gun alley stories

13 to 19 Hutchinson St Stories


Lot 7 was an interesting piece of land as its largest frontage was to Hutchinson and was bounded by the laneway running down the northern boundary which is still used today. It was here on the laneway that Henry Briers later built his forge which remained on the site until the erection of the Lilydale Express building in 1964. The forge was the only building on the site which was apparently used to keep the delivery horses. A large peppercorn tree grew on the corner with John Street and the children spent hours there out of the hot sun.

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Lots 7 & 8

John Hutchinson

William Hutchinson & Louis Deschamps ( – 17/11/1880)

Thomas Macintyre (17/11/1880 – 8/2/1886)

Annie Addis (8/2/1886)

Frederick Walter Perrin (8/2/1886 – 17/6/1889)

Only Lot 7

Nathan Burrows (17/6/1889 – 17/7/1895)

William Louis Axford (17/7/1895 – 15/08/1905)

Tenants (as per SOL rate books):

1898 Hemming & Storey, Bakers

1901 Samuel Storey

1902 Samuel Pither to James Allan.

1903 Mrs A. Green, Baker

1905 Herry, Louis, Baker

Julia Briers (15/08/1905 – 7/01/1936)

Henry Wilfred Briers (07/01/1936 – 7/06/1950)

William Charles & Alfred Harold Castelow & Reginald Dunbar (7/06/1950 – 19/6/1952)

Ida May Currie & Clare Josephine Cascarret (19/6/1952 – 25/03/1960)

Reginald Victor Fitzgibbon Eldridge (23/03/1960 – 23/03/1960)

John Phillip George & Phyllis Mary Isabel Cummings (23/03/1960 – 21/07/1961)

Now lots 7 & 8

T.C. Garland Proprietary Limited (21/7/1961 – 5/08/1964)

Elliot Provincial Newspaper Group (5/8/1964 – 1/9/1964)

Express Newspapers Proprietary Limited (Mildura) (1/9/1964 – )

Thomas Macintyre

In keeping with so many of the early owners, Thomas Macintyre probably purchased the property to help the Hutchinson family out though he would have also been wise enough to see it could be a good investment.

Thomas Macintyre junior was born in Sydney in about 1833 and came to Victoria on April 1, 1837 with his parents who settled in a cedar-board tent near Prince’s Bridge before squatting at Westernport and then to Hawthorn.

In 1852, he decided to try his hand on the goldfields and headed to the Forest Creek gold field at Chewton, central Victoria. He was successful and found 800 ozs of gold which when sent to England realised £4/2/6 per ounce. Mr Macintyre settled at Yering with his family on a farm he named Cora Lynn at Yering. Macintyre Lane is named after him. He married Mary Ann Duck (daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Scott) Duck b 1843) in 1864 and they had five children: Jane Ellen b 1866; Elizabeth Ann b 1868; Thomas Henry b 1871; William Alfred b and d 1873; and Gilbert b and d 1874.

Thomas was involved in many community activities. He was a member of the Upper Yarra District Road Board from its inception in 1862 until the creation of the Shire of Lillydale in 1872 and was chairman from 1863 to 1871. He represented the residents of the North-west riding of the shire of Lillydale from 1872 to 1879. He was a Justice of the Peace; held office in the Presbyterian Church, Lilydale and was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites. (obit published Lilydale Express October 22, 1897 on fold of page)
Thomas died suddenly on October 16, 1897 aged 63 years and 11 months and is buried at Lilydale Cemetery. His wife died February 13, 1914 aged 71 years.

Thomas paid £39 for both lots 7 and 8 on November 17, 1880.

Annie Addis

Thomas Macintyre sold the land to Annie Addis on February 8, 1886 for £65. Annie Addis was the wife of Thomas Addis who operated a butchering business in Castella Street opposite the entrance to Melba Park. Annie was the daughter of William John and Isabel (Stewart) Goodall and married Thomas at St James’ Cathedral Melbourne in 1873. The couple moved to Lilydale about that time and opened the butcher’s shop.

Annie didn’t hold the properties for long as on the same day she purchased them from Thomas Macintyre – February 8, 1886 – she sold them to Frederick Walter Perrin for £132 making a profit of £67.

Frederick Walter Perrin

Frederick Walter Perrin was born in England on 25 March 1854 to Henry and Cecilia Perrin nee Spence.

The family were one of the town’s first settlers. The family history notes in 1861 when aged seven, Fred’s family moved to their new house on the main road through Lilydale, This was the first house to be built in the town. On Thursday, 12 September 1861 Fred’s father Henry opened the Lilydale Post Office adjoining the dwelling. The family also operated a fancy goods store and bakery with the post office.

Frederick took over the post office from his father on June 7, 1877 at a wage of £57 per annum. Four months later, on 29 October 1877, Fred married Ellen Matilda Atkinson, daughter of William and Ellen Atkinson nee Radford.

Frederick and Ellen had 10 children, all born at their home in Main Street: William 1878, Osmund 1879, Winifred 1881, Harold 1883, Henry 1885, Norman 1888, Frederick Walter 1890, Charles Haddon Spurgeon 1892, Clive Gordon 1895, Eric John 1897. William died at one day, Winifred of whooping cough on 3 April 1882 at nine months and Clive of croup at three years on 18 April 1898, the 10th birthday of his brother Norman.

Frederick continued to operate the Post Office until July 31, 1911 when the General Post Office opened a staffed post office for business on August 1. At the end of August after 51 years living in Lilydale Frederick and his wife Ellen left Lilydale for Box Hill and later Camberwell.

Ellen died on 4 December 1924 and Fred on 28 February 1931. Both are interred at Lilydale Cemetery. Frederick inherited the Main Street shop and home which he retained until his death in 1931.

Interestingly Frederick was following his brother’s lead as Charles Andrew purchased property in John Street a year earlier in 1885.
Perrin sold lots 7 and 8 separately.

Nathan Burrows

Lot 7 was sold to Nathan Burrows a Lilydale carter and farmer.

William Axford

William Louis Axford was the property’s next owner. Born in Brunswick in 1869 he was one of the new residents in the town of the booming 1880s and1890s. A baker by trade, in 1886, he made the monumental decision to start a local newspaper at Lilydale and on June 30, 1886 launched the Lilydale Express.

William first appears in Lilydale in the 1887 rate books (struck as at December 23, 1886) when he leased what was described as a printing office from W. H. Wilson.

However, his time at the helm was brief as on May 13, 1887 journalists Henry S. Webb and Thomas Oliver had taken over the newspaper. At the time Axford was living in Glenferrie.

Determined to maintain a presence in the town, he also purchased land in lower Main Street – Lot 4 sub section 1 of the Olinda estate just west of the Olinda Creek. By the following year he had erected a shop on it as the rates increased from £3 to £40.

Firstly Axford and then his son Arthur William continued to own the shop and premises until it was sold to James B. Cathcart by October 9, 1911.

To compliment their business and perhaps the need to provide paddocks for their horses, Axford purchased Lot 7 block 1 at the north east corner of John and Hutchinson streets in 1896. This was leased out to the operators of the bakery until it was purchased by Julia Briers on August 15, 1905. Ironically, it was later to become the new premises of the Elliot Newspaper Group which purchased the Lilydale Express on November 13, 1964.

Julia Briers

Julia Briers was the wife of David Briers, wheelwright and blacksmith. Julianna (Julia) Susanna Duvoisin was the daughter David and Sussanah (Jeane Susanne Pouly) Duvoisin who was born at Yering in 1864. Julia’s father had arrived at Yering from Switzerland in 1854 and worked in the district. In 1861 he married Jeane Susanne Pouly. Julia was the second of their four children.

David Briers arrived in Lilydale and had purchased Lot 9 block 1 of John Hutchinson’s Olinda Estate by December 1886. He married Julia in 1889. They had 10 children and both lived all their lives in the house on Lot 9 known as 49-51 John Street.

A home never graced the lot though in 1927 Henry Briers built a forge on his mother’s site as it is noted in the 1927 shire of Lillydale Ratebooks and the value of the property jumped from £2 to £10.

Julia sold the property to her son in exchange for the 2 lots on the south –east corner of John & Hutchinson streets (lots 2 & 3 of block 6) on January 1, 1936.

Throughout their lives, the Briers family owned or leased many of the lots in John Street.

Henry Wilfred Briers was born 1891, the son of David Briers and Julia Duvoisin. He worked as a wheelwright with his father and remained a bachelor and lived in the family home until he moved into Hazelmere at Montrose where he spent the last three years of his life. He died in 1978.

He owned the property until June 7, 1950 when he sold it three manufacturers for £575. The subsequent owners held the property for only a short time until it was purchased by Reginald Victor Fitzgibbon Eldridge on March 23, 1960 who on the same day sold it to John Phillip George and Phyllis Mary Isabel Cummings who also purchased lot 8 in September of the same year.

Within a month, November 1960, they had sold both lots to T.C. Garland Pty Ltd, the company which owned and operated the Land Rover dealership in Lilydale. According to Reg Davies the company planned to build a new home for the dealership. However it didn’t eventuate so the properties were sold to Elliot Newspapers on August 8, 1964 for £9000.

Lilydale Express – Elliott Newspapers Express Newspapers Pty Ltd

The local newspaper – the Lilydale Express – had interesting links with Gun Alley. Established in 1886 the newspaper office and printing works were in several locations – Main Street next to the Lilydale Hotel; the hall of the Methodist Church in Castella Street; again in Main Street next to the hotel and then in 1964 moved into a new, specifically built building in Hutchinson Street on Lot 7 and 8 of Block 1.

On July 24, 1964, the Gill family who had operated the newspaper and printing works for 36 years, announced it would be “linked with” the Elliott Newspaper Group based in Mildura. Lloyd Gill would stay on as an editorial executive; Harry and Roy Gill would continue to operate the commercial printing side of the business and Len Gill would remain in charge of the Mail office in Warburton.

A spokesman for the Elliott Group said:

“We welcome the opportunity of entering the progressive Lilydale district and playing a role in the development of this obviously expanding area.”

Two weeks later on the front page of the August 7, 1964 edition, the newspaper announced work had started on its new “modern streamlined office and factory building” on a newly acquired site. The site referred to was Lots 7 and 8 of Block 1 running along the laneway with the frontage to Hutchinson Street which Elliot Provincial Newspaper Group Ltd (Mildura) had acquired from T.C. Garland Pty Ltd two days earlier on August 5.

The builders were R and L Collins Pty Ltd and the architects Hugh Peck and Partners, Melbourne. Plans were for the newspaper to move into the partially completed building at the end of September which was achieved as by early November the Hutchinson Street location was being promoted and the newly formed company Express Newspapers Pty Ltd was up and running.

Even the Lilydale Shire President Cr W.M. Sarl got into the act by congratulating the proprietors on moving into their new building though a letter to the editor published on November 27, 1964.

“The value of a local newspaper is very great in a large shire such as ours, and my council is very conscious of the fact that your weekly publication is the medium by which it – the council – is able to reach the public.”

Cr Sarl also saw the newspaper as part of the development of the shire:

“The fast development of the shire – particularly from the Croydon Shire boundary – is so apparent that the possibilities of further enlargement of your establishment may not be too far distant.”

In 1965 employment opportunities abounded at the newspaper with advertisements of a part time woman reporter and apprentice printer.

Like the rest of the lower end of town commercial development had arrived and for the kids who lived in Gun Alley in the 1940s and 1950s, they were left only with great memories of the large tree that grew on the corner of the property. Their local meeting spot away from the heat of summer was gone.

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