James Hannell

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James Hannell
Born(1813-12-01)1 December 1813
Died31 December 1876(1876-12-31) (aged 63)
Other namesJames Walton
OccupationPolice Constable, auctioneer, publican, politician
Spouse(s)Mary Anne Sophia Priest (1819-1884)

James Hannell (1 December 1813 – 31 December 1876) was an auctioneer, publican, and Australian politician elected as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly,[1] the first Mayor of Newcastle, and the first Mayor of Wickham.

Early life[edit]

Hannell, was free-born in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia, on 1 December 1813. He was the eldest son of two convicts. His mother Elizabeth Hannell arrived in Sydney in 1812 from Middlesex, England (Convict - 7 years). His father James Walton of Lancashire, England, a Private of the Coldstream Guards.[1] Hannell was registered with NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages Register with his father's family name 'Walton,' as were his brothers John (b. 27 August 1815) and Jesse (b. 15 November 1817), however in life they used their mother's maiden name.

Hannell was baptised on 13 May 1814 at St. John's Church, Parramatta.

Hannell's mother was incarcerated in the Parramatta Female Factory. She was involved with other convicts (James Garland and James Stubbs) in a scam to obtain money from forged receipts and was convicted and sentenced in June 1820, to 'Life' in Newcastle. She was transported to Newcastle, on the ship, 'Princess Charlotte', and arrived on 27 July 1820. She had a daughter Mary Ann (b. 10 May 1821) with a convict called John White (died Nov.1828). Elizabeth was granted permission to wed the District Constable, and ticket of leave man, John Butler Hewson, on 28 May 1828. Hewson became the foster father of the children, including Hannell, when they joined their mother in Newcastle.

Hannell was educated at Christ Church School, Newcastle.[1]

On 12 March 1836, Hannell married Mary Ann Sophia (b. 1819, Sydney), second daughter of Edward Priest[1] (a former convict who arrived in Newcastle in 1817). Hannell and Mary had eleven children: Clarence Hewson, Stephena Mary, Emily Frances, Fanny Anne, James Edward, Mary Elizabeth, Florence Jane, Constance Myra, Arthur Hubert, James Edward (d. 1842), and John Henry (d. 1860).[2]

The area known as Smedmore,[3] where the Hannell home was situated, became known as Maryville, in honour of Hannell's wife, Mary.[4] The main street of Wickham is Hannell Street.


Hannell was a Police Constable from 1833-1836. He became Newcastle's first licensed auctioneer in September 1839. He bought a licensed Public House called the 'Ship Inn' on the corner of Hunter and Bolton Street, Newcastle.[1]

Hannell's brother, John Hannell, became the licensee of the Wheat Sheaf Inn at Hexham, near Newcastle. He was a sportsman,[5] and pilot of ships on the Hunter River. When the punt service was opened, around 1862, John was appointed to run it. Another of Hannell's brothers, Jesse Hannell, became Signal Master and the first lighthouse keeper at [Nobby's] Lighthouse.[6]

In 1857, Hannell was gazetted as a Justice of the Peace and attended the Newcastle bench.[1] Hannell was a churchwarden and trustee of Christ Church Cathedral. Hannell was involved in the incorporation of Newcastle and became its first mayor in 1859–62, serving again in 1868–69 and 1871. He was Mayor in 1868 when the Duke of Edinburgh visited on 5 March. In 1859–64, 1866–71 and 1873–76 he represented city ward in the Newcastle Council. Hannell became Mayor of Wickham when it became a Municipality in 1871. He served alongside Peter Fleming, Charles Thomas, James Harrison Hubbard, Charles Upfold, and William Henry White.[7]

Hannell became Newcastle's Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He represented the City Ward in 1860,[1] and was re-elected in 1864. He contested and won the Northumberland vote and was returned to Parliament.

Hannell organised concerts for the Newcastle Hospital, in which he took part as a comic singer.[1] When the new hospital 'Wing' was completed it was named the 'Hannell Wing' in honour of Hannell and his son Clarence.

Hannell was President and judge of the Newcastle Jockey Club. He organised the first regatta and was President of the Newcastle Regatta Committee for thirty years. He was President of the Newcastle Cricket Club. He helped establish the Newcastle Mechanics' School of Arts. In 1858 was a trustee of the Newcastle National School. In 1867 he became a member of the Board of the Newcastle Public School.[1]


Hannell died from pneumonia, on 31 December 1876, and was interred at the burial ground of Christ Church Cathedral.[1] His tombstone is still in the grounds, just outside the Warriors' Chapel.

Hannell was survived by Mary and nine[1] of their eleven children:
1) Clarence Hewson, b. 15 Oct. 1836 (BDM V18361179 20/1836) - d. 3 Apr. 1909 (BDM 2528/1909) - m. Maria Phoebe TIGHE,
2) Stephena Mary, b. 2 Jun. 1838 (BDM V18381282 22/1838) - d. Sep. 1927 (BDM 12068/1927) - m. Henry ROUSE,
3) James Edward*, b. 30 Jun. 1840 (BDM V18401483 24A/1840) - d. 3 Dec. 1842 (BDM V18421155 26B/1842),
4) Emily Frances, b. 25 Dec. 1841 (BDM V18411572 26A/1841) - d. 7 May 1906 (BDM 9634/1906) - m. Thomas Albert CLACK,
5) Fanny Anne, b. 27 Jan. 1844 - d. 29 Oct. 1910 (BDM 14480/1910) - m. Joseph WOOD,
6) James Edward, b. 15 Nov. 1847 (BDM V18472158 32A/1847) - d. 2 Mar. 1903 (BDM 2481/1903) - m. Jane Danson RUSH,
7) Mary Elizabeth, b. 6 Oct. 1850 (BDM V18502927 35/1850) - d. 30 Apr. 1884 (Unsure) - m. Edwin Alfred MITCHELL,
8) Florence Jane, b. 9 Dec. 1853 (BDM V18551671 42A/1855) - d. 16 Jun. 1931 (BDM 8321/1931) - m. John Aloysius CRAVEN,
9) Constance Myra, b. 11 Oct. 1857 (BDM 9291/1857) - d. 8 Nov. 1928 (BDM 17776/1928) - m. Rev. William Jenton JAMES,
10) John Henry*, b. 28 Aug. 1858 (BDM 10433/1859) - d. 19 Apr. 1860 (BDM 4955/1860),
11) Arthur Hubert, b. 13 Jan. 1862 (BDM 10868/1862) - d. 30 Dec. 1938 (BDM 23685/1938) - m. Sarah Jane BRIGGS,

James Hannell's estate was valued at under £1000.[1]

  • Denotes infant death.


Statistics from the NSW Birth Deaths and Marriages.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l O'Donnell, Dan. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ Carroll, Gloria, History of the Hannell and Carroll families [manuscript] / Gloria Carroll Thesis for the Society of Australian Genealogists. May 1989
  3. ^ Area between Wickham and Maryville north of Downie Street. Now part of Maryville. Hunter Valley Place Names and their Meanings
  4. ^ Hunter Valley Place Names and their Meanings Archived 2 June 2009 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  5. ^ see p.31 'The Growth of Newcastle, by Wilfred James Goold...Newcastle and Hunter District Memorial Society - Publication No. 5
  6. ^ [Nobby's Head Light]http://www.lighthousedepot.com/lite_explorer.asp?action=display_details&LighthouseID=405&bhcd2=1263081164
  7. ^ Council history
  8. ^ [ [Roberto's Blogs - Family][1] ) ]

External links[edit]

New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Arthur Hodgson
Member for Newcastle
1860 – 1869
Succeeded by
George Lloyd
Preceded by
William Brookes
Member for Northumberland
1872 – 1874
Succeeded by
Charles Stevens