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Hall, William Smith (1819–1894)

Death has been been very busy of late amongst the old people, and on Friday last laid its hands on Mr William Smith Hall, a very old river resident. Mr Hall was the son of the late Mr George Smith Hall, of Lilburndale, Hawkesbury River, another old Hawkesbury native, who reached the ripe old age of 87 years, and who was born in this locality. His early boyhood was spent about his father's farm, and his education was received from the clergyman of the Ebenezer Church, which was used also as a school, his grandfather being one of the founders of this, the oldest Church in New South Wales. At the age of about 18 or 19 he went into the back country, to what was then known as the Big River, the other side of Moree, where he for many years was engaged in pastoral pursuits. At an early age he was manager of four or five station properties belonging to his uncles, Matthew, Thomas and Ebenezer Hall. He was one of the pioneers of that district, and it may be well understood that the life of the settlers was one of hardship and toil, the country being unopened and rough. People in the present day, living in luxury and comfort, can hardly realize the state of the country in those early years. Deceased used often to tell his sons that in the early times it was hardly safe to go from his hut to the stockyard, owing to the numerous blacks and their hostility. It was owing to this life of hardship in the bush in his younger days that he later on contracted rheumatism, from which for the past fourteen years he suffered acutely. After a long residence "out-back," during which time he married and brought up a family, he came to reside near St Albans, McDonald River, where he carried on a farm for a few years, and in his intercourse with the people of the McDonald, he endeared himself by his gentlemanly conduct and humane disposition. In 1869 he was appointed a Magistrate of the colony, and he and Mr Walker were most assiduous in their duties on the Bench, and were most regular attendants. After residing there some time, he came to live in Windsor, in the house now occupied by his son, Mr Brinsley Hall, where he remained about ten years; but being used to country life, he decided to end his days in rural simplicity, and with [that] object in view he built a residence near Ebenezer, which he named "Bungool," where he resided till his death. The present property has been in the hands of the family for many years, being granted to the deceased's grandfather, George Smith Hall, by the Imperial Government in 1803, so that the Hall family can lay claim to being one of the oldest families in the colony. Deceased's grandfather was one of the founders of the old Presbyterian Church at Ebenezer; he and other Presbyterians working with their own hands in their spare time to quarry the stone for the building. It is related that on moonlight nights they used to get together and do the work, after a hard day's toil on their farms. While at work one moonlight night they were disturbed by the military quartered in Windsor, an officer surprising them for the purpose of enquiring the meaning of their operations, a suspicion having arisen that the settlers were building a fortification. The officer's fears, however, were soon allayed, and the work was proceeded with. Deceased used often to relate stirring stories told by his grandfather of the olden times. Deceased had been suffering for the past 14 years; and he was seized with an attack of influenza, which carried him off at the advanced age of 75 years. Mr Hall was the father of Mr Brinsley Hall, of this town, and of Messrs Norman and George Hall, who resided with him at his residence on the River, situated at Swallow Rock. The funeral party left deceased's late residence at 2 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, the sons bearing the coffin from the house to the River, where a great number of residents of the district, old friends of the deceased, embarked in boats and followed the remains, the long flotilla forming an impressive sight. In this way the journey was made to the Ebenezer Presbyterian Burial Ground, where the interment took place. About 150 people met the boats here, coming from all parts–Windsor, Wilberforce, Pitt Town, and other places down the River. The Church was reached about 3 o'clock, the Rev J. Ayling conducting the service there, and also at the grave. Deceased was buried in the family vault. The coffin was a very handsome one of polished cedar, with heavy silver mountings, and was made by Mr T. Collison, of Windsor, who carried out all the funeral arrangements.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hall, William Smith (1819–1894)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hall-william-smith-17738/text29328, accessed 21 September 2019.

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