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Hannah Barnett [b.]

We are grateful to Jacquey (granddaughter of Hannah Barnett & Thomas George Church) & Rob for information on the Church family in Australia

Hannah Barnett was the first child of Arthur George Barnett and Kate Webster, born in Dunsden, Oxon in Jan-March 1876 & christened at Sonning, Berks on April 17th, 1876.

At the time of the 1881 census, Hannah was listed with her parents at Hampstead Farm, Eye and Dunsden, Oxon. She was 5 years old.

In 1891 Hannah was at school at Hemdean, Caversham, Oxon.

She was again with her parents when the 1901 census was taken at Priest Hill, Caversham, Oxon.

Hannah married Thomas George Church on March 21st, 1903 at Caversham. Thomas was born January 14th 1879 at Warfield, Bracknall, Berks, the son of Rebecca Kimber & Thomas John Church, a cor dealer. Hannah (known as Nance) and Thomas were married after the calling of banns. Thomas was 24, a bachelor, corn merchant, of Erleigh Rd, Reading & his father also a corn merchant, was deceased. Hannah was 27, a spinster of 33 Prospect St, Caversham. Her father, Arthur George Barnett, was a corn merchant, retired.
Witnesses were Arthur G Barnett, Rebecca Church (probably Thomas' mother) and ? Church.

One of Hannah & Thomas' hobbies was cycling as shown by the photo below of the Burnham Beeches cycling club taken on an outing c1900. The note on the right explaining who is who on the photo was sent from Thomas to his niece Stella Fry in the 1950s. Hannah is #6 & Thomas #7 on the photo. Hannah's brother, Arthur Reeve Barnett is #1, & her sister Rose Marion is #2. Several of the other people marked are sisters & brother of Thomas.


In 1911 Hannah & Thomas were living at Yewstocks, Hardenhuish, Chippenham, Wiltshire & Thomas was a corn merchant manager. They had 3 children at home James Arthur (7), Kathleen Mary (5) & Thomas Reeve (3).

Thomas was the informant of the death of Hannah's father in December 1913.

Hannah, Thomas & their young children emigrated to Albany, Western Australia, leaving London on  November 26th, 1920 on the S.S. Miltiades. They arrived in Albany on January 7th, 1921. Thomas was recorded as a corn salesman and son James as a clerk on the ship's manifest. A record in the J S Battye Library of West Australian History Ephemera Collection – Collection Listing Pioneer Women’s Memorial Fund, PR 8894 indicates that the family came to settle in Western Australia – see the following entry for Hannah Church:

 ' Denmark.Settled on virgin land with young family in primitive conditions, with one horse transport 1921.'

Information from Hannah's granddaughter Jacquey (daughter of James Arthur Church [b.]) & her husband Rob reveals that 'Hannah & Thomas had a small acreage 5 miles from the Denmark town site adjacent to the Denmark River, consisting of bush land and massive Karri trees that required clearing by hand. The ruins of their Cottage is still there, along with a huge English Oak tree. It is believed that Hannah brought the Acorn seed with her from England and planted it herself. James Arthur and his brother Thomas Reeve worked on building roads in the area to support the family during this period. In 1933 whilst working as a farmer, Thomas Reeve was injured by a horse and died about 1 month afterwards in Denmark Hospital aged 25. James built his own cottage on the property for his family and lived there until his death in 1980.'

In 1921, Western Australia embarked on a group settlement scheme which saw 6,000 British families migrate to Western Australia to become farmers. The scheme aimed to increase Australia's population after World War I and decrease the reliance on imported agricultural goods.  

Hannah died in the Denmark District Hospital, Albany, Western Australia on October 16th,1945.  She was described as ‘a delightful & pleasant lady who was a friend to all & an enemy to none’ in an obituary that appeared in the Albany Advertiser on October  25th, 1945.  She had been an active member of the Anglican community.

Thomas died in Denmark, Western Australia on June 8th, 1962. Both Hannah & Thomas were buried in Denmark Cemetery.


The children of Hannah Barnett & Thomas George Church were:

b. James Arthur Church born September 13th, 1903 at 43 Teign St, Teignmouth, Devon; died November 23rd, 1980 at Denmark, Western Australia

b. Kathleen Mary Church born April-June 1905 at Reading, Berks; died in 1985 in Albany, Western Australia

b. Thomas Reeve Church born July-September 1907 at Chippenham, Wilts; died January 20th, 1933 at Denmark, Western Australia

b. Nancy Church born May 5th, 1911 at & christened June 11th, 1911 at Hardenhuish, Wilts.

b. Brian Geoffrey Church born April 27th, 1917 & christened May 27th, 1917 at Hardenhuish, Wilts; died September 17th, 2005 at Denmark, Western Australia



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