The Hanan family

The following pieces about Alice Hanan and her husband David Lindsay have been extracted, with permission, from a little book compiled and edited by Elizabeth Hanan entitled The Hanan Journey which provides an overview of the Hanan family history and tree and they provide an interesting  personal insight into my great uncle and aunt.

The earliest in the line appears to be Daniel Hanan born in 1785 in Castlemartyr, Cork, Ireland who married Blessing Taylor (born 1787 in Ireland) in 1818 in Cloyne, Cork. Daniel died in 1851 and Blessing in 1864 - both in Ireland. The couple had seven children between 1820-1835. The eldest, James Albert Hanan, emigrated first to Australia and then to New Zealand. The youngest, Robert Henry, also emigrated to Australia, while another sibling went to New York.

James Albert Hanan was born on 22 August 1820 in Castlemartyr and married Sarah Matilda Clarke, born 21 February 1828 in Limerick, Ireland, on 23 April 1860 in Melbourne, Australia. They both died in Invercargill, New Zealand - James in 1885 and Sarah in 1898. The couple had five children between 1859-1868 - the first two in Melbourne, the other three in Invercargill. Named after his father, James Albert Hanan was born in 1862 in St Kilda, Melbourne and moved with his parents to Invercargill between then and 1865. In 1887 he married Johanna Mary McGill born on 7 February 1867 in Dunedin, New Zealand and the couple had seven children between 1888-1909: Louisa Blessing Ethel (1888); James Albert Newton (1890); Alfred Ernest Stanley (1892); Leonard Carswell (1893); Alice Sarah Matilda (1899); Gordon Royland (1906); and Josiah Ralph (1909). James died in 1931 and Johanna in 1956 - both in Invercargill.

Alice Sarah Matilda Hanan was the fifth of seven children and the youngest daughter of James Albert and Johanna Mary McGill. She was brought up with her older sister and brothers in their family home in North Road, Invercargill. She attended Waikiwi Primary School as did all her siblings. She had no secondary education and wished she had been trained for a job. Her early life paralleled her sister Ethel’s (1988-1965) except that Alice was the practical out-of-house daughter and Ethel, 10 1⁄2 years older, was the domesticated in-house daughter. She moved with the rest of the family to hilly Dunedin and hilly Timaru before returning to flat Invercargill after the death of brothers Newton and Leonard.

Obtaining a driving licence without a test was common in early 20th century New Zealand and Alice achieved hers through experience alone, becoming the family driver attending to her father’s motoring needs around Invercargill and accompanying him to his draper shop in Dee Street. She readily drove on gravel provincial roads in Southland and Central Otago. She maintained an interest in travel and on a bus trip around the North Island met her future husband David Lindsay, whom she married in 1952. Her sea travels included: a 1935 visit to England and Ireland with her widowed mother, elder sister Ethel and youngest brother Ralph; a trip in 1937 to Japan with her mother; a voyage in the 1950s to the United Kingdom with her husband Dave (and maybe his brother William) to visit Lindsay relatives in Scotland; and in the 1960s a return UK visit with Dave accompanied by Ev Howie, Eirene (Anderson) Hanan’s eldest sister. Alice, Dave and Ev enjoyed holidays together.

After Alice married Dave, he moved from labouring work on Southland farms to wool store work in Invercargill. They lived in a one bedroom apartment upstairs in Commodore Flats and later moved downstairs to a two bedroom apartment in No 2 Commodore Flats, next door to her mother and Ethel. In 1956 or ‘57 they lived in brother Ralph’s and Eirene’s house in Elles Road – subsequently renamed Queens Drive - before buying their 15 Rugby Street home where Alice lived for the next 20 years. For many years she was a part owner of the Hanan holiday crib at Te Anau. Alice was very fond of Dave and missed him dearly after he died suddenly in 1970.

Aunty Alice, as she was known to her five nieces and two nephews, was interested in them and lent her black Vauxhall car to some of them. She took them to Oreti Beach where she drove along the hard sand and they played in the soft sand dunes. As a school girl, niece Jane often stayed with Aunty Alice and Uncle Dave while her parents were away. They were very kind to her and supported her activities and interests. Alice died on 19 May 1977 in Invercargill.

David Lindsay was born on 8 April 1898 in Airlie, Angus, Scotland. He attended primary school, considered he was taught well, and reported that all his fellow pupils could spell, read and write despite a ratio of 1 teacher to 60 pupils in a classroom. He maintained a respect for education and learning.

David, similar to many teenage boys and possibly underage, enlisted to be a soldier in the 1914-18 Great War serving in the 13th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, a Scottish infantry regiment. After the war some of his siblings sought adventure, a new life, and new opportunities, emigrating from Scotland – sister Annie with husband George Milne to Canada, David himself and William to New Zealand and another brother, Stewart, to Argentina. David never saw him again, but letters from his mother in Scotland gave him infrequent updates.

In New Zealand the two brothers worked on farms in Southland; David around Isla Bank and Thornbury, and William near Mossburn. Both were well regarded by their employers with whom they remained close friends in their retirements. William never married. However, in middle age David married Alice Hanan, born 10 June 1899 in Invercargill and he moved from the country to Invercargill to live at Commodore Flats in Tay Street and work at Wright Stephenson and Company grain and produce stores in Clyde Street. Never owning a car or obtaining a driver’s licence he cycled to work in all weathers, sometimes late at night or early in the morning. On his return home after each shift he would say a quiet, cheerful, musical “Whoo Whoo” for Alice before entering the house.

Assistance for Hanan relatives was willingly offered by tall up-right Dave. When his mother-in-law Mrs Hanan and later his sister-in-law Ethel Hanan were frail he provided physical support. He helped maintain the garden for Eirene and Ralph Hanan when they lived in Wellington.

Alice and Dave Lindsay lived modestly in their home at 15 Rugby Street, Invercargill. Dave was a keen gardener and liked cooking his own produce. In the evening he would sit quietly reading. He played simple card games with friends or with Alice and niece Jane Hanan. He enjoyed outings to farms where he had worked. Together Alice and Dave motored to Roxburgh and Te Anau for holidays and sought warm weather when travelling overseas. In the 1950’s Alice and Dave, accompanied by William, affectionately called Wee Willie, sailed to the United Kingdom to visit their Scottish relatives - the brothers’ first visit to the Northern Hemisphere in over 30 years. On 1 October 1970 Dave died suddenly at home in Rugby Street. He was survived by Alice and brother William - both of whom died a few years later. Respected by many people, Dave Lindsay was calm, kind and considerate, epitomising Scottish values of thrift and prudence. Some people regarded him as a wonderful person and he is fondly remembered for his contribution to the Invercargill Hanans throughout the 1950's and 1960's.

There is a small anecdote that can appropriately be related here. When Dave’s eldest sister, Jane (Jean) Lindsay, who married Herbert George Taylor, died in 1960, Herbert gave his daughters Aileen and Dorothy the choice of Jean’s two wedding rings - the one that he had bought for her and the one that she had inherited from her mother Eliza Jane (Drummond). My mother Aileen chose her grandmother’s ring. When Dave and Alice and Will visited Aileen and her family on one of their trips to the UK, on an impulse Aileen gave Dave the wedding ring - after all, it had belonged to his mother. It was too small for his ring finger, but fitted his little finger and his brother Will said he should wear it there. My mother had obviously never forgotten this incident and when, out of the blue, I was contacted by Jane Hanan, a niece of Alice, who had serendipitously come across the Lindsay page on this website, my mother, when I related this, asked me to enquire about the ring. But who expected to know what had happened to it after nearly 60 years, especially when Dave and Alice were childless. However, I duly asked Jane and she replied telling my mother not to worry because the ring was safe and sound in her possession - and she attached a couple of photos which I forwarded to my brother to show my mother. What are the chances? Jane Hanan contacting me, my mother remembering the ring, Jane having the ring, my mother finding out about it just a week or so before she died? And another co-oincidence - the ring was possessed by three people named Jane (and it might even have belonged in the first place to another Jane - Jane Stark, my grandmother’s grandmother!)