Hannah DAVEY

Hannah Davey was born in 1899 at Blessington which was over the hill from English Town in Tasmania. She was the 6th born out of 12 children to George and Martha Davey nee Colgrave.

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.

WEDDING BELLS: ENGLAND-DAVEY. 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 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:

Iris and Margaret in the backyard at Grosvenor Street, Sandy Bay
Iris and Margaret at Long Beach, Sandy Bay, Tasmania.
Henry, Hannah, Iris and Margaret at Hobart Regatta about 1929
Henry, Hannah, Margaret and Phyllis about 1937

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

George DAVEY

George was born on 31 May 1865, the fourth child of John and Ann(e) Davey nee Dixon. His name was not included on the birth registration on the 6 June 1865. George was one of 12 children born between 1860 and 1885. His father John died in 1888 while his mother Ann died in 1892.

George’s siblings were:

  • 1860 William John
  • 1861 Mary Elizabeth
  • 1863 Hannah Selina
  • 1867 Emma Louisa
  • 1869 Adam
  • 1872 Charles
  • 1873 Thomas
  • 1876 Samuel (Frank?)
  • 1878 Harry
  • 1879 Eliza Amy
  • 1885 Ellen Anne

Marriage and children

When George was 24 he married Martha Jane COLGRAVE who was only 16 at the time. They married at the house of Martha’s father in English Town on 13 March 1890 and the witnesses were her father Francis Colgrave and George’s mother Annie.


George and Martha had a large family born in the Evandale area.

  • 1891 Mary Ann – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1893 Emily Jane – informant George, farmer at English Town
  • 1894 John (Jack) – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1895 James George – informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1897 Elizabeth (Lizzie) – informant George, farmer at English Town
  • 1899 Hannah– informant George, farmer at Blessington
  • 1902 George
  • 1904 Elsie
  • 1907 Bertie Leonard
  • 1909 Leila Jessie
  • 1911 Doris Eileen
  • 1914 Frederick Trevor

In March 1891 George signed a requisition asking Eustace N Cameron Esq to be nominated for the House of Assembly representing the Morven (Evandale) district. Others who signed included Francis Colgrave, Francis T Colgrave, Samuel Colgrave, Henry Colgrave, William Colgrave and William Davey.

His working life

In June 1895, George was advanced 20 pounds for his contract with the Evandale Road Trust.

In 1898, George’s tender of 6 pound 10 shillings was accepted for section 1 of the road from Corra Linn to White Hills.

In July 1900, it is mentioned that George has property fronting on the River o Plain Creek and since searching on a map, have also found a Daveys Road which branches off Deddington Road. This is probably where I drove to many years ago to find the house where my grandmother Hannah had been brought up as a child.

Scale 1cm to 2.5km Red mark is River O Plain Creek near Daveys Road

In 1901, he built a road from Lilybourne to the Daveys and was paid 73 pounds 4 shillings and 11 pence. I haven’t been able to find a place called Lilybourne so maybe it was a property name instead.

In 1904, he won the tender for building a road from Wisloca to Steppes near Evandale. The only Steppes I knew was a property over near Bothwell in the Central Highlands far away from Evandale. It wasn’t until 1907 that the balance owing George was paid by the Evandale Road Trust.


By 1910 he was reforming and metalling 7 chains of road from English Town to F Colgraves and being paid 30 shillings per chain. This was Tender no 25.

At the Evandale Council meeting on Monday 3 April 1911, the Davey brothers and others had written letters about using money to improve roads in their area.


George was also involved with improving roads from Patterdale to Uplands near Deddington. Contract no 13 in September 1911.

By March 1912 he was boxing and metalling a road at Whisloca Flats near Blessington as well as building a bridge at Nile Farm near Deddington. Later in the year gravelling road from Boyd’s Culvert towards Lilybourne.

In 1913, part of George’s property was acquired to be used as a public road.


I’m wondering how George had time to be a farmer when he was building roads so often in the district he lived.

George died in November 1914, this was 20 years before my mother was born, so she never met her grandfather. His last son Frederick was only a month old when his father died in Launceston. George must have been ill as he wrote his last will on 29 October 1914 and three days later, he died.

George had been a farmer at Deddington according to his will which was proved in 1915. George left all his worldly goods and chattels to his wife Martha Jane who died in 1954, two years before I was born.

George is buried at St Andrews Uniting Church Cemetery in Evandale, northern Tasmania with his wife as well as two daughters who died young, Elsie aged 11 and Leila aged 7.

Martha Jane COLGRAVE

Martha Jane COLGREAVE was born 13 March 1874 to Francis and Susan Colgreave nee Boyd. The family lived at Blessington in northern Tasmania. Martha Jane was the fifth out of ten children born to this couple.

Martha Jane’s siblings were:

  • 1866 Francis John
  • 1867 Samuel
  • 1869 Frances Isabella
  • 1871 William F
  • 1876 Lillian Ada (Moy)
  • 1878 John Alfred Arthur
  • 1881 Ernest Charles
  • 1883 Ethel Mary Ann
  • 1886 Frederick George

Her mother Susan died in 1900 and her father in 1920.

In the 1870s, there is an F Colgrave providing wood for the local gaol and the Council Chambers. This could be Martha Jane’s father or grandfather who were both named Francis.

Marriage and children

Martha Jane married George DAVEY in 1890 when she was only 16 years old and he was 24. They married at Martha Jane’s home in English Town and her father Francis and George’s mother Annie were the witnesses.

The family, which eventually included 12 children, lived at Blessington near English Town where George made a living as a farmer but also was often contracted by the Evandale Road Trust to build and improve roads in the district. Read George’s biography to find out more about this.

This is the two room house in which the family lived in Blessington. Photo taken in 1987.

At the time of George’s death in November 1914, Martha was now on her own with 6 children aged 12 and under, the youngest being one month old Frederick.

The eldest daughter Mary Ann had married Gordon BURFORD in 1911, Emily Jane had married Trevor COX before 1913 and neither were now available to help with the younger children.

Martha Jane was still living in Blessington near English Town according to the 1914 Electoral Roll.

In 1915, her daughter Elsie died aged 11 and then in 1917 Leila passed away aged 7. Both girls were buried with their father in Evandale.

By 1928, Martha Jane had moved to Longford where she had bought a house to live in. She was now in her 50s and must have been a strong, determined woman to move house at her age.

Her daughter Elizabeth had married James BOXHALL and in the 1949 Electoral Rolls, Martha Jane was living with them in Oatlands where Jim was a policeman.

Martha Jane died in New Norfolk on 18 August 1954. She had outlived 6 of her children.

Remembrances from some of Martha Jane’s descendants

Phyllis (daughter of Hannah)

  • She lived at Longford. We holidayed there once a year. We went up by train.
  • When she was older she lived at Auntie Lizzie in New Norfolk for 6 months and at our place in Sandy Bay for six months.
  • She was a frail little lady.
  • She died about 10 days before your father and I were married.

Lorraine (daughter of Frederick, the youngest child)

  • I only remember an old lady who used to go & stay with Auntie Lizzie at Oatlands.
  • Think she also stayed with Auntie Hannah too.
  • We were living at Parattah near Oatlands & I was in Grade 4 when we came to live down in Newdegate St.

Denise (granddaughter of Lizzie)

  • As kids we had contact with Martha Jane – from memory both at Oatlands and New Norfolk
  • She used to sit in her wicker chair near the fireplace and we had to be quiet. This was nearly impossible as kids of 5 or 6.
  • She used to be waited on “hand and foot” – she seemed to be very old.