Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Displaying 1 - 25 of 106

Thomas Turner a'Beckett

1808-1892

Solicitor, councillor, Member of Parliament

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a'Beckett c. 1867

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. 

Charles Baker

1821-1897

Anglican layman, printer

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Baker was a fervent adherent of the Church of England and involved with the parishes of St Mark’s in Fitzroy, St Philip’s in Abbotsford, and St Andrew’s in Clifton Hill. He was a strong opponent of pew rents.

Thomas Baker

1854-1928

Manufacturing chemist, inventor, photographer, philanthropist

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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, CBE

1855-1935

Philanthropist

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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.

William Barnard

c. 1828-1902

Baker, pastrycook, publican

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Barnard's Buildings in Peel Street

Barnard and his wife Sarah arrived in Melbourne on the Red Jacket in August 1856. By 1857 he had started a partnership with Stephen Peaty as bakers and confectioners in Collingwood, but this was dissolved in April 1860. 

Isaac Barnet

c.1825-1909

Pawnbroker, jeweller, councillor

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Isaac Barnet (detail) 1900

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.

Mary Elsie Nathalie (Elsie) Berry

1882-1892

Elocutionist, elocution teacher

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Elsie on her wedding day

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.

Alfred Barrett Biggs

1825-1900

Teacher, inventor, astronomer

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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

c. 1799-1846

Aboriginal leader

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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.

John Stirling Black

1832-1913

Chemist

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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.

Henry Bradley

1831-1911

Tobacconist, fancy goods dealer, clay pipe manufacturer

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Bradley's shopfront 1884 or 1885

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.

William Richard Butcher

1860-1933

Town clerk, tramways manager

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W R Butcher in 1915

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.

James David Lyon Campbell

1809-1844

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.

Abbondio Campi

c. 1839 - 1896

Mirror manufacturer

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Campi in 1888

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

c. 1827-1875

Diarist

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Emily c. 1870

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.

Frederick Redmond Collier

1885-1964

Opera singer

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Collier as Luke in Pierrette

Collier was born in Collingwood and attended St Phillip’s Church in Hoddle Street, where he started singing in the choir at the age of ten. He attended Victoria Park state school and began his working life as a porter with the Victorian Railways at the age of 15.

Sydney Alfred Coventry

1899-1976

Australian Rules footballer, coach and administrator;

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Collingwood historian Michael Roberts speaks for most Collingwood football supporters and the local community when he describes Syd Coventry as truly one of the club’s most revered figures. As a footballer, captain, coach and Club president he was outstanding.

Gordon Richard James ('Nuts') Coventry

1901-1968

Australian Rules footballer, columnist, sports writer, maintenance worker

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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.

Patrick Coyle

c.1839-1888

Publican, brewer, land sub-divider

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Albion Hotel in the 20th century

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.

Edward Curr

1798-1850

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.

Johanna Curtain, Mother Mary of Mt Carmel

1835-1888

Nun, third Mother Superior of the Convent of the Good Shepherd

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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.

William Thomas Dartnell

1885-1915

Soldier, Victoria Cross recipient

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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 Demaine

1860-1941

Memoir writer

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The Snowdens taking tea on the veranda, 1904

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.

John Dight

1808-1867

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.

Charles Jardine Don

1820-1866

Stonemason, councillor, Member of Parliament

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At his death, The Age wrote that Don ‘had opened for his whole class the portals of the senate’.  He was a pioneer labour parliamentarian as member for Collingwood in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria. Don claimed to be the first working tradesman to sit in a parliament of the British Empire.

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