Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Joseph John Moody

c. 1811-1881?

Town clerk

Moody was the first town clerk of the fledgling East Collingwood Council. Appointed shortly after council was established late in 1855, he received a salary of £200 per annum and served for five years. With his Freemasonry connections he was probably assured of success on his arrival in Victoria in December 1852 with his wife and four children, having left his home in Cheshire. As early as 1853 he was on the committee of the Second Collingwood Equitable Mutual Building Association and therefore had made the acquaintance of influential Collingwood resident Peter John Petherick who was the Secretary.  Moody claimed a long involvement with municipal affairs in England, but the fact that one of the council factions was strongly dominated by Freemasons would have been the major factor in his appointment.

His term was not without financial scandal.  There was a major row about discrepancies in the accounts in late 1859 and into the following year; dismissal was urged. However he continued as town clerk until the end of 1860, when according to him he ‘declined to apply’ for the advertised vacancy. He was also charged with arrears of rates from 1858 to 1862.

The Moody family lived in a house, called Studley Villa,  in Hoddle Street just near Vere Street, large by Collingwood Flat standards, comprising eight rooms plus conveniences, with a return veranda and a large, well-stocked garden. It can be seen on Hodgkinson’s 1858 map of Collingwood and seems to have been on the site of the present-day RSL Hall. Moody was appointed by the Earl of Zetland as the first Master of the Combermere Lodge, established in 1858, which met, suitably enough, at the Earl of Zetland Hotel. He was Honorary Secretary of the Free Public Library Committee in 1860 and 1861, and was an active member of the Collingwood Rifles, while Mrs Moody busied herself with such charitable works as being on the committee of the Sackville St Ragged School.

After departing the post of town clerk he worked as a patent agent and Parliamentary agent (his clients included the Licensed Victuallers Association). In 1864 there was some talk of his standing for Parliament, supported of course by ‘influential electors’, but this seems to have come to nothing. He was appointed Secretary of the Freemasons’ Building and Investment Society, which led to another financial scandal. Although charged with embezzlement he was acquitted; however it was clearly stated that the books were not kept in a good condition, suggesting incompetence rather than fraudulent behaviour.

Moody’s house was advertised to let, and when that failed, it was put up for sale; eventually he moved to St Kilda. There is some suggestion by family historians that he later left his wife, and may have died in Albury; Martha and several of the children are buried in Boroondara cemetery.

Life Summary

Birth DateBirth Place
Spouse NameDate of MarriageChildren
Martha Brownc. 1840Two sons, two daughters
Home Addresses
Home StreetHome CityStatus of Building
Hoddle Street, just south of Vere StreetAbbotsfordDemolished
Combermere Lodge (Freemason)
Death DateDeath PlaceCemetery
1881?Albury?Not located

Barrett, The inner suburbs; Shiels, Charles Jardine Don; The Argus; Bradley papers, SLV MS13511.

Online Image links

CHS 1858 map

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