and George Mears
  • 1861 George Mears and Co
  • 1865 Mears and Stainbank


In 1803 Thomas Mears I became a Freeman of London. His son Thomas Mears II (Corinne’s great grandfather) was quite a salesman and travelled to Canada for a number of years. After he became too old to travel the Canadian business continued through agents, Hugh Russell & Sons of Montreal. This work ceased after WWI owing to the strong French influence: the majority of the bells imported into Canada now come from France.

The final member of the family to be associated with the foundry, George Mears, retired in 1865 and died soon after. To this day, the front door to the foundry offices bears a Victorian-era plaque bearing the name 'Mears & Stainbank' (Robert Stainbank being George Mears' successor).

Thomas Mears II’s daughter Mary Ann Mears is Corinne’s maternal great grandmother. Mary Ann

Mears married Luke Flood Cutbush. Their daughter Matilda Mears Cutbush married Fasham Venables and had a daughter Ellen Beatrice Venables. Interestingly, Luke Flood Cutbush (Corinne’s great grandfather) had previously married Matilda Catherine Mears (Mary Ann Mear’s older sister) who died just seven months into their marriage.


Carillons and chimes by Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The following bells were installed when the Mears family was associated with the Whitechapel Bell

Foundry.  Older bells carry various names: Mears & Stainbank, C & G Mears, Thomas Mears, Mears & Chapman, Pack & Chapman, Lester & Pack.[6]





Earlier Cutbushes in the family
date back to 1740 when they
worked in Office of Ordnance,
Tower of London.
Names of grandfathers past
· Luke Flood Cutbush (1804-
· Thomas Hoskins Cutbush
· Edward Cutbush (1740-


Jack the Ripper


One of the suspects in the Jack the Ripper case was Thomas Hayne Cutbush, who was a second cousin once removed from Corinne. 

His father, Thomas Taylor Cutbush (1844 – 1885) was a mercantile clerk who appears to have married at least 3 times, and absconded from England to New Zealand then Australia:



Thomas Taylor Cutbush is claimed in some accounts to have died in 1866. However, there are many references to a Thomas Taylor Cutbush who emigrated to New Zealand in 1866 and to Australia in 1871. 

Back to his son, Thomas Hayne Cutbush:[7]


Thomas Cutbush was named as the Ripper by the Sun newspaper, first on 13 February 1894 and then subsequently in later editions. Author A.P Wolf, in the book Jack The Myth, also favoured Cutbush as the Ripper. The possibility of Thomas Cutbush being Jack the Ripper was thoroughly investigated by the police at the time, and shown to be without foundation. 

To disprove the newspaper claims Melville Macnaghten penned his memoranda [see below], in which he not only disputed the likelihood of Cutbush being Jack the Ripper, but named three alternative candidates, Druitt, Ostrog and Kosminski. Macnaghten claimed Cutbush was unlikely to have been the Ripper, due to the fact that the knife used by Cutbush was different to that used by the Ripper, and was not purchased by Cutbush until February of 1891, some two years and three months after the Ripper murders. Macnaghten also claimed that the frenzied killer of 1888 was unlikely to lie dormant for two years, then re-emerge and be content with stabbing women in the bottom.


Cutbush was born in 1866 in Kennington, his father died when he was young. Thomas was said to have been a rather spoilt child, he lived with his mother and aunt at 14 Albert Street, Kennington. These ladies, it has been said, were of a nervous and rather excitable disposition. Cutbush was at one time employed as a clerk and traveller in the tea trade at the Minories, and subsequently as a canvasser for a directory. He abandoned his job, and now led an idle and useless life. He studied medical books by day and wandered the streets at night, often returning home with muddy clothes.

In some reports it is claimed, blood stained clothes. Cutbush was detained as a lunatic on 5 March

1891, in Lambeth infirmary, suffering from syphilis and paranoid delusions. He wrote to Lord Grimthorpe, and others, believing that people were trying to poison him with bad medicines. He soon escaped, and was at liberty for four days, taking with him a knife which he used to stab Florence Grace Johnson in the buttocks, and also attempted to do the same to Isabella Frazer Anderson, in Kennington. These crimes appeared to be imitations of a criminal called Colicott, who a couple of months previous had stabbed six young women in the behind with a pointed awl, and may have been responsible for up to sixty assaults. Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged, owing to faulty identification. 

Thomas Cutbush was arrested on 9 March 1891, and charged with malicious wounding, he was committed to Broadmoor, where he died in 1903. At the time of the Whitechapel murders Cutbush was 23 years of age, a little young according to the eyewitness descriptions of the Ripper, and lived in Kennington, some distance from Whitechapel.



Earliest names in the Hall family tree



The Pontifex family can be traced back to as early as 1550. If this is correct, John Pontifex is Corinne’s 9th great grandfather (Corinne’s father is Arthur John Hall, his mother was Annie Woods, her mother was Anne Pontifex). 

The earliest Pontifex in the family tree we have been able to trace is John Pontifex (1550-1589) who lived in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. The family stayed in Buckinghamshire until around 1800.

According to a Pontifex family legend, their family was descended from Pope Martin V, originally Oddo Colonna (1368-1431), a Prince of the house of Colonna. He was married and had two sons who went to England and took the name Pontifex, of the Pontiff. 


Corinne’s grandfather Fasham Venables, was previously Fasham Nairn King before he adopted his stepfather’s name. The Nairn family can be traced back to 1670 in Kent, England.


Remington, Hobbins, Hadley


These ancestral names of Fasham Venables (previously Fasham Nairn King, Corinne’s grandfather) can be traced back to the mid-1600s, and were all in Warwickshire, England.


Great aunts of the family

Thora Stace

b. 1920, Wellington NZ

m. Laurence Melsop, May 1970

Norman’s older sister, Thora currently lives in New Zealand


Aileen Mary Stace

b. 14 Mar 1895 in Manawatu, New Zealand

d. 19 Aug 1977 in Wellington, New Zealand


Norman’s aunt Aileen Mary Stace was born on 14 March 1895 at Stoney Creek, Manawatu, to Thomas Walter Stace, a farmer, and his wife, Harriett Matilda Bannister. She was the youngest of eight children. After catching tuberculosis of the spine as an infant, her back became hunched and her legs paralysed, and she received no formal schooling. Clever and artistic, she taught herself a great deal and read widely. She enjoyed the arts, especially ballet.

Aileen’s mother died in 1912, and from 1914 she lived with her father in Wellington until his death in 1921. She then went to live with her sister, Linda Girdlestone, and her husband, Cyril, in Nikau Street, Eastbourne, moving into her own cottage in their garden around 1926. She never married.

She died on 19 August 1977 at Lower Hutt. Afterwards, the Eastbourne Spinners continued to meet, and they gifted examples of her knitting to the Dowse Art Museum. Atalanta went to the Southward Museum Trust.


Mabel Jessie Stace

Mabel Jessie Stace (1881-1966) was an aunt of Norman’s. Mabel married Gordon Aitken on 8 August 1910.  Their son, Hollis Stace Aitken (aka G Aitken - perhaps Gordon?) was born on 30 September 1910. [9] 

Two days two days after he married Mabel, Gordon was transferred to Napier[11].

Gordon was killed at Chunuk Bair (Gallipoli) during WWI on 8 August 1915.  

Following Gordon's death, Mabel married Frederick John Sygrove in 1919.  Together, Mabel and Frederick had four sons,  Frederick Sygrove (13 September 1917 - 2002), Scott Stace Sygrove (23 April 1920 - 2008), Peter Stace Sygrove (11 February 1922 - 2002) and Robin Sygrove.  

Aileen Mary Stace


Florence Venables Hall (1897 – 1987) was Corinne’s oldest sister, born in England. At the age of 23 she married Robert Grabham in Sydney. They ran a farm in northern New South Wales, but unfortunately the farmhouse burnt down while they were on holidays. She wrote to her parents, who moved out from England with their daughters Jean, May and Corinne. 

By 1932 she was living in Perth, Western Australia, where she made a number of watercolour paintings.  In 1957 she emigrated to New Zealand. 

Perth from South Perth, 1932



Paintings by Florence include:



Camp Site

Watercolour, signed lower left, 26 x 32 cm

Perth from South Perth 

Watercolour, signed and dated 1932 lower right, 35 x 30 cm

Moored Boats Meelup Bay

Watercolour, signed lower right, 20 x 26.5 cm

Portrait of Flora Bobone

Pencil, signed and dated 1938, lower right, 28 x 23 cm

Old Fremantle Bridge 

Watercolour, signed lower right, 26 x 24 cm

Trilli (Portrait of Flora Bobone)

Pencil, signed and dated '1938' lower right, 36.5 x 28 cm


Watercolour, signed and dated '35 lower right, 17 x 22 cm

Boscastle Estuary, Cornwall

Watercolour, signed, 36 x 48 cm

River Fishing c. 1930's

Oil on canvas, unframed, 35 x 25 cm

Paper Barks, Swan River

Watercolour, signed, 26 x 32 cm


Watercolour, signed

By the River Applecross Wa 

Watercolour, signed lower left, hand written title, 29.5 x 35.5 cm

Landscape with Gum Tree

Watercolour, signed, 25 x 20 cm

The Edge of the Beach 

Watercolour, signed, 38 x 39 cm

The Maitai Ford

Watercolour, signed, 38 x 28 cm


By the River Applecross WA

Old Fremantle Bridge

Portrait of Flora Bobone, 1938


Annie Hall

Annie Hall (1860 in Sligo, Ireland - 1929 in The Hague, Holland) was Corinne’s eldest aunt. She married a Dutch artist, Jan Theodore Toorup who was half Dutch and half Javanese (Indonesian). 

They had a daughter Annie Caroline Pontifex Toorop (1891-1955), nicknamed Charlie. 




Parents Norman & Corinne. PAGEREF _Toc377591262 \h 4

Stace Family. PAGEREF _Toc377591263 \h 5

Norman Edward Stace. PAGEREF _Toc377591264 \h 5

Pioneers of Tasmania & New Zealand. PAGEREF _Toc377591265 \h 14

Stace. PAGEREF _Toc377591266 \h 15

Stace coat of arms. PAGEREF _Toc377591267 \h 18

Lucas. PAGEREF _Toc377591268 \h 19

Pascoe Fawkner. PAGEREF _Toc377591269 \h 25

Bannister. PAGEREF _Toc377591270 \h 27

Peed. PAGEREF _Toc377591271 \h 29

Hall Family. PAGEREF _Toc377591272 \h 32

Corinne Helen Christine Hall PAGEREF _Toc377591273 \h 32

Norman remembers Corinne. PAGEREF _Toc377591274 \h 33

The Hall and Venables family. PAGEREF _Toc377591275 \h 37

The Hall family from Scotland. PAGEREF _Toc377591276 \h 37

Fasham Nairn. PAGEREF _Toc377591277 \h 42

Ancestors. PAGEREF _Toc377591278 \h 42

Origin of the name Fasham Nairn. PAGEREF _Toc377591279 \h 46

Industrialists of Whitechapel Rd, London. PAGEREF _Toc377591280 \h 51

The Importance of Being Luke. PAGEREF _Toc377591281 \h 51

About Whitechapel Road, London. PAGEREF _Toc377591282 \h 54

Whitechapel Bell Foundry. PAGEREF _Toc377591283 \h 56

Cutbush. PAGEREF _Toc377591284 \h 58

Jack the Ripper. PAGEREF _Toc377591285 \h 58

Earliest names in the Hall family tree. PAGEREF _Toc377591286 \h 60

Pontifex. PAGEREF _Toc377591287 \h 60

Nairn. PAGEREF _Toc377591288 \h 60

Remington, Hobbins, Hadley. PAGEREF _Toc377591289 \h 60

Great aunts of the family. PAGEREF _Toc377591290 \h 62

Thora Stace. PAGEREF _Toc377591291 \h 62

Aileen Mary Stace. PAGEREF _Toc377591292 \h 64

Mabel Jessie Stace. PAGEREF _Toc377591293 \h 65

Florence Venables Hall PAGEREF _Toc377591294 \h 67

Annie Hall PAGEREF _Toc377591295 \h 71




[2] Journal of the Early Settlers' and Historical Association of Wellington, Volume I, Issue 2, 1912/13. 3 Journal of the Early Settlers' and Historical Association of Wellington, Volume I, Issue 2, 1912/13.


[4] from This is backed up in the following account http://canterbury


[5] lists the master founders of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry from 1420 to 1997.   


[7] (accessed Nov 2012)

[8] From, Biography note by Julia Brooke-White

[9] From accessed August 2012

[10] NZ Truth on 21 January 1911

[11] Wanganui Chronicle on 10 August 1910