Collingwood Notables Database
Mrs Anne Drake was a well-known teacher and resident of Abbotsford. She spent twenty years as the head mistress of Abbotsford School, established in 1855 under the Denominational system, followed by twelve years at Cambridge Street State School.
She had trained in London in the Pestalozzi method of infant teaching at the Home and Colonial Training Institute, then taught at the South Audley Street National School before arriving in Melbourne in October 1857. She started at Abbotsford immediately and was joined by her unqualified husband John as head teacher. Anne was in charge of the girls’ section and rose to be among the elite of women teachers in Victoria, classified in the first division with a high salary. The inspectors’ reports speak highly of her teaching and management abilities: she was ‘able, energetic and reliable’ as well as ‘skilful and vigorous’, despite the fact that she must have been pregnant for much of the time. Between 1857 and 1877, Anne gave birth eleven times, including two stillborn sons, and two who died in infancy.
Abbotsford School had been established under the aegis of the Church of England, and was also used for church services until St Philip’s Church in Hoddle Street opened in 1865. The Drakes were on friendly terms with other members of the congregation, including influential local Sir Arthur Snowden, and participated in activities such as the annual Flower Show. Their double-fronted house in a large garden on the corner of Nicholson and Yarra Street was commodious for the area.
At this time a woman could never be appointed in charge of a boys school, but it seems obvious that Anne was a much better school manager than her husband. He had six months sick leave in 1874-75 and perhaps such negative comments on his ability as ‘does little more than superintend the class’ were connected with this. The Drakes were transferred to Cambridge Street State School after its opening in 1877 but John soon retired and devoted himself to adding to and managing his rental properties in Abbotsford. At the time of his death he still owned the properties now numbered 201-207 Nicholson Street and 80-94 Yarra Street.
Anne retired in 1889. The family moved to Fairlea 83 Charles Street, Kew; John subdivided the land on which their Abbotsford house stood and squeezed in two narrow brick cottages. John and Anne died within six months of each other. Their children prospered: eldest son Edwin Tiptree had several government roles, including Statist and Secretary of the Public Works Department. He must have inherited his mother’s abilities as he was described as a man of ‘exceptional organising ability’. Francis was a doctor, Frederick a grazier, John a solicitor, while Florence was chief instructress in Domestic Arts at Swinburne Technical College and Lucy was head teacher at Northcote State School.
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|24 February 1833||Devonshire, England|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|John Drake (1826-1910)||18 July 1855 St Leonard’s Shoreditch||Four sons and three daughters survived|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|201-207 Nicholson Street||Abbotsford||Demolished|
|Work Street||Work City||Status of Building|
|Corner Nicholson Street and Marine Parade||Abbotsford||Demolished|
|St Philip's Anglican, Hoddle Street Abbotsford|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|5 March 1911||Ferntree Gully|
The Argus, Reminiscences of Mildred Snowden (SLV MS 10748), Cummings, Bitter roots, sweet fruit, Teacher records No 2702 and 2701