Annie BANHAM
Name Variations Allie BANAM, BARHAM, la Petite Celeste1 alias Rose Hannah BELL
Father William BANHAM2 aka William Banham FANQUE aka Pablo FANQUE b.c. 18303 m. (1) 1850 (2) 1854 d. 18694
Step-mother Jane HOPE b.c. 18315 m. 18506 d. 18567
Mother Martha ROLLINSON b. 18328 m. 18549 d. 189710
Inmate Annie BANHAM b. 185511 m. (1) none (2) none (3) 1893 (see below) d. 193412
Brother Thomas Fanque BANHAM b. 185613 m. none - d. 185614
Sister Martha BANHAM15 b.c. 1856 m. d.
Brother John BANHAM FANQUE aka Young Pablo, Master Pablo, John FANQUE, Pablo FANK or FRANC aka Frank PABLO b. 185716 m. 188217 Mary Ann HIPWORTH d. 191918
Sister Susan B. FANQUE b. 186019 m. none - d. 186320
Sister Theresa B. FRANQUE b. 186221 m. none - d. 186322
Brother Joseph D. B. FANQUE aka PABLO b. 186423 m. 189024 Emily Amelia Ann25 POULSON d. 193526
Brother Male FANQUE b. 186527 m. d.c. 186528
Sister Elizabeth Martha FANQUE aka Catherine MAHR b.c. 186529 m. 188130 William LIDDIARD31 d. 191832
Son George William BANHAM33 b. 186734 m. unknown - d. unknown
Husband (1) unknown b. m. none d.
Husband (2) Theophilus James aka James aka Charles BELL b. m. none d. aft.
Husband (3) George Sydney PAYNE b. 183635 m. 189336 d. 1904
Son unnamed37 b. 187338 m. none - d. 1873
Son Theophilus James BELL b. 187639 m. d. alive 188940
Son Francis Michael BELL b. 187841 m. 190242 Florence Ann PEZET d. 191443
Son Frederick Charles aka Charles Frederick BELL b. 188144 m. 190745 Lillian Margaret SHIPTON nee McCRORY46 d. 191647
Daughter Ruth Otilla BARHAM aka PAYNE b. 189248 m. 190849 Albert Edward CONSTABLE d. 196050
Daughter Malvina P. PAYNE b. 189551 m. d. aft. 1934
Daughter Adeline Priscilla PAYNE b. 189852 m. 192053 Percy G. LANGDON d. 198154
Description
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father William aka Pablo55 43 5' 7" swarthy bow legs
Inmate Annie56 18 5' black hazel dark
Brother Joseph57 25 5' 7" black grey small anchor on right upper arm
Sister Elizabeth58 24 4' 11" dark brown grey sallow medium nose, mouth and chin medium; brown aspects[?] on nose and front forehead; scar right side forehead
Son Charles Frederick59 36 5' 7½" brown hazel fresh butterfly on right forearm in blue and pink; star on left forearm in blue and pink

Annie was fourteen when she appeared in the Sydney court on 6 October 1869, charged by her widowed mother with wandering about the streets in no ostensible lawful occupation.60 Martha, who was not named in the newspaper, stated that she had no control over Annie, who remained out late at night and had stated that she would do as she pleased. Martha also reported that Annie had been seen talking to soldiers and sailors and Martha knew that Annie had been on board the Rosario man-of-war. Annie was admitted to Newcastle on 9 October 1869.61 Her name and details appeared in the missing section of the Entrance Book so no details of her admission, religion, discharge or family are available from that source.

In a letter dated 5 April 1871, Mrs [Rose] SELWYN, the wife of the Church of England minister at Christ Church, Newcastle, and sister-in-law of the Newcastle Police Magistrate, SCOTT, wrote on behalf of Mrs ARNOLD, of Stradbroke, Paterson, requesting that Annie and either Mary Ann AYLIFFE or Charlotte McDONALD (2) be apprenticed to her.62 LUCAS responded to the Colonial Secretary that all three girls were of good character and he considered that they would make excellent servants. The apprenticeship was therefore approved but only Annie was sent to Mr. W. ARNOLD63 of Paterson. No apprenticeship location was identified in either LUCAS’s letter64 or on his April 1872 list, although this list does indicate that Annie had been discharged on 27 April 1871.65 Although the discharge dates recorded do not exactly match in the available records, it is certain that Annie did not transfer to Biloela in May 1871 and she was not named in the transfer lists.66

LUCAS, in his report of 23 March 1873, noted that Annie's indentures had been cancelled and she was readmitted to Biloela after she had completed just under two years of her apprenticeship.67 Annie was pregnant by this readmission date but hid her condition from the school although subsequent newspaper reports strongly implied that the ARNOLD family was aware of her condition and that this was what had led to the cancellation of her indentures. A month later, on 21 April 1873, LUCAS wrote to the Colonial Secretary, requesting permission to:

apprentice the girl named in the margin68 to Mr Robert Morrice Hughes, J.P., Bourke, Darling River for six months wages at the rate of 3/ per week.
The girl named Annie Banham was readmitted from her apprenticeship from Mr W. Arnold of the Patterson on the 22 March last. Mrs Foot69 wishes for the girl to be apprenticed to her son-in-law, Mr Robert Morrice Hughes. I beg respectfully to recommend that the girl might be apprenticed for the remainder of her time which expires in October 1873.

Annie was subsequently apprenticed to Robert HUGHES J.P., of Bourke on 3 May 1873.70 She arrived in Bourke on 14 May but authorities at Biloela were unaware of her condition at the time this apprenticeship had been arranged. On her arrival in Bourke Hughes had:

noticed that [Annie Banam] appeared to be stout in figure but as her appearance continued about the same, he had taken no further notice until Saturday, the 13th ultimo, when she appeared to be suffering from illness, and a few days subsequently, her figure having altered considerably, she had, on being taxed with it, admitted to having been confined on the 18th September, of a male child, but said it had been born dead

The body was retrieved and Annie informed that she had done the wrong thing and she made a statement to the police. An inquest was held before the Coroner, A. O. Grant, P.M., on Friday, 19 September but was held over to the 22 September to allow Dr YULE of Brewarrina to complete a post mortem on the Sunday.

Dr. Yule gave evidence to the effect that the child was fully matured, and had probably been born alive, although decomposition had so far set in as to render the usual test impossible. He considered death had occurred from neglect.71

Annie was charged by the Coroner and committed to take her trial at the Quarter Sessions. Her name was erroneously recorded in early issues of the Police Gazette as:

Allie BANAM under committal for trial for concealing the birth of her child is identical with Annie BANHAM who was sent to Biloela72 on 6 October 1869.73

Annie was tried at Bourke Quarter Sessions on 8 November 1873, where she was sentenced to twelve months hard labour in Bathurst Gaol.74 A detailed report of Annie's trial in Bourke75 has not been reproduced here and her Quarter Sessions trial has not been located but there is no doubt that she was the 'dove' referred to in the following article concerning her court appearance prior to her Quarter Sessions trial.

A dove, from Biloela, was yesterday sent for trial, for concealing the birth of a child. In evidence the names of some prominent citizens of Sydney appeared in a most unsatisfactory manner ; the girl had lived with them some considerable time, had been taken before a medical man by her mistress, discharged and returned to the island, and thence sent to Bourke. She states that the matron was ignorant of her condition ; and as we have only the girl's statement of what took place whilst in service ; but if all is true, and as it was given in evidence, it will in all probability be seen into. I don't envy the parts played by those whose names were brought before the court. The medical evidence was of so uncertain a character, owing to the decomposition of the body, that the jury did not feel justified in returning a verdict of manslaughter.76

On 11 November 1874, at the time of her release from Bathurst Gaol, Annie was described as a servant born in Victoria in 1855.77 It is considered unlikely that Annie had been transferred to Darlinghurst Gaol from Bathurst Gaol in November 1874 as the Police Gazette reported that she had been discharged directly from Bathurst and did not indicate a transfer to Sydney. The Annie BANNON in the Darlinghurst description book in 1874 is not believed to refer to her78 as this admission almost certainly refers to a court case for drunkenness for an Annie BANHAM in Sydney in May 1874, when the Newcastle admission was still imprisoned in Bathurst. From this release date Annie ceased to use her birth name and effectively disappeared. While circuses were important entertainment at this time and Annie must have had some skills, it is very unlikely that she had rejoined a circus or adopted a professional name.79 There is no doubt that she adopted the name Rose Hannah, commenced a relationship and used a new surname but remained in the state of NSW. Family Notices confirmed that she was still alive in 1920 where she was identified as Annie PAYNE in an In Memoriam for her brother, John.80 After her release from Bathurst Annie can be located in the NSW BDM Index firstly in Carcoar, then in Boorowa, and finally, by July 188181 at the latest, in Sydney, as the wife of Theophilus James BELL.

No marriage has been identified for this couple using any surname or given name. No identity of Theophilus aka Charles BELL has been made although further investigation of the man variously identified as James BELL aka HAYLES alias RHODES may be interesting.82

Verifying that Annie BANHAM is identical with Rose Hannah BELL is a complex task but the death record for the woman identified below leaves very little doubt that the two women were the same person. It is believed that due to her gaol admission Annie actively sought to hide and she was very successful. An identification of Annie can be made by piecing together very scant and scattered evidence. In August 1886, two letters written by Annie's sister, Elizabeth LIDDIARD nee BANHAM, were sent to the Colonial Secretary. The letters indicated that Elizabeth had made her way to Sydney from the North Coast and had been reunited with her brother, John, and her sister, identified only as Mrs BELL.

Mrs Liddiard states that she has no means of her own and has been living with a married sister – Mrs Bell, 139 Paddington Street, Paddington.83

In January 1888, Francis Michael BELL, nine-and-a-half-years-old,84 and living at 139 Paddington Street, the same address identified in Elizabeth's letters, found a body in Sydney harbour so gave evidence at the resulting inquest.85 No birth can be identified for Francis BELL on the NSW BDM Index in the year of this boy's birth. On 29 November 1889, a boy named Francis BELL, who had been born in Sydney on 24 October 1878, and who was therefore the same age as Francis Michael BELL, was arrested in Mittagong.86 He had been sent by the State Childrens' Relief Department to the Number 3 Cottage Home, Mittagong, but had been a frequent escapee and was subsequently found sleeping in the open air. Francis was sent to the Vernon and his admission there identified that his mother was Rose BELL who at this date lived at 8 William Street, Paddington. By the 1891 census the resident in the house at 139 Paddington Street was an R. A. EDMONDSON who had five males and four females living in his property87 and it may be that this address was a boarding house. Rose BELL was a washerwoman and had three sons. Francis's father was not named and was described as deceased. Francis was a member of the Church of England and he signed the admission record as Frank BELL. Eventually he was apprenticed to Scone but was readmitted to the Vernon in 1891.88

There was no birth for Francis or Frank BELL recorded in the NSW BDM Index on 24 October 1878. The lack of evidence of a birth very strongly suggested that these two boys were the same child89 and that Francis Michael BELL was a child of this unnamed Mrs BELL and the carpenter, Theophilus James BELL, who in 1889 was the resident at 139 Paddington Street, Paddington.90 The birth of Francis Michael BELL, while not recorded with this name, almost without any doubt appeared as Theophilus M. BELL in Boorowa on 25 October 1878 – one day after the date recorded in the Vernon records for Francis Michael BELL.91 An older son, also named Theophilus J. BELL, and a younger son, Frederick Charles BELL, were also registered to Theophilus James and Rose BELL.

The older child, Theophilus James BELL, had been born in Carcoar in 1876 and had been admitted from the Benevolent Asylum in July 1881 and transferred to the Randwick Asylum after his father had deserted his wife who was subsequently unable to support him. These three boys were all alive in 1889 but were all identified as dead by 1934. One, and almost certainly two, of these boys have now been located and it is known that there was some contact between Annie and her youngest son, Charles. The fate and location of Annie's oldest son, Theophilus James, has not yet been found. No identification of Annie's husband has been made. His name is also uncertain and it is thought that Theophilus was an alias. Theophilus was recorded as a resident of Caledonia Street, Paddington, when he collected his son from Randwick in December 1881. Sands Directory locates him at 139 Paddington Street, Paddington, until 1887. He was identified as Charles BELL when Annie died and James BELL when his youngest son died. No re-marriage or death for him has been identified but he cannot be found using the given name, Theophilus. It is believed by his descendants, but is almost certainly unable to be proved with available records, that Annie's middle son, Francis Michael BELL, married Florence PEZET in Milton, NSW, in 1902. This location is very close to where Annie was living at this time. When he married Francis identified that he had been born in 1877 in Tilba Tilba, NSW, a town very close to Dignam's Creek and Cobargo,92 the area known to have been familiar to Annie's siblings, Elizabeth and Joseph. In about 1909 Francis abandoned Florence and their children.93 They divorced in October 1914 shortly before his untimely94 death.95 The divorce proceedings in May 1914 identified that he was 'late of Port Douglas, formerly of Lismore' and these locations are consistent with an apprenticeship from the Vernon. While neither his place of birth nor his age at the time of his death matched what was known of Francis, this death has been accepted as that of the husband of Florence by his descendants and the errors and inconsistencies made at the time of his inquest are consistent with a death outside his known place of residence. A DNA test would confirm whether his descendants were related to Annie.

Frederick Charles BELL, Annie's youngest son, enlisted in the AIF during WWI as Charles Frederick BELL, when he was a resident of Miller's Point.96 Charles Frederick BELL was killed by a shell near Fromelles on the Somme on 19 July 1916,97 and it was reported that he was mortally wounded and left barely alive in the trenches after the retreat. He has become one of the missing soldiers of WWI and is commemorated on the Fromelles Memorial. His Red Cross papers98 variously state:

Bell was a half caste99 … dark complexion and eyebrows … A great swimmer and diver … heavily built, dark complexion, dark piercing eyes

On 30 January 1893, Annie BANHAM married George Sydney PAYNE as Rosannah aka Rose Hannah BELL.100 The marriage occurred at Dignam's Creek near Cobargo near Bega. The record only identified her father, William BARHAM [sic], but her age and place of birth were not identified. The witnesses were two of George's children from his first marriage. George and Rose had three daughters – Ruby, Mulvina and Adeline. Ruby was illegitimate and was registered with the surname BARHAM. Descendants of Ruby have online trees that identified that Rose had been born either in NSW or at sea sometime between 1850 and 1854. Annie had probably provided an incorrect age for many years as she was younger than any age stated. George died in 1904.

Annie died as Rose Hannah PAYNE on 17 August 1934, at the reported age of 84, although she was actually closer to 79. Her final address was 3 Elizabeth Street, Redfern.101 Her death record clearly identified that her father was William BARHAM, a showman. The identification of this unusual occupation could not point more clearly to the identical, yet hidden, ancestry of Annie BANHAM. The registration named Annie's three daughters and indicated that they were still alive but her three sons from her first marriage were unidentified but were all recorded as deceased. Her first husband was identified as Charles BELL and Rose was in receipt102 of a war pension. At the time she died she was in receipt of the pension103 of her youngest son, Charles. While Charles specified on his enlistment papers that his widow, Lillian Margaret BELL nee McCRORY, was to receive his pension, a notation on page 30 of those papers identified that his mother, Rose Hannah BELL of 20 Great Buckingham Street, Redfern, was to receive a war pension of fifteen shillings a fortnight from 20 March 1918. It is unknown whether Lillian ceased getting her pension from this date or whether both women received a part pension. Rose Hannah PAYNE was buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Botany,104 but no headstone was identified for her in the Botany Church of England Cemetery transcriptions publication.

Annie's sons and Rose Hannah's daughters would have DNA and possibly some features consistent with African descent. Contact with any of their descendants would be greatly appreciated.

Family

Annie was the daughter of William BANHAM and Martha ROLLINSON. She had been born in Victoria in 1855.105 The Victorian BDM Index identified that her place of birth was Melbourne. Because her parents married in a Church of England church106 and because her brother was recorded as a Protestant,107 Annie was almost certainly also a Protestant.

There is little doubt that Annie was of African descent. She was connected to William DARBY108 aka Pablo FANQUE109 through his reputed son, Annie's father, William BANHAM. A birth or baptism that identified William's parents cannot be identified so it is unknown whether Annie was Pablo FANQUE's legitimate granddaughter; was descended from one of his relatives; or was a direct, but illegitimate, granddaughter. Annie's African connection was supported by her 1873 gaol description where she was identified as having a dark complexion;110 and verified by descriptions of and the obituary of the man known to have been her father that stated that he was also of African descent; by an 1887 gaol photograph of her brother, Joseph, and by the 1915 WWI photograph of her son, Frederick. No appropriate baptism or reference on a British census has been confirmed for her father, William BANHAM, who was born before compulsory registration111 in England. The circus in which he and the older Pablo FANQUE were performing has been traced to Ireland at the time of both the 1841C and 1851C so it is believed unlikely that either man and their relationship was recorded on any English census. No proof has therefore been found to identify how Annie was related to William DARBY but it is considered very likely that her father was his son so she was his natural granddaughter. Possibly DNA may prove a connection if descendants of William DARBY and William BANHAM can be located and tested.

William and Martha had married in the Cathedral, Manchester, Lancaster,112 on 28 September 1854.113 The parish record of the St Mary, St Denys and St George Church in Manchester indicated that William was a 24-year-old equestrian, and Martha was 22. William's father was recorded as William BANHAM, a musician, of 44 Windmill Street, and Martha's father was Thomas, a joiner and builder of Peter Street. The witnesses were Robert COUSENS and Ellen (X) COUSENS.114 William and Martha left England after their marriage and had arrived in Victoria by late 1854115 in time for Annie's birth the following year where Martha's maiden name was confirmed. New Zealand records indicated that the family was there in 1856 when William and Martha's first son, Thomas, was born. This son died in New Zealand four weeks later. The Victorian BDM Index in 1857 identified the registration of Annie's next brother, John BANHAM FANQUE, who was also born in Melbourne on 16 December 1857. His mother was confirmed as Martha ROLLINSON and his birth was announced in the newspapers.116 The use in Victoria of the surname, FANQUE, then permits identification of further births between 1860 and 1865 for five other children, Joseph, Susan, Theresa, Elizabeth and an unnamed boy, in NSW to William B. and Martha FANQUE. In 1867, the birth of another brother, George, was recorded in New Zealand. As Pablo FANQUE, William was identified on coastal shipping indents travelling between Australia and New Zealand on at least one occasion. Only his son [John] who was not named, appeared with him on this indent. The whole family were together in New Zealand on at least two occasions but no record has yet been found of Martha or any other children making the voyage to New Zealand.117

Like the elder Pablo FANQUE, William BANHAM was an equestrian with a large stable but in Australia he was more often billed as a rope-walker. He performed as a rope dancer and on both slack and tight ropes across New Zealand and all the states of Australia using the professional name, Pablo FANQUE – the same professional name used by William DARBY, with whom he had performed from a very young age in England. The distinction between the two performers named Pablo FANQUE has been found in only one Australian newspaper of the period but the paper doesn't identify any family relationship.118 Google Books identified that Annie's father, William BANHAM aka Billy BANHAM was a nephew, rather than a son, of William DARBY aka Pablo FANQUE119 but no references have yet been found to confirm this statement. The book further indicated that Billy had returned to England in about 1870 but this statement is not accurate. In Australia, William provided information that led people to believe that he was Pablo's son and this close connection was supported by newspaper reports from English papers.

It is possible to track the younger William's circus performances as he grew older.120 Reports and advertising refer to William only as Master Pablo or Young Pablo and provide no indication of a non-performance name. From December 1836, William was performing in the same company as Pablo FANQUE senior. J. M. TURNER, in FANQUE's biography in his book Black Victorians, stated 'A playbill in the archives of the Circus Friends Association (CFA) for Batty's Company in Cork, dated 13 December 1836, … for the benefit of "The Leaper and Rope-Walker, Pablo Fanque, from Africa" :

… Next comes Master Fanque so tender and young,
You would think on his rope he had scarcely begun,
But his feats are so numerous and truly amazing,
They astonish the audience, who cannot help gazing.'121

Three weeks after this event Master FANQUE was billed as five years old122 when he was performing in Batty's Circus Royal. This appearance cannot be attributed to William DARBY's identified son, Lionel, who was reported by TURNER to have been born in 1835 and therefore would have been only two at this time. Eighteen months after this advertising, reviews for Batty's Circus reported that 'young Pablo FANQUE, a boy of not above seven or eight years of age, … dances on the tightrope with the ease and coolness of a practised veteran'123 and also, in 1838, advertising stated that:

Master Pablo FANQUE the youngest performer in the world ; whose precious talents have obtained for him the appellation of the Gem of Africa, the wonder of the World, will go through some Pleasing Feats on the Tight Rope.124

While still unnamed, William was almost certainly the son who was performing on the rope at the time of the death of Susan DARBY, the wife of Pablo FANQUE, in the building collapse in Leeds in 1848.125 It was shortly after this family tragedy that William BANHAM married for the first time whilst the circus was in Ireland. William married Jane HOPE on 23 November 1850, in Cork, Cork, Ireland.126 This record identified that William's father was William BANHAM and that Jane's father was John HOPE. Neither record would provide the name of William's mother. The marriage to Jane HOPE didn't last long and by about 1853 William had left her. Jane began a relationship with a man named John HANNAH who was eventually hung for her murder.127 The numerous reports of her murder, inquest and of HANNAH's trial make the connection with William and identify him by name. At the inquest, John HOPE, a musician and painter at Wild's Theatre said,

The deceased was my daughter. She had been married, and her husband's name was William Banham. He was an equestrian. He was in Australia when I last heard of him. …128

It was later reported that

… the husband of Jane Banham (now in Australia) was known as 'Young Pablo,' in Pablo Fanque's circus, who deserted his wife several years ago. Both 'Young Pablo' and the deceased performed together at the circus in Leeds at the time Pablo Fanque's wife (Mrs. Darby) was killed by the falling of the building in which the entertainments were given, in King Charles's Croft.129

Appearances for Pablo FANQUE and his new wife, Martha, appear in the New Zealand newspapers from the mid-1850s.130 Shortly after William's arrival in Australia, he was working with Burton's Circus and between about 1858 and 1861 he was the ring-master of Ashton's Circus. In 1861, one of the employees of Ashton's Circus sued William DARBY alias Pablo FANQUE for assault.131 Google Books stated that incidents as Billy BANHAM occurred but none have been verified on Trove using this name. William or Billy can't be the William BANHAM who was appearing in the Victorian courts before 1854. Another tightrope walker, billed as Pablo FRANK, was performing in South Australia in February 1851 but this man was identified as an American.132 William eventually operated his own circus which he named the National Circus. In 1865 he was declared insolvent.133 This may have been due to his reduced ability to perform due to deteriorating health but Pablo travelled to New Zealand after this date where he continued to present shows where his family almost certainly performed.134 From the 1860s, the newspapers in New Zealand and Australia were advertising that Pablo's talented family was involved in his performances. Martha was billed as part of the act in 1859 as Mrs Pablo FANQUE and she probably also appeared as an equestrienne.135 John was certainly learning the skills of rope walking136 and performed under the names of John BANHAM and Master Pablo.137 From 1866, New Zealand newspapers were billing that 'Miss Annie PABLO' was a dancer in her father's circus.138 and once the family had returned to NSW, Annie began to be referred to as the eleven year old La Petite Celeste.

8173302287_57e80395a3.jpg
Pablo FANQUE's Circus (1867)
(Source: Trove – Digitalized Newspapers – SMH)

From as early as November 1867, New Zealand newspapers reported on the health of Pablo FANQUE. The West Coast Times on 23 November stated:

This evening a performance takes place at the Prince of Wales Opera House for the benefit of Mrs Pablo Fanque, the wife of the celebrated acrobat and tight-rope dancer, who with her three children is resident in Hokitika. The performances are under the patronage of His Worship the Mayor, and the circumstances connected with this benefit are of a nature as to appeal most forcibly to every benevolent heart. Pablo Fanque is at present the inmate of a hospital in Sydney, and in his failing health he naturally desires once more to see his wife and children, but, alas! neither he nor she has the means to provide for their passage. He is destitute in NSW. She is destitute in Hokitika.139

Even though he was reported to have returned to England in about 1870, William aka Billy BANHAM aka Pablo FANQUE died in Sydney, NSW. in 1869. His death was verified by Funeral Notices in NSW newspapers and by the matching death registration. Pablo FANQUE died of pulmonary consumption on 5 June 1869, at his residence, 12 Wilmot Street, Sydney,140 predeceasing his older English relative by approximately two years. His obituary from The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, appeared on 19 June 1869.

PABLO FANQUE. – Pablo Fanque, the most extraordinary agile tight-rope dancer of the present age, died at his residence, Wilmot-street, Sydney, on Tuesday week last, the 8th instant, at the comparatively early age of 38. Pablo was a mulatto, though probably born in England. He was a handsome, intelligent, well proportioned, vigorous man, who did not understand the meaning of the word fear. His performances in the Theatre Royal, shortly after it was erected, about twelve years ago, will be remembered by a large proportion of the thousands who crowded nightly to see his extraordinary feats. Pablo had a wonderfully intelligent, well-trained black horse, which he named " Wellington." He brought the horse on the stage, and caused him to perform some amusing tricks and dance a polka, but the cleverest feat of " Wellington" was considered trifling in comparison to the least wonderful of those of his intrepid master. Pablo's line of Funambulism was not that of Blondin and Vertelli – he crossed no vast chasms or Cataracts on rope or wire, but his feats on a tight-rope passed from the stage to the dress circle were seldom equalled, and never surpassed by any other performer. He never made a false step in his various evolutions on the rope even when his feet were enveloped in bushel baskets, and he was in the practice of going the length of the rope, throwing somersaults from the one end to the other, and alight and stand on one foot on the rope after the last somersault. When Pablo was here he had a good balance with his banker, and he subsequently was very successful in New Zealand, New South Wales, and Queensland. He appears to have retired into private life in consequence of ill-health prior to his decease. He died of consumption brought on by exposure to the elements during his professional perambulations.141

William had suffered from consumption for the previous six months. His death as William BANHAM was registered by his wife, Martha, and he was buried at Balmain Cemetery by the Rev. Charles TILLEY. At the time of his death he was recorded as an equestrian. William's death record indicated that he had three sons and two daughters still living and one son and two daughters who had pre-deceased him.142 Based on registrations that have been located, his living children were John, Joseph, Annie, Elizabeth and one other unidentified son, probably George. His deceased children were Thomas, Susan and Theresa. Martha recorded that his parents were William Darby BANHAM and Susan and she stated that William had been born in Norfolk, England. These statements suggested that Martha believed that William was the son of the English Pablo FANQUE however it may also be a coincidence that a cousin of William DARBY also had a wife named Susan – or that Martha was mistaken and this may have been Pablo's attempt at making his performance profile more important. It must be questioned whether Martha was aware that William BANHAM had committed bigamy when they married as, by the date of their marriage, his first wife was performing with Wild's Circus while William was performing with Pablo FANQUE's Circus. This is an indication of some level of deceit of William's part.

An Ancestry link has connected the 1869 death of William BANHAM in Sydney with the family of Samuel and Mary BANHAM in the 1841C in Earsham, Norfolk,143 where their ten-year-old son, William BANHAM, was identified. This William was not with this same family in 1851. This reference however is almost certainly not to the man who came to Australia. Newspaper reports and advertising indicated that Young Pablo was with the circus in Ireland in both 1841 and 1851 but a William BANHAM, the correct age, whose father was Samuel, married Jemima KEMP (or KETT) in 1863144 and was almost certainly alive and living at Earsham on the English 1871C and 1881C when the Australian William BANHAM had died.

Martha was the daughter of Thomas ROLLINSON. She travelled in the circus community with William and her family but in 1860, when Pablo, the celebrated rope dancer, was reputedly involved in the theft of clothing from John DEVANIE in Muswellbrook, Martha was living in Armidale.145 After William's death in 1869, she was probably the Martha BANHAM who was a witness in a trial in Sydney for a theft from a pawn broker on 8 July 1869. Martha may possibly be the woman referred to in the Water Police Court in April 1874 for a breach of the Tenement Act. 'Mrs BANHAM' did not appear and a warrant was issued146 but no further information has been located in the Police Gazette for this case and nothing further has yet been located in the Sydney newspapers. There is no doubt that Martha returned to England, possibly within five years of William's death. How her voyage was financed is unknown and why she made it is also unclear. It is uncertain whether her youngest child, George, went with her or whether he had died and his death had not been registered as no record has yet been located. The rest of Martha's children were left in the institutions of NSW but George has not yet been found. It is believed that it was financially impossible for her to have taken all five of her children back to England. It is believed that Martha returned alone in an attempt to claim money she expected to receive as an inheritance from her husband and that she fully intending to return to NSW to collect her children. Martha never returned to Australia and newspaper reports concerning the death in England of William DARBY aka Pablo FANQUE, very strongly suggest that any money acquired by her husband, William, was not inherited by her. The Bruce Herald, in New Zealand, on 16 August 1871, contained an obituary for Pablo FANQUE aka William DARBY, Martha's probable father-in-law. This obituary suggested that there may very well have been financial considerations influencing her return to England that would have impacted on the welfare of her children.

Pablo Fanque, a well-known equestrian, died in May last. Deceased was a man of colour and was born in Norwich in 1804; he was consequently 67 years of age. He served his apprenticeship under the celebrated Batty, and was only nine years of age when he gave his first performance. He made several successful tours through Europe, America and Australia, and came into possession of L4000 about four years ago, on the death of a son in Australia.147

Martha can be found as Martha BANHAM, a widowed housekeeper, living with her parents in 1881C at 32 Hainton Street, Clee With Weelsby, Lincolnshire.148 No child was living with her but by this stage George would have been aged about fifteen so may have been living elsewhere. Martha's death, at the age of 60, was recorded in Grimsby in the June quarter of 1897.

A series of sad events occurred in 1869 shortly before and just after the death of William BANHAM aka Pablo FANQUE. The family's finances were probably almost gone by 1869 and on 24 April 1869, two children, Joseph and Elizabeth, were admitted to the Randwick Asylum. Neither of these children ever returned to their mother and in March 1876, Joseph was apprenticed to Kameruka on the South Coast of NSW and Elizabeth was apprenticed initially to the Randwick asylum, then to Reverend Robert EARL[?] of Eden, and finally in 1879, to Mr. William DUNNETT[?] of Brogo[?].149 On 8 June 1869, three months before Annie's admission to Newcastle, her brother, twelve-year-old John FANQUE, was admitted to the Vernon charged with wandering the streets with prostitutes. He had run away from home some weeks earlier and an advertisement was placed by his mother as she tried to find him. This advertisement identified him as Young Pablo.150 John was recorded on the Vernon index as John BARHAM151 but the record documented that his name was John BANHAM alias John FANQUE. The record further stated that John's mother was Martha BANHAM of 12 Wilmot Street, Sydney, and that his father was Pablo FANQUE who was unemployed and dangerously ill.152 The different newspaper reports provided the spellings of FANQUE153 or FAUGUE.154 Annie's arrest shortly afterwards therefore meant that she was the fourth of the FANQUE children to be placed in the institutions of NSW.

The ability to link the children of the family of William and Martha is complicated because every child changed their name after they left the institution so the children have been identified below. John seems to have formally used the name Pablo FANQUE (or FANK) after the death of his father and after his discharge from the Vernon.155 He was very probably living in Melbourne when he was involved in a union dispute at Port Melbourne.156 He may also have worked as a newspaper correspondent for the Cumberland Argus in Parramatta from about 1900. John fought as a boxer under the name Pablo FANQUE157 although most of his fights were under the name Frank PABLO. As Frank PABLO158 aka John PABLO,159 John appeared in the Sydney courts in July 1914 with his partner in crime, identified as Catherine BANNAN, charged with a theft. John BANHAM died on 25 October 1919, at the recorded age of sixty-eight years and his death was registered as John PABLO. While this death was only an approximate match for his known age, the names associated with his death indicated that this age was in error. This registration hasn't been viewed but is verified because the year after his death, two In Memoriam notices appeared in the SMH.

PABLO.—In sad and loving memory of John Pablo (Frank), who departed this life October 25, 1919. Inserted by his sorrowing wife, Mary Ann Pablo, and sister, Annie Payne.
PABLO.—In sad and loving memory of John Pablo (Frank), who departed this life October 25, 1919. Inserted by his loving brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, Joseph, Emily, and Jack Pablo.160

Two letters in the CSIL, one concerning John and the other, Pablo, are yet to be read. In 1922, three years after John's death, Mary Ann PABLO nee HIPWORTH married Edward DWYER.161 The appearance of the names, Annie, Mary Ann and Joseph in John's Funeral Notice is not a coincidence and confirmed that the BANHAM children sought each other out after their respective discharges from the institutions of NSW.

Frank PABLO and Joseph PABLO were listed as neighbours in Sands' 1893 directory living at 7 and 9 Bates Lane, Sydney. Joseph was a blacksmith. Joseph162 and Frank PABLO163 both earned money as professional boxers. When Joseph died in July 1935, he was recorded in his funeral notice as 'Joseph FANQUE (PABLO).'164

Elizabeth FANQUE married William LIDDIARD in 1881. William had arrived in NSW from New Zealand aboard the City of Auckland and he was thirteen years older than Elizabeth.165 The couple moved to the North Coast of NSW where William was accused of murder. Elizabeth was initially arrested as an accessory after the fact but the offence against her was not prosecuted166 and she was eventually released. William was tried and executed. William and Elizabeth had had two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Jane. In August 1886, two letters concerning Elizabeth LIDDIARD and her children were sent to the Colonial Secretary. The letters indicated that after the execution of William LIDDIARD, Elizabeth made her way to Sydney, eventually located her brother, named in the letters as Pablo FRANK or FRANC, and her sister, identified only as Mrs BELL, and sought their assistance.

Elizabeth and her daughters had entered the Benevolent Asylum in May and June 1886. The two children were admitted together for one night the following August167 and were then boarded out to the Bowral area. Pablo initially agreed to support the two little girls but a notation on the letter indicated that when the property left to them was tied up and he was unable to acquire it, he abandoned his sister and her daughters.168 This property was in New Zealand and comprised 60 acres at SW part 32, Mairetchi, New Zealand. It was mentioned in the New Zealand Herald on 26 November 1887, as having unpaid rates169 and researchers of the LIDDIARD family believe that after the unpaid rates were paid there was probably nothing remaining for William's descendants. While research completed by descendants of Elizabeth and Mary Jane LIDDIARD has identified their marriages, they have been unable to locate the death of Elizabeth Martha FANQUE.

Further investigation is being undertaken into the Catherine BANNAN who was charged with larceny and appeared with Frank PABLO170 aka John PABLO171 in July 1914. She was fifty-years-old172 when she died in July 1918.173 The registration only provided an age and named neither parent. Catherine was the mother of Bessie DOOLEY and Nellie BAIKIE who also placed Funeral Notices for John PABLO in 1919. Catherine's age at death would calculate to a year of birth of about 1868 and this matches very well with the known date of birth of Elizabeth Martha FANQUE in 1865. Bessie and Nellie were two of the four children of Catherine BANNAN. Two sons were also born to the couple – Edward Richard and John Charles. Catherine had married Richard BANNAN in Paddington in 1888 as Kate MAHR. She was described in 1894 as a middle-aged woman.174 While Kate spent time in Darlinghurst, no description is available on the one admission located in March 1894. Ellen Annie BANNAN was born in 1890175 and married Lyndhurst J. S. BAIKIE in 1920.176 When Lyndhurst (Len) Searle BAIKIE died in 1952, a complicated and extended number of people are named in his Funeral Notice.177 Bessie BANNAN was probably Richard and Kate's last child. She was born in 1894178 and was probably the child, one year and five months of age,179 abandoned in March 1894 by Kate BANNAN at 'the house of the child's father' when she requested that her unnamed husband 'support it.'180 Bessie married William Rowa181 DOOLEY in 1911.182 William DOOLEY assaulted Catherine in 1912 and at this time Catherine was living at 53 Kent Street, Sydney.183 William was finally arrested two years later.184 Bessie DOOLEY went on to marry Arthur MACE in 1929. Edward Richard BANNAN died in 1948185 and John Charles BANNAN in 1969.186 It may be coincidence but it is worth considering that this woman may be Elizabeth who made a second relationship under an assumed name. While the link to the BANNAN name is just by marriage, the known connection to Frank PABLO and the odd spelling of the surname MAHR, which was unusual at this time, warrants further investigation. This surname bears a very strong resemblance to the name Martha. This marriage record will be purchased as the witnesses will be interesting to know. The marriage registration of this couple does not give any clues that may point to Catherine being Elizabeth. Kate stated that her father was John MAHR and she lived in Waverley. No address was provided. The witnesses were Charles and Ellen (X) RYAN.187

Note: Online trees indicate that another William BANHAM from Norfolk was living in Bathurst and there may have been some extended family living in NSW but this has not been investigated.

Updated November 2016

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