Our Patron, the Honourable Barrie Hungerford QC, [E.9.3a.4b.1c] passed away on 26 June 2022. Barrie began practising at the New South Wales Bar in February 1976 and took silk in November 1988. He was the former deputy president and judicial member of the Industrial Commission of NSW from 1989 and then with the Industrial Relations Commission until his retirement in 2002.
Barrie served as HAFS President (1997-2001) and as our Patron since 2007.
After accepting the position of Patron, Barrie wrote a letter to members which was originally published in HAFS Newsletter No 35, Feb 2008, pp 6-7. We thought it appropriate to re-publish that letter – an embodiment of “who and what we are”.
My dear cousins,
I was indeed honoured last October to be offered by the HAFS Committee the position of Patron of the Society, which was confirmed by members at the Annual General Meeting on 4th November 2007 at St James Anglican Church, Morpeth. In accepting the appointment, I did so with mixed feelings of gratitude, surprise and a large dose of sadness. Sadness because I was to assume the role played by the Society’s Founding Patron, Dr Thomas Gordon Hungerford OBE BVSC FACVSc HDA, who passed away on 20th September 2007. Overall, however, and accepting as one must that time moves on, the feeling of humility in being asked to support an active and vibrant organisation loomed large. To follow in the footsteps of a man like Dr Tom added to the moment.
A generally accepted concept of the task of a “Patron” in presently relevant respects, is to countenance, protect and give influential support to an organisation or cause; it is to acknowledge and encourage the organisation to achieve its aims. Of course, actually giving effect to that process is far from the Patron’s role and rest entirely within the scope of the organisation’s elected office bearers and committee members as they lead the membership generally – the involvement of the members at large in taking up and participating in the life of the organisation is vital. In agreeing to be your Patron I am very conscious of these separate but intertwined roles and of the relationship between them. Even so, and if thought appropriate, I would be happy to a attend some committee meetings on and ex officio basis.
The Society was formed on 29th September 1990 at the Mosman home of our Founder, Ron Prentice, who became the Secretary with Canon Mel Newth as the Founding president and the Treasurer John de Boos. Chaired by Dr Tom, the meeting of about twenty persons with an interest in family history enthusiastically created the Society and elected a committee of seven persons to give it effect and life. At the time, Ron Prentice posed the question “Why a Hungerford and Associated Families Society”? In his usual engaging manner, Ron noted that there was no doubt in the minds of those present at the inaugural meeting and added,
“you only have to consider the huge amount of information which exists about this fascinating history making family with all its connections by marriage, both before as well as since its arrival in Australia, and you will agree that the combined thought and effort of many is necessary to effectively research and record this worthwhile story.”
In the HAFS Newsletter No. 1 February 1991, the then Publicity Officer and now Vice-President of HAFS, Judith Fitz-Henry wrote,
“Most of us will remember, as children, being told stories about the family. How Emanuel and Catherine Hungerford came to Sydney from Ireland in the early days; that there were so many of them that they took up all the berths on the Alexander Henry (not quite); that they were so rich they even owned the ship (not so!); that they were chased by pirates (correct) and escaped, fortunately for all their Australian descendants. How they settled in the Hunger Valley after a brief sojourn in Sydney, from whence they went forth and multiplied.
But how many of us know why they called their first property Farley? What has Farley, near Maitland, NSW, in common with Farleigh Hungerford, near Bath in Somerset, England? Why have descendants been given family names such as Melville, Loane, Hedley and Wellesley? Why are some of the descendants of three of the Hungerford sons rather proud of their Roman noses? Why does Catherine’s tombstone in Telarah, West Maitland proclaim that she was not only the beloved wife of Captain Emanuel Hungerford but also the ‘grand-daughter to Colonel Sir Edward Moore, Baronet’? It reads strangely, under the Antipodean sky; but in the memories of the descendants of two little orphaned girls in Ireland he was surely a beloved grandfather … and what a story lies behind this chapter in our history.”
It is timely, in referring to HAFS as a family group, to pause and to restate the aims and objectives of HAFS as formulated at its inauguration as follows:
- To make a record of all those who are interested in or have descent from the Hungerford, Winder and associated families in Australia and to promote the Australian branch of the world-wide family;
- To promote, encourage and co-ordinate research and bring up to date a complete genealogical tree;
- To record family events, e.g. births, engagements, marriages, deaths, changes of address, achievements etc;
- To distribute newsletters from time to time and to produce a periodical journal of a high standard of journalism which will include historic articles and other points of interest concerning linked family members;
- To promote the preservation of archives in the State (Mitchell) Library of NSW and to acquire, in time, a reference library of copy materials of our own;
- To have meetings from time to time, where elcturers, papers and discussions may take place and special speakers may be invited;
- To hold an Annual General Meeting each year to include, if desired, a family dinner, historic tours and social activities could be included;
- To reciprocate with members of the Federation of Family History Societies and to distribute our Journals to selected organisations;
- To enhance, above all, a sense of belonging to a family and to pass on its wonderful stories to the next generation.
In the few years following inception, many of those aims and objectives were pursued. As Dr Tom as Patron poignantly observed in a letter to the Society dated 27th August 1997, in his usual direct way but with much human understanding; “the ‘Old Guard’ after seven years is either wearied, ill, aged or passed away”. He paid tribute to those who had served the Society in its formative years and added:
“How fortunate we are as an ancient family that in the past seven years, an outstanding collection of historical data has been gathered, collated in an orderly manner and largely published due to the tremendous drive and sacrificial labours of the Secretary Ron Prentice, the Editor Peter Sherlock, the wise chairmanship of Canon Mel Newth, the constant keenness of treasurer John de Boos and the labours of each Committee member.”
I was privileged to be elected president of HAFS on 7th September 1997 until I resigned the office on 9th March 2001 due to personal and professional commitments at the time and into the immediate future as to make it the only reasonable course. Since then, HAFS has been without a president, causing additional responsibility on the other office bearers. I think this is something to be remedied in the near future, and I suggest members seriously consider appropriate candidates – there may even be a volunteer? Nevertheless, important developments occurred for HAFS as the Committee strived to put it in a more secure and formal position in the interests of the membership generally.
HAFS became affiliated with the Royal Australian Historical Society which brought the benefits of receipt of their magazine and journal, access to their library and joining their blanket public liability insurance scheme at favourable rates. Importantly also, HAFS became an incorporated body under the Associations Incorporation Act 1984 on 28th December 2001, thus providing for the Society’s assets to be owned by a corporate entity with continuity rather than by individual persons. Those changes were of great significance of HAFS in becoming an acknowledged and responsible organisation in its own right and much credit in bringing them about goes to John B.S. Hungerford, Edmund Henning and Betty Crowley who, as Committee members, guided the steps to be taken.
In assuming the Presidency, I pondered where the Society might develop. I do so again at this time. Then, I opined that as a family group we tended to cater more for the older (or perhaps, more mature) generation – that was unsurprising. However, having in mind on of the HAFS aims and objectives, “to enhance above all, a sense of belonging to a family and to pass on its wonderful stories to the next generation”, it seems to me we should actively promote and focus on the youth in our family. That was effected to a real extent on 17th May 2003, the 175th Anniversary of the arrival in Sydney of the Alexander Henry with it complement of Hungerfords at Darling Harbour when there was a HAFS celebration at the Welcome Wall to locate the inscription, placed by the Society, for Emanuel and Catherine Hungerford and their family (it is actually located on Panel 007 in Column 1 at Line 038).
Afterwards in the Maritime Museum, those 35 members present enjoyed a presentation largely by our younger members of plays, accounts and recollections about the yearly years of the family into the 21st century. Suggested by Elizabeth Hungerford with her husband John as Master of Ceremonies and Betty Crowley as the producer/director, the occasion was an outstanding success.
Youth can be encouraged in a real and tangible way to participate more. I know membership of HAFS is open to one subscription per family unit. How much more inclusive it would be if all we parents and grandparents encourage our children on reaching adulthood, or even before, to become individual members in their own right and to participate directly in our activities? I think this is worth consideration.
I perhaps have ‘lectured’ enough. I should introduce myself to those members who may not know me. I graduated in Arts from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in December 1958 and completed a Diploma in Law (BAB) in 1972, having begun, after Army Service, a career in the field of Industrial Relations in 1961, with one of Australia’s major employer organisations, concentrating on industrial advocacy in a variety of industries and in the handling of industrial disputes and workplace relations. In 1976 I was called to the Bar and practised extensively in administrative law, common law, workers compensation and employment and industrial law. I was commissioned as a Queen’s Counsel in 1988. In 1989 I was appointed as a Judge of the Industrial Commission of New South Wales and later to the Bench of the Industrial Court and the Industrial Relations Commission. I retired from full time judicial office in May 2002 but since then I have been an acting Judge of the District Court of New South Wales, sitting in a part-time mode. In 2006 I completed in the twilight of my career, a Master of Laws from The University of Sydney.
Finally, may I say in assuming the position of Patron, that I d so with pride and in recognition of and respect for the late Dr Tom Hungerford and those office bearers of HAFS now and over the years who have endeavoured to make the Society what it is and every will be.
With kind regards, and God bless.