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Love locket

Corinne Ball's picture

MM curator Nikki tells us about a beautiful symbol of love, hope, and steadfastness

Jewellery is a universal form of adornment as well as a means by which we express our feelings for, or relationships with, others. One of the many beautiful pieces of jewellery that the Museum holds is a late nineteenth century locket and chain which was given to Sarah Hannam (nee Holmes) as a Christmas gift by her husband Tertius in 1880. 

The Victorian period is known for its use of sentiment and symbolism in jewellery and this piece typifies that. One side of the locket sports a raised anchor, the symbol of hope and steadfastness, while inside we find hand-tinted photographs of Tertius and Sarah who, interestingly, is pictured wearing the locket.

Token of affection

Tertius and Sarah had been married for seventeen years when he gave her the locket, and it may well have been a token of the steadfastness of their love and the hopes and dreams that nourished it. The couple, both of whom were migrants, had married at St John’s Church, Adelaide on 27 January 1863. Sarah, who was born in France, arrived with her family at Holdfast Bay on 10 November 1848 aboard the Navarino. The family were amongst 200 steerage passengers who were the first ordinary migrants to South Australia to pay their own fare rather than applying to the emigration authorities for an assisted passage.

Sarah’s father, William Laurence Holmes, was an English Calais lace maker (originally from Newcastle) who had practiced his art in France until the early years of the French Revolution when the lace factories in Calais were closed. As a result of the subsequent social and industrial upheavals, over 700 British lace makers migrated to Australia from France in 1848.

A self-made man

Tertius James Hannam was born in 1833, the son of Rev. James Hannam of Wincanton, Somerset. He arrived in Port Adelaide on 8 February 1853 aboard the Walvisch, and eighteen months later married his first wife, Catherine Scobie, with whom he had three children (two of whom died in infancy). Catherine died in 1861. Within a few years of his arrival T.J. Hannam became a successful pastoralist and sheep breeder. He first purchased 2,000 acres of land near Mount Torrens on which he established ‘Murray View’. As his flock increased, he purchased ‘Meaford’, a property of about 1,300 acres in the Braemar Hills. He later increased his holding by buying 1,000 acres near Callington known as ‘Spring Bank’.

Generations of service

Sarah and Tertius had four sons and two daughters. Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth Maude (1870-1950), married Charles Richmond John Glover (1870-1936) at St John’s Church, Adelaide on 17 May 1900. Glover served as the last Mayor of Adelaide 1917-1919 and then as the first Lord Mayor of that city in 1919, from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1930 to 1933. The couple’s son, Charles John Glover served as Lord Mayor of Adelaide from 1960-1963 and was knighted in 1969.

I like to think of this locket and chain not only as a remarkable piece of Victorian jewellery, but, perhaps more importantly, as emblematic of the hope and steadfastness of migrants like Sarah and Tertius, and of the contribution made by them and their families to South Australia.

Migration Museum collection HT 2006.31, donated by Mrs A Glover

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