Monday, April 30, 2012

Vannini Family

Ann "Annie" McMahon (1866 - 5 July 1925) married Antonio Damiano Vannini (1856 - May 1925) in 1884.  Antonio was a musician, composer and piano, dancing and singing teacher.  Antonio had arrived in New Zealand on the New Zealand Shipping Company's ship Wairoa, having left London for New Zealand on 19 July 1878, and finally arrived in New Zealand on 17 October 1878.  In August 1906, it was reported that Antonio Vannini, "the well known Blenheim musician" had composed a waltz called "The Niagra" to be entered in a Music competition. The Vannini children attended St Mary's convent school in Blenheim.  They were:

1. Edith Corti Vannini (18 August 1886, Mosgiel, Otago - 19 October 1926) married Frank Grint (1874 - 1947) in  1909. 

2. Mary Annie "Mona" Corti Vannini (1890 - 1951) married Thomas William Thwaites (1876 - 1939) on 9 February 1914 at St Patrick's Church, Kilbirnie. They had at least one child - a son born on 2 November 1919.

3. Luigi Patrick Vannini (21 August 1893, Alfred Street, Blenheim - 1960) married Muriel Eugenie Smith (13 March 1898 - 1976) in  1927.  Luigi served in WWI, in 1915 being wounded and admitted to a Canadian hospital in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.  Despite his injuries, he returned safely to NZ in 1919.

4. Roy Corti Vannini (13 May 1897, Charles Street, Blenheim - 1980). Roy was a private, serving in WWI.  In October 1917, his mother received word that he had been admitted to hospital in France, severely wounded, to the knee and face following fighting at Flanders.

5. Doreen Mandreina Alice Vannini (6 August 1901 - 1991) married Herbert Arthur Johns (13 September 1904 - 1975) in 1927.

Antonio Vannini was probably a son of Cosmo Damiano Vannini from his first marriage.

Cosmo Damiano Vannini (1836 - 22 June 1890) first seems to have either married or had relationships with Mary Ann Maria Ellis and Maria Tarry and had the following children either in England or in Australia:

Antonio Damiano Vannini  (1856 - May 1925)
Frederick Vannini (6 July 1864 - March 1865)
Serafina/Sarafina Vannini (1862 - 14 March 1951)

Damiano then married Margaret Moloney (daughter of Mr John Moloney, Fedemore, County Limerick, Ireland)(1849 - 1924) in 1874 in Australia and they had at least two daughters.  Following his death, Margaret married Wilhelm Braun in 1891.  The Vannini family lived at Moray Place in Dunedin at the time Damiano died.  Damiano obviously had a publican's licence - just a few weeks before his death (on 5 June 1890), the Waverley Hotel in Moray Place had been transferred from an Emma Williamson to Damiano Vannini.  Previously the family seem to have lived in Mosgiel.  Margaret's sister Nora M. Moloney had also married a publican on 13 February 1893 - Patrick Joseph Kavanagh of the Rising Sun Hotel in Eastern Road, South Melbourne.  The Waverley Hotel became known as Vannini's after Damiano's death and Margaret Braun was the licensee for some years following his death. 

The Vannini children from the marriage between Damiano and Margaret Moloney likely included:

1. Adelina Hartley Vannini (1880 - 1929) married John McGrath (eldest son of Patrick McGrath of Bluff) on 2 February 1905 at St Joseph's Cathedral.  Married by Rev. Fr. Cleary.  
   1.1 Adelina Maura McGrath (1905)
   1.2 Margherita Antonietta McGrath (1908)
   1.3 Joan Carita McGrath (9 July 1910 - 1998)
2. Antonietta Vannini (14 February 1881 - 1973) married John Major (fourth son of James Major of Melbourne) on 6 February 1902 at Dunedin
   2.1 Marietta Major (4 December 1905 - 1991)
   2.3 John Noel Major (1911)

Serafina/Sarafina Vannini (1862, Ballarat, Australia - 14 March 1951, Dunedin New Zealand) may have been another sibling of Cosmo and Antonio Vannini.  She married a plumber, Robert McDonald Short (1857 - 1885), in 1881 but he died just four years later aged only 28.
1. Flora McDonald Short (10 December 1884 - 8 May 1972)
Following Robert's death Serafina married Peter Carlyle (1864 - 15 January 1927) on 13 January 1891 at Castle Street in Dunedin.  They were married by Rev. Sutherland.  They had the following children:
2. Daisy Carlyle (2 November 1891 - 1977) married Stanley Alexander Park (1889 - 1948) in 1917. 
3. Robert Aitken Carlyle (3 December 1893 - 1962) married Alice Rubina Money (16 October 1893 - 1977) in 1917 and following his divorce from her, married Euphemia Mitchell in 1922.
4. Myra Jane Carlyle (3 August 1897, Sydney, Australia - 1980, Dunedin, NZ).  Died unmarried.
5. William Gordon Carlyle (18 January 1900, Brisbane, Australia - 6 April 1952) married May Dorothea Moynahan (1900 - 21 August 2000).  It's probable that William came to New Zealand with his family after WWI, around 1918.  


  1. Hi Minnie,

    I am the greatgrandson of Cosmo Damiano Vannini. My grandfather Antonio Damiano Vannini wa born to Mary Ann Maria Ellis and Cosmo following their marriage in London in 1855. Cosmo subsequently deserted both Antonio and his mother and went to Australia with Maria Terry (possibly a cousin of Mary Ann Maria Ellis). After arrival in Australia in 1861 they had two children Seraphina and Frederick but they were never married as far as I have been able to ascertain. Cosmo then married Margaret Moloney in Ballarat in September 1874. They came to New Zealand with Seraphina approximately 1878 and Margaret and Cosmo had two daughters in Outram. I have details on most of the Vannini Descendants in New Zealand.

    Look forward to hearing from you


  2. Lovely to hear from you Roy, would love to hear more. Feel free to email me on

  3. Hi Minnie, Thanks for the blog, I have now lots more info on Mary Annie Vannini was born 1 march 1890 in Blenheim and died in Karori, Wellington on 15 March 1951. She was my great aunt and married to Thomas William Thwaites. Let me know if you need any more info. I can be contacted at