Monday, March 16, 2009

Herbert Smith's Supply Stores on Richmond Road, Grey Lynn

Out of the blue, Jan Tully from Melbourne sent me an email about a photograph she had come across while sorting through some family history papers. She very kindly scanned and gave me permission to post the image up here on Timespanner.

It comes from a photo-postcard, of the kind that was fairly common in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. Herbert Smith, who ran the store pictured at what was then 86 Richmond Road in Grey Lynn (the street numbering may have changed since then) wrote to Elizabeth (Hall) Tunstall, or Lizzie, who was originally from New Zealand but went to Victoria around the turn of last century. His note filled the entirety of the other site of the card, leaving no room for postage or an proper addressing! Perhaps, it was mailed in an outer envelope.
"Dear Lizzie,

Received your Healesville card many thanks. It is the prettiest bit of Australia I have seen. I had a look at those mountains -- a distant view from the main road on my Doncaster trip. No, there is nothing Maori-Eng war car line printed as far as I can find out. The only way it would be done, as I am told, is to get some reputable Maori to translate some of their warcrys for us. I received also the second "A Tale of Eternity" alright. Could you get me a time table telling when the mails leave Melb. for South Africa. I see the Bible College is in full swing at Glen Iris. You should go to the official opening on Easter Monday and give me a very full description of the place and (uncertain word). Mrs Edwards of Auckland is in Melb.
Yours very sincerely,
Jan has done some sleuthing, and found that the Glen Iris "College of the Bible" opened in 1910, which would make it part of the Australian Churches of Christ network. From the link:
"As far back as 1889, at the first inter-colonial conference of Churches of Christ, it was suggested that Melbourne should be a centre for training ministers for the growing work. J. K. Henshilwood, A. B. Maston and G. B. Moysey held classes under the name of the Victorian Biblical Institute. Other classes were conducted by Joseph Pittman and W. C. Morro. Eventually this work grew into the Australian College of the Bible, led by James Johnston. The classes were held in the evenings in the Lygon Street Church, and graduates became leaders or church ministers. But the need for full-time training was evident and the 1906 Federal Conference resolved that a college be established in Melbourne. The College began in Lygon Street Church, and then moved to a two-storey building in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, for a time and then moved back to Lygon Street. H. G. Harward and James Johnston were leaders, but when Johnston left, Harward continued as Principal. New premises were purchased at Glen Iris, described as a "14-roomed dwelling and stables". It was attached to 11 acres of land, and in the records of the Malvern Council of 1891 was rated on a value of two thousand pounds, which was a large sum for those days. It had been owned by a prominent Methodist and for a period is thought to have actually been owned by the Methodist Church. But in 1909 it was in the possession of R. Campbell Edwards, a member of the original Board of Management of the College of the Bible. Campbell Edwards sold it to the Board for one thousand five hundred pounds, which made it a very good buy. In 1910, the students moved into a building which must have seemed spacious after their earlier cramped quarters. The students could now live in. Smaller detached buildings were used as dormitories. However, the pressure for even more living room was irresistible and a new building with classrooms and dormitories was erected in 1912. Over the years there have been many additions and modifications but this two-storey red brick edifice is still the main college building."
If anyone has further information on this Herbert Smith of Richmond Road, or even what connections he may have had with the Australian Church of Christ, don't hesitate to let me know. Jan would be keen to find out more about this intriguing photo from out of her family's past.

1 comment:

  1. Fairly certain (well, certain-ish) that's at what is now 100 Richmond Road. Was still a general dairy/ 4 squarish store there, including the awning, when I was a postie in the area in the mid-1980s. It closed around that time.

    Its now some fashion type store, I see.