146 George St, Fitzroy

“To Cab Proprietors, Dairymen, and Others” proclaimed the papers on 27 November 1862 as the land at 146 George Street, Fitzroy (then 93 George Street), was advertised to go under the hammer a week following. The land was described as “An allotment of land, having 33ft. frontage to George-street, by depth through to Little George-Street. The buildings consist of a four-room weatherboard cottage, large sheds, stabling, &c. This property is well adapted for a car proprietor or dairyman. It is for positive sale, the proprietor having taken a farm in the country.”

  • Architect: Unknown / Builder: Unknown
  • Built: 1862 (the brick cottage that exists today)
  • First owner: Thomas Brocklebank (of the brick cottage)
  • Other occupants: Edward and Sarah Way, William Phillips, Ebenezer & Elizabeth Choate

The purchaser was likely Thomas Brocklebank of Sandhurst, Bendigo and later worked with the Sewers and Water Department, who bought the land. Mr Brocklebank was originally an auctioneer in Market-square, Bendigo. It is likely that it was he, who commissioned the building of the brick houses on both George Street and Little George street as they were described after his death (age 68) in 1873 as a house in George St, built of brick, containing 5 rooms, let for one pound a week and a house in Little George Street, brick, 3 rooms, let for eight shillings a week. They had a combined value of 600 pounds. This was only a small part of Brocklebank’s wealth, as his probate (determined in June 1874) was valued at 2,000 pounds.

Thomas died on passage from Melbourne to London on the Thomas Stephens, it is reported that his health was failing and he died in June 1873 about 5 weeks into the journey. While Brocklebank was clearly successful, he was also well loved by those in Bendigo who celebrated his life following his passing in the papers. The link to Bendigo , still very strong as his daughter was married to Dugald Macdougall, the Mayor of the City of Sandhurst, Bendigo for the period 1871-1873.

Mrs Brocklebank returned on the Somerset in September 1973, but at this time, Thomas and Mary were living in Bridge Road, Richmond and following her return she is living in Victoria Parade, Melbourne. So given his past career as an auctioneer, it may be that he purchased this land simply for the purpose of building the two dwellings to provide rental income.

In 1879, Mary had moved to Errol St, Hotham (which is now known as North Melbourne) and then after transferring the Fitzroy George-St property under the Land Statute, she moved to Koroit, near Port Fairy. Mary’s death occurred in 1880 at the Koroit post office. Her son, Thomas Mills Brocklebank followed in his dad’s footsteps and became an auctioneer in Portland.

During this time, William Phillips, a builder, is resident and was living in the brick cottage in 1868 with his wife Elizabeth. There is record that his eldest son died in February of that year aged 29 and the funeral left from this house. It is suspected that he lived here until approximately 1875.

Edward Way, a journalist, and his wife Sarah were the next residents, living there from 1878. Edward was the son of Thomas Way, an Inspector of the detective policy in Portsmouth. Edward sadly passed away in 1879, and Sarah lived there until her death in 1885.

In 1885, the resident was Ebenezer Choate, who was born in Colchester, England in 1848. Ebenezer, a pastry cook married Elizabeth Cameron in Melbourne in 1882. Ebenezer ran a restaurant and coffee stall at 371 Elizabeth Street Melbourne.

On a Tuesday night, when he was walking home from work at the crossing of Young Street and Victoria Parade, Ebenezer was set on by 2 men who rushed at him with a sandbag, striking him a number of times in the face, his spectacles smashing with fragments of the glass lodging in his eye. In agonising pain, he groped his way home and the attending doctor diagnosed he would likely lose sight in the eye.

A few years later in 1904, his wife Elizabeth died and a year later he married Mary McIntrye. Ebenezer lived until 1932, and was a member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (G.U.O.O.F). His wife Mary McIntyre died in 1949 at Mentone, aged 87.

Later occupants there were Miss Margaret Mangan (1910), Mrs Kath Tapley (1920), Mrs Mary Ashley (1930), Mrs Alice Pascoe (1940-1967) and Mrs J Mortimer (1970).

In 1940 to 1955 the property was identified as apartments, and Nicolo Natalizio was the owner and primary occupant over 1950 to 1970. The house was known as a ‘slum’ property.

In early 1971 it was purchased by the Catholic Church, with Sister Monica from the Missionaries of Charity noted as resident in 1974.

Google image of 146 George St, Fitzroy today.

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