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Irene Hannam's Letters
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George Bint and family

Irene Hannam (nee Porter) was a grand-daughter of George Bint (1872-1951) and daughter of Myrtle Bint and Thomas (Ray) Porter)

George and Annie Bint had seven children altogether. Edith (1900) who married Horace Pierson,  Elsie (1902) - Edward Porter,  Myrtle (1906) - Thomas (Ray) Porter,  Frederick (1911)-Thelma Price,  Liliian (1910) - Norman Challenger,  Alice (1910) - Laurie Price, and  Cyril (1916) who married Enid Porter.

Philip & Eliza Bint 
George Bint 
Charlotte Hayward 
Walter Bint 
Catherine Smith 
James Bint 
Lester Bint 
 William Bint

Bertha Bint

Bint Family UK

Irene Hannam first contacted me, when I was living in the Berkshire area, from her home at 26 Govett Avenue, New Plymouth in August 2000. She had seen my name in the 1999 Research Directory at the local Family History Centre.

In her first letter she told me that Philip and Charlotte berthed at Christchurch in 1877 and lived there for a while at one of Sarah Soanes' houses. (Sarah was Philip’s sister, 10 years older, who came on the Lancashire Witch in 1863).

Charlotte Bint worked at a laundry among other things at Dunsandel before moving to Taranaki.

George Rawlinson and family arrived at Taranaki in 1884 after May was born and was a neighbour of the Bint family..
Philip's son George Bint married George Rawlinson’s daughter Annie Rawlinson at Inglewood, Taranaki and with three daughters, Edith, Elsie, and Irene’s mother Myrtle, 'gradually moved through KatiKati to Aukland, adding Lily, Fred, Alice and Cyril as they went'. (In a later letter Irene mentions that George worked for the railway whilst in Auckland, cleaning trains)
In the 1920’s the Auckland property was exchanged for land 120 miles North, at Maunga Karamea, part of the Whangarei District.
“George helped to cut and burn forest. What a waste! Built their home, after living in a Ponga tree whare. (Forry hut, branches for bed base on ground, replenished each day).”
“ I’m sure the Maunga Karamea Mountain spewed most of its rocks on the front paddocks of that farm!”
Their property was between the Porter farm and the Hannam farm.
Irene’s father was Ray (Thomas Raymond Porter) born in 1906 the second son of seven. Her mother was Myrtle Bint the daughter of George Bint and Annie Rawlinson.
The Porters had arrived at Mangapai Jetty in 1862 and tracked overland to Maunga Karamea.
Ray and Myrtle moved to Waiotira after Eric and I were born (1929). The Porter farm had been divided between the three sons but Dad got hisdander up when he could not develop it his way. He could have grouched because it was covered in fern, gorse and blackberry.

Ps. Dad was the worker.
We moved from Waiotira late 1939 to Otaika, then to Whatitiri then back to a smaller farmlet at Otaika.
Dad’s head had a tumor.” (Died 1944, only 38 years old)
Her husband Pat (Ramon Charles Hannam) was the eldest of the Hannam children.
She relates that Maunga Karamea was one of those areas where everyone seemed to be “a link in the family chain”.
In 1950 Irene and Pat moved back to Taranaki “and added eight to the school roll”.

Next letter dated 21st of July 2001

She mentions a family reunion at Parua Bay, Whangarei in April 2000 at “our favourite family haunt”
“Perhaps I put off saying - Dad’s elder sister was not a beach lover, neither was their youngest brother. They were trustees of what we knew to be a “ Forever Haven” for all the following generations. But they
deeded it, or rather, deemed it their duty to sell. End of an era.
Patricia took it upon her shoulders to go see the people who had it. A new house had been built, but the first buyers were unable to pull down all the old house because the blue piece (the original earliest
building)  was protected by the Historic Buildings Trust. So when we were able to hire it for two days last April (2000)  we were pleasantly surprised to see how they built on to the original, and created this warm-cosy, familiar, yet different house.
Thirty of us stayed Friday till Monday, over the north hill, at a Christian youth camping ground which is set up to cater for about 200 boys and girls on ground level, and a large hall/eating place with 4 berth sleeping rooms around two sides, kitchen and 2 showers upstairs, multiple showers and toilets below, and a chapel at one end.
Fay Lewis popped in for 2 days before going to Australia to see two of her children and their families. She is a bright and bouncy person. Both Aunt Lily and Uncle Norm were outgoing personalities, Lily played tennis and hockey, Norm played hockey and also was a drummer in a dance band.

As we all came to live on farms in different areas, dance nights were great places to catch up on family ups, downs and other tasty subjects. Babies did not stop some mums enjoying a monthly night out. Dads too could catch up with old mates or family and, we know, enjoy a liquid refreshment, other than a cuppa at suppertime when the missus’s would endeavour to out do each other with their cooking skills. The babies would be settled down in the ladies cloakroom, mainly on the floor. I’ve  wondered since if it was slip-slip of the feet on powdered slick floors, that hushed them into dreamland.

Grandad George Bint was a hockey coach- most of his children played. He was a quiet little man – gentle. Maybe because Grandma was the businessman (bossy) of the family. I never heard him be loud of talk.
Eric or I (3-4 years old) must have been loud mouthing, because he counselled us to say “wheelbarrow” next time, 2 or 3 times, result – me bursting out laughing instead!

The Porter grandparents in around 1936 had brought a few hilly acres with an almost horseshoe shaped secluded bay – with beach in front of it .
The house was one that had over the generations grown to accommodate the increase as families grew. (She then included a small drawing of the layout of the original house and the later additions of a lean-to kitchen, milk room and pantry, and a store room plus veranda.)
“The milk-room was darkened so the cream would thicken in the big 24”x 24” shallow dishes, then skimmed off, generally with a saucer, the milk poured into jugs and stood on bricks in a container of water, with a cloth over the top and ends in the water to keep it fresh till needed.
Boy, those were the days, before fridges and electricity etc.. the F.U.N  times. No phone. Twenty odd miles from Whangarei town. Tank water. We did have a water spring. The big kids would have the joy? of lugging it up a hill 10 or 20 yards to the kitchen for drinking and corking.
Sleeping arrangements altered with the number of visitors. When our tribe arrived there would be mattresses on kitchen, dining room and bedroom floors after tea and bedtime, story-time, and doctoring of scrapes, and prickles to be removed etc.
As the little bods grew, Grandad Bint (George) would come to stay and a bach was built down near the beach for the older boys. Later a 3 room bach was dismantled in the next bay and sledged (she has drawn a horse pulling a sled)  up and over the hill, and added to the veranda of the main house.
Several life-time careers and hobbies could have gotten the seeds sown here. I enjoyed among other things, drawing house outlines and gardens on the fresh sand.
I dug all the virgin soil here to get rid of the blackberry, periwinkle, fern, acacia and giant ink weed. But I married a carpenter.
Cousin June liked to instruct us, she later became a teacher.
Second cousin Verna had her dental surgery in a suitable, spacious Powhutukawa tree, complete with  an obliging shaped branch for the dreaded chair. Most of her instruments were beady shaped twigs, beach treasures or shells.
Eric became an engineering welder, now a gardener and camper-van touring club member.
Betty, a nurse, married a farmer. They have a beach holiday home.
Kathleen, garden-loving, married a watchmaker who built their own 4 berth boat. Loves fishing.
Colin, a plumber. Later went to Perth, Oz, becoming a roofing plumber.
Keith died early, doing tractor land-farming.
Patricia a nurse, married a boat building sailor.
Valerie a nurse, married a deep sea, boating, fishing tourist adventures.
Audrey, farmer’s wife. Now enjoys fishing and sunshine up north.
Neil, tractor and trucks, making roads. Still enjoys the life. Car Club president.
Ruth, half-sister, a healer, also in Perth, Oz.”


Excerpts follow from her next letter in November 2001 which started with her thanking me for the UK Rawlinson research.
Dear Tom
I seem to now need to apologise for extra letters that keep coming out of this pen. Blame the pen. First the right hand and now its left hand troubles. I gave up on the typewriter years ago. I said then, too speedy for the hands-brain coordination. Next the poor ole eyes will be getting blamed for something.
When Pat and I first came to New Plymouth we stayed with Marjory and Eric Wray in Princess Street, Fitzroy which was a side road off Record Street. One day we went to visit Uncle Walter Bint and Aunt Lily (Rawlinson). She as I vaguely remember, was a little short, plump lady (like me now). By now Uncle is retired and doing his garden and house
work. Marjory whose house and garden ran like clockwork, had no time for Lily who I was assured, was quite able to cook and clean but had decided to be “spoon fed” as the saying went.
Uncle Walter was just as placid in my view as my Grandad George was. My Gran Annie was one who’d say to mum and the other children, “just you wait till yer father comes home!”  Maybe that came through the Rawlinson genes!
Irene  then indicates  a road map she has drawn of Record and Princess Streets, Fitzroy and nearby Clemsis Street? where George Bint and Annie had lived before moving to Kati Kati.
Mum (Myrtle) told the story of something she had done wrong then went up a tree to avoid trouble near Christmas time. “Well all you’ll get, are pine-cones”.
Mum thought, "she’s just saying that", but come Christmas morning, nothing but pine-cones!
“The old witch” .... Mum said.


 Irene Joan HANNAM,  15.12.27 - 17.11.04. Our Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. You will always be remembered and loved.  Published in Taranaki Daily News on November 16th, 2013.


Soon after Irene passed away I received this letter from her grand-son, firefighter Brent Hannam.


Hello Tom, great to hear from you.

Like I said I have been going through the letters that Grandma had had in her possession, some of these date back to the late 1800's so it is a wealth of information and it gives me a view of how life was for my ancestors, it's sad that no one else in all of Grandmas family are interested, very sad.

I think one thing that has scared family members off from the family tree is a few of the photos Grandma had needed to be re framed etc, I just had one done at a cost of $240, the other two from the late 1700's are costing $300 per photo, no one wanted to know about them, I'm only on a fire fighters pay, so not that much really, but even I could see that in preserving our family history, cost doesn't come into it.

One of the addresses I got from all the letters was for a house in Albany Road, Ponsonby, Auckland.

It is a gorgeous little single bay villa, I have spoken to the woman who currently owns the house and she always insisted that it had a very friendly feeling about it. This has been commented on by any visitor to the house also, she said it had a feeling of children, very friendly, and she thought at some stage it may have been a children's hospital.

With that I went through the letters Grandma had, in it I found that the house was owned by George and Sarah Anne Rawlinson,

Sarah was a mid wife and delivered babies in the Albany Road house, that explains the feeling the current owner told me about.

I have a photo of Grandmas' that I have had away to get re-positioned in the original frame, it is of George and Sarah Ann Rawlinson.

The current owner has sent me a copy of the original deed that George and Sarah signed when they purchased the house.

One letter from Sarah to Annie here in New Zealand writes of how she is looking forward to living in the colonies and how life is not what it used to be in England years ago.

George and Annie Bint found the house for Annie's parents in Albany Road.

I have also found the house that George and Annie Bint owned in Station Road, Avondale, Auckland, it is another nice old single bay villa.

It's a little run down now and is in the ownership of the local council. It is due for demolition when the new motorway off ramp goes in.

I have approached the council with the intention of purchasing the house and moving it to another section, I also have the backing of the local historical society as they have deemed the house part of Avondales history. (the people who built it in the 1860's operated Avondales first Tannery).

I have been for a look around this house, the people that rent it are very interested in the history and were more than pleased to listen to what I had to tell them about it.

One thing I found in Grandmas books etc was a notebook that Great Grandma Myrtle had written in.

Irene in her wisdom had Great Grandma write her childhood memories down. This had led to very interesting reading as I only remember Great Grandma as a frail little woman I met many, many years ago just before she passed away.

In this notebook she mentions how the family use to sit in the main room in front of the fire place and read the family bible together.

When I visited the house this was the first room I asked to go into because I wanted to get a feel for it.

Looking at the fire place I could imagine the family there with the bible. Hard to explain I guess.

This bible that she has mentioned has another fascinating story. I found it among the items Grandma had. It's just a little bible, nothing special in that but the thing that I feel makes it special is that it is signed by members of the family.

It has Henery Rawlinsons signature in it, he has signed it Henery Rawlinson, Wendover Dean.

George Rawlinson has also signed it, George Rawlinson, St Catherines, Ontario, Canada, can you shed any light on this?

On the Porter side of the family I have found the cottage that my great-great Grandfather built on his arrival to New Zealand. He built it himself in 1860.

This little cottage was in the Porter family for many, many years until sold by one of the family, this upset Grandma very much.

I have found that cottage in Whangarei. It can now be hired out as an exclusive retreat. It's in a beautiful area, the Porters owned the entire bay that it is situated in.

I have contacted the current owners and they said that I can have use of it for a weekend, so I am planning a surprise for Granddad.

This is the cottage that he courted my Grandmother in, he doesn't know it still exists, should be a good surprise for him, I hope so anyway. He always talks about it and the 'hard man' he called old man Porter (Grandmas dad).

Well, I could go on and on about the family history but I have other things more pressing around the house I must do,

Just a question, have you come across the name "Sunny Brae" before? Does it mean anything to you?

On the house in Avondale above the door was a sign from 1911, it read "Sunny Brae", George must have named the house "Sunny Brae", I just wanted to know what it meant.

Well, take care, keep in touch,



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Childrey Village Charlotte's Album
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Mary Russell Mitford's Book   Cousin Arthur Soanes & 1880s Tarata      
Mary Mitford's Home   The Rawlinsons      
James Bint & the Oxford Family   The Aussie Rawlinsons