William Henry Bannister and Christina Presnell

William Henry Bannister was born c1851 at Plenty, Tasmania, Australia; the eldest son of George Bannister and Ann McCabe.  He married Janet Walker (nee Robertson) on 2 September 1874 in Brighton, Tasmania.  Janet was born 2 November 1846 at Tea Tree, Tasmania; the daughter of Scottish immigrants James Robertson and Jannet Robinson.

William and Janet’s daughter, Olive Lilian Bannister, was born in 1875. Sadly, Janet died in 14 March 1876 in Hobart, Tasmania of Tuberculosis – the same condition as her previous husband, Andrew Walker, who died in 1873 aged only 32.  William Henry Bannister registered Janet’s death, and by this stage was living at Broad Marsh, Tasmania.

William remarried to Christina Presnell on 26 December 1877 in Ouse,Tasmania. Christina was the eldest daughter of Edward (Edmund / Ned) Dadge Presnell and Jane Ann (Annie) Harrison, and born 7 December 1859 at Ouse.

Their story is coming soon, however in the meantime you may enjoy this article and photo from The Mercury newspaper, 1937.

MARRIED 60 YEARS

Mr. and Mrs. W. Bannister, of Osterley

Pioneers of New Country.

An important milestone in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. W. Bannister, of Osterley, a small settlement on the main Queenstown Rd., beyond Ouse, was passed yesterday, when the couple celebrated the 60th anniversary of their wedding.

Mr and Mrs Bannister have lived practically all their lives in the Hamilton Municipality, including 54 years at Osterley, and are widely known and much respected in the district. Mr. Bannister, who is in his 89th year, is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. G. Bannister, who migrated from England and settled at Plenty, where Mr. Bannister was born. Mrs. Bannister is 78 years of age, and is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. E. Presnell, Shorefield, near Ouse.

The couple were married in 1877 at The Ouse Church of England by the Rev. A. Adams, and for some years they lived at Ouse. Mr. Bannister was regarded as one of the best shearers in the country in his younger days, and he was a recognised hunter and explorer. He has a thorough knowledge of the wild country beyond Ouse and towards Lake St. Clair. About 42 years ago, Mr. Bannister worked on the overland telegraph and Great Western Railway survey between Ouse and the West Coast, and he was responsible for packing stores over the rough country to gangs working on the route. He spent some time when a young man at Mt. Lyell, and can remember when tents formed the main feature of accommodation for men at Queenstown. In those days all stores for places beyond Ouse had to be taken by bullock wagon to the Clarence River, near Lake St. Clair, and packed on horses to small settlements off the road.

EARLY STRUGGLE

Mr. and Mrs. Bannister took up their residence at Osterley 54 years ago, and Mr. Bannister was frequently away from home for long periods, leaving his wife alone with her small family in the wild country. Mr. Bannister visited Ouse on only three occasions in 11 years when the old couple first took up residence at Osterley, and she lived a lonely but contended life In the small bush home which she helped her husband to establish.

“The only way to get to Ouse in those days,” said Mrs. Bannister, “was by bullock wagon or by walking, and, with a small family to care for, a mother in the bush had little chance of leaving her home, even if she wished to visit different places.” Mrs. Bannister has rendered much service to mothers of the district during her long residence at Osterley In the capacity of a bush nurse. Her work in this direction has been appreciated, and has won her the friendship of all residents in the surrounding country.

When the bush fires swept the Derwent Valley In 1934 a large house and its entire contents owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bannister at Osterley was burnt during their absence in Hobart. The people of the surrounding district rallied to their aid, and in a short time a new house was provided for them in the same locality.

Twelve months ago, Mr. Bannister suffered a serious illness, which left him rather deaf, but he is now enjoying good health. Mrs. Bannister also enjoys good health, and possesses a keen sense of humour.

There were 10 children of the marriage, seven of whom are living. There are more than 40 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. The living members of the family are: Mrs. A. Jarvis, Osterley; Mrs. C. Rainbird, Moonah; Mr. H. Bannister, Ouse; Mrs. J. E. Cooper, Queenstown; Mrs. R. McIntyre, Bronte; Mrs. W. Dawson, Victoria; Mr. W. Bannister, Bronte.

William Henry Bannister and Christina Bannister (Presnell) in 1937.
Photo from The Mercury, 15 December 1937.

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