Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Harold Edmund Petherick


Barrister, solicitor

Petherick was a son of well-known Collingwood identity Peter Petherick, who was variously hotelkeeper, councillor and rate collector. Harold was reputed to be a clever boy, matriculating at fourteen, and passing his law examinations with distinction.  In the 1880s he assisted his elder brother Edward, the noted authority on Australiana, with the compilation of a substantial bibliography of colonial works.

He worked from Selborne Chambers in Chancery Lane (Little Collins Street) and also had a Collingwood office in Hoddle Street, opposite the town hall. In 1892 he married Florence, the only daughter of Midgley Hall, a Yorkshire-born Clifton Hill wool scourer who worked in partnership with his brother Robert Hall. The young couple took up residence in South Terrace Clifton Hill in Verona, a house owned by Florence’s parents, who lived next door.

He had some aspirations, never achieved, to political life. He was a candidate for the Collingwood seat of the Legislative Assembly in 1891, but withdrew before the election. He then stood for council as a candidate for Loch Ward in 1892 but was unsuccessful despite promoting himself as the ‘Collingwood native’.

However, he was obviously a well-known and well-regarded person in the community. When he was appointed as town clerk of Perth in 1897 the news rated a story in the local paper (even the salary of £600 was mentioned) and he was given a send off at a Fitzroy council meeting where he was toasted by the Hon R W Best.

A rather melancholy commentary on his life published in Table Talk 14 May 1908 has this to say:

one of the passing generations of Victorians who, with great hope, went West in the early days of the Forrest Empire … Mr Petherick … somehow never fully realised the best that was in him, as far as material success goes. He accepted rather a cramped environment, maybe, by becoming town clerk of Perth, for the Western capital has not even yet risen to the dimensions which can afford scope for an energetic controlling mind. It is some years since Mr Petherick abandoned the municipal appointment and polished up his legal brass plate, but the opportunity for a professional career had then gone by, and he returned to Melbourne.

Midgley Hall died in 1904 so the impetus for the return to the eastern metropolis early in 1906 may have also been to do with Florence’s desire to be with her mother. The Pethericks moved in with Mrs Hall, who had by this time built a new house, Coniston, a few doors away, and after Petherick’s death the two widows continued to live in South Terrace with his daughter Constance.

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
1861 Collingwood
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Florence Hall May 1892 Constance Emma, 2 February 1893
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
10 South Terrace Clifton Hill Demolished
8 South Terrace Clifton Hill Extant
Work Addresses
Work Street Work City Status of Building
Hoddle Street Collingwood Demolished
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
2 May 1908 Clifton Hill MGC

The Argus; Table Talk; Mercury and Weekly Courier
ADB Edward Petherick
ADB William Bold


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