Girls in attendance at the Wainibuka School, with Miss Habermann

Photo courtesy of Australasian Record, October 5, 1925.

Byrne, Wanda Eugenie (Habermann) (1894–1968)

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.

Wanda Eugenie (Habermann) Byrne served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in a number of roles between 1918 and 1935 when she married Alfred Byrne and settled in Adelaide, South Australia. During her years of service, she worked in evangelistic and departmental positions in South Australia, New South Wales, and Fiji.

Wanda Eugenie Habermann was born to Friedrich and Bertha Habermann on March 2, 1894, at Burrumbuttock, a rural settlement of German immigrants in southern New South Wales.1 After World War I, like many of German heritage, she preferred an Anglicised surname and used Haberman.

Church Career

At the 1918 Australasian Union Conference Session held at Cooranbong, New South Wales, Wanda was assigned to assist in the Young People’s Department of the New South Wales Conference.2 However, she did not enter that assignment immediately. Conference reports speak of her on a team doing public evangelism with Reuben Hare in Hurlstone Park, suburban Sydney. Not until 1922 was it recorded that she held the twin portfolios of Sabbath School Secretary and Missionary Volunteer Secretary in the conference.3 An example of her endeavours in 1922 tell of how she conducted a Sabbath School convention in a local church, its content demonstrating that she possessed a solid grasp of the principles of teaching.4

Wanda’s departmental work was interrupted by a term of overseas mission work. She was appointed to be the preceptress at the Buresala Training School in Fiji, sailing from Sydney on December 1, 1922.5 Her term extended through 1926 and included similar responsibilities at Wainibuka School6 and Navuso School.7 She then returned to Australia to serve as Sabbath School Secretary and Missionary Volunteer Secretary in the South Australian Conference for 1927.8 The year proved to be a short-lived respite from the tropical climate for she was then appointed to return to Fiji to be preceptress at the Fijian-Indian training school at Samabula.9 It wasn’t long before she was acting as Sabbath School Secretary and Missionary Volunteer Secretary for the Fiji Mission.10

Before the year 1928 ended Wanda was recalled to the South Australian Conference to resume her departmental portfolios.11 The shuttle between roles continued. From 1930 through 1932 she assisted ministers to grow the small community of church members at Broken Hill.12 Geographically, the remote town was in New South Wales but it was also closer to Adelaide so it was regarded as a part of the South Australian Conference. Not until 1935 did she occupy her Sabbath School and Missionary Volunteer work again.13 She had scarcely begun when widower and new Adventist Alfred Charles Byrne proposed to her and they were married in a sea of Iceland poppies in the Kensington church, suburban Adelaide, on August 15, 1935. They spent their honeymoon in Fiji, touring the familiar places of Wanda’s mission experiences.14

After Active Service

Alfred and Wanda settled in Adelaide and remained as lay members for the remainder of their years. Wanda was a long-time Sabbath School teacher. Twenty-three years of married life closed with the death of Alfred on October 2, 1958, aged eighty-eight. He was buried in the Mitcham General Cemetery, suburban Adelaide,15 where his first wife, Dora, was also interred.16 Wanda died on February 17, 1968. She was buried in Centennial Park Cemetery, Adelaide.17

Sources

“Alfred Charles Byrne.” FamilySearch.org. Intellectual Reserve, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VT71-PDC.

Bradley, Thomas J. “Byrne-Haberman.” Australasian Record, September 9, 1935.

Butler, F[rancis] J. “South Australasian Conference and Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, April 29, 1935.

Butler, S[idney] C. “Wanda Eugenie Byrne,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 25, 1968.

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

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, September 5, 1927.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, September 24, 1928.

District of Albury. Birth Certificates. Government of New South Wales Registry Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Sydney, New South Wales.

Fletcher, W[illiam] W. “General Meetings in Fiji-Part 2.” Australasian Record, July 9, 1928.

Haberman, Wanda E. “A New and Exciting Experience at Navuso School, Fiji.” Australasian Record, December 7, 1925.

Haberman, Wanda E. “A Sabbath School Convention.” Australasian Record, August 21, 1922.

Haberman, Wanda E. “Good Word from Broken Hill.” Australasian Record, August 31, 1931.

Haberman, Wanda E. “Wainibuka School, Fiji.” Australasian Record, July 6, 1925.

Hammond, H. W[alter]. “Alfred Charles Byrne.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 3, 1958.

“Our Sydney city effort…” Australasian Record, August 9, 1920.

“Outward Bound.” Australasian Record, December 11, 1922.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920-1935.

Notes

  1. District of Albury, Birth certificate no. 3575 (1894), Government of New South Wales Registry Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Sydney, New South Wales.

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

  3. “North New South Wales Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1922), 144.

  4. Wanda E. Haberman, “A Sabbath School Convention,” Australasian Record, August 21, 1922, 5.

  5. “Outward Bound,” Australasian Record, December 11, 1922, 8.

  6. Wanda E. Haberman, “Wainibuka School, Fiji,” Australasian Record, July 6, 1925, 3.

  7. Wanda E. Haberman, “A New and Exciting Experience at Navuso School, Fiji,” Australasian Record, December 7, 1925, 3.

  8. “South Australian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1927), 218.

  9. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, September 5, 1927, 5-6.

  10. W[illiam] W. Fletcher, “General Meetings in Fiji-Part 2,” Australasian Record, July 9, 1928, 3-4.

  11. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, September 24, 1928, 4-5.

  12. E.g., Wanda E. Haberman, “Good Word from Broken Hill,” Australasian Record, August 31, 1931, 8.

  13. F[rancis] J. Butler, “South Australian Conference and Camp Meeting,” Australasian Record, April 29, 1935, 3-4.

  14. Thomas J. Bradley, “Byrne-Haberman,” Australasian Record, September 9, 1935, 7.

  15. H. W[alter] Hammond, “Alfred Charles Byrne,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 3, 1958, 11.

  16. “Alfred Charles Byrne,” FamilySearch.org. Intellectual Reserve, 2020,accessed May 18, 2020, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VT71-PDC.

  17. S[idney] C. Butler, “Wanda Eugenie Byrne,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 25, 1968, 14.

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Hook, Milton. "Byrne, Wanda Eugenie (Habermann) (1894–1968)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed January 25, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IF1.

Hook, Milton. "Byrne, Wanda Eugenie (Habermann) (1894–1968)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access January 25, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IF1.

Hook, Milton (2021, April 28). Byrne, Wanda Eugenie (Habermann) (1894–1968). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 25, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IF1.