Pawnbroker, jeweller, councillor
Isaac Barnet was the first owner of Floraston, a notable house still standing in Victoria Parade and built for him in 1875. The house was designed by Terry and Oakden and built by local builders James Nation and Co. With its arched façade and ceramic tiled spandrels, it makes a significant contribution to the Victoria Parade streetscape.
Isaac and Flora Barnet arrived in Melbourne from London in 1853. Barnet was in business as a grocer, then a tobacconist and pawnbroker in Swanston Street and finally established himself as a jeweller. Before moving the short distance to their new house, the family had been living in Albert Street East Melbourne. The new residence was on a block 31 feet wide with a depth of 279 feet running through to Mason Street. With drawing, sitting, dining and breakfast rooms, seven bedrooms, and a tradesman’s entrance, Floraston was indeed a grand residence and the Barnets would spend ten years there. Barnet continued to be a very active member of the East Melbourne Hebrew congregation, was a respected community figure and was involved with benevolent organisations. He also involved himself with local politics; he was elected to Collingwood Council in 1879, retiring in 1882, and was appointed an honorary magistrate or Justice of the Peace.
Barnet’s son Nahum was to become a noted architect, and in 1876 he was articled to the firm that had designed his father’s house. Despite his busy architectural practice, he was also active in the community, especially as editor of the Jewish Herald.
In late 1885 Barnet put his house up for sale in readiness for a trip to Europe. The advertisements emphasised its views of the Dandenong Ranges in the east and Clarendon Street East Melbourne to the south. With the house sold, his furniture and household effects were also auctioned with a delectable list of silverware, hand-painted china, magnificent mahogany furniture, pianos and everything else a gentleman’s house could require.
In 1886 a Mrs Loughnan set up a nursing home in Floraston; later it became St Joseph’s home for working girls. The Barnets settled elsewhere after their return to Australia.
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|Flora Abrahams, 18??-1904||1852, London||Nahum 1855, Caroline 1858, Henry 1859, Nathaniel|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|39 Victoria Parade||Collingwood||Extant|
|Bourke St Synagogue, East Melbourne Synagogue|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|22 February 1909||St Kilda||St Kilda|
The Argus; The Age; The Mercury; Rubinstein, The Jews in Australia