Collingwood Notables Database
Tanner and currier, councillor
Flockhart was a Scottish-born Protectionist industrialist. Like many like-minded men of industry, he saw the banks of the Yarra in Abbotsford as a profitable place to establish an industry that relied on a copious supply of running water. Flockhart Street Abbotsford was named in his honour.
Flockhart’s parents were Andrew Flockhart (a tanner) and Jean Blackwood of Kinross; Robert and his young wife probably arrived in Australia in 1853. He set up in partnership with James Bond Hayman as tanners and curriers at Jackson’s Creek. Flockhart opened a city Leather and Grindery Warehouse in Elizabeth Street in 1857. (A grindery sold shoemakers’ tools and materials; for a description of tanning and currying, see the Hayman entry). The partnership was dissolved in July 1858; in the same year Flockhart opened a second leather warehouse in Gertrude Street Fitzroy. His name often featured in the shipping records listing goods awaiting at the docks, e.g. leather shipped from Liverpool, or tallow, indicating that he did not wholly rely on locally produced products.
Flockhart had a tannery in Abbotsford, possibly at the end of Brick Lane, later Flockhart Street, and thus immediately abutting Hayman’s tannery on the land between Grosvenor Street and Flochart Street. However it is not clear whether this was completely separate from that of James Hayman or conducted in association with him.
His first wife died in March 1861 at their Grosvenor Street residence, and not long afterwards he opened additional business premises in Smith Street Fitzroy. Lizzie Easdown was living in Johnston Street, just off Smith Street, and Robert’s second marriage took place late in 1862. By this time Flockhart had been elected to Collingwood council and around 1863 the name of Brick Lane was changed to Flockhart Street in his honour. He had had considerable success in his business and after his Grosvenor Street house and tannery were badly damaged by the great flood of December 1863, he began building a house in Hawthorn, moving there in 1865.
At Flockhart’s tannery, all the works have been washed away as has … the dwelling house of the proprietor, one storey in height, which he was obliged to vacate on the previous day, the water being up to the eaves. The damage sustained, including the loss of tanning materials, and hides, is calculated at about £1500.
The Age 17 December 1863 p. 5
The new house was an elegant villa residence set on about 5 ½ acres of land with an orchard, on the river between the villas of Sir James Palmer and T H Power. Flockhart also had a tannery in Yarra Street Hawthorn. He was elected to Melbourne City Council, serving there from 1865-68, but success was short-lived as he died at a very early age. Lizzie was left a widow with a young son, but re-married in 1875.
|Date of Marriage
|Catherine Robertson, c. 1828-1861
|4 November 1862
|Andrew Robert, 1865
|Status of Building
|Status of Building
|79 Smith Street
Barrett, The inner suburbs; The Argus; The Age; The Australasian; The Leader.