gun alley stories

54 John St Stories


Like the Briers just down the road, the Vuarchoz family had a long association with Gun Alley.

Jules Vuarchoz acquired the land in 1891 and his son Charles sold it in 1944 – 53 years later.

People of gun Alley fondly remember Granny Vuarchoz and her French accent. She was one of the characters of the street. Widowed young, she worked hard to support and raise her family.

Lot 7 Block 6 or 54 John Street was home to the Vuarchoz family for more than 60 years.

Audio Introduction

Throughout the Gun Alley pages you will see references in old articles to £ (pounds). £1 = $2; 10/- (10 shillings) = $1; 5/- (5 shillings) = 50 cents. Please note: this does not reflect the value of the money but serves as an indication only.

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William Hutchinson & Louis Deschamp (  – 26/1/1881)

Patrick Hughes (26/1/1881 – 5/4/1886)

Julian Barrand (5/4/1886 – 2/5/1891)

Jules Vuarchoz (2/5/1891 – 29/6/1911)

Fanny Vuarchoz (29/6/1911 – 18/1/1944)

Charles Frederick Vuarchoz (18/01/1944 – 6/12/1966)

Haydn Maxwell Mustey (6/12/1966

Graham Kenneth Reynolds  (3/08/2012 –

William Hutchinson and Louis Deschamp

William Hutchinson and Louis Deschamp sold Lots 4 to 8 Block 6 to Patrick Hughes on January 21, 1881 for £145.

Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes was an early Lilydale settler. He was born in Ireland in 1829 and at Country Atrim on November 1, 1852 he married Catherine McNally, daughter of James and Anne (Lavender) McNally. They had six children:

Anne J. b 1854; Sarah L. b 1856, Henry T. b 1858; Samuel b 1860, Elizabeth M b. 1863 and Edward M b 1868 at Mooroolbark. Henry arrived in Melbourne in 1863 travelling from Liverpool on board the SS Great Britain. His wife Catherine and children did not arrive until 1867 at which time they settled in Lilydale.

Patrick died and was buried at Lilydale Cemetery on September 11, 1886. He was aged 57 years old.

Sadly, his life as an early settler of the district received little mention.

He died intestate so his eldest son Henry was appointed administrator of his estate which listed his properties as being 100 acres and valued at £800 and Lot 7 Block 6 John Street valued at £15. Livestock, farm machinery and furniture was valued at £376.

Catherine died April 24, 1905 aged 81 years.

Note: Henry (Harry) Hughes represented the North-west Riding residents of the Shire of Lillydale from 1903 to 1935. He was elected Shire President in 1907, 1913, 1917, 1926, 1931 and 1932.

Julian Barrand

Julian (Julien) Barrand was a vine-dresser. When he purchased the property from Henry Hughes it was valued at £1.

Jules Vuarchoz

Jules Vuarchoz purchased the property from Swiss countryman Julian (Julien) Barrand a vine dresser on May 2, 1891 for £20.

Jules’ grandson Keith Vuarchoz said he understood Jules was bought to Australia by the de Purys and lived at Yeringberg, the de Pury’s property.

(interview January 30, 2013).

Shipping Records held by the Public Records Office Victoria list one:

Vuerchoz, M 24, June 1884 Sydney.

This indicates he arrived in Melbourne on the Sydney in June 1884.

However, he returned to Switzerland in 1897 or 1898 as was a common practice at that time, as during his absence the Shire of Lillydale Rate Books from 1902 gave his registered address for notification of rates was the Swiss Consulate in William St, Melbourne.

(Note: Vuarchoz’s name was incorrectly spelt Vuarchard in the Shire of Lillydale Rate Books).

The Vuarchoz family has in its possession a Marriage Certificate from Villeneuve, Switzerland between Jules Henri Louis Vuerchoz (sic) and Louise Fanny Henriette Vaudroz dated May 24, 1898.

The certificate shows Jules, a farmer of Bussiguy but living in Chessel, was the son of Charles Vuerchoz and Jeanne Louise ne Lavinchy. He was born in March 1860.

Louis Fanny Henriette, no profession of Lysin but living in Chessel, was the daughter of Louis Henry Vaudroz and Marianne Dufaux in Chessel. She was born at Chessel on July 25, 1862.

Both were listed as single at the time of the marriage however, it seems Fanny had three children prior to the marriage as the children listed on her death certificate show – Leon b c 1886, Jules b c 1887 and Bertha b c 1890. Of the children, only Bertha came to Australia.

(Fanny’s death certificate No. 12272 October 4, 1956).

Jules returned to Melbourne before his family travelling on the vessel Prinz Regent Luitpold in February 1904. Perhaps due to the age of Jeanne (born December 11, 1904), Fanny (Louise), Lina (Bertha), 14, and Jeanne 1, waited a few more months before making the trip to Australia on the Weimar. They arrived in Melbourne in May 1904.

(PROV Shipping Records)

The family returned to living and working at Yeringberg. Jules’ occupation in the Shire of Lillydale rate Books became laborer. The couple had two children –  Frederick Charles born  September 14, 1905 and Louisa was born on November 11, 1908.

(Lilydale Primary School Register).

Family life was short lived for Jules as he died of heart failure at Melbourne on April 18, 1911 at which time Jules still owned the vacant block of land. Jules was interred in the Church of England section of Booroondara Cemetery on April 21, 1911

Fanny was left to raise a family of four ranging in ages from Bertha aged 21 to Louisa aged 2½.

Jules died intestate so Fanny was appointed administrator of his estate the only assets of which were the block of land valued at £40 and personal items valued at £8.

George Alphonse and Victor de Pury of Yeringberg supported the appointment of Fanny Vuarchoz to administer Jules’ estate.

In the Letter of Administration documents, Fanny was required to list those surviving him. Fanny stated “me this deponents, his widow and two children and no more namely: Jeanne Vuarchoz aged nine years and Frederic – Vuarchoz aged six years. There was no mention of the youngest child Louisa b 1908.

Fanny leased out the land to John Rigaldi, saddler of Lilydale for a couple of years until it changed to back Jules’ name. Her address was Yeringberg so it seems she continued working for the de Pury family – this was confirmed by her grandson Keith Vuarchoz, the son of Frederick.

In 1914 the property was changed in the rate books to Fanny’s name and during the following year she built a house on the land as the valued jumped from £2 to £12.

Also on January 25, 1915 Jean Louise and Frederick transferred from the Yering Primary School to Lilydale State School. Their last day of attendance at Yering was October 20, 1914. Joining her brother and sister for her first day of school, was the youngest Louisa.

To support herself and her family, Fanny became a cook and later around 1918 a laundress, an occupation she continued until 1938.

Keith Vuarchoz has fond memories of his grandmother. He said his grandmother would walk from John Street to Yeringberg to work each day and later walked to clean houses in Montrose. She took snuff and only swore in English.

It seems Bertha lived near the city where she worked as she sent postcards of Melbourne home to her mother and sisters.

Charles Frederick

In 1944 Fanny, Bertha and Jeanne Von Rosen conveyed the property to Charles Frederick for £200 paid by him from time to time for improvements on the land. The Conveyance was not registered until 1966. Bertha continued to live with her mother in John Street and Jeanne Van Rosen at King William St, Fitzroy.

At the time Charles Frederick was listed as a boiler maker who lived at 25 Robe St, St Kilda. However, he did not register the change until October 1966.

Charles Frederick married Alma and they had one child Keith.

Fanny and her daughter Bertha continued living in their John Street property until 1954 when Fanny had a fall and broke her hip, pneumonia set in and sadly she passed away at the Caulfield Convalescent Hospital on October 4, 1956. She was aged 94 years.

Fanny was buried at the Lilydale Cemetery on October 8, 1956 in 314 CE3 section. Three years later Bertha also passes away and is interred with her mother on April 29, 1959. She was aged 68 years.

According the BDM Jeanne Vuarchoz had a son Jules Charles born January 16, 1921. He was enrolled at Lilydale State School on November 27, 1926 with Mrs Frances Vuarchoz listed as his parent. He died at Traralgon in 1964 aged 43 years.

Jeanne married Von Rosen.

During the 1930s, probably due to the effects of the Depression, Jeanne moved home to John as the Lilydale State School register had her listed as the parent of Robert William Jenkins born November 20, 1928 and enrolled at the school on April 5, 1934.

Her mother Fanny was also the guardian for Shirley and Betty Jenkins. Shirley Jenkins was born on August 25, 1924 and Betty on October 5, 1926 and they transferred from St Patrick’s School to Lilydale State School on August 30, 1933.

Later Jeanne lived in Fitzroy and later moved to Southport Queensland where she died aged 71 years. She was buried at the Southport Cemetery on May 29, 1974.

Haydn Mustey

In 1966, two months after he had registered the 1944 conveyance, Charles Frederick sold the property to Haydn Maxwell Mustey an engineer living in Old Gippsland Rd, Lilydale for $5061.

Graham Reynolds

Today the property is the site of Lilydale Auto Electrics and in 2012 was purchased by Graham Reynolds.

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