Collingwood Notables Database
Displaying 1 - 25 of 109
Solicitor, councillor, Member of Parliament
a’Beckett was elected to Collingwood council in the second year of the municipality’s existence, and was chairman or mayor of Collingwood Council from 1856 until 1859. He had practised as a solicitor in London, was interested in law reform, and had published a number of pamphlets before deciding to move to Victoria in 1850.
Anglican layman, printer
Manufacturing chemist, inventor, photographer, philanthropist
Thomas Baker was a well-known Abbotsford identity for many years, living at Yarra Grange in Southampton Crescent and establishing the firm of Baker and Rouse which became the largest supplier of photographic material in Australia. He eventually became managing director of Kodak (Australasia) which continued to operate on the Yarra Grange site and surrounds until the 1950s.
Alice Baker’s name is immortalised in the Thomas Baker, Alice Baker, and Eleanor Shaw Medical Research Institute which was established at the Alfred Hospital in the 1920s, and continues its work as the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. An Abbotsford resident for almost 40 years, she was well-known for her philanthropic and social activities and her membership of many women’s groups. Towards the end of her life she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Baker, pastrycook, publican
Pawnbroker, jeweller, councillor
Isaac Barnet was the first owner of Floraston, a notable house still standing in Victoria Parade and built for him in 1875. The house was designed by Terry and Oakden and built by local builders James Nation and Co. With its arched façade and ceramic tiled spandrels, it makes a significant contribution to the Victoria Parade streetscape.
Elocutionist, elocution teacher
Elsie Berry, an elocutionist who grew up in Clifton Hill, represents a class of public performance which was very popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but is rare nowadays. Elocution teachers proliferated partly through people’s desire to improve their everyday speech, but many were also popular performers. Concerts by elocutionists and their pupils were frequent, featuring character recitals, poetry, and humorous sketches, as well as songs and instrumental music. Elsie had a natural talent and even as a child showed an amazing gift of mimicry. After coming home from a concert she would throw the whole family into shrieks of laughter through her impersonations of one artist after the other.
Teacher, inventor, astronomer
Alfred Biggs was appointed as the first head teacher at the United Methodist Free Church School in Hoddle Street Collingwood when it opened in 1858. He was assisted by his wife Harriet Biggs. The little school, funded under the auspices of the Denominational Board, consisted of a brick schoolroom measuring 38 feet by 24 feet, and a smaller timber building. It was on the southwest corner of Perry Street, and the young couple rented the conveniently nearby Clarendon Villa in Harmsworth Street. Their work would have been demanding. Most of the children would not have attended school prior to their arrival, and children of different ages would have contributed to the din in the small rooms. Moreover, Harriet, in charge of the Infants room, was also managing regular births and the sorrow of infant deaths; she had already had two children before starting at the school, the firstborn dying at the age of three months, and three more were born during her tenure, the last dying in April 1863. A month’s leave for childbirth was the norm, and Harriet’s health suffered.
Billibellary was an influential and important ngurungaeta, or spokesman, for the Wurundjeri–willum people at the time of the first European settlement of Melbourne. He was known as a chief of the Yarra tribe. His land was on the north side of the Yarra, including Yarra Bend Park and up the Merri Creek.
Black took a position as assistant to the established chemist Carlington Marston in his Smith Street pharmacy and eventually took over the business. With two sons following him into pharmaceutical studies, the business continued into the 1930s as J.S. Black and Sons, and the 1867 building still exists.
Tobacconist, fancy goods dealer, clay pipe manufacturer
Henry Bradley was the proud proprietor of a business in Smith Street Collingwood where he was a tobacconist and fancy goods dealer. According to Bradley’s biography in Victoria and its metropolis, his first shop was in the former residence of John Pascoe Fawkner, a founder of Melbourne, and a photo shows the name Fawkner House proudly emblazoned on the façade.
Town clerk, tramways manager
W R Butcher held the position of Town Clerk of the City of Collingwood from 1907 until 1931, and was thus the longest-serving town clerk in the municipality until L. Dudley Cook (1962-1987). Prior to this appointment he was the manager of the Abbotsford tramway sheds which belonged to the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company. He was an active member of St Philip’s Church.
Early settler, pastoralist
J D L Campbell, usually known as Lyon Campbell, was one of Collingwood’s earliest residents, having bought Crown Portion 79 in the Government land sales of 1839. On this land, around 20 acres, he built a house called Campbellfield, designed by surveyor and architect Robert Russell. Here he lived until his untimely death in 1844. His neighbours along the riverfront in what was eventually called Abbotsford were other 1840s settlers such as John Dight, John Orr, Edward Curr and Georgiana McCrae.
c. 1839 - 1896
Abbondio Campi is immortalised in the row of shops at 149 to 167 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill which bear the words ‘Campi’s Buildings’ on the pediment. Few passers-by would realise that the Italian-born owner of these buildings was also one of the master craftsmen of 19th century Melbourne.
Emily Childers, the wife of noted educationist and politician Hugh Culling Eardley Childers, kept a journal during the 1850s, including the years when the Childers lived in Abbotsford. Her journal gives a fascinating depiction of household and social life for a young wife and mother, as well as an insight into political events and the complexities of her husband’s work in the fledgling colony.
Solicitor, early settler
Australian Rules footballer, coach and administrator;
Australian Rules footballer, columnist, sports writer, maintenance worker
One of the greatest goal kickers in League football, Gordon Coventry held the record of most career goals – an incredible 1,299 – for six decades. The Coventry brothers, Gordon and Syd, were ‘brothers-in-arms’ as they played major roles in Collingwood’s most successful era. Although the brothers were born outside the suburb they are seen as Collingwood Football Club icons. They came from Diamond Creek but through their football skills and leadership on and off the field they won the hearts of Collingwood people, not just football followers. To Collingwood locals they were always hailed as true sons of Collingwood.
Publican, brewer, land sub-divider
To Patrick Coyle we owe the lasting pleasure of the delightfully-decorated Albion Hotel on the corner of Smith and Perry streets, and the striking group of four two-storey shops which are its neighbours. Coyle was first heard of in Collingwood in 1869 as the resident publican of the Grace Darling Hotel in Smith Street, and later became the owner and publican of the Albion Hotel.
Early settler, grazier, Member of Parliament
In 1840s Melbourne the stretch of the Yarra in what is now Abbotsford attracted people to build houses on large landholdings in an almost rural environment. A neighbour of John Orr at Abbotsford House, Edward Curr was another early settler on the section of the Yarra just south of Johnston Street. His property, purchased in 1842 from John Hodgson, was called St Helier’s. In comparison to other riverside locales of Abbotsford, the present land use pattern in this area largely perpetuates the expansive garden settings and peaceful qualities of the early nineteenth century. This is because both properties were later acquired by the Convent of the Good Shepherd rather than being extensively subdivided into small building blocks or factory sites.
Nun, third Mother Superior of the Convent of the Good Shepherd
Sister Mary of Mt Carmel Curtain arrived in Melbourne in July 1867 with three other nuns to join the community of the Convent of the Good Shepherd at Abbotsford which had been set up in 1863 under the leadership of Mother Mary of St Joseph Doyle. Sister Mary of Mt Carmel became the third Prioress or Mother Superior in 1873 and was to remain in that position until her death in 1888.
Soldier, Victoria Cross recipient
Dartnell was one of two Collingwood boys who were awarded the Victoria Cross, but unlike William Ruthven, Dartnell spent only his early years in Collingwood, as his parents later moved to Fitzroy. Also unlike Ruthven, he did not survive his act of bravery.
Mildred Snowden was the daughter of solicitor Arthur Snowden (later Sir Arthur) and was born at the family home in St Helier’s Street Abbotsford. In later life she wrote reminiscences of her childhood and youth, giving us a rare insight into domestic and social life of the times.
Early settler, flour miller
Dight has bequeathed his name to Dight’s Falls where he harnessed the flow of the Yarra to operate the first water-driven flour mill in Melbourne. In 1840s Melbourne the stretch of the Yarra in what is now Abbotsford attracted people to build houses on large landholdings in an almost rural environment, but Dight was the first to combine home and industry.