Henry Thomas Hicks was the eldest son of James Hicks, and with his wife, Mary Ann (nee McKenzie), had 14 children, ten survived but four did not. They had mostly lived on the Hicks Farm/Orchards “Mt Gilead”, and “Mt Hope”, both in Thirroul. They had started married life at Austinmer, moving to The Crossroads, Wollongong, and then at Towradgi before residing in Thirroul.
Report of death of Henry Thomas Hicks in 30 March 1909 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald :
“Mr. Henry T. Hicks died on Sunday morning, after an illness extending over several months. He had reached the age of 78 years, and leaves a widow and grown-up family, including Mr. A. Hicks (ex-president of the Illawarra Colliery Employees’ Association), and Sergeant-Major G. Hicks (Instructor to the Australian Light Horse, at Lismore). He had held the position of captain of the Bulli Civilian Rifle Club for a number of years,and was the senior justice of the peace in this district.”
After Henry’s death, Mary Ann would move to “Everest” in Seaview Terrace, Thirroul. At Mary Ann’s death in 1930, there would be 27 grandchildren, and 17 great grand children living, according to her obituaries.
Henry Thomas Hicks JP is mentioned in the Illawarra census of 1881, along with William Fry, Henry Stumbles, Michael Shannon, Thomas Francis Lindsay, George Brown and William Osborne. He was a farmer, a Captain in the Bulli Reserve Rifle Club from 1890, a former elected member or alderman on North Illawarra Council, and a passionate advocate for the creation of Bulli Shire Council.
As an elected member or alderman on the North Illawarra Council, Henry Thomas Hicks was thus actively involved in the early days of Bulli Public School, Thirroul Public School and Austinmer Public School. He was also one of the first three wardens at St Augustine’s Anglican Church in Park Rd Bulli – and in July 1914 – St Augustines voted for Memorial Windows to honour late Messrs HT Hicks, T Farrell and HS Fry.
Son Alexander Henry (Alex) Hicks would follow him to be elected onto the North Illawarra Council and become the Mayor of North Illawarra Council. Alex Hicks was also President of the Illawarra Miners Employees Association around the time of the Mount Kembla mining disaster, the worst industrial disaster in Australia’s history.
As a J.P., Henry Thomas witnessed and was also the Executor of a number of wills for local Northern Illawarra residents including William Kirton and possibly JP (Peter) Orvad, (who was a member of the Bulli Progress Committee and owner of the Denmark Hotel), according to Rita Roberts one of Orvad’s descendants (as told to Kerrie Anne Christian by Rita during the “Back to Bulli” celebrations of 1989). However Henry did seem to have some difficulties with a local solicitor, Francis Woodward.
Kerrie Anne Christian : “As kids we heard that Henry Thomas and Mary Ann Hicks had the orchards, also known as Mt Gilead or Hicks Farm. There were also stories of Mary Ann Hicks living at Mount Hope – including Mary Ann’s Bible which showed her address as Mount Hope.” In 1911 September 26 Sydney Morning Herald edition, a Guesthouse property called Mount Hope in Thirroul was also advertised for tourist and visitor rentals (Source : Trove Digitised Newspapers http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15277245 ).
Henry Thomas Hicks’ wife, Mary Ann Hicks, was the first of our family to be born in the Illawarra in 1839. Mary Ann’s father, Alexander McKenzie of Ellengowan and later Canowindra, had arrived in 1837 in Australia as a farm labourer on the “William Nicol” (a Bounty Ship), after setting out from Armadale – Parish of Sleat on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. He came with his first wife, Anne McLean, and oldest four children. Mary Ann was their first child to be born in Australia and the Illawarra.
Within twenty years, Mary Ann’s father, Alexander McKenzie, had established himself in the Illawarra. He was active in the Illawarra Agricultural and Horticultural Society for much of the 1850-60’s, before moving to Canowindra following his second marriage to Elizabeth Hanks, after the death of first wife Anne McLean. Across her father’s two marriages, Mary Ann Hicks (McKenzie) had 14 surviving siblings.
Below : Mary Ann Hicks (aged 75 years) with daughters and grandchildren at Hicks Farm(Mt Gilead ?) or Everest in Seaview Terrace Thirroul stated as 1915. However her grandson Kenneth Charles Joy (rear) is wearing a naval uniform and he did not enlist until December 1917 – so photograph may have been taken in 1918-1919.
In copies of a number of handwritten letters to her relatives that still exist, it is plain that Mary Ann missed her McKenzie relatives, who had moved so far away to Canowindra. Click for more on Mary Ann Hicks (McKenzie).
Mary Ann Hicks died at her home, “Everest”, in Seaview Terrace, Thirroul on February 23 1930. The obituaries at her funeral are very moving, describing her as “one of the grand old pioneers” of the district. Click to read them.
See Mary Ann Hicks (McKenzie) death notice Sydney Morning Herald February 24 1930.
HICKS -February 23, 1930, at her residence,Everest, Seaview Terrace, Thirroul, Mary Ann, relict of the late H. T. Hicks, in her 90th year.
Also funeral notice – Sydney Morning Herald February 24 2012.
HICKS- The Relatives and Friends of the FAMILY of the late MARY ANN HICKS are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their late beloved MOTHER; to leave her late residence, Everest, Seaview-Terrace, Thirroul, on TUESDAY AFTERNOON at 3 o’clock for St Augustine’s Church of England Cemetery, Bulli. W J WILLIAMS, Undertaker. (includes corrections).