Edouard Laurent Adet
Wine merchant, French consul, Chevalier de l’ordre de la légion d’Honneur
Edouard Adet was born in Bordeaux and arrived in Melbourne in the 1850s. He was a partner in the firm of Curcier and Adet, wine merchants and was appointed acting French consul at the end of 1858 on the death of the Conte de Chabrillon, the incumbent. From around 1860 until the 1870s he made his home near the Yarra River at Greenford Cottage in Victoria Street Abbotsford, and here most of his seven children were born.
According to a history of the company published in 1976:
Gustave Curcier and Edouard Adet decided to join thousands of immigrants pouring into Victoria following the discovery of gold. As there was no regular shipping from France, they chartered a ship, loaded it with Bordeaux products (mainly brandy) and set sail in 1851.
Le Courrier Australien, 1 November 1976, page 8
By 1854 the business of Curcier and Adet was established at 227 Bourke Street Melbourne and ran a daily advertisement in the Argus advertising their ‘Claret and all types of Light Wines’. By 1861 they were in Market Street. In 1863 the firm began importing Krug champagne (they specified it must be ‘very dry’ to suit English tastes) and later were granted sole agency for Krug. Their Sydney office opened in 1866.
A photo taken by the noted photographer Antoine Fauchery early in 1859 is believed to depict Adet, and what a striking-looking man he is with his copious head of hair, patrician nose, and piercing eyes. Fauchery and Adet were both members of the inner circle of associates of Chabrillon, the French consul; the photo would have been taken during Adet’s period as acting consul.
Adet was naturalised in June 1859, and early in 1860 he married Louise Tully, in Newcastle. It seems probable that the Adets moved into the Victoria Street house on their return to Melbourne; their eldest son Georges was born there towards the end of the year. For the first couple of years they apparently shared the house with Adet’s compatriot Arthur Pelletier and his family. The Adets made frequent trips by ship to Sydney both for business purposes and to visit Mrs Adet’s family; their second son Gustave, named after partner Gustave Curcier, was born in Newcastle on one of these trips in 1862. Adet also travelled frequently to New Caledonia on business, as did Pelletier.
The house where the Adets lived no longer stands, but was on the corner of Walmer Street, brick-built, with extensive gardens surrounding it and running down towards the Yarra. It was advertised to let in these glowing terms:
Greenford Cottage, containing ten rooms, with coachhouse and stable, beautifully situated on the banks of the Yarra, at the bottom of Simpson's-road, in every respect fitted for the residence of a genteel family. The house is newly built in a most substantial manner, and no expense has been spared to make it one of the neatest and most convenient houses in the neighborhood of Melbourne.
The Argus 29 March 1856 p. 10
Greenford Cottage was owned by esteemed nurseryman Thomas Cornelius Cole, whose market garden and nursery covered a large area on the opposite side of Victoria Street. By the time Pelletier and Adet were looking for accommodation, Cole had added ‘shrubbery, and beautiful garden’ to his flowery description. Cottage seems a simple description for a ten-roomed house; a person reminiscing in The Australasian in 1927, when the house was still standing, refers to it as a handsome villa, though dilapidated. This section of Victoria Street (also known as Simpson’s Road) was popular with a number of professional men and merchants. Adet’s neighbours were George Lynch, accountant and later deputy sheriff; Frederick Lord Clay, solicitor and music patron; Thomas Graham, brewer and man-about-town. There was a ferry over the river at Walmer Street, leading to Kew/Studley Park, while Victoria Street was promoted as providing a quick route to the city for men of business. Combined with the semi-rural backdrop of the river and Studley Park, it would have seemed ideal for a young growing family, although there were a number of noxious industries nearby, such as Peter Nettleton’s wool works, Graham’s Brewery, and a scattering of brickworks. Sadly, one of the Adet daughters, named after her mother, died at Abbotsford from gastric fever, scourge of babies in that era, just before her first birthday.
In 1875 Adet was honoured by the French Government as a Knight of the Legion of Honour for services to French commerce and navigation in the Australian colonies and New Caledonia.
By 1876 he had left Victoria Street (Frederick Clay’s daughter and son-in-law, solicitor Robert Haden Smith, were soon to move into the house), moved to South Yarra, and shortly afterwards took an extended business journey to Europe; his youngest daughter Annie was born in London. He was then based in NSW until finally returning to France, where he died in his home town. Curcier had died in 1872; Curcier, Adet and Co Pty Ltd was still in business at 119 William Street, Melbourne, in the 1950s, and in Sydney in the 1970s. Greenford Cottage became the clubrooms of the German Tivoli Club around 1890 after Cole’s death.
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|Louise Mary Tully||30 March 1860, Newcastle||Georges 29 November 1860 Collingwood, Gustave 1862 Newcastle NSW, Adele 22 January 1865 Collingwood, Louise 1866-67 Collingwood, Emile 1868 Collingwood, Blanche 1870 Collingwood, Annie 1879 London.|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|Victoria Street, northeast corner Walmer Street||Abbotsford||Demolished|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|30 November 1903||Bordeaux, France|
The Age; The Argus; The Sydney Morning Herald; The Australasian; Le Courrier Australien.