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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Hannah Brown

Born: 1865; Died: 1931; Married: Job Brown

Hannah's father, Thomas Southwell, was born in England in 1813. He and his wife Eliza emigrated to Australia in 1838 with their two children. They moved to the Hall district in 1840. Thomas worked as a farm labourer and teamster, carrying goods by bullock train to and from Sydney. He was a devout Wesleyan – a preacher, who held bible readings at the home which he had constructed of stringy bark, with an earthen floor.

In 1852 shortly after the birth of their ninth child, Eliza and the baby both died. In 1853 Thomas married Mary Croxton (nee Roffe) – a widow with two daughters. By 1852 there were six children from the second marriage. Hannah was born into the large and still growing family in 1865. A sister arrived three years later, and a brother three years after that.

In 1863 Thomas built a brick house on his property, which he had called 'Parkwood'. His son-in-law Alfred Bembrick (husband of Thomas' first daughter Mary Ann) built a Sabbath School on Parkwood in 1862 and later that year a chapel was built. Thomas preached in the chapel and in other Wesleyan churches in the district. The children would have attended the Sabbath School and the chapel where their father was preaching.

In 1880 Thomas had a brick chapel erected at his own expense. Mary laid the foundation stone in March 1881. By that time Thomas was frail, and he died in May. Hannah was sixteen when her father died. Her mother died four years later. In 1887 at the age of twenty two, Hannah married Job Brown from Dalton. They lived at Dalton for seven years before moving to 'Holmwood', Wallaroo, in the Hall district. They had seven children:

Leila Mary (1892)
Rita Beatrice (1889)
Morley Thomas (1892)
Elsie Sarah (1893)
Mervyn Ray (1895) died in infancy in 1898
Gordon Edwin (1904)
Ronald Austin (c 1906)

Leila Married George Gifford at Queanbeyan in 1914, with brother Morley as her best man.In the following year Morley enlisted with the AIF for service abroad. He was killed at Villers Brettoneux in France on 5 April 1918 and is buried at Amiens. Elsie married Alfred Rule at a 'quiet ceremony' in 1920. The wedding breakfast was held at the grooms parents home 'Allwood', Wallaroo. The couple made their home at 'Heywood', Wallaroo. Rita married Sidney Coulton from the nearby Coulton family, later moving from Wallaroo to Hall.

In 1931 Hannah's health was failing. She stayed at her daughter's home in Queanbeyan for three months, before returning to the Queanbeyan hospital. She die in 1913 aged sixty five. A service was held at Watle Park Methodist church at Hall and she was buried at Hall cemetery.

Hannah had sixteen grand-children, some of whom were born after she died. The family home 'Holmwood' was left in the hands of Job and the two youngest sons, Gordon and Ronald, who continued to manage the property after Job died in 1937. He was buried with Hannah at Hall cemetery.

Hannah's Southwell siblings Lydia, James, Richard, Mark and Beatrice survived her. Her sister Jane died three years earlier, and her sister Sarah only three months earlier.

Obituary. Late Mrs Job Brown

The death of the late Mrs. Brown, late of 'Holmwood,' Hall, is still another evidence of the fleetness of time and the reminder of the gradual passing away of the men and women of the earlier pioneering days. She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Southwell, of Parkwood, where the early years of her life were spent. She belonged to a large family and was sister to Mrs. Richard Southwell and Mrs. J. K. Kilby and Mrs. Ann Southwell (half-sister) also the late Mrs. Ellis Smith (sister) and the late Samson and Samuel Southwell, all of this district, whilst there are others in different parts of the State.

At the age of 21 she married and the first seven years of her married life were spent at Dalton, after which time the family moved to 'Holm-wood,' Hall, where the remainder of her life was spent. There began the arduous task of building up a new home, and, like all other pioneers of those days, the Browns were confronted with many difficulties and disadvantages. Possessing, as she did, all the character of a true and loyal wife and mother, the late Mrs. Brown patiently and nobly assisted her husband in every capacity and together they laid the foundation to the comforts that they enjoyed in after years.

She was a woman of spiritual influence, which is characterised in the members of her family. Early in life she made the great decision and took a stand for the right. All through her life she ever proved loyal and firm to that decision and was indeed loyal and devoted to her respective church. Mrs. Brown was not one who figured in public life, but her real worth such as was quietly lived, was evidenced particularly in her own home, where her services were given so largely to provide for the comforts and interests of her husband and family. But anywhere where that help was needed she was always ready to do her part.

Possessing as she did many qualities she made many friends and was loved and respected by all. For some time Mrs. Brown had not enjoyed good health and when medical advice was sought it revealed her condition serious. She spent three months with her daughter, Mrs. E. Gifford, under medical observation, but her condition did not improve. On June 28 she was admitted to Queanbeyan Public Hospital where all efforts were exercised for her recovery, but despite it all she passed peacefully away on Sunday morning, July 5, at the age of 65 years.

Although it is known that she is far better off, yet her decease has left a gap in the home circle, with all of whom she was endeared. She leaves a husband, three daughters, Mrs. E. Gifford (Queanbeyan), Mrs. H. Rule (Temmora), Mrs. J. Coulton 'Heywood,' Hall, and two sons, Gordon and Ronald, both of 'Holmwood,' Hall, to mourn their loss. Two sons predeceased her, Mervyn Roy, at the early age of three years, and Morley, who paid the supreme sacrifice at the Great War in 1918.

A service held at Wattle Park Methodist Church was conducted by Rev. W. H. Cheetham, who spoke very effectively of her life during the weeks of her intense weakness and of her resigned will. Favourite hymns of the deceased were sung, both at the church and graveside. The interment took place in the Methodist portion of the Hall cemetery on Monday, July 6, and despite the severe cold weather was largely attended. Rev. W. H. Cheetham officiated also at the graveside. Floral tributes were sent by J. K. and Beatrice Kilby and family, Elsie and Alf and Esma, Rita and Sid and Gordon and Ronald, Richard and C. R. E. Southwell., Southwell and Brown, Sam, Mary and family, Eunice, Athol and Beatrice, Jack, Ada and family, all at 'East Lynne,' Leon and Nora, Grace Brown and Beatrice Starr, Horace and Beccy, George, Ethel and Tom, Ida and Keith MacAndrews, Amy and Isa, Hazell and Thelma, Colin Southwell, Daphne Morris, Elvin Hall, Mr. and Mrs. McClung and Allan and Leta, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Gifford and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. Hollingsworth, Mr. and Mrs. Lucas and family, Ross Brown.
[Yass Tribune-Courier, 16 July 1931, p 6]

Memorial Service. Late Mrs Job Brown

A large congregation assembled at the Methodist Church, Wattle Park, on Sunday morning last, for a memorial service to the late Mrs. Job Brown, who for many years resided at 'Holmwood," Hall. The choir rendered special music and loving hands had made the church more than ordinarily beautiful by the arrangement of white flowers. The hymns chosen by the family included "O, Happy Home Where Thou Art Loved the Dearest," the "Sands of Time are Sinking," and a favorite hymn of the deceased, "There is a Beautiful Land on High" from Sankeys' collection. Two suitable anthems were ably rendered, "Waiting to Welcome Us There" and "Rock of Ages." The Rev. W. H. Cheetham conducted the service, and took as his text, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?" (Revelation, Chap. 7, Verse 13).

The preacher introduced his subject by remarking that the deceased, when a child, was he was told, regarded as exceedingly beautiful, and it was her father's wish that she should, both on week-day and Sunday, be dressed in white. And from this he drew many beautiful thoughts. On the streets of earth and now in the "beautiful land on earth", she has worn the robe of a redeemed life. The white-robed throng came out of "great tribulation," and while deceased had a happy home life, she was one of the pioneers of this great land and could tell of the hardships and sacrifices and privations of earlier days.

To be better off is not to be better. Australia was built up by people who worked, and worked hard; people who knew nothing of the modern comforts and luxuries which we were accustomed to call 'progress'. The world has nothing finer to show than the spirit of those glorious pioneers who, one by one, are passing away, and we can breathe no better prayer for our country than to ask that a double portion of their spirit may rest upon us. The preacher spoke of the beautiful home life, the devoted mother leading her children along the path of a noble, dedicated life, bequeathing them richer gifts than gold.

He then appealed to the young people of the congregation reminding them of the great and honored names they bore and expressing his hope that they would be worthy of their forbears. The deceased wore the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, was loyal to her church and generous in its support, was faithful until death, and now has passed to a dawn beyond earth's sunsets, a world where all the flowers are fair and where many were waiting to bid her welcome. The preacher expressed his gratitude for the obituary notice, which appeared in the Age on July 21, and which supplied facts of the family history and details of the deceased's life.
[Queanbeyan Age 31 July 1931, p 2]

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