Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

James Hull

James Prior Hull, born in London in 1818, and his wife Jemima (née Forster) born in 1825, emigrated to Australia about 1845. James became the licensee of a hotel near Bathurst and in 1849 of a hotel at Gurong. Their first child, Charles Arthur, was born in the latter town.

They returned to England in 1851 and on the voyage home a daughter, Emily, was born. A third child, James William, was born on 23 April 1852; he was a delicate child and the family history records that he ‘was always carried around on a cushion’. (This same James Jr. lived to the age of 109 years and when he died on 8 September 1961 had the distinction of being the oldest person in Australia!)[1]

With a fourth child, Alice, born in 1853 and his fortunes low, James decided in 1856 to return to
Australia on his own and try his luck on the recently discovered goldfields. He found no gold but set himself up as a builder and continued in this trade for the remainder of his working life. He soon sent for his wife and four children and they lived briefly in Wellington and Orange before settling in Molong. James and Jemima had eleven children, nine living to adulthood.

By 1889 the Hulls, with possibly two of their daughters, were living in Beecroft where James purchased a small block of land on the north-western corner of Beecroft Parade and Kirkham Street and built their weatherboard house with a central roof ventilator of rural design. The house style contrasted with the more sophisticated styles being built in the young village and was probably designed and built by James himself.[2]

Mrs Jemima Hull was a regular church attender at Anglican churches wherever she had lived, and on coming to Beecroft, ‘did not like being so far away from a church. She approached the diocesan authorities at St Andrew’s Cathedral and asked if a lay reader could be sent to Beecroft and indicated that the service could be held in her cottage. Her daughter recalled, ‘my mother was not a bigot and used to ask any minister she met if he would like to hold a service at Beecroft, so other people besides Church of England came to her cottage.’

Both Anglican and Wesleyan Methodist services were held in the Hull home from 1889 to 1891 and ceased when St John’s Church of England was opened, not because of any objections from Mrs Hull, but because of those of the Anglican minister.[3]

The Hulls left Beecroft in 1895 and moved to Marrickville, and Jemima was recorded in the local newspaper as ‘a much esteemed lady, a very energetic worker in church matters and [she] will be greatly missed’. [4] Jemima died in Ashfield in 1902 and James in Epping in 1906.[5]

         

 

                   


[1] Rhonda Holt, The Hull Family, Manuscript history.

[2] Land Titles Office 951/235.

[3] A.W. Smith, ‘Beecroft Methodist Church’, Manuscript, Mitchell Library 287. 1/S

[4] Cumberland Argus, 7 December 1895.

[5] Information from Miss Jessie Hull of Molong and Mrs Rhonda Hull of Wagga Wagga.

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