Remembering the Past Australia

Hamilton 1888

Biographical sketches of the Prominent Residents of the Town

As published in Victoria and Its Metropolis, Past and Present – Vol II. – The Colony and It’s People in 1888; Published by McCarron, Bird, & Co., Melbourne.

The following are short biographical notes of a number of the most prominent residents of the town of Hamilton: –

Block Bros., Hamilton. This firm consists of the four brothers, H., J. W., L., and C. Block, manufacturing and retail jewellers, watchmakers, and silversmiths. Besides the establishment in Hamilton, they have hand somely-stocked places of business in Ararat and Warrnambool, at which latter place they carry on manufacturing in conjunction with the shop. They make a specialty of a grade of watch, for which they have received orders from the Government.

Bree, Robert Stapylton, J.P., Hamilton, is a native of Tentagel, Cornwall, England, who came to the colony in 1865, and soon after his arrival took charge of the Warrayure station, near Hamilton, for the Hon. Stephen George Henty, and remained on it six years. In 1871 he purchased from Mr. James Learmonth his auctioneering and commission business, which he carried on for two years, when he joined the Hon. Nathan  Thornley and bought the mercantile business of Messrs. Croaker, Scott  and Co. Some eighteen months later, Mr. Thornley retired in favour of Mr. A. T. Dickens, and after seven years’ continuance in the business of general merchants, auctioneers, and commission agents, Mr. Bree took up the auctioneer, stock and station, and commission business. He has been a member of the Hamilton borough council about fourteen years, has been  twice mayor, in which capacity he opened the railway to Hamilton and  the State-school; also laid the foundation-stone of the new post-office in the town; and is a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick.

Bromell, Hon. Thomas, M.L.C., J.P., Hamilton (deceased), was a native of Devonshire, England, who came to this colony in 1852. He spent one year at the Ballarat diggings, and then rented a farm on the Barrabool-hills, near Geelong, until 1859, when he removed to Hamilton, and purchased a small property of 400 acres, part of the Grange estate. In September, 1862, he purchased his late estate, Hensleigh-park station, near  Hamilton, of 14,000 acres, with no improvements or cultivation. He had, at the time of his death, 600 acres in English grass, and 250 acres in cultivation. There was also a comfortable dwelling-house of seventeen rooms, numerous out-buildings, large stable, wool-shed, &c., and about 18,000 sheep, 300 head of cattle, 100 horses, and from 60 to 70 Timor ponies depasturing on the property. The Hon. T. Bromell was president of the Dundas shire council from its formation until 1874, when he was elected a member of the Legislative Council for the Western Province, which was divided by the Reform Act 1881, when Mr. Bromell represented the newly-formed Nelson Province, a position he held (after a contest with Mr. Thomas Dowling in 1884) up to the time of his decease. He was a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick, and a member of the Hamilton Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Mr. Bromell died in October, 1887, and was interred at Hamilton.

Chadwick, Thomas Taylor, Hamilton, is a native of England, who came to Victoria in 1876. He first established himself in business at Walhalla, Gippsland, where he remained four years, and was then a similar length of time at Warrnambool, after which he spent a year at Albury, N.S.W. Thence he proceeded to Hamilton, Victoria, where, in 1886, he purchased his present drapery business, in Gray-street, from Mr. John West, who had established it in 1880. Mr. Chadwick employs seven hands, and enjoys a very extensive trade, supplying the district for 100 miles round.

Clark, James, senior, Hamilton, is a native of England, and learned his trade of fellmonger and woolscourer, in Leeds, Huddersfield, and Scarborough, Yorkshire. He came to Victoria in 1868, being then about thirty-seven years of age, and landed with thirteen pence in his pocket. After spending some time at wool-classing, latterly with R. Goldsbrough and Co., he started his calling at Geelong, and remained there five years. He then removed to Penhurst, was five years there, and then went to Hamilton, where he erected his present house and adjacent buildings in Gray-street, running back to Lonsdale-street, on one acre of land, and where he now carries on his business of woolbroker, farmer, and fellmonger. He now also owns a valuable property of 43 acres in North Hamilton, of which 20 acres are taken up with the wool-scouring and tanning works; the other 23 acres he farms. The works comprise four large buildings, in which he employs from sixteen to twenty-four hands, besides his two sons. He grows most of his own bark for tanning on 500 acres of land which he purchased in Gippsland. He has twelve horses in use for collecting skins, hides, and wool from the surrounding districts, and three men are at work on the farm. Mr. Clark ships home annually some 900 to 1000 bales of scoured wool, 1200 dozen basils, 100 casks tallow, 3500 hides, and about 50 bales of scrolls.

Coe, Henry, Hamilton, is a native of Essex, England. He landed in Hobson’s Bay, 4th August, 1853, and first located himself in Ballarat, where he carried on a general store for five years, when he went to Piggoreet, where he built a hotel, and carried on business there for some time. He then was in succession landlord of hotels in Smythesdale, Belfast, and Warrnambool, where he kept the Western Hotel about five years. In 1880 he purchased the large and commodious first-class hotel and extensive livery stables attached, in Hamilton, so well and favourably known to the travelling public as the Family and Commercial Hotel, at the corner of Gray and Thompson streets, which he now keeps.

Colonial Bank, Hamilton. This branch of the Colonial Bank of Australasia was established in Hamilton in 1870, Mr. H. C. Heales being the first manager, and retaining that position until 1885, when he was transferred to the Camperdown branch. He was succeeded by the present manager, Mr. G. O. Sevier, who has been identified with the Colonial Bank for about twelve years. He first joined it in Castlemaine, and then in succession was at Casterton, Branxholme, and Ballarat, where he remained for three years, and in 1885 was appointed to his present position.

Cruickshank and Waters, Hamilton. Mr. Thomas Brown Cruickshank, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, came to Victoria in 1860, and was for some years engaged in farming, and in 1885 started his present business of aerated water and tonic beer maker at the factory, Cox-street, Hamilton. Mr. Waters, his partner, is a native of London, and has had twenty years’ experience in the business, five years of which he spent with the well-known firm of Rowland and Lewis, of Melbourne and Ballarat. He was manager with Mr. Cruickshank from the commencement, and has now joined the firm, which does a large business in the town and district. Mr. Cruickshank does all the travelling, and Mr. Waters attends to the indoor work of the factory.

Denton Bros., North Hamilton. The industry carried on by Messrs. William and Joseph Denton, as soap and candle manufacturers, was first established in Hamilton by Mr. Butler in 1879, the Messrs. Denton securing it from him in 1882. The Messrs. Denton, who had been previously engaged in a similar business in Geelong for five years, are natives of that town, and learnt the industry there with the firm of Upton and Son, and also with their father. The present business is an extensive one in soap, candles, and tallow. The buildings are erected on four acres of ground, a full description having been given in the Hamilton Spectator of 25th January, 1887, and the Geelong Times and Advertiser of the 26th. Denton Bros. exhibited successfully at the Hamilton Agricultural and Pastoral Show of September, 1886, securing first prize against other large exhibitors. The qualities manufactured by them are known as “Prize Pale,” “Prize IXL,” “Crown,” “ Household Bell,” and “Plain,” “Blue Mottled,” “White Woolscouring,” and “Carbolic.” The firm intend enlarging the premises, the present being found too small to combat with the increasing trade. They also purpose putting fancy soaps into the market, and manufacturing washing soda, so soon as their additions are complete.

Fogg, Samuel George, Hamilton, is a native of Victoria, who commenced life as a coach-trimmer with Messrs. M’Cartney and Aldred, of Ballarat, in 1865, and has carried on that business since. During the time of the last Melbourne Exhibition he was with Messrs. Stevenson and Elliott, coach-builders, of Melbourne, and went thence to Warrnambool and to Kyneton, then back to Melbourne, and from there to Hay, N.S.W. In 1873 he removed to Hamilton, and engaged in his trade there with Mr. A. Greed, of Gray-street; and in 1885 commenced business as a hotel-keeper at the Grange Family Hotel, Hamilton, which had been in his wife’s possession many years. The hotel is a handsome and commodious brick building, of  twenty-six rooms, in Gray-street east, is on the way from the railway-station to the centre of the town, and does an extensive trade.

Hamilton and Western District College. This establishment was founded in 1871, Professor H. B. De la Poer Wall being appointed head-master. The college was opened in 1872 with forty-four students, but the number increased so rapidly that, in 1874, £5OOO was laid out in additions to the building. The edifice is the largest building in Hamilton, constructed of brick and stone, covered with plaster. It has a clock-tower in the centre and stands out in relief from the township, forming an architectural ornament to the district. It is capable of accommodating from sixty to seventy students. Mr. H. B. De la Poer Wall, the headmaster, is a native of England, son of the Rev. Dr. Wall, of Arlington, and is a member of the Universities of Cambridge, Dublin, and Melbourne, F.G.S., F.R.G.S., and F.R. Met. S. He arrived in Victoria to fulfil an appointment as C.E. in 1867, but abandoned the profession, and accepted the senior mastership of the Geelong College, and afterwards the vice-principalship of the Grenville College, Ballarat. In 1871 he went to Hamilton College; and in 1879 was appointed tutor of Trinity College, Melbourne University, and lecturer on mathematics, natural philosophy, and natural science. He, however, returned to Hamilton in January, 1885, and resumed the position of head-master of the college.

Hearn, Dr. W. E. L., L.M.K., Q.C.P.I., Hamilton, is a native of Galway, Ireland, who came to Australia with his family in 1855. He received his medical education for the main part in Melbourne, and after practising for a time in Inglewood he returned to Ireland, and attended the King’s and Queen’s College of Physicians in Dublin, where he graduated, and received his diplomas with honour. He then visited nearly all the hospitals in the United Kingdom, and on his return to Victoria, settled in Hamilton in 1883, and now enjoys there an extensive practice.

View of Hamilton - Coloured

View of Hamilton

Horwitz, Louis, Hamilton, was born at Melbourne, and is a son of Mr. Henry Horwitz, a native of Germany, who came to Australia about 1850, and, after a long stay in Melbourne, proceeded to Hamilton in 1869 and settled there. Mr. L. Horwitz was educated at the Hamilton College. He was afterwards articled clerk to Mr. Samuel, solicitor, and passed his examinations in 1874-5, when he at once went into partnership with Mr. Samuel, the firm being known as Samuel and Horwitz. Mr. Samuel, the senior member of the firm, was admitted in 1865, and established the business in 1871, having formerly served under the Hon. Henry Cuthbert. Mr. Horwitz is a member of the local borough council, and has occupied the mayoral chair. He is also the returning officer for the Western Province.

Kennan, John Edward, Hamilton, was born in Upper Leeson-street, Dublin, in 1841, and arrived in Melbourne in December, 1855. He proceeded thence to Ballarat, afterwards residing in Melbourne, Kyneton, and Sandhurst. In 1870 he removed to Hamilton, having purchased the stationery business of Mr. George Robinson, who was then proprietor of the Hamilton Spectator, and now carries on an extensive bookselling and stationery business in that town and district. He was elected a member of the borough council on the 17th March, 1881, and was mayor of Hamilton in 1884. He was appointed a justice of the peace in February, 1887. He is also a trustee of the savings bank, a member of the hospital committee, and was recently elected W.M. of the Grange Lodge of Freemasons. Mr. Kennan was married in Kyneton, in 1866, to Jane Cameron, eldest daughter of Mr. A. Campbell, of Trio, near Kyneton.

M’Farlane, Dr. Colin Campbell, Hamilton, is a native of Victoria. He commenced his medical education at the Melbourne University, and completed it by graduating from the Edinburgh University, Scotland, and spending some time at the London hospitals. He first practised in this colony in Collingwood, Melbourne, where he remained about eighteen months, and then removed to Fitzroy, Melbourne, where he resided about the same length of time. In April, 1887, he proceeded to Hamilton, in which place he now practises his profession.

M’Lellan, Donald, Hamilton, is a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, who came out to Victoria in 1848. For the first two years he was with his brother, near Casterton, where he became acquainted with station life, and was afterwards manager of the Dunrobin station, on the Gleneig River, for two years. After two years spent on the diggings, he managed another station near Casterton, and, in 1857, bought the “Cove,” a station on the South Australian boundary, in the Wimmera district, a portion of which, some 5000 acres, he still owns. In 1875 he retired from active business, and bought, added to, and improved the beautiful place called the “Mansion House,” on the high land above the town of Hamilton, where he now resides. Mr. M’Lellan is a member of the Hamilton borough council.

Melville, W. H., B.A., LL.B., Hamilton, is a native of Melbourne, and son of Mr. William Melville, of Weerangourt estate, near Byaduk, who was born in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and came to Victoria in 1852. Mr. W. H. Melville went through the University course in Melbourne, being among the first to attend the Ormond College. He was  called to the bar in 1884, and, after practising his profession of barrister-at-law two years in Melbourne, located himself in Hamilton, where he now practises.

National Bank of Australasia, Hamilton. The Hamilton branch of this bank was established some years since. Mr. R. L. Lloyd, the present manager, has been connected with banking institutions for the past twenty-one years. He was first employed by the National Bank for a few months in the head office in Melbourne, whence he was transferred to the management of the Richmond branch, remaining there two years. He was then manager for two years of the Sale branch, since which he has occupied his present position. Mr. Lloyd is a native of Roscommon, Ireland, and was identified with banking at home. He was for six years employed in the National Bank of Ireland.

Shields, William, Hamilton, is a native of Launceston, Tasmania, who came over to Victoria in June, 1857, and the following year became connected with the telegraph department. He was first at Sandhurst for three years, and then went to Hamilton, where he opened the telegraph-office. Thence he proceeded to Wangaratta, where he took charge of the post and telegraph office, and afterwards returned to Melbourne, where he was employed as acting-inspector of the postal service. On what is known as Black Wednesday, he accepted his present position of post-master and telegraph and money-order office manager at Hamilton, where he still remains.

Sloan, Thomas, Hamilton, is a native of Belfast, Ireland, who came to the colony in 1855, at the age of fourteen. He first essayed the gold diggings, but only remained on them six months, when he was employed by Mr. Nicholls in the soda water manufacturing business, and was in that business from 1867 to 1873 in Portland. In the latter year he went to Hamilton, where he was employed by Messrs. Young and Hunter for two years, at the expiration of which time he bought them out, and now carries on the business of aerated water and cordial manufacturer himself. Mr. Sloan is also proprietor on the North Hamilton Brewery.

Smith, William, C.E., Hamilton, is a native of London, who came out to Victoria in the Sussex in 1866. He engaged in civil engineering, and was, for a time, contract-surveyor for the Government. He settled in Hamilton in 1868, in 1870 was appointed town surveyor, and in 1874 received the appointment of town clerk, which he now holds. Mr. Smith is also an architect, and has planned a considerable number of the buildings in the town.

Stewart, Alexander, Hamilton, is a native of Scotland, who came to Australia with his parents at five years of age. He was engaged as manager of Sullidyn station, near Penola, South Australia, and then of a station near Coleraine. In December, 1883, he took the management of Bochara, which with several adjoining estates is owned by Mr. James Trangrnar, of Portland. Mr. Stewart, in addition to Bochara, has the management of an adjoining run. Bochara, which lies about twelve miles from Hamilton, has an area of 8000 acres, with an additional 1000 rented. It is stocked with 10,000 sheep, 200 cattle, and 22 horses. The adjoining station supports 9000 sheep on an area of 5000 acres.

“The Hamilton Spectator,” Hamilton, is one of the most prominent newspapers of the Western District, having a very extensive circulation all over that part of the colony, in the south-eastern portion of South Australia, and, in fact, throughout Australia and New Zealand, having paid correspondents in every colony, as also in Great Britain and India. The first newspaper established in Hamilton was published on the 23rd July, 1859. It was called the Courier, and was owned by Mr. T. W. Sherrill, who, after a time, sold it to Mr. George Robinson. In February, 1860, that gentleman brought out the first number of the Hamilton Spectator, which has been regularly continued as an independent news paper ever since. Several other papers have been started in Hamilton from time to time, but they have, as a rule, enjoyed but a brief existence. Of these, however, the Free Press, the longest-lived of them, existed about eight years. Mr. Robinson was afterwards joined by Mr. Mott, now of Melbourne, and subsequently Mr. George Reynolds Rippon, the present proprietor, entered the firm, which was then that of Robinson, Mott, and Rippon. Mr. Robinson, and then Mr. Mott, retired, leaving to Mr. Rippon the sole proprietorship. That gentleman is a well-known and capable journalist, who was, prior to his going to Hamilton, connected with the Geelong Advertiser for nineteen years, and has, as managing editor, secured the services of Mr. W. T. Reay, formerly of the Coleraine Albion, a talented and vigorous writer. Articles are also contributed by some of the foremost writers in Victoria. The Spectator is published thrice a week, has as a weekly contemporary the Western Agriculturist, circulating largely among the farming population; and a large jobbing business is carried on at the office. The Hamilton District Church News, edited by the Ven. Archdeacon Cooper, is also printed in the office.

Thomson, Alexander, Hamilton, came to Victoria in 1847, from Scotland, his native country. He spent fifteen months near Ballarat, and in 1849 took the management of the Grange estate, near Hamilton, then owned by Messrs. Skene and Dinwiddie, until 1852, when he purchased part of the estate known as the Grange No. 1, and renamed it Pierrepoint, the name it is now known by. It comprises 4600 acres, on which are depastured 6000 sheep, 60 head of cattle, and about 16 horses. Mr. Thomson has been a member of the Dundas shire council twenty-one years, and has thrice occupied the presidential chair.

Thomson, W. and W., Hamilton. This firm of drapers, general merchants, and importers, has its extensive head establishment at Hamilton, and has also branches at Horsham and Macarthur. Mr. William Thomson is a native of Fifeshire, Scotland, and came out with his parents in 1852. His father had been a general merchant in the old country, and on his arrival in Australia spent about a year on the diggings. He then started a business in Collins-street, Melbourne, removing afterwards to Collingwood, where he carried on for a considerable time, and finally gave up his business at that place. Mr. Thomson, senior, was killed by being run over by a run-away horse and cart. Mr. William Thomson and his brother were then engaged with Mr. Ross in mercantile pursuits in Bourke-street, Melbourne, and on that gentleman’s failure they were joined by Mr. Harrison, and bought out a branch store he owned at Geelong. This business they conducted for three years, the style of the firm being Harrison, Thomson and Co. After the retirement of Mr. Harrison, William and his elder brother took up the business, and carried it on for the succeeding seven years, after which, in 1862, they purchased of Messrs. Levi and Sanders the business that firm had carried on in Hamilton, shortly after which the elder brother retired. Although the business, when the Thomson Brothers took it up, was an unimportant one, being, in fact, conducted in a small iron store, it gradually extended, until in 1875 it had attained such proportions as to warrant them in erecting a large store, which was devoted mainly to the drapery trade. Three years after this, in 1878, they further enlarged their premises by building an additional large store, the whole making the present handsome and commodious edifice. The entire building cost about £6000. Mr. William Thomson has been for many years a member of the Hamilton borough council, and has been five times elected mayor. He also holds Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick. Mr. John Thomson became a partner in the firm of W. and W. Thomson in 1872, on the retirement of his uncle, Mr. W. D. Thomson, who had held an interest in it for a number of years.

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