Thomas Farr and Hannah Martin

Bones in the Belfry home page

Parents :    Joseph Farr and Mary Ann Whitford           Charles Martin and Francis Prickett

Thomas Farr (1824 Southgate Middlesex, m Hannah Martin 1849 Camden Town, London, d 1901, St Kilda Vic)
Hannah Martin  (b 1829 Islington Middlesex, d 1890 St Kilda)
    Alice Louisa Farr (b 1850 Somers Town London, m John Bisset 1872 Ballarat, d 1916 Murrumbeena Vic)
    Sarah Ann Prickett Farr (b 1852 Camden Town London, m Francis Longmore 1875 Ballarat, d 1920 Kensington Vic)
    Charles Augustine Farr (b 1854 Islinton London, d 1855 Collingwood Vic)
    Emma Elizabeth Farr (b 1856 Ballarat Vic, m Francis Thomas Axford 1879 Ballarat, d 1909 Ballarat)
    Edwin Farr (b 1858 Ballarat, m Louisa Jane Briant 1884 Presb Manse Ballarat, d 1943 Northcote)
           Winifred Emma Farr (b 1890 Northcote, m Norman Thompson 1918 , d 1994 Preston)
    Arthur Farr (b 1861 Ballarat West, m Rose Emma White 1894 St.Pancras London, d 1927 Adelaide)
    Leigh Farr (b 1864 Ballarat, m Ellen Coralie (Corrie) Valentine 1889 Ballarat, d 1938 St Kilda)
    Edith Lucy Farr (b 1866 Ballarat, m William George Hansen Ellson 1894 St Kilda, d 1951 Croydon Vic)
    Lucius Farr (b 1869 Ballarat, d 1888 St Kilda)
    Ethel Maude (Jum) Farr (b 1871 Ballarat, m Arthur Vincent Kemp 1899 Melbourne, d 1952 Sydney NSW)
    Millicent Caroline (Tim) Farr (b 1874 Ballarat, d 1962 St Kilda)

Picture of the family (big but good)

Thomas was a Carpenter, so was Edwin
Hannah, Leigh, Lucius and Thomas are all in the same grave in St Kilda cemetery

Picture of Thomas Farr's Mining Right, from David Farr
Picture of Arthur Farr's Ballarat house, 1890, from David Farr.
Embroidery found in the bible,  from David Farr.

The following material is based on material prepared by Glenis Crocker for a Martin and Farr reunion she organised in Ballarat

Hannah Martin's Sampler
Letter to Francis Longmore


Thomas Farr was born in Southgate, Middlesex.  His family were Non-Conformist, attending the Weld Chapel, where the births of the third daughter Amelia and subsequent children were recorded.
Hannah Martin was born at the house of her parents Charles Martin and Frances Prickett, at 134 Upper Street, Islington, in the County of Middlesex on 21st. September 1829.
Thomas and Hannah lived with Hannah's parents for at least some of the time after their marriage.  At the time of the 1851 Census, they are listed as living in the same household as Hannah's parents Charles & Francis, and her brother Henry and sister Louisa. in 38 Goldington St North, Camden Town.  Their first daughter Alice was born there. 
    Thomas together with his wife Hannah and three children Alice, Sarah and Charles came to Melbourne on the "Aberfoyle". arriving in December 1854 having left England in August. Also on the ship were his wife's parents, Charles and Frances Martin and their daughter Louisa with her husband James Crump and their child Jasper..  Thomas is recorded as saying he came to Australia in 1853, yet shipping records show him listed with all the family on the "Aberfoyle" in 1854.  A Thomas Farr is listed as an unassisted passenger on the "Woodstock" in 1853, so perhaps he sailed out to look at the opportunities for himself before the whole family emmigrated to join Hannah's two brothers, Charles and Henry, who had come out in 1852.  Support for this would come from looking at shipping lists from Australia to England, looking for Thomas returning to England.
Ballarat Rate Books show that Thomas Farr was living in Dawson St (no allotment number given) from 1856.  He was paying rates on two adjacent blocks, one with a workshed on it, the other a cottage.  Thomas Farr was a carpenter, as also was Charles Martin and James Crump.
According to directories 1855/1856 he is listed as "Carpenter Ballarat", and from the birth notices of the children he was still living in Ballarat up to 1874
All his subsequent children were born in Ballarat, and his first daughter Alice was married to John Bisset of Castlemaine from the house in Dawson St.
In the 1880's the family moved from Ballarat to Melbourne.  The exact date is uncertain, but Rate records should give an answer to this.  Post Office directories listed Thomas as still being in Ballarat for a number of years after he was known to have shifted to Melbourne.  Possibly his business continued under someone else's management, or else the directories are not very reliable..
In 1888 their youngest son Lucius died from tubercular meningitis, and Hannah died of TB in 1890.
The 1889 directory listed Thomas as "St Kilda" and it appears that in 1890/1891 he was in partnership with his sons Leigh and Arthur as contractors at Nicholas Chambers, 101 Swanston Street, Melbourne. From 1890 to 1898 his residential address was 175 Hotham Street, St. Kilda. . Melbourne directories for 1893/94, have his son Leigh was at 173 Hotham St.  By 1898, W.G.H. Ellson, one of Thomas's sons-in-law, had shifted into 193 Hotham St.
"The Argus"          Thursday 13th, February, 1890.
          FARR   On 12th. Feb. at her residence "Hiawatha Terrace", Hotham Street Balaclava, Hannah, beloved wife of Thomas Farr, late of Ballarat, Age 60 years.
The Argus"      Saturday 20th July 1901.
FARR   On 19th. July at "Amnesty" Brighton Road,  St. Kilda, Thomas Farr, Age 77 years.
He is buried in St. Kilda cemetery, Grave Number B,0242, 00761.
According to death records the family were Baptists.

Hannah Martin's Sampler

This is a photograph of the needlework sampler done by Hannah as a young girl.

Letter to Francis Longmore

This letter is from Thomas and Hannah Farr, written by Thomas to Francis Longmore, in reply to Francis asking for Annie's hand in marriage. Transcribed by Robyn Lawther.

30 Dawson Street, Ballarat
January 31st 1873.

Mr. Longmore,
Dear Sir,
    Your letter has been read by Mrs. Farr and myself we are not surprised at your request but young man do you know what you are asking for? do you know what a prize you are seeking to obtain? Have you fully considered the responsibility and care you are trying to entangle yourself with? have you looked all these things and a number besides full in the face-- some perhaps you have some perhaps you have not, for recollect - love is blind. We will hope you are not unmindful of the great gtt we have in our procession, ready and walling to bestow it on any-one who will undertake to guard and protect it as well or better than we have done. You have shown a most persevering and undaunted spirit in at least gaining the consent of your hearts best love, we hope such a spirit and determination to succeed may never flag.
    You herewith have our consent to one of the best bit of flesh and blood to be found in petticoats, now consider yourself a lucky fellow. But don't dance about like that, you have not got her yet. We know not of your intentions as to the way and means you are going to adopt as to time, it must remain a question you know we are both to part with it, its all very well to open the cage and let the bird fly, better it live with the old birds until as good or as safe a cage presents itself. Take our advice don't be in to great a hurry, your comfort in after life depends in a great measure in making a fair start. Should your circumstances look at all favourable, we will not stand in the way of you making your happiness complete. You of course do not think of altering your state in your present situation. Wishing you every success whether related to us or otherwise we remain
Dear Sir your's truly
Thomas and Hannah Farr

Alice Farr

Notice in The Argus.
Bissett - Farr. - On the 26th December, 1872, at the residence of the bride's parents, by the Rev. A.W.Grant, John, second son of the late Mr. John Bissett, senr., Castlemaine, to Alice Louisa, eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Farr, Dawson Street, Ballarat, silver wedding. Present address, "Kellie-Law", Shamrock Street, Bendigo.
Extract from the Bendigo Advertiser :
A PLEASANT SURPRISE. - A few evenings ago a pleasant surprise party, consisting of several ladies and gentlemen connected with the Presbyterian Church, Golden Square, waited on Mr. and Mrs. J.Bissett at their residence, Kellie-Law, Shamrock Street. The visitors were heartily welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Bissett, and the Rev. W.Agnew, on behalf of those present and the members of the congregation, presented their hostess with a handsome silver hot water kettle on the occasion of their silver wedding. In making the presentation, Mr. Agnew referred to the active part taken by Mr. and Mrs. Bissett in the work of the church for many years past, and mentioned the coincidence that the silver anniversary of the church was on the same date. Mr. W.Anderson also made a few remarks, and hoped that Mr. and Mrs. Bissett would be spared to celebrate their golden wedding.

Sarah (Annie) Farr
"Sarah was an aspiring star with natural singing abilities. She was a member of the Dawson Street Baptist Choir as well as a member of the Philharmonic Choir that often performed at the Mechanics' Institute. She was selected to continue her singing career in London, however she choose marriage over this promising future."
Quoting a note from Robin Lawther, who also said she had an opportunity to sing with Dame Nellie Melba.
Annie's singing career in fact incurred the censure of her Baptist Pastor, which caused a lively flurry of correspondence in the Ballarat Times, and lead to the Farr family cutting ties with the Dawson St Baptist Church. Full details     This affair is the subject of an interesting newsletter from the Ballarat Historical Society (Vol 11 No 3,  May/June 2009)., written by Anne Doggett

Arthur Farr

Arthur's occupation is shown in his son John's Marriage Certificate as "builder". It appears Arthur was in partnership with his brother Leigh and his father, Thomas, in the early 1890s, as the Sands & McDougall directory at this time shows his address at 101 Swanston Street, Melbourne as "Agent, brickworks and contractors". He left the partnership early in 1892/93 and went to England as a wine merchant, representing Irvine Wines.

    On January 1, 1894 he married Rose Emma White in London. Their first child, Thomas, was born at 138 Mercers Lane, Islington, England..The next reference we have is that their second son, John, was born in 1901 at Balaclava, Victoria, so they obviously returned to Australia at some stage. There is an entry in the Sands & McDougall directory of 1898 giving their address as 13 Smith St, St. Kilda. Again they returned to England as their daughter Clarice Annie was born there in 1907.
In West Australian shipping records there is an entry; "Suevic arrived Albany 11th August 1911 from Liverpool, passengers; Mr. and Mrs. Farr and infant, also John, child with parents. Mr. Farr, Commercial Agent". After Arthur settled back in Perth he  established business as a builder.
Tom stayed on in England to complete his education as an electrical engineer.
Their next child, Robert, was born in 1914 at Cottesloe, Western Australia.
    Arthur died of hydatids in Adelaide in 1927 en route to WA. He was transferred from the ship to the Adelaide Hospital where he died.. His Will was presented for probate at both the Supreme Courts of Victoria and Western Australia. The gross value of his estate in Western Australia was not exceeding four hundred and thirty seven pounds, and the value in Victoria not exceeding nine hundred pounds. At the time of his death his address was 60 Forrest St., Cottesloe. At the time of making his will, 9th April 1918, the address was 25 John St., Cottesloe.
In the 1926 Sands & McDougall directory his address is shown as Station St., West Burswood, Victoria. In probate documents this is described as "Certificate of Title Volume 4977 Folio 995234 upon which is erected a weather board house consisting of 5 rooms known as Ilkley, Station Street, Burswood."
    David Farr, a descendant of the son,  provided an explanation for the trips to London.
    Arthur was in partnership with his father and Leigh at 101 Swanston St as "Agent, brickworks and contractors" in the early 1890s. He left the partnership early in 1892/3 and went to England as a wine merchant, representing Irvine Wines. He met Emma in London, marrying on 1 Jan 1894, with Tom born on 13 June of that year. I wrote to Irvine Wines a couple of years ago but no response. In 1898 his address is given as 13 Smith St, St Kilda and their second son, John Elliott (my father) was born there on 21 July 1901. Again thery returned to England, date unknown, as their daughter, Clarice Annie was born there on 15 Sep 1907. In West Australian shipping records there is an entry : "Suevic arrived Albany 11th August 1911 from Liverpool, passengers: Mr & Mrs Farr and infant, also John, child with parents. Mr Farr, Commercial Agent". Tom stayed on in London to complete his education as an electrical engineer. After Arthur settled back in Perth he established business as a builder.

Leigh Farr

Leigh was in partnership with his brother, Arthur, and father, Thomas, at 101 Swanston Street, Melbourne in the early 1890s as "contractors and brickworks agents".. He lived at 173 Hotham Street, St Kilda, next door to his father, Thomas, who was at number 175.


Most of the material on the Farrs and Martins comes from Glenis Crocker, with help from Robyn Lawther and Helen Millward. Glenis's material prepared for the Martin reunion she organised has been quoted directly here. They have traced the family back to the 16th century, by a lot of detective work on old wills.
Also Len Martin produced an excellent  book on Charles Henry Martin, Hannah Martin's brother

Research Notes

Information Sources: 
Weld Chapel birth records.  St Georges Hanover Square Parish Records.  Farr family bible

David Farr queries

(1)  Charles Augustine Farr. Is that second name Augustus?. Could be, but it looks like Augustine on his birth certificate. Death certificate has no second name
Thomas and Hannah's daughter Emma Elizabeth. Your records say she died 1909 - mine show 1908
I have both dates in my FTM file. I am always inclined to believe the source that has a day and month.
But it should be checkable

(3) Ethel Maude - you show she was married in Melbourne - mine show Ballarat.
Not sure, but I have a certificate number in my files MC459, which should be checkable

If you have additions or corrections to this page, please contact us     Bones in the Belfry home page     Page last updated - 16 Jan 2009        17 Oct 2012