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Obituaries Australia

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Hawker, Lady Bessie (1825–1901)

We regret to announce the death of Lady Hawker, relict of the late Hon. G. C. Hawker, which occurred at Rottingdean, Brighton, England, on June 10, at the age of 77, years. Lady Hawker's husband was for many years one of the most prominent figures in political life in South Australia, and as a fascinating and polished speaker he had few equals. His wife was one of the leaders of society, and during her long residence in this State she did all in her power to develop the intellectual and artistic taste of the community. The morning after the death of Mr. Hawker there appeared in The Advertiser the following paragraph:—"There is a pathetic interest in the report published elsewhere of the intention of her Majesty the Queen to confer a knighthood on Mr. Hawker had he lived until the time when the Birthday honors are usually distributed. Captain Charles Sturt, the intrepid explorer, who held office in the earliest Legislative Council of South Australia, died just before a similar honor could be bestowed upon him, and the Colonial Office, out of respect for his memory, arranged that his widow should receive the privilege of using the title and the same precedence as though her husband had lived to assume the decoration." The suggestion of this precedent bore fruit, for the following cable message was received from the then Agent-General for South Australia on September 14, 1895:—"Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to issue an order conferring rank upon the widow of the Hon. G. C. Hawker, as if the order of knighthood had been conferred upon her husband." Lady Hawker then intimated her acceptance of the honor. Her ladyship, who was Miss Bessie Seymour, was married to Mr. Hawker in Adelaide, on December 16, 1845. Her father originally went to Mount Barker, where he spent some years, after which he moved to the south-east. Lady Hawker had 16 children, and when she was honored by the late Queen of England there were 12 left to congratulate her upon the distinction bestowed upon her by her sovereign. The Rev. B. Hawker, son of Lady Hawker, was at one time chaplain to the Bishop of Adelaide, and he married in 1896 a daughter of Sir Fowell Buxton, ex-Governor of South Australia. The rev. gentleman and his wife left this State for England shortly after they were married. Mr. E. W. Hawker, another son, represented the district of Stanley for three years in the House of Assembly. Lady Hawker resided at the charming and well-known residence, "The Briars," Medindie, for over 30 years.

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Additional Resources

Citation details

'Hawker, Lady Bessie (1825–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 9 August 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Seymour, Bessie

3 August 1825
Eyre Court, Galway, Ireland


10 June 1901
Rottingdean, Sussex, England

Cultural Heritage