In this area you will find a collection of short histories about various St Kilda identities.
Information was compiled by David Helms City of Port Phillip Heritage Review
Lloyd Tayler (1830-1900)
Lloyd Tayler was, was born in London, June 1851 he migrated to Australia and by 1856 was working on his own in Melbourne and had designed premises for the Colonial Bank of Australasia. In the 1860s and 1870s he won repute by his designs for the National Bank of Australasia; identified in the CoPP Heritage Review Citation 2388 Page 7as following a simple Renaissance revival formulae. His major design for the bank was the Melbourne head office (1867) which he described as Palladian (ADB). According to Dunbar & Tibbits “In all his public and commercial designs he seems to have been committed to a restrained classicism spiced with reserved mannerist details”, while his domestic architecture featured similar characteristics; the finest example is the colonnaded mansion Kamesburgh, Brighton, commissioned by W. K. Thomson in 1872. Other houses include Thyra, Brighton (1883); Leighswood, Toorak; Roxcraddock, Caulfield; Chevy Chase, Brighton; Blair Athol, Brighton; and a house for his son-in-law J. C. Anderson in Kew (ADB).
Tayler was particularly active in St Kilda in the mid to late 19C designing several houses and mansions including 22-24 Princes Street (1856), ‘Fernacres’ (1863), ‘Marlton’ (1864), ‘Yanakie’ (1868), ‘Decomet’ (1870) ‘Hereford’ (or ‘Herford’, 1870), and ‘Pladda’ (1889). In 1881 Tayler went into partnership with his pupil and assistant, Frederick A. Fitts. Tayler and Fitts were complimented for the design of a building for Lambert and Son, Melbourne (1890), for ‘avoidance of the overcrowding of ornamentation … which forms a far too prominent feature on [many contemporary] façades’. In 1899 Tayler opposed decorative stucco work and warned against extremes in which the picturesque became the grotesque (ADB). One of his last major commissions, in 1890, was for the Melbourne head office of the Commercial Bank of Australia; he and Alfred Dunn (1865-1894) became joint architects. The vast, domed banking chamber created a sensation at the time and is carefully preserved.
His last important design was the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Headquarters Station, Eastern Hill (1892) (ADB). Tayler was active in the architectural profession. He was an inaugural member of the Victorian Institute of Architects in 1856, helped to obtain its Royal Charter in 1890, and was president in 1886-87, 1889-90 and 1899-1900. In May 1900 he read a paper on 'Early and later Melbourne Architects' before the institute. While on a two-year visit to Europe and Britain, he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1874, and in 1899 contributed a paper on ‘The Architecture of the Colony of Victoria’ to its Journal. He was a ‘staunch and valued supporter’ of the Architectural and Engineering Association (ADB). Tayler died on 17 August 1900 and his obituarists referred to him as ‘probably the best known figure in the architectural profession in Melbourne’ (ADB).
John Moore Cole Airey was a politician, grazier and land speculator who purchased Lot 2 in St Kilda's first ever land sale in 1842.
Crouch & Wilson Crouch & Wilson, established in 1857 by the partnership of Tasmanian-born Thomas J. Crouch (1833-1889) and Ralph Wilson (1827-1886) who had recently emigrated from London. They conbined to set up a prominent and distinguished architectural firm in Melbourne during the nineteenth century.
David Rosenthal, a merchant jeweller and a native of Russian Poland, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Sydney in November 1852 (Dwyer 2008). He is recorded as living in St Kilda from as early as 1865 when he was the occupant of house in Barkly Street (RB, 1865, no. in rate 623). His first years in Melbourne were spent in business with other emigrants from Europe, firstly with Hayman Feldheim, then later also Abraham Berens, a relative, as importers and wholesale jewellers at 33 Little Collins-street west until 1859. Rosenthal then continued alone until 1871, when he, with his business partner (and brother-in-law) Saul Aronson established the firm originally known as David Rosenthal & Co, and later as Rosenthal, Aronson & Co (Dwyer 2008).
In 1872 the firm erected a jewellery manufactory at the rear of their then-retail premises at 15 Little Collins-street west. Designed by the architects Reed & Barnes and constructed of stone and brick, it was a substantial building of three storeys, and could accommodate fifty-five goldsmiths in comfort. A celebratory banquet was held at the opening of the new building, with the principal, Mr. Rosenthal, welcoming some hundred guests (Dwyer 2008)
By 1888 as many as 100 hands were employed by the firm, and more than 5000 brooches had been made, in addition to rings, lockets, chains, etc. Having built a prosperous enterprise, David Rosenthal retired in 1889, but still retained a financial interest in the business. Over time other retail branches were opened in some Australian states (Dwyer 2008). In 1901, in October, the business still known as Rosenthal, Aronson & Company was floated as a public company, with £90 000 in shares of £100 each. It is unclear whether David Rosenthal still had a financialinterest in the business at this time, but by 1903 when the business became Aronson & Company David Rosenthal was no longer a partner (Dwyer 2008). After making his will in 1893 Rosenthal lost all his money during the Depression of the 1890s, though he was able to compromise with his creditors, thereby avoiding insolvency. He passed away on 7 March 1910 aged 84 at his residence, Amoe, at 9 Redan Street, St Kilda where he had been living since 1899. He had lived in Melbourne for over fifty years, and for almost forty years had been engaged in manufacturing jewellery (Dwyer 2008).
While the death of Mr. David Moore at his residence, Charnwood-road, St. Kilda, yesterday disappears one of that rapidly dwindling band of surviving members of the first Parliament of Victoria. Mr. Moore was born in Sydney in 1824, being a son of Captain Joseph Moore, a partner in the firm of Messrs. William Walker and Co., merchants, who were largely interested in the whaling industry. Twenty-seven years later he crossed to the shores of the Port Phillip settlement, and remained in it ever since. In Sydney, Mr. Moore had already grown to be regarded as an astute and shrewd man of business, and in the office of Messrs. Walker and Co. he had attained an important position. Consequently, when he arrived in Melbourne, his reputation stood him in good stead, and he found in mercantile circles that confidence which would have been denied to a stranger. Mr. Moore quickly became prominent among the Melbourne business men of the day, and showed so keen a grasp of political matters that he was pressed to stand for the Legislative Assembly when the first election was announced. Acceding to this request, Mr. Moore chose the constituency of Melbourne, which then returned four members, and had the satisfaction of finding himself at the head of the poll. At the opening of the Parliament at St. Patrick's Hall, which is still standing in Bourke-street west, Mr. Moore took his seat, and so speedily did he progress in Parliamentary practice that when the second Haines Ministry was formed in April, 1857, he was appointed President of the Board of Land and Works. During Mr. Moore's career in Parliament he was a firm advocate of the policy of free trade, and his advocacy of the cause did not relax even in after years. A man possessed of considerable wealth and property, Mr. Moore has not been prominent in public life for many years past, but in financial and mercantile matters his grasp remained just as firm as ever. For 44 years continuously he has held a position on the directorate of the Victorian branch of the Bank of New South Wales, and at the time of his death he occupied the chair of the president of the Southern Insurance Company. Mr. Moore leaves a widow and several children, among whom are Mr. Charles W. Moore, Mrs. Edward Fanning, Mrs. A. Stewart Forbes, Mrs. Shepherd Laidley, and Mrs. Harvey W. Hamilton. Though largely interested in Victorian institutions, the bulk of Mr. Moore's property is situated in New South Wales, including considerable squatting areas in Riverina.
Argus (Melbourne, Vic: 1848 - 1957), Saturday 10 January 1931, page 7
II - SAMUEL JACKSON.
by GEORGE WALTON.
Preceding Robert Russell in his advent in the colony, but not in his beginning of architectural practice, was Samuel Jackson, another fine old pioneer of architecture in Melbourne. Born in England in 1806, he went early to Van Diemen's Land and settled in Launceston as an architect and builder. When John Pascoe Fawkner began to organise a party to exploit the country across Bass Strait, Samuel Jackson became an enthusiastic member, and though he did not himself make the crossing in the first trip of the Enterprise, his brother William did. He brought back glowing stories of the possibilities as a sheep raising district of the country around Port Phillip. He had been warned off Batman' territory by John Helder Wedge, but he had laid claim to a situation beyond d, about 20 miles from Melbourne on the Saltwater River. To it Samuel and William Jackson immediately went. It was a fine tract of pastoral land in the vicinity of Sunbury where Jackson's Creek perhaps unconsciously perpetuates their name. There they settled in comparative isolation, happy in their pastoral pursuits, and there Samuel remained for four or five years. His only outlet for architectural expression was in the erection of his own dwelling.
Despite success in other occupations, a true architect can never excise from his life the desire to build. So we find Samuel Jackson, in 1840, setting himself up in offices in Melbourne, while his brother continued in charge of the Saltwater River estate. Samuel Jackson had = watched Melbourne grow, and he saw that the time was ripe for its architectural life to begin. So he sat in readiness in Little Collins street waiting= for work to come. He realised that building in Melbourne was necessarily restricted by the scarcity of materials and lack of skilled workmen an= d suitable machinery. Palaces and cathedrals were beyond the bounds of possibility. Nor were they wanted: the pioneer community needed shelter first, and it was the business of the architect to give it this subordinating beauty to economy to the best of his artistic ability. On such lines Samuel Jackson worked and he found much success during the ensuing 10 years..
St= Francis's Church.
The Roman Catholic community provided him with his fast opportunity in its temporary brick church, which was immediately followed by the St. Francis's of today. The erection of St. Francis's was a protracted process, extending over four years, progression being proportional to the spasmodic inflow of the necessary money. It was finally opened and dedicated on October 24, 1845, and it remains to this day an import= ant link with the past. Time has not been as kind to it as to St. James's. = Paint his robbed it of that uneven texture which gives scope for play of light and shade, and the softening effect of trees and greenery have been removed. Nevertheless it will bet deeply regretted if such an historic church = should be lost to Melbourne. In 1841 Mr. Jackson built the first Scots Church, forerunner of the noble building now on Collins street hill. It was described as "a chaste and tasteful structure." It is a pity it has disappeared. In the course of its construction the architect made, from the gradually rising wall of the building, the interesting and comprehensive panoramic sketch of the City of Melbourne which hangs in a place of honour in the Barry Hall of the Public Library today.
Although the ecclesiastical field provided Mr. Jackson with much scope, it did not occupy his attention to the exclusion of other projects. In 1844, while St. Francis's was still working its way to completion, he joined forces with Robert Russell in a design for the first stone bridge over the Yarra. A premium for plans and estimates was offered. A condition of the competition was that the structure should be built upon elliptical arches. The design of Russell and Jackson fulfilled this condition, with a single arch of wide span, and viaducts on either side of the river arranged to support the arch. These viaducts were to lead to the bridge= from the raised roadways on either side, giving direct trans-communication. The estimated cost was 12,000 pounds, with the formation of the roadways 600 pounds and the filling up of the approaches 1,000 pounds. For their pains Russell and Jackson received second prize
.The Melbourne Hospital.
Mr Jackson's consolation for this disappointment came when his services were engaged for the erection of the Melbourne Hospital. Bridge and hospital were to be adjudged on the same day, and though he had been unsuccessful with the bridge the hospital kept him well in the public eye. March 20, 1846 was made the expression of a great public demonstration. A large procession of colonists wound its way first to the river and then to the hospital site, where the foundation stone was laid with great solemnity and rejoicing. Mr Jackson was directed to construct the building in the cheapest possible material, but he made a commendable effort of it in the pleasing Tudor style that is still to be detected in the oldest portion of the Hospital that we know today. In 1847 another important milestone in Mr Jackson’s career was the building of the first St Patrick's Hall, which soon achieved unexpected prestige by becoming the first Parliament House of Victoria. It revealed to a marked degree the eclectic spirit typical of early colonial architecture; and though perhaps the least successful of Mr Jackson's works it was generally regarded as a fine addition to the 12 year old city's architecture. Mr Jackson was the originator in Melbourne of the Tower House, a substantial two storey structure topped by an imposing tower flanked by wide verandahs and balconies. The Tower House used by Governor Hotham during his brief regime, and it set a popular vogue in domestic architecture. One has not to travel far in any of the older suburbs to meet many excel-lent examples of this domestic style.
With the new era that began with gold, there came the era of great public buildings, with many enthusiastic architects of a younger generation entering the field. Probably feeling a little old-fashioned in methods and ideas and well satisfied with the share of work that had come to him in his ten years of architectural pioneering. Mr. Jackson decided to leave the works of the future to younger men. Consequently, after 1850, we find him living mostly in retirement in St. Kilda, until he left the colony in the early sixties to visit once again the land of his birth. Even then, however, the land of his adoption was ever his first concern, and we find him taking an active interest in the affairs of Melbourne. When in 1868 John Pascoe Fawkner made some remarks concerning the founding of the colony. Mr. Jackson at once replied from England, refuting Fawkner's statements in an extremely interesting and erudite letter, which threw much light on the birth of Melbourne.
Mr. Jackson died at Enfield, Middlesex, on May 7, 1876 at the age of 70 years. The fact that his overseas residence was known by the name of "Yarra House" shows that his thoughts were frequently turned toward Australia.
(The first article in this series appeared last Saturday. The third will be published next Saturday.)