It was a beautiful, warm sunny February morning. Some of the descendents of the Hicks family gathered to celebrate the life of Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott, a great great grand daughter of James and Margaret Hicks) at St Augustine’s Anglican Cemetery in Bulli – and then off to have a Hicks Joy Callcott family reunion luncheon at the Woonona Bulli RSL Club.
It was a very, very long lunch where Daryl’s wife, Jenny, had the tables rearranged into one long table – and we shared lots of family stories. And some family members met others who they hadn’t seen in years or even in some cases had never met before. Hopefully some more family memories to come in the future.
We had hoped for a family get together at the 80th birthday of Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott) in October 2012, like we had done for Joan’s 70th birthday in 2002 at Stanwell Park. Coincidentally 2012 was also the 170th anniversary year of the arrival of James & Margaret Hicks in the Illawarra in 1842. And it was also the 175th anniversary year of the arrival of Mary Ann Hicks (wife of Henry Thomas) family, the McKenzie’s, who came from the Isle of Skye Scotland in 1837.
However Joan’s health deteriorated throughout 2012, and a family reunion at her 80th birthday was not to be. And so our 2013 reunion was after her November 5 2012 passing, and ultimately held on February 9 2013, when Joan’s remains were interred at St Augustine’s Bulli Anglican Cemetery. Reverend Leigh Roberts, Senior Minister of St Augustine’s Bulli, again performed the ceremony for Joan’s family. Joan had married Ross Adams at the same church in 1953, 59 years earlier.
Julie Lock Lee asked her sister Kerrie Christian to share some of the Hicks family stories at St Augustine’s Cemetery – Kerrie gave a brief history of Hicks family members, including those buried there since 1895
– James & Margaret (nee Brain) Hicks, Henry Thomas & Mary Ann (nee McKenzie)Hicks, Minnie Margaret Blundell (nee Hicks), Edith Florence (nee Hicks)& John Charles Joy, “Biddy” Alice Cook (nee Hicks), and “Molly” Mary Constance Callcott (nee Joy).
Henry Thomas Hicks had been one of the original church wardens at St Augustine’s Anglican Church Bulli, and so Reverend Leigh Roberts was busily taking notes (maybe he will use them as part of the 130th anniversary of the church, also occurring during 2013). Ian Callcott also pointed out the Martin Family graves (viz the grandparents of his late wife Lola (nee Martin)). Kerrie had also brought along some of the Hicks Family Bibles and Prayer Books which had probably not been outside the family homes in nearly a century.
The Hicks Family was an early pioneer, pre-railway era family in the Thirroul – Austinmer area. Michael Adams, an historian but no relation, has written about the pre railway era in the Illawarra , “Beyond Bulli“, where the Hicks family feature. Over the succeeding years, many of our Hicks family members have dispersed across Australia, and the globe. Today we believe that only four family members (from the Joy Callcott branch of the Hicks Family) still live in Thirroul – Margaret Risk (nee Joy), Kerrie Christian (nee Adams), Julie Risk and Katrina Christian. There are at least another four or five who live in the Bulli-Woonona area, and probably as many again in the Russell Vale-Corrimal area.
(More on James & Margaret Hicks, their eldest son, Henry Thomas & wife Mary Ann (nee McKenzie), their granddaughter Edith Florence & husband John Charles Joy, and their great grand children Kenneth Charles Joy (with wife Marjorie Tollner) and Molly (aka Mary Constance Callcott) (with former husband Russ Callcott) .
Six generations of Hicks Family members have been interred at St Augustine’s Anglican Cemetery Bulli since 1895. Molly Callcott (nee Joy, mother of Joan Adams), was the last Hicks Family member to be buried at St Augustines, in 1960. Molly’s niece, Margaret Risk (nee Joy), recalled that, in 1960, the cemetery was already considered “full”, however a small plot against a fence had been possible, given that three generations of Molly’s family were already buried there.
Over the years Joan had taken her children and grandchildren out to the cemetery to put flowers on the family graves, and was always very anxious that they not walk on any of the graves. Daryl Adams, Joan’s son, recalls his mum “going off her rocker” when she found Sunday School classes being held with the kids sitting on top of the marble and granite graves.
Since then, the remains of family members have been placed in the Memorial Columbarium Walls, a project which commenced with the redevelopment of the St Augustine’s Church building in the 1980’s. By 2013 four family members across two generations can be found in the Memorial Wall – Joan Adams and her husband Ross, Lola Callcott and her son Ian Craig Callcott. (Note – the remains of Molly Callcott’s brother, Kenneth Charles Joy, and his wife Marjorie Louisa Joy are at Bulli General Cemetery – in a family plot together with Marjorie’s parents George and Sarah (Sadie) Tolner). Russ Callcott, Molly’s former husband, was also buried at the Bulli General Cemetery).
Below : the Hicks Family Gravestones over the last 30 years – 1980’s – 2013.
It is a little sad that the graves are no longer as they were, pre 1980, and the condition of some headstones is deteriorating. At the time of Molly Callcott’s 1960 passing, Arthur Webb, husband of Molly’s Aunt Ida McKenzie Hicks aka “Aunty Jummy”, arranged for the Hicks Family headstones to be re-lettered. (Note – Unfortunately it has been the view of the influential Heritage Fraternity in Australia, that grave headstones should no longer be able to be re-lettered.)