Hunter Valley Ancestors: An Incomplete Chronicle of the families Burns, Puxty, Hewitt, Longworth, Poile, Pascoe, Kenny, and Hancock


Dr Roland Bannister spent his early years growing up in Waratah, NSW but recalls many family trips to Singleton, Paterson, and other Hunter Valley locations. While he has fond memories of these excursions, he often wondered why his parents were so drawn to these areas. For Roland, a swim in the Paterson River was ample reward.

Listen to Carol Duncan’s conversation with Roland Bannister here:


Roland Bannister’s mother (left) and her brother

The first members of all of my family lines arrived in Australia between 1790 and 1853. They came here by sea. There was no other way. All of them came from Britain, and most – on Dad’s side and on Mum’s – came from England. There is a Scots stream on Dad’s side, and there is a touch of Irish on Mum’s. Some came as free persons, but six or seven came as convicts. All were working people. None came with much wealth. All battled on as agricultural labourers, farmers and miners, and small-time publicans or storekeepers.

One line, the Longworths, became wealthy, but the others led everyday working lives, and their degree of prosperity varied widely.

A very few of them were landholders, and few had much formal education – just like most European immigrants across the two hundred years.

Roland’s book, ‘Hunter Valley Ancestors – An Incomplete Chronicle of the families Burns, Puxty, Hewitt, Longworth, Poile, Pascoe, Kenny, and Hancock’ is the story of his mother’s family. Many of these families settled in the Singleton and Paterson areas in locations that were once grazing areas but now better known as coal areas, including Rix’s Creek.

Coal mines have now taken over both places and deep and broad black voids shape the landscape members of my family once farmed. Paterson thrives as the centre of a rich agricultural area, thankfully untouched by mining.

Roland’s great great great grandmother Ellen Puxty sits on the far right in front of Brooklyn House, Paterson. Brooklyn House was demolished in about 1957 | Image Courtesy Paterson Historical Society


Roland’s book is available now.

  • Retail price: $30 (plus $15 packing and postage for mailed copies = total $45)
  • Email
  • Author contact 0403 324 487

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