Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

James Bond Hayman

c. 1832-1892

Tanner, currier, leather cutter

Hayman was one of a number of men who saw the banks of the Yarra in Abbotsford as a suitable place to establish an industry that relied on a copious supply of running water, and access to a refuse drain. Also like many others in the nineteenth century, he did not shy away from his noxious trade, but lived right next door to the Grosvenor Tannery with his family. His daughter married one of the tannery employees.

Hayman prepared different classes of leather depending on use: harness, bridle and buggy hides, kangaroo leather tanned expressly for saddles and heavy belts, as well as bootmakers’ leather, and plain and fancy boot uppers made at a factory in connexion with the tannery. He opened a Leather Warehouse in Gertrude Street Fitzroy to sell his products. He frequently exhibited at local and overseas exhibitions, winning awards in the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1881 and a silver medal at the Amsterdam Exhibition in 1883. He showed some ‘very fine exhibits’ at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London in 1886.

Hayman had started out in partnership with Robert Flockhart as tanners and curriers at Jackson’s Creek. The partnership was dissolved in July 1858 although they apparently again formed some sort of co-operative arrangement in Abbotsford. In 1858 much of the land belonging to the early riverside mansion Yarra Grange was subdivided and auctioned. Hayman acquired or leased a number of plots fronting Grosvenor Street and running to the river, roughly 434 feet by 90 feet. Here he established the Grosvenor Tannery and built himself a double-fronted timber house with slate roof which he described in 1867 as a handsome house with a bay window and deep front garden laid out with flower beds and paths.

The tanning process was lengthy and malodourous. Hides were soaked in a pit of clean water, then for a number of days in a pit with lime, and while the hair and flesh were being scraped off, the hides were soaked twice more. The water (and until 1870, the hair) went into the Yarra. Next the hides were soaked in a ‘bate’ of dung to soften them. Finally the hides were washed in clean water, and then remained in tan pits for several months according to the nature and quality of the leather required. Tannin was derived from bark or leaves (originally oak bark was used).  Currying is a specialist stage the leather processing industry. After the tanning process, the currier works the tanned hide to make it strong, flexible and waterproof. The leather is stretched and burnished to produce a uniform thickness and suppleness, and dyed to the desired colour. After currying, the leather is ready to pass to trades such as saddlery, bridlery, shoemaking and glovemaking.

Unsurprisingly, Hayman was in court several times in 1860, charged under the Yarra Pollution Act (1855) with allowing offensive matter from tan pits and lime pits to flow into the Yarra. A public meeting of the inhabitants of East Collingwood was held at the Earl of Zetland Hotel to discuss what was described as the persecution and resultant hardship of Hayman. The court case was a lively and argumentative affair with John Pascoe Fawkner presiding at the Johnston Street courthouse, and was reported on at length in The Argus 19 May 1860.

Hayman continued in the business until his death in 1892, after which it was taken over by the McLean Brothers. It was later owned by Charles Trescowthick, a local bootmaker. The MMBW detail plan dated 1901 shows the house, still with its flowerbeds and paths laid out but now neighboured by a factory housing the Australian Asbestos Company, with the tannery to the north.

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
c. 1832 Not found
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Charlotte Bennett (c. 1825-1890) 1853 2 sons died in infancy in 1855 and 1857; daughter Louisa Charlotte born c. 1856.
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
Grosvenor Street Abbotsford Demolished
Work Addresses
Work Street Work City Status of Building
Leather Warehouse, 121 Gertrude Street Fitzroy Demolished
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
14 January 1892 Abbotsford Boroondara

The Argus; Mercury
Wikipedia - tanning   
emelbourne - noxious trades

Online Image links

MMBW detail plan 1305
For photos of old tanning pits which were unearthed a few years ago, see; 149540

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