Dunedin's Buried History
Sarah (Carnell) Bichall (ne'e Palmer), born 13 November 1847, was the second child born to Frederick and Sarah Mary Palmer (ne'e Hazard). She was baptized 15 July 1849 at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, London.
At the age of 6 years Sarah, with her mother and two sisters, travelled on the 'Vriendschap' to join their father in Australia. They Left London on 1 May 1854 and arrived at Port Philip 28 August. On 21 October 1862 at the age of 14, she sailed on the 'Bruce' from Melbourne and arrived at Dunedin 5 November. No adult accompanied her and she was in charge of her sister and two brothers, Eliza aged 12, Frederick aged 6, and William aged 4 years.
On 22 August 1872 Sarah married Samual Lister Carnell at Samuel's home in London Street, Dunedin. Samual gave his occupation as hawker. He was an orphan.
Sarah's first daughter, Hannah, was born 24 December 1872. Eliza Ann was born 4 August, 1874 but only lived a year and died 9 August, 1875. Nellie Carnell was born 10 April 1877 and eight days later on 18 April, Sarah was widowed with the death of Samuel, He was 32 years of age.
On 30 June 1879 Sarah Carnell married William Birchall at Castle Street, Dunedin. William Birchall was the son of Thomas and Betty Birchall (nee Urmson). He was born in Bardsley, Lanchashire and a brick-layer by trade.
Their first daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was born 15 November 1879. The next in this family was a son, Frederick William, born 6 April, 1881. Edith was born 20 May 1883 and then Alfred Urmson born 22 January 1885. Two more sons, Ernest Hazard, on 4 February 1887 and Walter Palmer, on 28 July 1889 completed the family.
From old postcards we learnt that Sarah used to climb on the roof to help her husband with painting. Hergrandchildren recall Sarah, in her 90's, climbing a tree to pick apples.
Sarah was often asked for advice when there was sickness in the neighbourhood. In April 1899 she was bequeathed property in Artur Street (now Frame Street) probably for assisting the donor in a time of illness.
The family moved from there to Maungatua and back to Dunedin. William died on 29 May 1926.
Sarah always economised by such habits as buying broken biscuits which were cheaper and making her own clothes. Althgough a very small lady (only about 5 ft) at 90 years old she was still a brisk walker up the hill to catch the cable car to town. She died 8 October 1940 at the age of 92 years.
Ref: 'To the End of the World - the Birchall-Palmer Link' by Elsie M Birchall, Auckland 1996.
Image courtesy of:
Sarah Birchall's Wedding
Image courtesy of:
Beloved Daughter of
Josiah - 8 May Birchall
of Bardslay Lancashire
Died Feb 15 1905
Aged 21 years
Though lost to sight to memory dear
Died May 28th 1926 aged 26
And his Wife Sarah
Died Oct 8th 1940 aged 92
And their Children
Killed in France Mar 28th 1918
Died July 10th 1933 aged 39