We have yet to locate a photo of 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn that reveals its size and grandeur, but we do have the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works map of Craigievar in 1902. I was hoping that Google Street View would provide an image of the house prior to it being demolished, however it only goes back to 2007 and the student apartments were built on the site in 2006. I contacted Meredith Gould Architects who undertook the Hawthorn Heritage Study, but she reminded me that any photographic negatives she might have of the building were pre-digital and may be difficult and time consuming to locate, after all the study was undertaken in 1992; the house was over one hundred years old, lacked an attractive front garden and was showing its age.
Of course, the most ideal photograph of Craigievar would be just after it was built, with circular path leading to the front door and the lush garden. In my mind’s eye I can see those first residents sitting or standing languidly on the front verandah, the children are playing in the garden, each person wearing what we now call ‘period’ clothing. The sun would be shining gently over Hawthorn and the scene idyllic. However, this notion of perfect is elusive and resides only in our imaginations, as must any narrative we weave about those who lived there. Suffice to say I’ve attempted to stick to the facts and speculate only when necessary. I do hope that readers enjoy inclusion of information about my own family, which hopefully adds to the richness and texture of the investigation.
|Craigievar. MMBW Map 1902|
|Erin Powell in front of 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn. Photo: Anna Laverick (2000)|
It appears rather queer to me thinking about the splendorous contents of the house knowing full well that the dark secret, was that each evening the ‘night man’ would visit homes and empty the privies into an enclosed cart to be dumped; the disposal of urine and excrement into trenches or market gardens or into the Yarra River or occasionally into ‘open gutters on the roadside’ certainly added to the spread of disease in the community. With so many children, her husband absorbed in work and with so much to worry about it’s no wonder that the Hutchings family placed an advertisement in 1880 for ‘a respectable young person for the nursery and a good general servant’.
|John Zevenboom SLV Digital Collection.|
On the 13 March 1893 (two years after marrying John Zevenboom) Jane Zevenboom died at Craigievar. She was only 43 years old. Strangely enough she died in the same year as her father William Jones.
Later that year, on 14 October 1893 the contents of the house were sold and the wealth of the Hutchings/Zevenboom alliance was indisputable given the list of unique and exquisite objects they possessed, and I name only a portion of them below listed in the auction notice:
Concert and Grand piano.
Beautiful walnut drawing room furnishings in claret satin and brocatelle.
Rich silk plush and tapestry window drapery and embroidered lace curtains.
Inlaid walnut chairs.
Brass and Nickel bedsteads
Ebonized and gold cabinet and walnut tables.
Venetian and Bohemian glass.
Dresden china, very rare crystal.
Massive marble timepiece.
Massive mahogany sideboard.
Leather lounge chairs.
Oil paintings by J. A. Turner and Koek Koek and others.
I was not surprised that when I lived there, and having received a small inheritance from Leonard Massey the man who boarded with my grandmother after WW2 and was considered a surrogate father to us, to be insistent on purchasing a brass queen size bed frame, as, unbeknown to me at that time, the Hutchings family owned brass and nickel bedsteads. I also purchased within the seven year period that I lived there, an antique piano roll cupboard, carved sideboard and an Australian Art Deco dining room table, obviously influenced either by the period of the house (Gwen McWilliam, the then president of the Hawthorn Historical society told me that the house was most probably built in the 1870s and was quite grand) or the Hutchings desire for beautiful things was asserting an influence beyond the grave. Not surprising either, that since horses remained a form of transport right up until WWII and in particular circles it was considered un-lady-like to ride on public transport, the Hutchings family would own their own horses and Pony Phaeton. Notably, it was ‘only the wealthiest ten percent of Melbournians who could afford to buy a carriage’. There is an interesting link between the Hutchings family and one of my ancestors. Frederick Hawthorn Hutchings was in the Light horse Regiment during WWI and so was my grandfather Charles Winter Clarke.
Whilst the Hutchings family owned oil paintings by various artists namely J.A. Turner, the Australian landscape artist and KoekKoek one of the famous Amsterdam artists the most we hung on our walls were our own artworks and in particular a 1970s triptych (drawing of sexual intercourse) by the Melbourne artist Godwin Bradbeer. The triptych was not owned by us, we were simply looking after it for its owner Peter Spence (friend). When I was studying art at RMIT in 1989 Godwin had mentioned in a lecture about his work that he’d ‘lost track’ of the triptych and was absolutely surprised (as were the other students) when I said it was hanging on our wall. He later came to view it. I remember the day so clearly in 1990 because the Gulf War had broken out and I could no longer watch the televised reports of death and injury to women and children.
I remember also when we lived there, that a portion of paint had peeled off near the mantelpiece revealing a tiny fragment of exquisite wallpaper, firing up our imaginations again about what the house may have looked like in the past. Part of the carved fireplace surround and mantelpiece may be seen in the following photograph.
Isabella Hutchings (I can find no birth or death record for her) married Hubert Charles Grist, son of Hubert G. Grist Ashleigh, St. James's Park, Hawthorn at St. Colomb’s Church, Hawthorn in 1886. In 1890 she gave birth to a son Ashley Roy Grist (b. 1890 d. 1916). During WW1 he was a member of the 5th Australian Infantry Battalion, but died of Tuberculosis in 1916. Tuberculosis and Diarrhea were the two biggest killers of people in Melbourne at that time. Unlike his nephew Ashley Grist, Frederick Hawthorn Hutchings survived his participation in WW1 in the 13th Light Horse Regiment and the Second Boer War (1899-1902 Victorian Imperial Bushmen Unit) and in 1907 married Annie Macgregor. He lived until he was 52 years old. Lucy Maud Hutchings married John George Coles in 1894 and in 1896 they had a daughter Olive Coles who sadly, only lived for 48 hours. Lucy died that same year.
THE MCBEAN FAMILY ~ THE SECOND OWNERS
The McBean family story begins in Australia when James McBean (b. 1833) immigrates to Australia from Inverness, Scotland and begins a business in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne using the skills he acquired as a watchmaker, jeweler, optician and surgical implement maker in his native town. His extremely successful business moved to The Block Arcade, Melbourne in 1858 where the shop displayed the most artistic efforts of the gold and silversmith’s art.
|Image from the following website:http://www.925-1000.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18484&start=35|
However it is to Susannah’s first born William W. McBean (1858-1921) that we are concerned for he married Margaret Lucy Leontine Mortimer (1862-1949) child of John Thomson Mortimer (Aberdeen 1821) and Ann Scolley Gray, and was employed as a jeweler in his father’s business. Although a hard worker, he was also on the committee of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1901.
Prior to the purchase of 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn Margaret Lucy Leontine Mortimer (known as Lucy and documented as L. M. McBean) had four children: Charles Mortimer (1887-1949), William Harold (1889), Florence Muriel (1890) and Annie Dorothy (1893). Lucy had another son: Fred Waydill (1902 - 1984) who was born in Auburn Road, Hawthorn. It must have been wonderful for the children – a seven year old, a five, four, and three year old to have lived in such opulent and spacious surroundings.
On 1 December 1900 a D. Hardie advertised that he had cocker spaniel puppies for sale at 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn. He was, according to Ian McBean who I met with today (August 12, 2015) the groom who lived at the McBean residence. I suppose that life was fairly ‘normal’ for this wealthy family who were, like those less well off, touched by war. In 1915 Charles Mortimer McBean was still listed as living at 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn when he was in WWI and was described after the war as being a salesman. He died at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne on January 31, 1949. His death is advertised in The Argus. Charles was just one of the five hundred sons ‘given unselfishly by Hawthorn mothers for the war effort’ after the Hawthorn Citizen championed the war cause and reminded residents that the insignia on the Hawthorn coat of arms (a train and the Latin motto: Ex Umbra in Solem) was something of a watchword for the war – ‘out of the darkness into the light’. In all, 2266 Hawthorn residents enlisted in World War One. Lucy McBean may have been one of the middle class women of Hawthorn who, with the finances to employ home help, could afford to engage full time in fervent patriotism by working for the Red Cross, making up bandages and supplies for the war effort, but that doesn’t mean that she did. I imagine that the McBean family like many Hawthorn families would have decorated the front of their house with an Australian flag to celebrate Armistice.
William Harold McBean, known as ‘Billy’ McBean, played for his school’s (Scotch College) football team and played one year in the Australian Football League in 1909. Florence Muriel McBean (b. 1890) called ‘Muriel’ married Charles Colin Campbell in 1917 and died in that same year. Annie Dorothy McBean (1893) remains elusive. Long after the house was sold Fred Wardill McBean married Ida Beatrice Stewart Oldham in 1939. He died the year that we moved into the house.
Apart from the impact of World War 1, life would have been disrupted for the McBeans in 1916 due to the construction of the tram line down Riversdale Road and the installation of drainage pipes, however, life changed drastically when William McBean died at Craigievar on 17th April 1921, aged 64 years.
The house was sold on October 28, 1922 and the contents were sold in August 1923. The description of the Villa at 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn had changed from its original. The ballroom was not mentioned and instead the following is an account of what was considered the layout of the house.
SOLIDLY BUILT BRICK VILLA, slate Roof containing drawing room, dining room, billiard room, four main bedrooms, breakfast room, maid’s room, two kitchens, bathroom and heater, two pantries. Brick stable, coachouse, man’s room, loft. AVB stables and rooms. Two large building allotments (The Argus, Wednesday 11 October, 1922)
Given that a William McBean is listed as residing at 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn in 1922 and his father William died in 1921 we may assume that it was William’s son William Harold McBean who was the resident. Margaret Lucy McBean moved to and lived at 41 Stevenson Street, Kew in 1941 until her death.
|James McBean standing in doorway of Elizabeth Street business.|
|Front view of Craigievar, 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn.|
Photograph: Ian McBean
|Fred at wheel and Murial seated in McBean car outside old stables. 1906 |
With kind permission of Ian McBean. Photographer unknown.
According to the Sands and McDougall Street Directory (on microfiche at the Boroondara Library) the house remained vacant in 1923 and 1924, however in 1925 a Mrs L. Crawford (possibly Laura Eliza Crawford Edith’s mother) and Norman Forbes Willis, born in 1890 in Prahran, employed as a Clerk in Hawthorn in 1914 and a gunner in WW1 - 3 Divisional Ammunition Column, and 1 to 8 Reinforcements (Jun 1916 - Feb 1917), became residents of the property. Norman may have been a boarder who lived in the Maid’s room or servants quarters. Mrs. Lousa Crawford continued to be a resident in 1926 and 1927. I can only assume that she bought the house and when she died it was left to Edith.
|Ellen Lyons from: http://www.lyons-ryan.org/marong1/Lyons-Hart_Gallery.html|
|Joanna Lyons, Anita and Kevin. Image from: http://www.lyons-ryan.org/marong1/Lyons-Hart_Gallery.html|
EDITH M. CRAWFORD ~ THE THIRD OWNER
Edith Maria Crawford (1875 - 1970) was born in 1875 in Dergholm (near Casterton), Victoria, Australia to Robert Crawford and Laura Eliza (Horne) Crawford from Tasmania, and was an only child. The Mercury Hobart recorded the marriage between Robert and Laura as April, 1872. Edith died in 1970 in Hawthorn, Australia at 95 years of age. Edith Maria Crawford's last known residence is at Hawthorn, Australia
From 1928 to 1939 Miss Edith Maria Crawford who was the owner of 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn lived at the residence. I consulted the Boroondara Rate Books from 1941-1942 (on microfiche) and Edith M. Crawford is listed as the owner of the property, however there are five other residents in the five flats. She obviously divided the house up in the 1920 when she became the owner. The five residents were:
Flat 1, Kenneth Frank Varley Hudson, radio announcer.
Flat 2, Alice Maud Armstrong.
Flat 3, Raymond Arthur Roberts, traveller.
Flat 4, Norma Gordon Holland and
Flat. 5, Frederick Rosenbaum, draftsman.
I can only surmise that she moved into one half of the house and rented the other half to Johanna Hart and her children Kevin and Anita, or, perhaps they already lived there with their mother Ellen Lyon?
Kenneth Hudson was a radio announcer with 3KZ (See: The Argus, Wednesday 10 September 1952) – article that reads: DON'T be surprised if there are sundry titters from radio announcer Ken Hudson's customers when his
Family Quiz session comes on 3KZ tonight. To say the least, Hudson is going to look slightly out of the ordinary in his full make-up and World War I lieutenant's uniform. Fancy dress? No-he is Playing in "Journey's End" at the Little Theatre, and the curtain goes up 15 minutes after he stops quizzing.
Journey's End gives a glimpse into the experiences of the officers of a British Army infantry company in World War I. The entire story plays out in the officers' dugout over four days from 18 March 1918 to 21 March 1918, during the run-up to the real-life events of Operation Michael. (Wiki)
In 1940, 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn is simply listed as ‘flats’ perhaps because a division had been made between one side of the house and the other – Flat 1 and Flat 2. No names were attached to the property at this time. However, an unnamed woman (most probably Edith Crawford) advertised in The Argus in 1943 for a ‘Trustworthy woman over 45 all domestic duties villa flat, one lady, Flat 1, 71 Riversdale Road’. And ‘Gordon’ was listed alongside the address 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn under a for rent advertisement.
Each of the doors at 71 Riversdale had large keyholes below the handles and small plaques with numbers upon them suggesting that at some stage that it was a boarding house with residents being able to find some privacy by locking their bedroom door.
In 1951 Edith Crawford’s name appears again next to the 71 Riversdale listing in the Sands and McDougall Street Directory (on microfiche at the Boroondara City Library) and remained there until 1963. She was the person whose name is associated with the house (1928-1962). Given that she died in 1970 there must have been at least one more owner of the property.
In 1973 Daphne Olga Gonsalvez, school teacher at Hawthorn Primary School, lived at Flat 2/71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn. She died in 2014.
Between 1984 and 1991 the Powell family – myself, Erin Powell and David Powell lived at Flat 2, 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn.
I feel confident to assume that there were many residents of 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn before we lived there and after we lived there. 71 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn was demolished to make way for contemporary student accommodation in 2006.