The first recorded HALL FAMILY REUNION was held at “Buckeroo”, Coolabah, NSW in 1967 and people travelled from as far as Sydney and Goulburn to attend the reunion lunch.
Organised by Miss Mary and Miss Ella Hall (V) the day was a great success. Mr and Mrs Bill Hall (W) of Adelaide were at that time were living in Sydney and were guests of Harry and Noeline Hall (V) whose property “Roslyn” was nearby.
Those who attended were: Mr. and Mrs. Doug Edwards & son David, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Bill Hall, Mr. Charles Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Hall, Miss Ella Hall, Mr. & Mrs, Eric Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Harry Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Jack Hall, Miss Mary Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Hall & daughter Debbie, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hall & daughter Juliana, Mr. & Mrs. Scott Hall & daughter Katie & son David,Mr & Mrs. Richard Johnson, Miss Alison Ross-Edwards and Mrs. Helen Stevenson.
32 people attended the reunion.
Cold and wet weather heralded in the first Hall Family Reunion to be held since 1967. The villages of Lake Bathurst and Tarago south of Goulburn provided the venue. Just east of the villages was the site of the land granted to Edward Smith Hall in 1823, which was known as ‘St. Heliers’. The local people were superb in their support and assistance with catering and general organization. Many families opened their homes for accommodation which was appreciated by all those who took advantage of the offer.
Bus tours on Saturday and Sunday took interested groups to visit ‘Rotherwood’, the property of E.S. Hall Jnr, thence to St. Mark’s Church and the school at Bronte where members of Victor Hall’s children attended. The site of the first religious service in the area, situated on ‘St. Heliers’ and marked with a Memorial was visited next. The old home of Victor and Susan Hall and graves of their children were viewed before the bus returned to the Tarago Showground.
The reunion committee hosted a dinner for 150 people on Saturday night in the Tarago Community Hall and Edward Smith Hall NSW:IV welcomed everyone.
Sunday morning saw a large crowd converge on St. John’s, Lake Bathurst for a Memorial Service. David Edwards and Mandy McNeill read the lessons and Desmond O’Brien spoke on the history of the Hall family in the district and its association with St. John’s Anglican Church and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Tarago.
A barbeque at the showground was enjoyed by everyone and afterwards the display of memorabilia and family trees in the pavilion was viewed with interest. Rain kept everyone together under the same roof and even managed to abort the final bus tour.
All people who attended were issued with name tags which indicated the family branch to which they belonged and the committee was pleased to see that so many people were able to make the effort to attend.
174 people attended the reunion.
The next Hall Family Reunion was held in Sydney at the St. Ives Showground on 13th and 14th October 2001 and was a great success. Planned to coincide with the landing in the New South wales colony of our ancestor Edward Smith Hall and his wife Charlotte on 10.10.1811, the family celebrated 190 years of the Monitor Hall family in Australia.
Over two years of planning by an enthusiastic committee took place and we settled on the Pickering Pavilion at the St. Ives Showground as the venue. It was a good choice being big enough to house up to 300 people if necessary.
Visitors came from as far afield as Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Theodore, Biloela and Brisbane, many country areas of NSW, Auckland and one from New York. Four people were unable to attend due to the problems with Ansett Airlines.
The walls of the pavilion were decorated with boards showing all the family branches and these were identified by a colour system. Coloured dots were worn on everyone’s name tags. Some entertainment has become traditional when various ‘half-dots’ have coveted dots of another shade — We have bestowed one ‘full green’ on a rather discontented ‘half-blue’ - others on application ….
The photographs of family homes, also placed on boards and hung on the pavilion walls were a great success. The earliest was no doubt ‘The Homestead’ of Bondi, built by Francis O’Brien in 1856. This home was lived in by Monitor Hall and many later generations of the O’Brien Family.
Another prize was a photo of a small galvanised iron home, built in Western Australia in 1909 by one of William’s descendants. All these photographs have been placed in the family archives for posterity - and to help fill my already overflowing office.
PEW DOOR FROM ST. JAMES CHURCH
St. James Church allowed us to borrow one of the pew doors identical to the one which was locked in 1828 preventing Monitor Hall and family from using his rented pew. This door was displayed with information showing the physical changes to the church over the years.
Our very capable tour guide, Jane Keneally led the tour which completed a circle of the city with the first stop at St. John’s cemetery at Enfield - the site of Monitor’s grave. Waverley Cemetery presented the grave of Francis O’Brien and many of his descendants as well as Monitor’s first two wives, Charlotte and Sarah. Finally the Welcome Wall at Darling Harbour displayed Monitor’s name along with many others who had settled in this country.
Our celebration dinner was served in the Pavilion to around 110 people. Katrina O’Loughlin was our MC for the night and Rev. Jodie McNeill said grace at the commencement of the dinner.
Desmond O’Brien delivered the welcome speech and spoke of the life and achievements of Monitor Hall.
Joan Edwards who lives at Theodore in Queensland volunteered to make and decorate a celebration cake. It was quite beautiful, decorated with a model of the ship ‘friends’ and carried an inscribed plaque. At the front of the cake beautifully hand made Australian Wildflowers were displayed. The cake was lovingly transported by car all the way from Theodore. Vivienne Leys from Auckland in New Zealand cut the cake.
CHURCH SERVICE AT ST. JAMES
The Hall family and St. James Church have always held a close association and so it was the obvious choice for our Thanksgiving Service. Rev. Peter Kurti and other members of the church clergy welcomed the family to the 11am service.
SUNDAY BARBEQUE AND FAMILY FUN DAY
Our final function proved to be a great success with numbers well above the expected. Those who worked on the BBQs were kept very busy. Many children were present which is always a happy sight and so many people took the opportunity to meet new faces and catch up with old friends.
169 people attended the reunion.
8th & 9th OCTOBER,2011
The wider Hall Family found plenty to celebrate on 8th and 9th October 2011 when 175 people gathered at the St. Ives Showground to commemorate the arrival in the colony in 1811 of Edward Smith Hall and his wife Charlotte. It was wonderful to see Bay and James Bardwell who travelled all the way from Somerset in England and Vivienne Leys from Auckland, New Zealand and a very large contingent from Western Australia with 25 people all descended from Victor Francis Hall. Included in this group was Owen Smith Hall, brand new baby son of Bradley and Marie Hall, born on 22.9.2011.
Celebrations commenced on Saturday with two buses touring the various Hall sites located in Sydney starting with Monitor’s grave at Enfield and further Hall graves at the Waverley Cemetery. They moved through Sydney’s harbour suburbs, arriving at Darling Harbour to view Monitor’s name on the Welcome Wall. Our two tour leaders, Mandy and Jodie McNeill graciously stepped up to the mark when our previous leader was unable to fill the position.
The walls of the Pickering Pavilion were covered with charts of all the family branches and displays featuring war service of the family members, the great cattle trek which involved two grandsons of Monitor Hall, Charles and George Hall and displays covering various aspects of Monitor’s life.
The Benevolent Society of NSW enthusiastically set up a display of their history and a plaque presented by the Westpac Bank (previously known as the Bank of New South Wales) was displayed along with their history.
On Saturday night our celebration dinner was held in a hastily transformed Pickering Pavilion. Tables were set up with white linen cloths and floral decorations and our caterers, Family Affair prepared a beautiful meal - the same company who looked after us ten years ago. Present at the dinner were three representatives of the Benevolent Society of NSW, Jenni Bolton, Carolyn Hamer-Smith and Yvonne Stewart; two from the Bible Society, Karen & Phil Mudge and Gabrielle & Craig Smith who represented the Rev. William Cowper’s family - all held close association with Monitor Hall during his life in the colony in those early days.
One of our most senior family members, Desmond O’Brien welcomed those attending the gathering and declared the celebration officially opened and so the evening proceeded.
DR. ERIN IHDE
John Talbot capably performed the duties of MC for the evening and called on Dr. Erin Ihde to speak to the gathering. Erin first became known to the Hall family in 2004 when he completed his PhD Thesis entitled ‘Edward Smith Hall and the Sydney Monitor’ and now holds the position of lecturer in Australian History in the School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of New England.
The cutting of the reunion cake was performed by our oldest member attending the reunion - 96 year old Peg Horneman of Tamworth, NSW. Sadly, Peg passed away in December 2011, loved and missed by many people.
COLOURING & TRIVIA COMPETITION
Colouring and trivia competitions were completed and winners announced at the dinner.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY BBQ
BBQs were held on Saturday and Sunday with a trusty band of BBQ chefs performed a stirling task both days and fed many hungry mouths.
ST. JAMES CHURCH, CITY
On Sunday morning a small group of people travelled by bus to St. James, City where Monitor Hall worshipped in those early years. Many family members have also experienced close association with the church.
To everyone who attended the celebration, I offer my appreciation for their interest and effort taken to come together with many other Monitor Descendants.
Finally, to Monitor Hall as we have come to know him, a memorable if not controversial person who left legacies in many areas of our nation’s history - on behalf of our whole family I thank him and Charlotte for having the foresight and bravery to settle in this wonderful country in which we live.