Winifred Sarah Hann

I think one of the best parts of genealogy is discovering shared traits and abilities with your ancestors. It can be a bit surreal! I had one of those moments with a 1st cousin 4x removed on my Dad’s side, Winifred Sarah Hann. Born in Grafton NSW in 1886, Winifred was one of SEVENTY NINE grandchildren to John Hann (b.1800) and Mary Ann Thompson (b.1814) a couple who started out in Australia as convicts.

Emily Peace Headshot

So it appears that Winifred was a musician. A singer. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Music, with a major in Voice. Music has been a prominent feature in my life for as long as I can remember! A search on Trove brought up about 30 articles between 1903 and 1923 detailing her musical journey, through music examination results, concerts she performed in, etc. It seems that she was rather well known in the Grafton area and beyond for her talents!

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From the Northern Star (Lismore), 17th of February 1917.
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From the Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton): 14th July 1906
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From the Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton) 21st July 1903


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From The Northern Star, 10th January 1917

A lengthy piece on Winifred’s sister Lurline’s Kitchen Tea was also covered in one of the area’s newspapers, you can read it here.

Winifred’s music examination results with the Trinity College of Music were published in the newspapers along with the other students (this is weird to me, as that is definitely not done these days…can you imagine?) She seemed to do extremely well, earning Honours for her Intermediate exam. Her voice was described to be a “dramatic soprano” with “excellent colorature ability” (courtesy of the Daily Examiner, 26th February 1917). This is really exciting to discover!

Winifred went on to marry Henry Mann in 1918, and together they had a daughter in 1919(?). Sadly, she passed away at only 37 years of age in October 1923. The Richmond River Herald published this on the 26th of October, 1923:

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A sad ending to be honest. How horrible it would have been for her little girl, her husband and the rest of her family. I wonder where her talent would have taken her had she lived longer?


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