149 George Street, Fitzroy

To Cab Proprietors, Dairymen, and Others” proclaimed the papers on 27 November 1862 as the land at 149 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 weather board cottage, large sheds and stabling.. This property is well adapted for a car proprietor or dairyman.” (FHS August 2021 Newsletter, Meg Lee & Rachel Axton)

Google image – July 2019

“The purchaser was likely Thomas Brocklebank of Sandhurst / Bendigo, later of 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.” (FHS August 2021 Newsletter, Meg Lee & Rachel Axton)

“There is no record that Thomas and Mary lived in the dwellings, and 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. One of these tenants being William Phillips, a builder, who is resident in the cottage in 1868 until approximately 1875.

Mary and her son Thomas Mills Brocklebank remain the owners of the property until at least 1879 / 1880 (when Mary passed away in Koroit). 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 police in Portsmouth. Edward sadly passed away in 1879, and Sarah stayed living 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.

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, but it survived and was purchased by the catholic church in 1971.” (FHS August 2021 Newsletter, Meg Lee & Rachel Axton)

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