Mr Prell’s teapot

One of our Perfect Teapots comes with some history. Engraved upon it is the message: Presented to Mr Stanley Prell from the staff of Agricultural Bank of Tasmania 22-9-65. 

Of course I googled him. He was a bureaucrat in Tasmania. Worked for the gambling board. 

The first interesting reference I came across was The Hobart Mercury (12/3/1941), under the heading “Of Social Interest”, the first paragraph no less, reports that “Mrs Stanley Prell has returned to Hobart after a visit to Goulburn and Wagga, NSW. On her way back, she stayed with friends in Melbourne.” How lovely; during WWII, they continued to report on the coming and goings of the wives of local dignitaries. 

I dug a little further. The Sydney Morning Herald (13/3/1939) tells us that Mr and Mrs Stanley Prell were farewelled from Goulburn, more specifically from a property at Crookwell, by Mr and Mrs C.E. Prell. I presume they were Stanley’s parents. The item reports on Mrs Prell’s attire. “Mrs Stanley Prell wore a frock of black wool, a small black hat and silver fox furs.” How delightful! [Not for the foxes of course!] Luckily the weather was mild and they were able to entertain out of doors. Cocktails and savouries were served from small tables on the terraced lawn. Later buffet supper was served on the lawns. “As evening fell the guests came into the house, where the four reception rooms were decorated with daisies, dahlias and roses.”

So Stanley wasn’t originally from Tasmania! He was from the squatocracy of NSW. Turns out the Prells have a strong link to the Goulburn area. A Charles Prell is in Australian Dictionary of Biography. Stanley’s father?

Here’s a link to Mr Charles Prell’s Gundowringa Homestead where the farewell party was held. 

The Goulburn Evening Penny Post of Wednesday 8th March 1939 reports “Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Prell, of Crookwell, and their baby son, John, are staying at Park Lane Mansions. They recently sold their station property.” (The only record of Park Lane Mansions I can find is in Rushcutters Bay in Sydney. Of course, the squatocracy would reside there.) That was the same month that the Stanley Prells were farewelled before starting out on their adventure in Tasmania. 

Is this our Stanley Prell selling up in Crookwell? Or a relative. Did he try farming, following his family’s tradition, before moving to Tasmania? It’s too coincidental to be a different Stanley Prell. 

The Sydney Morning Herald (5/1/1938) reports that Mrs Stanley Prell of Warekarori [incorrectly spelled without the h] and her small son were having a short holiday in Moss Vale. Wharekarori is the name of a property. Let’s put aside that the reporting of a mother and son taking a holiday seems odd to us, we now have their farm name. 

So Stanley did try farming, following in his family, before he moved to Tasmania. Wharekarori, a homestead off the Goulburn-Crockwell Rd, is in the same region as his father’s historic homestead. 
As a good citizen from the “right” family, Mr Stanley Prell was active in his community. The Goulburn Evening Penny Post (9 May 1935, a hard time for Australia) reports his involvement in the hospital and ambulance fundraising  committee. Seems the hospital was in debt. 

The Post Jan 29, 1937 advertises the sale of 800 of his Corriedale wether weaners from his farm, Wharekarori. (Scarily, the page is full of ads of farms for auction. The impact of the depression continued or just natural variations in farming?)  Wethers are castrated male sheep and weaners are sheep of around a year old. They would have been sold for meat – lamb being a favourite meat in Australia. Corriedale, breed for both meat and wool, were once the second most common sheep, after Merinos. 

Corriedale sheep


Some interesting details of the sale of the property. The Post of Feb 2, 1939 reports that “Mr. H. B. G. Larkin, C.B.E. [Companion of the British Empire], who is at present staying at the Royal Hotel accompanied by Mrs. Larkin, has purchased ‘Wharekarori’ from Mr. Stanley Prell and takes possession on March 1. Mr. Larkin was well known in shipping circles as chairman of the Australian Commonwealth Shipping Board and later as a member of the management of the P and O. S.N. Co., in London, but as a result of indifferent health has decided to settle on the land in this district. Some 15 months ago he married Mrs. A. de Berigny, of the Tarcutta district, and her son, Mr. Reginald de Berigny, will manage the property for him.” How fortuitous for our Mr Prell. In 1939, there was below average rain fall, and then there was a significant drought during WWII.
By the by, do you know what P&O SN Co stands for? Peninsula and Orient Steam Navigation Company. Funny how you think something stands for something for so long. I thought it was Pacific and Orient Shipping. 

Back to our man of the teapot. The April 1918 Torchbearer, the magazine of The Church of England Grammar School (SCEGGS also called SHORE), a private school in Sydney, tells us Stanley Prell entered school there that term. It also states that his father, among many others, had promised or given a donation of £2, 2 shillings. Stanley also played cricket and in a game won by SCEGGS scored 11 runs. In another game, also won by SCEGGS, Stanley’s bowling got one Newington player out for a loss of eleven runs – 1 for 11, for those who understand cricket. 

A handy record is The Torchbearer. A much later edition, December 1966, among a column on old boys, reports that “Stanley Prell (18-22), originally of Crockwell, but more recently of Hobart, is now living in Goulburn.” Confirming the early changes of address from selling on his sheep station and moving to Tasmania. His address is recorded as 122 Deccan Street Goulburn. It’s opposite Goulburn High School. Not sure if it is the red brick number or the weatherboard next door. 

The December 1968 Torchbearer reports his change of address to 2/51 Merrigang St Bowral. A much nicer house in a much nicer street. 

In 1972 The Torchbearer records Stanley Prell’s address changing yet again, now  residing at 2/5 Beechworth Road, Lower Stanley Bay, Hobart. If it is the same man, he certainly gets around. Not the nicest flat. Very 1960s but very nicely placed, right next to the water. 


December 1946 Torchbearer recordsthe cricket score of a Prell. I wonder if it is his son? There’s a Madeleine Prell who did her HSC at Frenshem which is a private school near Bowral. She show jumps. I wonder if she is a descendant? 

Wharekarori is still used for cattle and sheep grazing. A wind farm is either on or next to the property. The great grandson of the original Prell of Crookwell supported wind farms to provide passive income for farmers. But that’s a whole other story. 

And what of the Agricultural Bank of Tasmania. It was set up to support development of farms. It wound up in 1984. 

Why did they present him with a teapot? I don’t know. A physical visit to search the Bank’s records would be required. Perhaps he was on the board?

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8 thoughts on “Mr Prell’s teapot

  1. What a lot of research! Was that all done in one hit?! You could have a side-line career going there as a researcher!

    What an interesting background to a teapot. I think it’s a really lovely gift for them to have presented Mr Prell with. Do you think you would ever consider donating it back to the family if a descendant popped up?

    Mr Prell certainly did get around. But the thing I want to know…did ‘Mrs Stanley Prell’ have her own name?!

    • Mostly done in one day but I’ve edited my writing so it reads more fluently. As to Mrs Stanley, stay tuned. I’ve done some more digging. Spent couple of hours last night. Yes, she has a name. And more details on the family to come.

      I do wonder how the teapot made its way onto eBay. Was it sold by family? I definitely would consider giving it back.

    • No. Not at all. But the then, not being the claw that has their parties placed in the social pages, I wouldn’t find much so readily. Also, my mother’s German, so I’d have to read German. Which I can’t do

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