Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

George Nelson Raymond


Shoemaker, last maker, knife maker

Personal Photo 1

Canadian-born U.S. citizen George Raymond set up in business as a bespoke boot and shoemaker in Smith Street. In the 1870s he advertised himself in the local paper as a ‘Fashionable Boot and Shoe Maker’:

Plain and fancy goods made to order on shortest notice. Fit guaranteed. Lasts
draughted with care and skill to meet the requirements of all feet. Repairs done.

Eventually Raymond must have considered that there was a better future in concentrating on the manufacture of lasts for the burgeoning mechanised footwear trade. By 1887 he had rented a factory in Reilly Street (now Alexandra Parade) for the manufacture of shoe lasts, and a nearby house in Council Street for his residence.

From this small beginning a large company was born. In 1899 Easey Street between Smith and Budd streets was a quiet residential street, with a grocer’s shop on one corner, the Norfolk Hotel on another and a dairy half way along. By 1906 it was showing the first signs of the transformation that was to affect much of Collingwood in the twentieth century. Raymond had set up as a last and knife manufacturer at number 10, not far from number 2 Easey Street where a J P Douglas conducted the same trade. Business was going well, and Raymond built a large house at 259 Scotchmer Street in North Fitzroy.

When Raymond died in 1910, his sons carried on the business, using the name G N Raymond Pty Ltd from 1914. By 1930 the replacement of houses with factories in the Easey Street block was almost complete, with ‘G N Raymond, last and wood heel manufactory’, at numbers 6 to 54, and their box making factories on the south side at numbers 23 to 45. Within a few years they had added numbers 11-21 to the box making factories. The sons diversified and expanded the business, even moving into the manufacture of board games such as Railway Riot: a game using key cards that were physically placed in various locations and had to be found in a certain time-frame and according to a defined Railway Schedule.

The company was listed on the stock market in 1949. The Adelaide Advertiser of 30 August 1949 noted in a report on G N Raymond's conversion to a public company that:

The company claims to do 60% or more of the trade in wooden lasts, steel shanks, and moulded fibre and leather shanks and insoles and 45% of the business in wooden heels and moulded stiffeners. In addition it is a large manufacturer of cardboard boxes and cartons and casein plastics.

In 1968 the company had sales totalling over 9 million dollars from its three divisions of footwear components, printing and packaging, and timber. The company was de-listed in 1972 when it was taken over by Marogi Pty Ltd.

House Photo 1

10 Council Street

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
28 April 1832 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Louisa Wait 1853
Jane Corban (c. 1846-1908) 1866 7 sons born Collingwood and Fitzroy; 6 survived infancy, 5 survived him
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
Vere Street Collingwood Demolished
Dight Street Collingwood Demolished
Sydney Street Collingwood Demolished
Oxford Street Collingwood Demolished
10 Council Street Clifton Hill Extant
Work Addresses
Work Street Work City Status of Building
92 Smith Street Collingwood Not identified
26 Reilly Street Clifton Hill Not identified
10 Easey Street Collingwood Extant
Church Lodge
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
29 August 1910 Fitzroy Healesville, Victoria

Vines, Northern Suburbs Factory Study; MercuryThe Adelaide Advertiser; The Argus; The Canberra Times, Australian Leather Journal 1902.

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