Collingwood Notables Database
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Grace Vale was among the first group of women to study medicine at Melbourne University. An Abbotsford resident, she was a member of the prominent and talented Vale family. Grace was born in Richmond, the eldest daughter of William Mountford Kinsey Vale, stationer and later Member of Parliament, and Rachel Lennox. The family soon moved to Ballarat, returning to Melbourne in 1872 where Grace attended Gurner House School, St Kilda. The family spent the years 1874 to 1878 in London as Mr Vale had taken up an appointment there. Back in Melbourne, she studied with private tutor James Clezy to prepare for her Matriculation examinations while living in Church Street Abbotsford at Mayfield, the lovely house originally built for Georgiana McCrae, and bought by William Vale in 1886. The Vales were staunch Congregationalists and attended the Oxford Street Congregational Church.
Artist, enameller, suffragist
May Vale was a talented artist and Abbotsford resident, daughter of the prominent Vale family. Her paintings include family members and an evocative small painting called The Orchard which depicts the blooming garden at their house Mayfield. The family was close-knit, with some of the children living together until death.
Bookseller, barrister, Member of Parliament, Protectionist
Vale was a defender of tariff protection, a keen advocate for technical education, a prominent member of the Independent or Congregational Church and a supporter of the temperance cause. In 1886 he bought Mayfield, the lovely house originally built to the design of Georgiana McCrae in the 1840s, and after her departure the residence of Sir Francis Murphy. Here he spent the last ten years of his life surrounded by his clever and talented daughters and son William who followed him into the law. According to Alfred Deakin, he was ‘strong in domestic affections’ and the closeness of the family is indicated through their frequent appearances together at social, community and church events, and their house sharing in adult life.
Poet, missionary in China
Beatrice was one of the five talented daughters of William Vale, Member of Parliament, and his wife Rachel. In the 1880s the family moved into Mayfield in Abbotsford. In this lovely old house May and Elsie painted and gave art lessons, Grace studied for a medical career, and Faith started a school. Beatrice, who attended Presbyterian Ladies College, also showed artistic gifts and studied at the National Gallery School, but would eventually find her metier in writing poetry, prose and plays. The family was close-knit; a delightful photo of the five sisters taken in Allen’s Smith Street Collingwood studio conveys an impression of quiet strength, intellect, and moral purpose.