John William Kingshott (1857-1923) and Hannah (Annie) Oakley (1855-1923

John William Kingshott was born at Dry Creek, Tasmania on the 3rd of September in 1857.  He was the son of Francis Kingshott (who had been born in Greatham, England) the same Francis Kingshott who’d come with his mother to the colony as a child. John’s mother was Mary Ann Morgan of New Norfolk in Tasmania. 

New Norfolk these days is quite close to Hobart. According to later records John’s family lived in the area of New Norfolk known as Glenfern or as it was recorded on his records Glen Fern.

Glenfern, New Norfolk
Glenfern, New Norfolk

After his father became a free-man John would be raised along with his many siblings on his parents farm at Lachlan River in New Norfolk, Tasmania. His father Francis is recorded in 1866 as carrying on farming in the area.  Records later showed that John also owned an apple orchard. Family stories I was told many years confirmed that ‘Grandma Edie’ had told her grandchildren when they were growing up that her father had had an apple orchard and that was where they grew up in Lachlan.

New Norfolk from Pulpit Rock Lookout

John (1857) was the second born of eight children. 

Jane Ann Morgan Kingshott born in 1854.

Caroline Kingshott born in 1859.

Sophia Kingshott born in 1865

Francis George Kingshott born in 1868.

William Henry Kingshott born in 1874. Ernest Kingshott who was born in 1875 but died aged seven months and finally Amy Louisa Kingshott who was born in 1880.

At the age of 26 John married a local girl Hannah Oakley (who was known as Annie). The marriage was held on the 24th November 1883 at the Wesleyan Parsonage in New Norfolk, Tasmania. John and Hannah gave their religion as Church of England. John recorded his employment as a Labourer and Hannah’s recorded her occupation as ‘private life.’ At the time Hannah was 28.

Hannah ( who was known as Annie) Oakley was born 24th April 1855 at Macquarie Plains, New Norfolk, Tasmania.  She was the eldest daughter of John Oakley and Mary Ann White.  John Oakley had come to Australia as a convict and Mary Ann had come aboard the ship ‘Beulah’ as an assisted immigrant. Mary Ann had been sponsored to leave England and emigrate to Australia from a workhouse program. Hannah’s siblings were Edward Arthur Oakley born. 1856, John Morrice Oakley and Sarah Ann Oakley (twins) born.1859, James Oakley born.1861, Elizabeth Margaret Oakley born 1863 (died 1864) Mary Jane Oakley born.1864, Thomas Francis Oakley born.1866.

John and Hannah (Annie) would have ten children.

(1) John Thomas George Kingshott, born 1884. (2) Matilda Blanche Kingshott and (3) Sarah Elizabeth Margaret Kingshott (twins?). (4) Edith Mary Kingshott born 1887, (5) Victoria Hannah Louise Kingshott born 1889, (6) Amy Reuben May Kingshott born 1890, (7) Alfred Richard Maurice Kingshott born 1892, (8) Francis Henry Kingshott (born and died in 1893), (9) Emiline Charlotte Kingshott born 1895 and (10) Kathleen Phyllis Ada Kingshott born in 1898.

This Kingshott generation lived through a time when a very young Australia was leaving behind its European pioneering roots and as the century turned becoming its own federated nation. John and Hannah would raise their children in a time where they were still very much the products of a past generation whilst the new generation sought to distance itself from a convict past and often go to considerable lengths to hide it.

Voting for Federation
Voting for Federation

The first world war would take place during their lives with a grandson who would go to Anzac Cove in Gallipolli as a driver and come back a war veteran. Another relation would make the newspapers when he his wife ran off with a fellow whose wife and just died. She would leave a household of seven children behind. Another grandchild, aged 2 would die horribly from burns sustained after falling into a copper of boiling water.

Other children and grandchildren made it through school with awards and recognition.  Others still never made it out of childhood.   One young relation has his leg badly mangled in a lorry wheel when it becomes caught. Other Kingshott boys played cricket for their local teams and made the papers doing so, feted for their prowess. John’s brother William, was brought to court on the health act for leaving a pub door open at the Wheatsheaf Hotel! From what I’ve found I think this Kingshott might have been the Publican.  Exciting for those of us who would like to find a Pub in the family! My great grandmother, their daughter Edith Mary left Tasmania for New Zealand, and married Ernest Whitehead a Kiwi. They would eventually leave New Zealand and settle in Australia.

John William Kingshott and Hannah (Annie) Oakley lived their early years at Lachlan. On the 17th February 1887 their daughter Edith Mary Kingshott was born and as a neat bit of interesting trivia, Hannah’s sister Mary Jane who had married George Frederick Hay had also had a baby in February in New Norfolk. When she registered her son Syderick Hay, she also registered her niece, Edith Mary Kingshott. At the time both Hannah and Mary Jane’s husbands gave their occupation as farm-labourers.

In 1891 At the age of 33 life for the Kingshott’s would change significantly. John had his first attack of a mental health illness that would begin a cascade of what was termed ‘insanity’ and this would feature heavily throughout the rest of his life. Official papers that I was able to acquire (having been released since that time) show that John would have many such attacks over the years and these would feature a strong belief and determination that he needed to harm himself, or indeed kill himself.

1893 would also prove to be a hard year for John and Hannah when their newborn boy Francis Henry Kingshott would die at 9 weeks of age on the 7th June of influenza.

On the 19th May, 1911 John’s mother Mary Ann Morgan (Hay) Kingshott died. Whether this was the trigger is not known, but John’s son (known as George) and his wife (Hannah) reported that John had been ‘having an attack of insanity’ since early February of that same year, and had several times threatened to and indeed attempted to take his own life. His wife (Hannah) had asked the ‘trooper’ (local police) to take him to the hospital, fearing for his life. At this time John was 53 years old. John was admitted on the 20th May 1911 under the Insane Persons Hospital Act the the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane. At the time of admission he was 9 stone and 12 lbs and he was admitted to ‘back division’. He would be discharged home from the hospital on the 9th August, 1911.

It is probable that John may not have been able to ‘keep the farm’ going because in 1914 at the age of 57 John was included on the electoral rolls with his occupation given as ‘labourer’.

Two years later on the 24th September, 1916 John was re-admitted to the back division of the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane. By this time John was aged 59. Prior to his admission to the asylum he had been an in-patient at the General Hospital of New Norfolk for a time. At this time John’s weight was 9 stone. He was recorded as a man of five feet four inches. Two days later on the 26th September a medical certificate was signed stating that John was a lunatic with a mental disease, also afflicted with melancholia and that he would follow others around like a child.

Between 1919 and 1923 (at the age of 62) John was listed as living in New Norfolk, again with an occupation of labourer.  Similar information was included in the 1922 electoral rolls. However, it is possible that this information was not reflective of the truth as John remained at the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane from 1916 until his death on the 6th October, 1923. John was aged 66. His cause of death was given as chronic bronchitis and heart failure.

What the newspapers and records don’t always know is how close and loving this family were.  I have hand written letters gratefully received from one of my aunts recollecting how the Kingshott family stuck together even when they were separated by distance. How one sister would come and stay with another sister in times of hardship and in times of leisure.  The letters that would go back and forwards across the Tasman sea offering support and news.

The hospital records show that John and Hannah’s children were involved in supporting their parents (within a limited capacity). The brothers who must have shared a drink at the bar of the local and toasted their wins and commiserated their losses. Their father’s serious health issues must have caused them a great deal of worry.

St Matthews Church New Norfolk
St Matthews Church New Norfolk

I have acquired the patient records for John from the archives in Tasmania, these relate to his admissions and time at the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane. 

HSD284/1/2475 Kingschott, John William dob c.1857

Patient file: HSD284/1/2475 Kingschott, John William dob c.1857

HSD285/1/1546 Kingshott, John William dob c.1858

HSD285/1/1547 Kingshott, John William dob c.1858

New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane.
New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane.
On the 6th October 1923 John died at the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane aged 66.  A message is placed in the funeral notices of the Hobart Mercury by his family.

“John William, dearly beloved husband of Annie Kingshott, aged 66 years. Hannah is listed as living at Humphrey Street in New Norfolk.

Within two months on the 19th December 1923 Hannah is also recorded in the funeral notices of the Hobart Mercury;

KINGSHOTT- On December 19, 1923, at  her late residence, Humphrey-street, New   Norfolk, Hannah, relict of the late John William Kingshott, aged 68 years. The Mercury Hobart Newspaper.

When I checked maps and records I found that Humphrey Street is one of the boundary streets that encapsulates the asylum.  The other streets being Grey Street, Willow Court, George Street, The Avenue and the Derwent River.

Both John and Hanah are buried in the New Norfolk Cemetary.  St Matthews Church of England in New Norfolk being the family church.

2 thoughts on “John William Kingshott (1857-1923) and Hannah (Annie) Oakley (1855-1923

  1. Thank you for your story re John William Kingshott He was my husband’s gt gt grandftather. , My hubands grandmotther was Matilda Blanche Embrey nee Kingshott ( one of the twins ) who lived in Sydney NSW until her death 1947 when my husband Reginald John JACK Baxter was 10years old and he remembers going to visit her in Redfern quite often.

    • Hello Norma, what a wonderful contact. Thank you so much. I haven’t heard to date very much from my great-grandma Edie’s sisters/brothers so this was a fabulous connection. I don’t suppose your husband has any idea why Edith went to New Zealand? None of us have been able to work out how she was living in Tasmania and then wound up in NZ. We know she married over there before coming back to mainland Australia but it is all a bit of a mystery. Sadly Edie had a pretty rough life all up. Thank you for your warm comments. Kind regards Darienne.

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