Lake Macquarie History

Minnie Hall's WWI era autograph book

photo: photograph of minnie hall, c.1920

Minnie Ella Hall, along with her twin sister Elsie was born in 1899 to Sarah and Adam Hall of Teralba, who had married earlier that year. Minnie had older siblings from her mother's first marriage to James Johnson - Elizabeth, John James and William George.

Minnie and Elsie were in their mid teens at the outbreak of the first world war, and like most young girls Minnie had an autograph book, where her friends and acquaintances could write messages and greetings.

Among the many pages in Minnie's book are inscriptions from young men who would soon be called to serve their country. These often include notations of when they sailed, when they returned or were killed in action. Minnie's own brother, William George Johnson, was one of these young men, joining the 34th Battalion AIF in April 1916, aged 23 years. He was killed in action in July 1917 at Messines, Belgium.

photo: page from minnie hall's autograph book

The image at the left shows Minnie's poignant notations on her brothers entry, and one can only guess at the anguish she must have felt writing this.

Minnie and Elsie worked tirelessly for the war effort and their local church, and are mentioned many times in newspaper articles of the day.

In a poignant postscript to the story, Minnie's father Adam died in September 1926, and her mother Sarah in August 1927. Minnie's twin sister Elsie married Frederick Quintrell in 1939, and died in 1948. Minnie never married, and passed away in July 1977.

Abbreviations used in the book

Abbreviation Meaning
N.B.C. Newcastle Business College
N.H.S. Newcastle High School