1918 Graduating Class, Sydney Sanitarium. Bernard Hadfield is second from the left, second row. His wife Violetta is behind him, third row, center.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Adventist Hospital Archives.

Hadfield, Bernard Edwin (1894–1976) and Laura Violetta (Allen) (1895–1975)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Bernard and Laura Hadfield were pioneering missionaries in the South Pacific Islands, serving in the Kingdom of Tonga and in Tahiti. They spent their later years of ministry in Australia.

Early Years

Bernard Edwin Hadfield was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on New Year’s Day 1894, to Ernest and Ida (Tunstall) Hadfield.1 He was raised a Seventh-day Adventist and enrolled at the Sydney Sanitarium in 1916 to train as a nurse. He graduated on September 12, 1918.2 A few days later he married Laura Violetta Allen, a member of the same graduation class.3 Violetta, her preferred name, was born in Sydney on July 4, 1895.4

A Long Service Record

Immediately after graduation Hadfield was appointed to the Sanitarium Health Food Company in Sydney as a canvasser of the denomination’s periodical Life and Health.5 He engaged in this work for three months, from November 1918 through January 1919, selling almost one thousand copies and gaining over one hundred annual subscriptions.6

In late 1919, Bernard and Violetta Hadfield were called to the Kingdom of Tonga.7 They sailed from Sydney on November 28, bound for the remote Faleloa mission station on Ha`apai where Pearl Tolhurst had died during the influenza epidemic twelve months earlier.8 The Hadfields’ two children, Leslie Edwin and Geneva Ruth Lavinia, were born during this term in Tonga.9

Violetta Hadfield’s health deteriorated in Tonga, so when their furlough was extended from one to three years in order for her to fully recuperate. During this time Bernard Hadfield served in the North New South Wales Conference during the term, assisting with a tent crusade at Muswellbrook10 and in ministry at Tamworth.11

The Hadfield family returned to Tonga in late 192712 for what proved to be another decade of service among a people they had grown to love. Bernard Hadfield busied himself translating Bible Readings for the Home Circle into the Tongan language. He also produced a compilation of two hundred Tongan hymns.13 The progress of the mission was tortoise-like. After forty years the yield was only four small churches with a combined baptized membership of eighty.14

In 1938 the Hadfield family returned to the Victorian Conference where Bernard engaged in pastoral ministry.15 He was ordained during the summer of 1939/1940 at the Royal Park camp meeting in Melbourne.16 The Second World War years brought one final term of mission service in the South Pacific, a brief period as superintendent in Tahiti in 1943,17 and a return to Tonga as superintendent from 1944 to 1945.18

Once again, in 1946, Bernard and Violetta Hadfield returned to the Victoria Conference for pastoral ministry. He was instrumental in pioneering the Greensborough church in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. His happy disposition was appreciated when on hospital visitation among the sick. His final years of ministry were spent in the South Queensland Conference where a little company of believers in Caboolture met in their home and eventually formed an organized church.19

Retirement

Bernard and Violetta Hadfield retired to Cooranbong, New South Wales, in 1964. He enjoyed gardening and maintained a regular door-to-door visitation in the neighborhood, distributing Signs of the Times.20 When they needed geriatric care, the Hadfields moved into the nearby Charles Harrison Memorial Home where Violetta Hadfield died on August 20, 1975.21 A year later Bernard Hadfield died on August 21, 1976. Both were laid to rest in the Avondale Lawn Cemetery.22

Sources

“At a recent meeting of the executive...” Australasian Record, October 5, 1925.

“Bernard Edwin Hadfield Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Coombe, L[eslie] C. “Bernard Edwin Hadfield obituary.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 25, 1976.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, October 27, 1919.

District of Hillsborough. Birth Certificates. New Zealand Government Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand.

Greive, Constance M. “Golden Wedding.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, 1968.

Hadfield, B[ernard] E. “The Tongan Annual Meeting.” Australasian Record, January 23, 1928.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work.” Australasian Record, March 3, 1919.

Rogers, Viola. “Fifteenth Graduating Exercises, Sydney Sanitarium.” Australasian Record, October 7, 1918.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920-1964.

“Statistical Report of the Mission Field of the Australasian Division for the Year Ended December 31, 1937.” Australasian Record, supplement, August 8, 1938.

“The following distribution of labour...” Australasian Record, December 8, 1924.

Tolhurst, L[eonard] P. “Laura Violetta (Allen) Hadfield.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 20, 1975.

Tolhurst, L[eonard} P. “Life Sketch of the Late Pastor B. E. Hadfield, Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 25, 1976.

“We are glad to report that...” Australasian Record, December 8, 1919.

Notes

  1. District of Hillsborough, Certificate of Birth no. 17202 (1894), New Zealand Government Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand.

  2. Viola Rogers, “Fifteenth Graduating Exercises, Sydney Sanitarium,” Australasian Record, October 7, 1918, 6-7.

  3. L[eonard] P. Tolhurst, “Life Sketch of the Late Pastor B.E. Hadfield,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 25, 1976, 13.

  4. Bernard Edwin Hadfield Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Hadfield, Bernard Edwin,” document: “Bernard Edwin Hadfield Biographical Information.”

  5. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918, 36-37.

  6. E.g., “Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work,” Australasian Record, March 3, 1919, [5].

  7. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, October 27, 1919, 6.

  8. “We are glad to report that...,” Australasian Record, December 8, 1919, 8.

  9. Bernard Edwin Hadfield Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Hadfield, Bernard Edwin,” document: “Bernard Edwin Hadfield Biographical Information.”

  10. “The following distribution of labour...,” Australasian Record, December 8, 1924, 8.

  11. “At a recent meeting of the executive...,” Australasian Record, October 5, 1925, 8.

  12. B[ernard] E. Hadfield, “The Tongan Annual Meeting,” Australasian Record, January 23, 1928.

  13. L[eonard] P. Tolhurst, “Life Sketch of the Late Pastor B. E. Hadfield,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 25, 1976, 13.

  14. “Statistical Report of the Mission Field of the Australasian Division for the Year Ended December 31, 1937,” Australasian Record, supplement, August 8, 1938.

  15. E.g., “Victorian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1939), 74-75.

  16. L[eonard] P. Tolhurst, “Life Sketch of the Late Pastor B.E. Hadfield,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, 25, 1976, 13.

  17. “Society Islands Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1943), 71.

  18. E.g., “Tongan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1944), 72.

  19. Constance M. Greive, “Golden Wedding,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, 1968, 13.

  20. Ibid.

  21. L[eonard] P. Tolhurst, “Laura Violetta (Allen) Hadfield,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 20, 1975, 14.

  22. L[eslie] C. Coombe, “Bernard Edwin Hadfield, “Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, October 25, 1976, 14.

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Hook, Milton. "Hadfield, Bernard Edwin (1894–1976) and Laura Violetta (Allen) (1895–1975)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed December 02, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=47WU.

Hook, Milton. "Hadfield, Bernard Edwin (1894–1976) and Laura Violetta (Allen) (1895–1975)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access December 02, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=47WU.

Hook, Milton (2020, January 29). Hadfield, Bernard Edwin (1894–1976) and Laura Violetta (Allen) (1895–1975). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 02, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=47WU.