The house does not appear to be under threat but appears on this website due to its cultural and historical significance to Box Hill and Whitehorse.
Box Hill North in the late 1840’s
In 1848 Edward Crossman moved to the north eastern corner of the Nunawading District (Box Hill North). In 1850 the first ‘freehold land sales’ were held and William Kerr bought Crown Allotment 1 (47 acres) next to local pioneer Arundel Wrighte’s ‘Beaudesert’ station. Kerr apparently bought this allotment as an investment and he did not live there, Edward Crossman continued to live on the land that was purchased by Kerr. The land was bordered by the Koonung Creek in the north, Elgar Rd to the west and Bushy Creek to the south and Elizabeth St to the east.
The Kerr family
The Kerr family had lived and farmed ‘Larbrax Farm’ in Scotland for over 200 years. William Kerr was born in 1812 at Wigtownshire, Scotland.
In 1832 William sailed from Liverpool on board the sailing ship Mail via Hobart to Sydney arriving in early December. By late December he was working as a teacher and running a new school at Scots Church in Maitland. At the same time he became the sub-editor of the Sydney Gazette and John Lang’s Colonist newspapers.
John Lang was born in 1799 in Greenock, Scotland. In 1823 John sailed from Scotland on board the sailing ship Andromeda to Hobart where he changed ships and sailed to Sydney on board the sailing ship Brixton.
John Lang was the first Presbyterian minister in Sydney and about 8 years after arriving in Sydney opened the Australian College in 1831 (which ran until 1854). He was a prolific writer and wrote a number of books and newspaper articles and also started a number of newspapers.
In 1843 John Lang was elected by the residents of the Port Phillip District to the Legislative Council in Sydney. In 1844 he proposed a motion in the Legislative Council for ‘the separation of the Port Phillip District from New South Wales’ arguing that the residents of Port Phillip District were being unfairly treated financially and politically. He became widely regarded as the author of separation.
In April 1839 William Kerr married Caroline McCandlish in Sydney. Caroline was born in 1821 in Shropshire England. In 1835 at the age of 14 she sailed from Liverpool on board the sailing ship Oriental to Sydney via Hobart, Tasmania. On the ships passenger list, Caroline’s occupation was listed as ‘Servant’. William and Caroline had eight children, but only Caroline Jnr., Helen, Annie, Wilhelmina survived their infancy.
In 1839 George Cavenagh, the owner of the Sydney Gazette moved to Melbourne in search of better opportunities along with his editor William Kerr, staff, their families and the printing machinery. George Cavenagh then founded the Port Phillip Herald which started operating in Melbourne in January 1840 from the same building as the Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser newspaper and printing offices owned by one of Melbourne’s founding fathers, John Pascoe Fawkner.
In 1841 William Kerr replaced John Smith as editor of John Fawkner's Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser which was the first newspaper to be published in Melbourne. In the same year he also compiled and published the first ‘Melbourne Almanac’ - the town’s first directory.
In 1842 William Kerr was elected as one of the twelve city Councilor's at Melbourne's first municipal election and then became one of the first of four Aldermen, he was Melbourne's second Town Clerk.
William Kerr and the road to Separation from New South Wales
In 1840 William Kerr was elected to the position of Secretary of the Port Phillip Separation Association. He was also appointed to the local Permanent Colonial Committee to liaise with the London Committee in England to keep the Australian colonists advised of proceedings in relation to separation.
A public meeting was held on May 5, 1840 in Melbourne, during which a committee was appointed to prepare a petition to Queen Victoria. The petition requested separation of the Port Phillip District from the Colony of New South Wales and the establishment of an independent government and representative Legislative Council. Influential citizens, such as William Kerr, John Lang, C H Ebden, W. M Vener, Alex Mollison, A M McCrae, Redmond Barry and J. B. Were supported the petition. The petition finally reached the House of Commons in London in 1842. Although the initial petition failed, it helped generate the momentum for Victoria to become a separate colony.
In 1846 Lieutenant-Governor La Trobe in Melbourne wrote a detailed letter to the British government, outlining why decisions about Melbourne's future should be made by local representatives.
In 1847 Earl Grey (British Secretary for Colonies) sent a letter to the New South Wales Governor Charles Fitzroy, proposing elaborate reforms whereby Port Phillip, Van Diemen’s Land and South Australia would each receive representative government along the lines operating in New South Wales. The New South Wales colonists, however, resented the fact that the new constitution was in essence a reworking of the unsuccessful model which the Colonial Office had tried to introduce in New Zealand. Governor Fitzroy complained on behalf of the colonists. Earl Grey withdrew the proposals and drafted a new report on the future of the colonies.
In 1849 he used this report as the basis for a Bill that was introduced to the British Parliament without consulting Governor Fitzroy or the colonists.It took more than a year and required some amendments but the Australian Constitutions Act was passed by the British Parliament and received royal assent in August 1850.
The news reached Melbourne in November 1850. The citizens of Melbourne gathered at what was called the ‘Separation Tree’ (in now what is known as the Royal Botanical Gardens) to celebrate. The four days - 12th to 15th of November were declared a public holiday and celebrations held every day. The new Colony of Victoria came into being on July 1, 1851.
The 400 year old Eucalypt (Separation) Tree was vandalised and damaged in 2010, ring-barked in 2013 and finally died in 2015. This ancient tree was one of a few trees which predated European settlement and was on a billabong before the Botanical Gardens were established.
In 1846 after leaving the Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser, William founded the Argus newspaper (which ran until 1957). Under William’s ownership the Argus soon became Melbourne’s leading newspaper. The Argus at that time was the only Melbourne paper in which all matters of public interest were allowed to be freely commented on - as it appeared that the other newspapers at the time were more concerned with appeasing the aristocracy.
William became insolvent and sold the Argus to Edward Wilson, but he continued as its editor. Under both William and Edward, the paper remained radical and partisan.
One of ‘The Argus’s’ slogans was 'Unlock the Lands', indicating its strong urban sympathies against the powerful squatting interest. William spoke of the 'insatiable rapacity' of the squatters and of the support given them by 'this despicable abortion of a government'. The squatters supported the importation of convicts for the use as labour on their farms, but William was opposed to convict labour of any sort, even Pentonvillians. William was a member of the committee of the Anti-Transportation League and drafted the Convicts' Prevention Act in 1852 which was adopted by the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1853.
In 1850 William Kerr bought Crown Allotment 1 (47 acres) in the north western corner (Box Hill North) of Nunawading District as an investment but he did not live there. The land was bordered by the Koonung Creek in the north, Elgar Rd to the west and Bushy Creek to the south and Elizabeth St to the east.
In 1853 in the position of Town Clerk, William served on the first Commission of Sewers and Water Supply which was responsible for building the Yan Yean reservoir which opened in 1857. He served as Melbourne Town Clerk from 1851 and resigned in 1856.
William Kerr and the Secret Ballot
The Argus reported on a public meeting on March 22, 1851 attended by William Kerr and other prominent Melbourne citizens where two topics were put forward for discussion. The first topic was addressed at an afternoon meeting and a resolution was passed supporting an ‘equality of vote’ i.e. equal number of voters in each electorate (reported in The Argus Saturday March 22, 1851) and the second topic on the ‘ballot’ (secret) was discussed and passed after a break when the meeting resumed later that evening, (reported in The Argus on Monday March 24, 1851 as the Saturday publishing deadline had passed).
In 1855 the Bill to make the ‘secret ballot’ law was introduced into the Victorian Legislative Assembly and was passed in 1856 - a world first which continues today.
The Secret Ballot was introduced in England with the Ballot Act in 1872 and across the United States after the presidential elections of 1884. According to Geoffrey Blainey’s book ‘Our side of the country’ the secret ballot was referred to in the United States as ‘the Victorian Ballot‘.
From 1856 to 1859 William worked as a Parliamentary Agent (lobbyist).
In 1888 Edward Crossman finally bought Allotment 1 - part of which he had occupied since 1848.
William died on May 25, 1859 at his home in King William St in Collingwood; he was survived by his wife Caroline and daughter’s Caroline Jnr., Annie, Wilhelmina and Helen. Kerr St in Fitzroy was named after William.
'He was void of self-seeking; he took ‘fortunes buffets and reward’
with equal thanks, and never looked for public consideration or approbation.
The public requires such men; but if it does not honor their memory,
it is not only unjust to the dead but to itself’
Above: dedication to William Kerr after his death. Source: The Age, June 1859, Trove
The Crossman family
Edward and Margaret Crossman (nee Doran) and their family lived in the northern part of the Nunawading District (Box Hill North) from 1848.
Edward Crossman was born in Suffolk, England in 1826. It appears that around 1841 at the age of 15 Edward sailed from England to Australia. According to Alice Clague’s 1972 thesis (Buildings along the Main Doncaster Road in the Year 1900 - A descriptive and pictorial survey of the buildings) she mentions that ‘Edward had been a cavalry man in England’ before sailing to Melbourne. After arriving in Melbourne he was employed by Captain Sylvester Brown as a groomsman for his horses at the family’s 300 acre Hartlands estate in Heidelberg.
Margaret Doran was born in Scotland in 1819. Margaret’s Protestant family fled from Ireland to Scotland for religious reasons.
In 1840 Margaret and her sister Elizabeth travelled from Plymouth, England on board the sailing ship China to Melbourne. On the ship’s register they are listed as ‘Housemaids’ and were brought out to Melbourne by immigration agent John Marshall under the Bounty immigration scheme.
In Melbourne, Margaret was employed by Captain Sylvester Brown in the position of governess to his children at the family’s 300 acre Hartlands estate in Heidelberg.
Sylvester Brown was a sea captain in the East India Company where he appears to have accumulated considerable wealth. Sylvester first arrived in Sydney in 1831 with his wife Elizabeth (nee Alexander) and their son Thomas, took up whaling and built his first home on the outskirts of Sydney which he named Newtown House. The suburb of Newtown was named after the house.
In 1838, whilst living in Sydney, Sylvester Brown sent his steam boat Firefly to Melbourne on board the ship Movastar and founded the first steamer ferry service between Melbourne and Williamstown (near the Newport Power Station).
In 1839 they moved to Melbourne and a year later bought 300 acres of land, built a house and named it Hartlands. He also named the suburb of Heidelberg.
One of the children under Margaret’s care as governess of Captain Sylvester Brown’s children was Thomas Browne (he added the ‘e’ to his surname in the 1860’s) who became the famous and prolific Australian author who wrote more than 16 books/novels under the pseudonym Rolf Boldrewood between 1874 and 1905 including the famous Robbery Under Arms (1882).
Edward Crossman and Margaret Doran met while they were working for the Brown family in Heidelberg; they were married in 1847 at St James Cathedral, Melbourne.
By 1848 Edward was working at ‘Yarra Grange’ in Abbottsford and ‘Heyington’ estates which were owned by James Simpson who was a close friend of John Batman the founder of Melbourne; he was also Executor of John Batman’s Will. The ‘Yarra Grange’ estate was located in Abbottsford and was bordered by the Yarra River in the north and east, Church St in the west and Victoria St in the south.
James Simpson joined the Port Phillip Association in Hobart and after arriving in Melbourne in 1835 held many important Government positions.
In 1848 Edward Crossman moved to the south eastern corner of William Kerr’s Crown Allotment 1 in the Nunawading District (Box Hill North) while Margaret remained in Melbourne. Soon after his arrival Edward started clearing the land and built the first house in this part of Box Hill North and named it ‘Bushy Park’, the house is still there at what is now 27 Morley Crt, Box Hill North.
After clearing the land Edward planted the first orchard in this part of Box Hill North, sold firewood and farmed the land.
Margaret and their three children joined Edward at ‘Bushy Park’ in 1854 as their fourth child Edward Jnr. was born there, followed by William and Emily.
The northern section of Elgar Rd between Whitehorse and Belmore Rd’s appears on maps as Crossman’s Rd until the 1800’s.
In 1866 Edward Crossman was the chairman of a local school committee and involved in the hiring a teacher/work mistress for the Church of England school (No 469). The school/church had been built in 1861 and was located opposite the first Nunawading Shire Hall on the corner of Bedford St and Canterbury Rd in Box Hill South.
Edward was active in the politics of the Nunawading Shire Council serving as Councillor for a number of years. In 1871 he was appointed to the finance committee of the Nunawading Roads Board.
Around 1878 Edward must have been elected to Council as he (along with Councillor’s Aspinall, Collings, Dalzell, Ellingworth, Mayne and Pope) approved interest at the rate of eight percent to a contractor for the construction of stables on the Shire reserve - as the contractor was not being paid until the end of the financial year.
In the 1888 Title records show that Edward Crossman bought Allotment 1 (47 acres), the allotment that William Kerr originally purchased in 1850. It would appear that he may have been working this land since 1848 but did not own it.
Edward died in 1890 and Margaret in 1903 both at ‘Bushy Park’ in Box Hill North.
The Richardson family
In 1893 (three years after Edward Crossman died), George Richardson bought 8 acres and his wife Phillis 12 acres from Margaret Crossman. George Richardson was born in Wooler; England in 1828. In 1856 George married Phillis Heatley (also born in Wooler, England but in 1831).
In 1858 George, Phillis and their one year old daughter Ann sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne on board the sailing ship Meteor. On the passenger list George’s occupation is listed as ‘Farmer’, but he worked as a builder/contractor in Fitzroy prior to the family moving to Box Hill North. They had six more children - Sarah, Elizabeth, Charles, Samuel, Harry and George Jnr.
The 1990 City of Box Hill Heritage and Conservation Study states that ‘in 1893-94, 20 acres of land were sold; 12 acres with a wood house to Mrs Phillis Richardson and 8 acres to Mr Charles Richardson’. A photo taken in 1909 of the eastern side of the main house shows a wooden building to the south which maybe the original ‘wood house’.
In 1893 George Richardson built a house on the 8 acres of land and named it ‘Glendale’. It was named after the farm where George’s and Phillis’s families lived on the outskirts of the town of Haltwhistle in Northumberland, England.
Phillis Richardson died in 1898 after a long illness and George Richardson Snr died in 1904 both at ‘Glendale’.
George Jnr. continued to live in the house after his parent’s death working as a carpenter/farmer. In 1907 George Jnr. married Elizabeth Powell who was born in 1870 in Tanjil, Victoria. George and Elizabeth did not have any children.
In 1911 George Jnr. and Elizabeth Richardson sold ‘Glendale’ to Thomas H. Petty and then moved to Thames St in Box Hill.
The Petty family
In 1911 Thomas H Petty bought ‘Glendale’ from George Richardson Jnr.
The story of the Petty family in Melbourne started in 1853 when Thomas Petty (Thomas H Petty’s grandfather) decided to leave his family behind in England and sailed to Melbourne on the sailing ship Carntyne in search of better opportunities.
Five years later in 1858 Thomas asked his wife Jane to join him in Melbourne with their children after he had bought land on Koonung Creek, established a farm and built a house.
In July 1858 Jane boarded the renowned clipper ship Red Jacket with their three children - Thomas Jnr., George (Thomas Henry’s father) and John (their daughter Elizabeth remained in England) arriving in Melbourne in October.
The Petty family became a prominent orcharding family in Doncaster and were involved in the first overseas fruit exports to England, founded the first cool store cooperative in Doncaster, Thomas Petty (grandfather) was a local Councillor and eventually Shire President. The Petty family founded the suburb of Park Orchards and at one time owned 300 acres of land in Warrandyte and over twenty properties in Doncaster and Templestowe.
Thomas H. Petty who bought “Glendale’ in 1911 was born in Doncaster in 1877; he was the son of above mentioned George and Sarah Petty.
In 1911 Thomas H Petty also bought a property that was located at Homestead Rd in Templestowe named ‘Petty’s Orchard’; the family owned the orchard until 1981 when they sold it to Parks Victoria. The orchard is currently run by the Heritage Fruit Society, a non for profit organisation based in Melbourne. The society manages and maintains the heritage fruit collection and is part of a worldwide network that conserves antique apple varieties and protects them from extinction.
In the 19th century the job of spraying the orchards with pesticides was labour intensive and time consuming. As a result of looking for a more efficient method of spraying the orchard’s John Russell, a nephew of the Petty family developed and built a motor driven pump. The pump was named ‘Bave U’ after Thomas Petty Snr’s home ‘Bay View’ in Doncaster. It was manufactured at Russell and Co’s factory in Box Hill (near Bruce St on Whitehorse Rd) and was sold Australia wide as well as overseas for over forty years.
The Lawford family
In 1926 Edwin Lawford (born in Box Hill in 1859) bought ‘Glendale’ from Thomas H. Petty but he did not live there.
Edwin Lawford was the son of Benjamin and Mary Lawford who sailed to Melbourne from England around 1841 with their three year old daughter Lydia. In Melbourne they had eight more children – Edwin, Jane, William, Thomas, Emma, Alfred, John and Sarah.
Benjamin Lawford became an Orchardist and a large land owner in Doncaster.
Around 1851 Benjamin Lawford and his family moved to the Nunawading District (Woodhouse Grove in Box Hill North) and bought land from Box Hill pioneer Joseph Aspinall. In his book ‘Box Hill’ Andrew Lemon mentions this event ‘building of a Wesleyan Methodist church at Woodhouse Grove’. ‘He (Aspinall) set aside half an acre of his land and persuaded his friend Ben Lawford who bought his property from Aspinall’s original purchase to act as Secretary of the building committee’.
Edwin Lawford was educated at Scotch College. He later went onto become an assistant teacher at the Deaf and Dumb Institution in Melbourne, but in 1883 he resigned due to ill health. Edwin then went into partnership with his brother John and started an orchard and nursery business in Doncaster. This partnership was later dissolved, but Edwin purchased more land and decided to specialise in growing Pears. He then went into partnership with John Petty (brother of Thomas Petty) and together they founded the West Doncaster Cool Storage Company which was located on the corner of Beaconsfield and Doncaster Rd’s.
In 1887 Edwin Lawford married Elizabeth Inglis and they had two children - Edwin Jnr. and Elizabeth Jnr. Elizabeth Inglis was born in the Nunawading District (Box Hill North) in 1865. In his book ‘Petticoats in the Orchard’, Irvine Green mentions ‘John and Helen Inglis (her parents) had come from Scotland and in 1862 bought forty-seven acres in between Koonung and Bushy Creeks’. According to the Parish of Nunawading Department of Land and Survey (1890’s) map, the land they bought was next to Edward Crossman’s Allotment 1, the land was originally part of John Danes Allotment 12.
Thomas (Edwin’s brother) was also an Orchardist and owned a 30 acre allotment in between the Koonung Creek and Woodhouse Grv east of Station St and also a 53 acre allotment between Middleborough and Koonung Rd’s south of Springfield Rd.
William (Edwin’s brother) was also an Orchardist and was Secretary of the Horticultural Society in 1875. In his 1978 book ‘Box Hill’ Andrew Lemon refers to William’s appointment ‘progress was aided by the formation of a short lived Horticultural Society in 1875 with an orchardist William Lawford, as Secretary’. William also represented the North Riding (Box Hill North) on the Nunawading Shire Council.
Edwin’s sister Jane married Alfred Hummel in Doncaster in 1871. Alfred Hummel was born in London, England in 1826. On the site of the present day Westfield Doncaster Shopping Centre in the 1870’s he built a viewing/lookout tower which collapsed twice and then in 1879 he built the famous 285 ft (86 meter) Doncaster Lookout Tower and Tea Rooms. The Tower became a popular tourist attraction and drew visitors from Melbourne and the district. He also built the largest hotel in the district which he named the ‘Beaconsfield Hotel’ and contained thirty-nine rooms and with stables for twenty horses. This lookout tower became structurally weak and was demolished in 1914.
In 1914 Edwin Jnr. married Florence Serpell. Florence Serpell was born in Doncaster in 1890.
Edwin Jnr. and Florence had three children.
Florence Lawford’s father was Richard Serpell who was a well known local Box Hill/ Doncaster businessman. In 1890 Richard Serpell built a two-storey shop complex on the current site of Westfield Doncaster, this was famously known as ‘Serpell’s Corner’ for forty years. Richard Serpell was one of the founders of the Box Hill - Doncaster Electric Tramway Company. The electric tram was the first one to operate in the southern hemisphere and ran from the Box Hill railway station along Station St to ‘Serpell’s Corner’ from 1889 to 1896.
The San Miguel family
In 1935, Antonio Jnr. and Muriel San Miguel bought ‘Glendale’ from Edwin Lawford.
Antonio San Miguel Jnr. was born in 1889 in Melbourne; the son of Antonio and Rebecca San Miguel (nee Albon).
In a book ‘Secret Love Letters: A Family History’ written by a descendant Dolores San Miguel, she mentions that Antonio Jnr. and Muriel San Miguel ‘ lived at a home, ‘Riccarton’, in York Street, Mont Albert, a few houses down from St Abbs’ before moving to ‘Glendale’. St Abbs is where Antonio Jnr’s parents lived.
In 1916 Antonio San Miguel Jnr. and Muriel Robison were married in Melbourne. Muriel Robison was born in Hawthorn in 1891; she was the daughter of Adam and Mary Robison (nee Walsh). Antonio Jnr’s occupation has been listed as ‘Accountant and Manager’. Antonio Jnr. and Muriel had two children - Richard born in 1917 and then Elizabeth born in 1922.
In 1924 Antonio Jnr formed a consortium and started the Melbourne Suburban Buses Ltd (MSB). Below is an excerpt from research compiled by Paul Kennelly into the history of the MSB which he has generously agreed to share with us. Paul Kennelly is the Secretary of the Bus and Coach Society of Victoria.
'The Argus newspaper of 14th July 1924 carried an advertisement seeking capital to establish the Melbourne Suburban ’Buses Ltd. One hundred thousand shares were available at £1 each. Secretary of the company was Charles Fitzherbert-Howson. Directors were members of the San Miguel family, in particular Tony (1889-1985) and Jaime San Miguel (1898-1974). Charles Fitzherbert-Howson was their brother-in-law having married their sister Francisca (1893-1970). Their father Antonio (1851-1919) had emigrated from Spain in 1870 and had established a number of successful businesses, including the Ajax Tyre Company and Denby Truck Agencies. At least up until 1929, the family was very wealthy.
Melbourne Suburban Buses was awarded the licence to run six buses on Route 11 on 9/2/25. The company had informed the Melbourne City Council’s Vehicle Licensing Committee (MCCVLC) that the buses were to be on the road within 12 weeks. It took a little longer with the buses first appearing in September 1925.
Up until 1925, the licensing of buses, vehicles that carry eight or more passengers, was largely unregulated, with operators competing against each other for passengers on routes that were popular. They also competed with trains and trams which made neither operator happy. After regulation, routes that had previously run over tram routes were curtailed to run to the tram terminus with passengers than having to change from the bus to the tram. And so it was with Route 11. Its description was gazetted on 29th January 1925 as follows: Commencing at Victoria-St Bridge via Barkers Road, Burke Road, Mont Albert Road, Elgar Road and Carrington Street to Box Hill Station. Minimum service was to be every 15 minutes from 7am to 11:30pm Mon to Sat and 1pm to 10:30pm on Sundays. At the time, the connecting tram at the Victoria Street Bridge was a cable tram.
The buses used on the service were Denby chassis with body work by A Hotchkiss & Co. The history of the Denby Motor Truck Co. is a little unclear, but the company was headquartered in Detroit. It manufactured commercial and military trucks from about 1912 to 1929. As was the practice until the 50s, lengthened truck chassis also carried bus bodies. The buses had pneumatic tyres and carried 28 passengers – quite large for the times. Articles at the time suggested that up to 21 of these buses were to be bought. It is more likely that only the initial six were ever built.
It would appear that the service was not profitable and the company made representations to extend the route through to the city over the tram route. This was not successful and on Tuesday 9th February 1926, Route 11 ceased operation. No other operator came forward and it was abolished at the end of 1926.
So, the Melbourne Suburban Buses company had buses but no route. It sought to transfer its buses to Route 2. This route was licensed at the same time as Route 11, but no operators had applied to run it. Its route was described as: Commencing at the Melbourne Public Library, via Swanston Street, St Kilda Road, Commercial Road, Malvern Road, Williams Road, Hotham Street, New Street, Park Street to St Kilda Street Brighton. The minimum service to be operated was as for Route 11.
Just how long Melbourne Suburban buses operated on Route 2 is unclear. The 1927 MCCVLC list had only a sole operator, N Schwartz, who had acquired one licence during 1926. By 1928, George and Lewis Page were the operators having acquired 6 Denby buses from the Melbourne Suburban Buses company. It is probably the case that the purchase happened earlier in 1927 but just after the MCCLVC issued their 1927 list in February.
The 1929 Depression had wiped out much of the wealth of the family (San Miguel) , but they were far from poor with Jaime doing very well through real estate ownings'.
In 1939 Antonio Jnr. whilst living at ‘Glendale’ obviously needed staff at the house and placed an advertisement in The Argus for a ‘young, good, plain cook, clean worker, no washing, personal refs, £2 week, or will pay to 30, week for young competent woman with child not under 7’.
In 1943 the house appeared for the first time on Electoral rolls under the name of ‘Green Ivies’. This can be attributed to the San Miguel family who gave it this name during the time they lived there.
Their son Richard’s war records state that he attended Xavier College but then went to Taylor's College to attain his matriculation after which he gained entry to Melbourne University – Dentistry. He failed in the first year and became a ‘Farmer’ working on the family farm in Woodhouse Gr. He continued working as a Farmer, joined the Civilian Military Forces (CMF) and in 1942 enlistment in the Royal Australian Air Force as an ‘Airman’.
In June 1943 he travelled to Canada for flight training and left Canada via Halifax on a convoy to England in November 1943. At this time air crews from Australia were billeted in Brighton, England and could wait three to four months before being posted to a training unit. In early 1944 he was posted to a training base in Hednesford, Staffordshire.
In October, 1944 Richard was a ‘Flight Officer’ and moved with the 180 Squadron to Belgium. During his time in Belgium 180 Squadron flew a number of raids on targets in France and Belgium in preparation for the D-Day landings against German troops, transport links and other tactical targets and then supporting the fighting in Normandy and Northern Europe.
180 Squadron also took part in raids on the Headquarters of the Panzergruppe West (the command organisation for the German tank divisions in France and Belgium) at the chateau at La Caine. By September the advancing allied armies had moved too far east for 180 Squadron to easily support them, and so they concentrated their efforts on isolated pockets of German resistance along the French coast. They also took part in the fighting during the famous ‘Battle of the Bulge’.
Just before the war ended, in April, 1945, the squadron arrived in Germany from where it operated until Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
After returning to England Richard married his first wife Roma Stangroom in April 1945 in Norwich, Norfolk. Roma Stangroom was also born in 1917 in Great Yarmouth, England; the daughter of Reginald and Ethel Stangroom (nee Stevens). During the Second World War Roma enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and worked as Leading Aircraft Woman (LACW) at an aircraft control tower.
Richard returned to Melbourne via Sydney by himself in January 1946, but later that year Roma sailed from Southampton via Fremantle to Sydney on board the M.V. Stirling Castle and was later reunited with Richard in Melbourne. Richard and Roma lived at 63 Woodhouse Gr with his parents.
In 1946 San Miguel Snr. appears that he needed help on the farm and placed an advertisement in The Argus for a ‘Boy, about 18 for poultry farm and hatchery, to milk two house cows, live in’.
In 1947 the San Miguel’s other child, Elizabeth San Miguel married William Allen and they moved to New South Wales.
In Melbourne Richard and Roma had two children - Annette born in 1947 and Linda Jane born in 1950.
In 1952 Richard, Roma and their two daughters sailed to England and visited Roma’s family in Great Yarmouth.
Roma died in 1960 at ‘Glendale’.
In 1961 Richard married Roma’s sister Enid Stangroom. Enid Stangroom was born in 1921 in Great Yarmouth, England. In 1961 Enid sailed from England to Fremantle on board the S.S Orion and then travelled from Perth to Melbourne.
Richard and Enid had one child named Gaynor and they lived at 63 Woodhouse Gr with his parents.
Richards mother Muriel lived at ‘Glendale’ until her death in 1973, Richard until his death in 1977, his father Antonio Jnr. until his death in 1985 and Enid until her death in 2000. The house was sold to the current owners in 2000.
THE LONG HISTORY OF THE 'SAN MIGUEL FAMILY' IN AUSTRALIA
Richard San Miguel’s grandfather - Antonio San Miguel Snr
Richard San Miguel’s grandfather Antonio San Miguel Snr was born in 1851 in Alella, Spain. He was the son of Cipriano and Francisca San Miguel (nee Mirambel); the family were winemakers and lived near the town of Allela in Spain.
The story of how Antonio came to Australia was written about in a book titled ‘Secret Love Letters: A Family History’ by a descendant Dolores San Miguel. In the book Dolores describes Antonio’s journey to Australia ‘Antonio arrived in Paris en route to England shortly after the commencement of the Franco-Prussian War. He heard that the Prussian troops were about to cut off the railway line out of the city and realising the danger he was in, made a desperate dash to the Gare du Nord train station where he caught the last train out before the siege of Paris on 19 September. It was a story he often related over the years. He arrived in Calais and boarded a ship bound for Australia, arriving in Sydney in late November 1870. He took lodgings at an inner city hotel. With the money he had saved working for his father and the money his family had given him, he would be comfortable for a suitable amount of time. Antonio eventually moved in with a Catalan family, whose son was a good friend of his. He had plans to import his father’s wine products, plus other ideas that came to him as he toured around Sydney. An economic boom was just beginning in Australia and young Antonio was extremely optimistic. He soon had interests in a number of billiard parlours, and began importing and selling Alella wine’.
Antonio went into partnership with the Mauri Brothers importing cork from Seville, Spain. In 1877 he obtained a loan from Martin Arenas and with it he bought the licence for the Australia Hotel in Sydney, he continued importing wines and later spirits. In 1882 he transferred his hotel licence to Joseph Gilnot and in 1883 he visited his family in Spain.
In 1884, he went into partnership with Martin Arenas and together they bought the Sydney Coffee Palace Hotel Company in Sydney. Martin was connected to the San Miguel family by marriage. Martin’s sister Josepha Arenas married Antonio Parer a member of the well known Melbourne family of hoteliers and restaurateurs. Josepha and Antonio Parer lived at ‘Montserrat’ on Mont Albert Rd in Surrey Hills.
Martin Arenas was born in Alella, Spain in 1842. In 1857 he sailed from England aboard the sailing ship Norfolk and arrived in Melbourne in February 1858. He eventually became the owner of the Sydney and Melbourne Hotel in Sydney and Kennedy’s Family Hotel in Melbourne. Martin died in 1908 at his ten acre property on Whitehorse Rd in Mitcham. The property was bounded by the current Lee Pde in the west, Whitehorse Rd to the north, Cochrane St to the east and the railway line to the south, the family home was located near Lee St.
In 1888 Antonio Snr married Rebecca Albon in Sydney. Rebecca was born in 1861 in Kennington, England she was the daughter of James and Rebecca Albon (nee Poulter). In 1877 Rebecca Jnr. sailed from England with her parents and seven siblings on board the sailing ship Pericles to Sydney.
In 1892, Antonio Snr founded A. San Miguel and Company - Cork Merchants and Importers, their office was located in McKillop Street, Melbourne. In 1903 A. San Miguel & Company merged with T.S. Harrison and Company and became known as Harrison San Miguel & Co, they moved to new offices at 304 Flinders St. The company specialised in importing cork, confectionery, machinery and baker’s supplies, bottled aerated water and manufactured the Allan Patent Portable Steel Oven. They had branches throughout Australia, New Zealand, cork factories in Seville, Spain and agencies in London, Hamburg and New York. Harrison San Miguel & Co ceased operating in the 1950’s.
In 1906 Antonio Snr purchased a large property named ‘St Abbs’ in Mont Albert from the Lothian family, the address of the house would eventually became 33 York St - the house is still there. The Lothian family were the owners of Lothian Books, a well known Australian book shop and publishing company that was founded by John Lothian in Melbourne in 1890; it was bought by the Time Warner Book Group in 2005.
Richard San Miguel’s uncle Lionel San Miguel
Lionel San Miguel was born in Surrey Hills in 1896; his parents were Antonio Snr and Rebecca San Miguel. Lionel was a well know Melbourne Architect and was educated at Xavier College and then at the University of Melbourne. After graduating he worked at the recently established Melbourne Architectural Atelier and then he set up his own practice in the Clarke’s Buildings at 430 Bourke Street.
In 1924 he sailed on the Majestic to New York and spent time with the prominent architectural firm of Carrère & Hastings, the firm operated from 1885 until 1929. They had many commissions but the most celebrated include Whitehall the residence of Henry Flagler, the New York Public Library, the Henry Frick residence, and the Manhattan Bridge approaches and triumphal archway.
Buildings designed by Lionel in Melbourne include ‘Montalegre’ at 168A Mont Albert Rd (cnr Mont Albert and Balwyn Rd's) in Canterbury, for his mother, Rebecca San Miguel. He also designed several houses in Canterbury including his own house at 7 Bowley Street, Balwyn, a hall at Genezzano College in Kew, office buildings at 111-125 A’Beckett Street and 99 A’Beckett Street, the Sacred Heart Hospital in Moreland, Sacred Heart Monastery in Croydon, the Monivae College in Hamilton and Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, in Deepdene.
‘GLENDALE’ - the House
The house has a Council Heritage Overlay (HO98) but the gardens do not have a Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) or any other protections.
As part of the City of Box Hill Heritage and Conservation study, 1990 conducted by Andrew C Ward and Associates of the house at 63 Woodhouse Gv states ‘Glendale is a large single storey symmetrical late Victorian weatherboard villa facing the north boundary of a large heavily treed site. The timber verandah has corrugated galvanised steel roof supported on cast iron posts. There is no frieze, but the verandah edge beam is quirked and chamfered. The double hung windows have a segmental arched heads. The hipped and gabled slate roof has timber eaves brackets and is penetrated by rendered chimneys. The large garden retains early plantings, and there are a number of original or early buildings’. There has been no assessment conducted of the interior of the house.
As part of the sales campaign that started in June, 2021, photos were taken of the exterior and interior of the house. It appears that much of the house has changed very little from when it was built 129 years ago.
Interior of the house
The interior of the house is in good original condition and consists of original features including a bay window, high ceilings, arched hallway, and cornices, ceiling roses, Baltic Pine floors, marble fireplaces as well as timber fireplaces.
The layout of the house consists of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, study, formal and informal living/dining rooms, sun room, kitchen and laundry.
Exterior of the house
The exterior of the house consists of iron lacework, return verandah and the exterior walls are clad in weatherboards. The roof is clad in slate and is hipped and gabled.
The outbuildings and tennis court
There are a number of outbuildings on the property including a studio complex on the southern side of the main house, a carport/storage on the western side and a garden bungalow in the north western corner.
Edward Crossman and his family moved to the Nunawading District in 1848, in 1888 Edward bought the land (Crown Allotment 1) from William Kerr’s family. Land title records show that the Charles and Phillis Richardson bought a total of 20 acres from the Crossman family in September 1893.
In the 1990 assessment of the property that was undertaken by Andrew C Ward and Associates states that ‘In 1893-94 the Crossman’s sold 20 acres of land; 12 acres with a timber house to Mrs Richardson’ and ‘there are a number of original or early buildings’. Is one of these ‘early buildings’ the same building which is currently being used as the studio? Were these ‘early buildings’ built by the Crossman family?
The studio consists of a large central room (studio) with one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and garden storage on the eastern side and on the western side one bedroom and pottery storeroom. The gabled roof is clad in corrugated galvanised steel and the floor of the studio is laid with red bricks. The studio is not covered by a Council Heritage Overlay and is not registered with Heritage Victoria or the National Trust. A photo of ‘Glendale’ from 1909 shows a building on the southern side of the main house. Could this be the one of the ‘early buildings’ that was mentioned in Andrew C Ward’s 1990 assessment?
A heritage assessment of the studio should be conducted as it maybe of heritage value to Whitehorse.
The garden bungalow is a one room building and is situated in the north western corner of the property; it is not covered by a Council Heritage Overlay and is not registered with Heritage Victoria or the National Trust.
A heritage assessment of the garden bungalow should be conducted as it maybe of heritage value to Whitehorse.
The carport/storage structure is on the western boundary of the property and was built between 1987 and 1996.
The San Miguel family bought the property in 1935. In Dolores San Miguel’s book The Secret Love Letter - A Family History she describes ‘Glendale’ - ‘The property was huge and spanned more than twenty acres, with a tennis court, garage, stables, orchard and fowl pens’.
The tennis court is on the eastern side of the property and may have been built between 1910 and 1935 since it does not appear in a 1909 photo of the property.
Antonio Jnr’s brother Jaime worked at the well known Hedley’s Sporting Goods on Toorak Rd in South Yarra and was friends with Davis Cup players Harry Hopman and Bob Schlesinger (at the time ranked number five in Australia) and Lionel Brodie. They all regularly played singles and doubles matches together – Did Harry Hopman and Bob Schlesinger play on the tennis court at 63 Woodhouse Gr?
A heritage assessment of the tennis court should be conducted as it maybe of heritage value to Whitehorse.
The gardens of 'Glendale' – a botanical oasis in Box Hill North
The property is a little less than one acre (4740 m2) and has a large established mature garden. The garden has been a part of the local environment, its history and has been an integral setting for the house for 129 years.
In the City of Box Hill Heritage and Conservation study, 1990 conducted of the garden by Andrew C Ward and Associates at 63 Woodhouse Gv states in regards to the garden states ‘of a large heavily treed site’ and ‘The large garden retains early plantings’. The gardens contain numerous Eucalypts, Conifers, large canopy trees and shrubs. There also fruit trees that may be remnants of when the property was an orchard in the late 19th and early 20th century. The gardens maybe overgrown but with a little attention the overall structure is still present and can be fully restored.
In my investigation of the gardens I have not found an arborists report or assessment of the trees and plants. An assessment of the garden should be conducted to ascertain if there are trees and plants of significant heritage or horticultural value to Whitehorse.
THE FUTURE FOR THE CITY OF WHITEHORSE
The current owners should be commended for preserving this very important piece of Box Hill/ Whitehorse’s early history. The people, who owned the land, built and lived in the house have all made contributions to our local, state and national history. I am hopeful that one day the house will be registered with the National Trust and Heritage Victoria so that current and future generations can learn from and enjoy it. The house was listed for sale in June 2021; it was removed from sale in April 2022.