Thomas Turner a'Beckett
Solicitor, councillor, Member of Parliament
a’Beckett was elected to Collingwood council in the second year of the municipality’s existence, and was chairman or mayor of Collingwood Council from 1856 until 1859. He had practised as a solicitor in London, was interested in law reform, and had published a number of pamphlets before deciding to move to Victoria in 1850.
As well as conducting a thriving private practice, a’Beckett was very active in public life. In addition to his council responsibilities, in 1856 he stood unsuccessfully for the seat of Collingwood in the Legislative Assembly, but soon gained a seat in the Central electorate of the Legislative Council, which he held from 1858 until 1878.
a’Beckett met Captain Charles Hutton when he acted as solicitor for Hutton’s land subdivisions in the Walmer Estate (northeast of Smith Street and Victoria Parade). When Hutton returned to England in 1855 a’Beckett became the tenant in Hutton’s mansion, in Victoria Parade Collingwood. While living in Victoria Parade his youngest daughter and son, and his first wife, died. The large house and grounds, known as Walmer House, were well suited to a man with a large family and a prominent position in Melbourne society, but by 1860 the family had moved to fashionable St Kilda.
a’Beckett was a trustee of the Public Library, Museums, and National Gallery of Victoria, and active in various Anglican, temperance and educational organisations. He was a fervent parishioner at St Peter’s Anglican Church in East Melbourne. His second wife Laura was active in charitable organisations, being Honorary Secretary of the Lying-in Hospital and President of the St Kilda Ladies Benevolent Society.
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|13 September 1808||London|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|Eliza Stuckey (died 21 April 1854)||1834||1. Thomas c. 1837-1919, William c. 1838-1926, Marian c. 1841-1919, Eliza c. 1843-1933, Edward c. 1845, Alice Jane c. 1849-1853, Charles Arthur c. 1854-1855|
|Laura Jane Stuckey (c. 1819-1902)||17 November 1855, St Peter's Eastern Hill||None|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|45 Victoria Parade||Collingwood||Demolished|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|1 July 1892||Brighton||MGC|