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BENNETT, HANNAH (ANN) nee GALLAGHER

 

Ann Gallagher was born at Greytown in 1878, the daughter of Barney Gallagher, and his wife nee O'Connor.

 

As a scholarship winner at the Greytown School, she concluded her education at the Wellington Girls' College. She qualified as a teacher and served under the Wellington Education Board until her marriage to Bertram Crosskey Bennett in c 1907, when she came to reside with her husband in Hawera.

 

Ann displayed an intense interest in elocution, gaining her LTCL diploma, and all forms of dramatic art, being one of the early promoters in the South Taranaki area, of the New Zealand branch of the British Drama League. She was one of the founders of the Hawera Women's Club, and as an active worker for the play reading circle, produced many of the plays that were presented by its enthusiasts. One of her productions, Mirror to Elizabeth (T B Morris) gained second place in the final of a dominion-wide competition under the auspices of the league movement.

 

Ann was also a prominent member of the Hawera Repertory Club, taking part in one of the club's last productions before it went into recess about 1940. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the Hawera Competition Festival at which her name is perpetuated by the Ann Bennett Challenge Cup, presented by her for competition in the elocution classes.

 

In her work for St Joseph's Catholic Church, Ann displayed unobtrusive efficiency and considerable organising ability in the activities she undertook for the benefit of the parish.

In World War One, Ann trained as a Red Cross nurse and gave outstanding service in town and district activities, and in the 1918 influenza epidemic, she gave unsparingly of her experience and ability.

 

In sport, Ann was at one time a croquet enthusiast and an active member of the Hawera Club. She was associated with the formation of the South Taranaki Croquet Association to promote inter-club competition and was the donor of the Bennett Cup.

 

With her husband, Ann toured abroad on a number of occasions and frequently gave travel talks to women's organisations of her impressions and experiences. Her last tour take place in the late 1930s when, with her husband, and James and Marion Campbell, she visited East Indies, Burma and India. Bert Bennett was a co-owner of Bennett and Sutton Ltd in Hawera, and was a half brother to Connie and Daisy Reilly.

 

Ann Bennett died on the 31 December 1943 at Hawera, aged 65 years and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.

 

SOURCE

Obituary "Hawera Star" 3 Jan 1944

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