A favourite photo – 4 generations

As the family historian, I am forever being given photos to look after. I will need to spend some time scanning and cataloging them over this coming year. So I have lots of favourite photos but very few have four generations in the one image.  I have chosen this one for this week’s prompt for #52 ancestors.

The four people in this photo are my 1st cousin Bronwyn as a babe in arms, her mother Margaret Phillips nee England holding her, then Margaret’s mother Hannah England nee Davey and finally Hannah’s mother Martha Davey nee Colgrave. The picture was taken on 1 April 1951 on Bronwyn’s christening day.

Margaret died in 2017 and I have written about her in this post.  But today I asked my mother (Margaret’s sister) to tell me something about their mother. Here is some info I was told and have also researched over the years.

Early Life

Hannah England nee Davey was born in 1899 at Englishtown near Blessington in Tasmania. She was the 6th born out of 12 children.

Birth certificate Hannah Davey 1899 TAHO RGD 33/1/87 no 598

Englishtown is near the mountains of the Ben Lomond National Park in north-eastern Tasmania and would have been extremely cold during winter. The closest town is Evandale about 22kms away. Life would have been very hard for this large family. Hannah’s father, George, was mentioned in local papers as tendering for works on the roads near their land, but otherwise was a farmer.

1912 ‘EVANDALE.’, Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), 7 March, p. 7. (DAILY), viewed 11 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50641551

Hannah’s father died in November 1914, aged just 49 years. He died at the Launceston General Hospital and was interred in the Presbyterian Burial Ground in Evandale. Hannah’s youngest brother, Frederick, was born just one month before her father’s death so I am sure she would have been expected to help look after him when not at school.


By 1922, Hannah had moved to the big city of Hobart in southern Tasmania. She was working as a housekeeper to the Lord family in Sandy Bay. This was mentioned in the electoral roll of that year as being on the corner of Grosvenor and Lord Streets. Her future husband, Henry Lewis England, also lived in Grosvenor Street with his parents. This is probably how they met.

Hannah and Henry married on 9 May 1923 at the Methodist Church, Longford. The following article was in the Examiner dated 10 May 1923.

The marriage of Hannah, fourth daughter of Mrs. Davey, of Longford, and the late Mr. George Davey, late of Deddington, and Henry L., only son of Mr. HL. England, and the late Mrs. England, of Sandy Bay, Hobart, took place on Wednesday afternoon at the Longford Methodist Church. Rev. George Arthur, M.A., was the officiating minister. The church was charmingly decorated with white roses and chrysanthemums and autumnal leaves by Misses Gladys Wheeler, and Millie Lee. The bride was given away by her young brother (Mr. Bert Davey) in the unavoidable absence of her elder brother (Mr. W. G. Davey, of Hobart). She wore a pretty frock of white organdie muslin embroidered with beads, and a wreath of orange blossoms and veil, the latter being loaned by her cousin (Mrs. Arthur Sherwood). She carried a shower bouquet of choice white flowers, tied with satin streamers. Her only attendant was her sister (Miss Doris Davey, who wore a frock of white crepe merle trimmed with blue. She carried a posey of white blossoms tied with blue streamers, and wore a gold bangle, the gift of the bridegroom. The bride’s brother (Mr. George Davey) supported the bridegroom as best man. Mrs. Davey (mother of the bride) wore a costume of navy blue serge and a black hat. Miss Gould played the “Wedding March” during the signing of the register, and as the newly-wedded couple left the church, Mrs. Davey entertained the bridal party and immediate relatives at wedding tea at the conclusion of the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. England left for Launceston, and later on the North East Coast. where the honeymoon will be spent. Mrs. England’s travelling dress was a smart navy blue costume, with cream crochet front and a navy blue and gold hat, with Oriental trimmings. She also wore the bridegroom’s gift – a handsome black fur. Her present to him was a pocket wallet and notebook.
Henry Lewis England and Hannah Davey at marriage May 1923 at Methodist Church, Longford, Tasmania.

Family life

Hannah and Henry had three daughters: Iris Alston 1924 – 1934, Margaret Grace 1928 – 2017 and Phyllis Joan born 1934 and still alive with stories to tell. Iris died one month after the birth of Phyllis, so my mum didn’t get to know her eldest sister. These are some memories my mum had about her mother and family life:

  • Hannah enjoyed crocheting and cooking especially fish.
  • She always helped on committees at Sandy Bay Methodist church.
  • We always went to Long Beach for picnics – caught the double decker tram at the bottom of King Street.
  • We had no car and no phone and only once dad had built the new laundry and bathroom did we get hot running water.
  • Hannah chopped off the top of her thumb helping with the new building.
  • We walked everywhere or caught the trams.
  • Hannah’s mum lived with us for six months of the year and the other half with Hannah’s sister Lizzie who lived in Lenah Valley.
  • We grew a lot of our own food and dad had a great peach tree in the backyard.
  • We used to have lots of visitors and cousins (who were back from the war) who would stay with us – Eileen (mentioned in Margaret’s post) stayed for four years while doing her high school study.
  • On Sunday, dad would cook the roast on the fuel stove while we went to church and Sunday School.
  • For tea every Sunday we would have sponge cake and scones and eat at the dining room table rather than the kitchen table. It was a special event.

A few other pictures of Hannah and the family:

Henry Lewis England died in March 1963 aged 74. Nearly four years to the day Hannah died March 1967 aged 67.

Readers: What memories do you have of your grandmother? Or maybe you have a relative called Hannah?


19 thoughts on “A favourite photo – 4 generations

  1. How great to have so many photos. Alas, I only have one (in a newspaper) of my grandfather, and a possible one of my grandmother – which I am still to prove.

    Hannah is quite a popular name in our paternal family history. I have two G G Grandmothers with this name.

    Rae Alexander

  2. Hi Sue, Martha Davey is the niece of the Husband of my Great Grandmother- Ellen Mahon and Joshua Colgrave. Lovely to see the photo – thank you.

    Note: Margaret also sent this extra information via email

    I noticed you have Ellen Mahoney in your tree (our Great Grandmother). I have a little information about her I can share. She was a lady of many name changes – born Ellen Mahon 9th October, 1849 in the Launceston Female Factory. Mother was Ann Mahon, father listed as unknown, but on Ellen’s Baptismal record there is a surname of a father. Ellen married John Weekley, a convict, that arrived on the William Jardine 2. Each time they had a child Ellen’s maiden name was spelt differently. I have Mahoney, Mahaine, Meaney and a couple more. On her son’s death certificate her maiden name was Doolan. Ellen was seven when her mother died and we believe she may have been brought up by John Doorby.

    Ellen and John Weekley had six children, and when John died she married Joshua Colgrave and had another six children.

    Ellen was buried in the former Charles Street Cemetery, Launceston.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Great to hear from a cousin. Wonder which number cousin it would be? Not sure if I have any more photos of Martha but have done a lot of research on the Colgrave family.

    • I really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for sharing! My name is Clare Anderson and I am an academic historian, studying the penal transportation of black, Creole and Asian convicts to VDL/ NSW. I’m really interested in your connection to the Mauritian convict “Doorby”. I am based in the UK, and I wonder whether you might have time to talk to me? My email is ca26@le.ac.uk. Thank you for reading!

        • Thanks so much for letting me know! I am interested in connecting with the families of ‘colonial’ convicts in VDL, and so my search for descendants continues. Thank you again, and all best wishes, Clare

  3. You are fortunate to know so much about this lady, but then you said it was hours of research!
    I never met my maternal grandmother she died 6 days before I was born.
    My paternal grandmother! Well I was told a number of times while in Tassie, “gosh you look like grandma!” Not sure if that was a compliment but think it was as everyone said she didn’t stand for any nonsense, but was very caring. One difference in us is grandma was shorter than I am, now that’s saying something!
    I have a lovely snap of her that I think I will write about.

  4. I’m sorry I’m not doing the #52 Ancestors, but I’m following it. My grandmothe led a very eventful life and I enjoyed reading Hannah’s story. I love the way you have set this out, especially the ‘Family Life’ section.

  5. Lovely read Sue. I too, thought the ‘Family Life’ section was set out well. I can’t recall any Hannah’s in my family, however I am privileged to be custodian of the family photos, so must make sure I incorporate them into my stories. Thank you Sue.

  6. Hi Sue again. I have been asked to do a couple of lectures pertaining to family history for the local U3A. This is right out of my comfort zone, however I will do them. One of the topics I have been asked to discuss is writing for family history. Could I please use this story as an example of writing the family history, especially as in a blog. I will of course give full acknowledgement to you as author. Cheers Pat Pack.

    • G’day Pat,
      Feel free to use anything on my blog. It is all my own work and I publish stuff under creative commons so as long as you acknowledge it came from me that is great. Hope your session goes well.

  7. I can’t think of any Hannah’s in my tree, but I’m sure there’s one or two as it’s quite a popular name.

    My paternal grandmother died when I was a child, but my maternal grandmother is still with us. She makes me do more family history research than I really need to by claiming she doesn’t know anything about a particular person or subject, only for me to find out details and her to turn around and tell me she knows! 😀

  8. My great grandmother was Lucy Grace England, She was Henry’s sister who died at 19of tb, my mum Shirley England told me that Henry raised my grandfather Lewis Maxwell England(not sure of father) who was born a few months before Lucy’s death. Would you happen to know if any of this is true ?

    • Hi Donna,
      Yes my mum said Lewis grew up in Sandy Bay often at their house or at his Aunty May Stirling’s house in Bellerive. Mum also thinks I might have taught some of his children or grandchildren when I was a teacher at Rokeby in the 80’s.

  9. Yes Hannah nee Davey is the sister of our John Davey born 1894-1931 married Mary Harvey their children were William ,Cyril ,Leonard ,Kath and Emily Hazel Newman (Frier) died18-8-2017.
    Do u have any info on The original John Davey (George’s)father and Ann Dixon Hannah’s Grandparents?

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