The Hanlon’s of “Jessamine”


Written and submitted by Joyce Overton (nee Hanlon)

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“Jessamine” 20 Garnet Street, Hurlstone Park, 1998

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Jeston William Hanlon

My father Jeston William Hanlon was born on 28th October 1899. He lived at Arncliffe with his parents George Patrick and Elizabeth Hanlon and his brothers Eric and Thomas but at the age of 13, he lost his mother in childbirth. His father was a Baker and Pastry Cook employed by Dibble Bros in Newtown and as he worked at night and slept during the day, he had no alternative but to take his young family (Eric being eight and Tom was three) back to his mother, Hannah Hanlon and his unmarried sister, Mabel Hanlon who lived in Enmore.

Move to “Jessamine”

Some time later the family went to live at 20 Garnet St, Dulwich Hill [now Hurlstone Park - please see note 1 below]. My grandfather George Patrick Hanlon had remarried and his sister Mabel purchased the property and my father Jeston lent her some money towards it (I don’t know how much). Mabel called the house “Jessamine” (Jess and mine) showing the connection to Jeston who was always called Jess. My grandfather paid board for his family. Dad was 17 when his father remarried and grandfather commenced in producing another eight children namely Lawrence, Ernest, Beryl, Patricia, Ray, Ted, Kyra and Flora.

As the family increased, George bought a bakehouse at Thornleigh and the majority of the family moved up there leaving the grandma, Aunt Mabel, Jeston, Eric and Tom who were all working by then and Raymond from George’s second family who was only a little boy. Raymond was born in 1918 and started school at Yeo Park when he was five.

Mabel married a Samuel Taylor in 1931. When the second world war commenced Tom and Ray were called up and they served in New Guinea and Darwin. Unfortunately Tom was killed in New Guinea and is buried in Lae Cemetery. Ray survived and will be 91 in September 2009. Ray married a Melbourne girl called Rita and with their daughter Marion came to live at “Jessamine”. The grandmother died in 1926 and Jeston and Eric married in 1926 and 1929. Auntie May made some of the rooms into a small flat and Ray and his family lived there until he built a home at Herne Bay (now called Riverwood).

My husband and I and my son Peter took over the flat when Ray moved out and we lived there for almost five years. Ray returned to Melbourne with his now three children.

Restoration of “Jessamine”

Mabel’s husband Samuel died in about 1950 and when Mabel passed away in 1960, the family sold the house to a man called Rees. On his death, his son restored the house. It was a magnificent home in its day. In the late 1920’s the Moss family purchased the carriage way of “Jessamine” and built their home on that land. Their grandson Kevin Moss, was a Mayor of Canterbury from 1980 to 1987. “Jessamine” had beautiful marble fireplaces and very high ceilings complete with moldings and frieze. The gardens were very neatly kept and Jeston Hanlon as a boy kept goldfish in the pond in the front garden.

When I attended one of my first meetings of the Historical Society, a letter was read out asking if anyone knew the history and colour scheme of the house. I contacted Mr. Rees’ son and together with my Uncle Eric and his wife Alice we visited the home. My uncle provided quite a lot of information to the owner particularly the colour scheme. We saw quite a lot of restoration work had already been done and it was wonderful to see the old home restored.


1. Garnet Street is the border between the suburbs of Hurlstone Park and Dulwich Hill and the Local Government Areas of Canterbury City and Marrickville Municipality. The buildings on the west side of the street (that is those with even numbers including “Jessamine” 20 Garnet Street) are in Hurlstone Park and the LGA of Canterbury City and those on the opposite side are in Dulwich Hill and Marrickville Municipality.

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