There are many stories of the people who lived at Spenceycroft or were connected to it as family or as neighbours over its 162 year history. Two of the more prominent families were the Scales family who were related by marriage to two well known pioneering Melbourne families and Jacob Schneider’s family who were well respected wine maker’s and large landowner’s in Surrey Hills and Ferntree Gully amongst others I will mention below.
The neighbours of the Jackel family
I previously mentioned Phillip Klepper who owned the subdivision east of Erdmann Jackel’s but there were also three other families who lived near the Jackel family. These families were also the first settlers in this part of the Nunawading District (Surrey Hills) and deserve a mention here as there seems to be little recognition of the contributions they made to the early development of Surrey Hills and Whitehorse.
The Schneider, Klepper and Horn families arrived in Melbourne in 1854 on the sailing ship ‘Oscar Vidal’. The fourth neighbour/landowner was Frederick Voight who arrived in Melbourne in 1850.
In 1853/4 Adolph Moeller bought two 22 acre plots of Crown land (Lots 39A and 39B) on the corner of Boundary Rd (Warrigal Rd) and Delaney’s Rd (Canterbury Rd) in the southwestern corner of the Nunawading District (Surrey Hills).
According to the land title records Lots 39A and 39B was subdivided between 1856 and 1857 between five families:
Jacob Schneider land owner, respected wine maker, farmer and shop keeper
Jacob Schneider was born in Baden in Switzerland in 1820; he was the son of Joseph and Regina Schneider (nee Bachli). In 1854 Jacob Schneider married Magdalena Bachli. Magdalena Bachli was also born in Baden in Switzerland in 1820 she was the daughter of Johann and Maria Bachli (nee Frei). Also, in 1854 Jacob and Magdalena sailed from Germany to Melbourne on board the Oscar Vidal arriving in March. In the Nunawading District (Surrey Hills) Jacob and Magdalena had twelve children, nine of which survived past the age of five.
In 1856 Jacob originally bought two ten acre lots in the northeast corner of Lots 39 A and B from Adolph Moeller. He also later owned a number of properties in Sunbury Cr in Surrey Hills and The Basin in Ferntree Gully.
During the 1860's and 1870's the Boroondara District was one of Victoria's leading wine growing regions with vineyards in Canterbury, Balwyn, Hawthorn, Auburn and Hartwell and Jacob’s vineyard in Surrey Hills (Nunawading District) was very close to these.
Grapevines can take up to five years to grow fruit which is suitable for use in wine production. To enable Jacob to harvest and make wine for his 1868/9 vintage he would have had to have planted his vines in the late 1850’s or early 1860’s. This indicates that Jacob may have been among the first new settlers to have planted grapevines and make wine on a commercial scale in the Nunawading District (Surrey Hills) on his land.
The 1870 Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition was a prestigious event amongst the colonies and consisted of a number of categories including agriculture, manufacturing, furniture, clothing, mining, forestry and fresh and preserved food production.
In 1870 Jacob entered wine from his 1868/69 Nunawading District (Surrey Hills) vintage in the inaugural Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition. Jacob received an Honourable Mention which was published in The South Australian newspaper in 1870.
In 1872/3 Jacob again entered a two year old Hermitage and a three year old Riesling from his Nunawading District (Surrey Hills) vineyard in the Victorian Exhibition. This exhibition was held at the 1854 built Melbourne Exhibition Buildings which were located on the site of the current Royal Mint building on William St. Jacob received an Honourable Mention which was published in The Argus newspaper in 1873.
As well as being a Vigneron and a farmer Jacob was also a Shopkeeper and owned and worked in a grocery shop near the corner of Canterbury and Florence Rd’s, Surrey Hills.
On his land Jacob planted a market garden, orchard and vineyard and it is likely that he sold the produce in his grocery shop.
In 1878 Jacob was granted a license to occupy 170 acres of land in The Basin near Ferntree Gully. By 1881, he had built fences, buildings and was farming the land. In 1881 he applied for a lease which was granted and in 1888 he was granted title. The property was known as “Schneider’s Estate’ and Schneider St in Ferntree Gully was named after his estate.
Magdalena Schneider died in 1882 in Surrey Hills.
Jacob Schneider died in 1889 in Surrey Hills, before his death Jacob appointed his son Jacob Jnr and daughter Helena Hanson as Executors of his Will. In 1890 Jacob Jnr and Helena sold their fathers original 20 acre lot (part of Lot 39 A and B) to the Universal Land Company Limited.
According to Jacob’s Will, he also owned and lived in a brick house (later known as ‘Oneida’ at 4 Florence Rd in Surrey Hills) on land between Russell St and Florence Rd in Surrey Hills. The house allotment had a 130 ft (42 m) frontage to Canterbury Rd and was 210 feet (70 m) deep and was located in the northwest corner of Jacobs’s Lot 39A subdivision. Jacob had subdivided this part of his land into one large lot and a number of smaller lots.
In 1888 Jacob’s daughter Matilda Schneider married Matthew Bowen. They lived in the Canterbury Rd house ‘Oneida’ (4 Florence Rd) until Matthew’s death in 1917 and Matilda continued to live there until her death in 1938. Their daughter Marjory Bowen (Jacobs’s granddaughter) lived in this family home at 4 Florence Rd from 1938 until 1945. The Florence Rd house was demolished around 1996.
In an article in The Reporter, written about Jacob after his death in 1889 referred to him as a ‘very old resident and landmark’. The residents of Surrey Hills obviously knew of and recognised Jacob Schneider’s role in the early development of Surrey Hills and wanted him to be remembered.
Nicolaus Horn also sailed with his wife and eight children to Melbourne on board the Oscar Vidal, the same ship as Phillip Klepper and Jacob Schneider. Horn bought the middle subdivision of Lot 39B to the southeast of Jackel’s subdivision, immediately east of Jacob Schneider’s subdivision and immediately south of Klepper’s middle subdivision.
Nicolaus grew many grape vines on his property and made wine on his wine press, he was referred to as a Vigneron in his 1871 Will and death notice.
The land that Nicolaus bought in 1857 was owned by his descendants until 1960 (103 years) when it was sold and subdivided for housing.
Frederick Voight was born in 1829 in Württemberg, Germany. He sailed from Plymouth, England on board the Aurora with his brother and sister arriving in Melbourne in 1850. Frederick worked as a Carpenter/joiner.
In 1855 Frederick married Margaret McEwan and they had eleven children. Margaret McEwan was born in Midlothian in Scotland in 1836. She sailed from Liverpool, England on board the Stamboul arriving in Melbourne in 1854. She worked as a Servant for a Mr. Waldron in Prahran.
In 1856/57 Frederick bought approximately 5.5 acres from Adolph Moeller’s Lot 39B. The land was in the northwest corner which is the southeast corner of Canterbury and Warrigal Rd’s.
Frederick lived and worked in Ballarat and did not live on his Surrey Hills land; he died in 1899 in West Melbourne and was buried in the Box Hill cemetery. Margaret died in Ballarat in 1909 and was buried there.
'If we don't care about our past we can't have very much hope for our future’.
Jackie Kennedy-Onassis – Saving Grand Central Terminal campaign, New York, January 30, 1975
GRANDSON’S OF JAMES RAYMENT SNR
James Arthur Rayment
James Rayment was the third child of James Jnr and Harriett Rayment (née Ratten). He enlisted in the army on 14th July 1915; in November 1915 he joined in the 5th Field Company Engineers. After four months military training, he embarked on the ship HMAT Ceramic, bound for the conflict in Europe. He was first a sapper, then promoted to corporal, then acting sergeant in the field, then sergeant, then sergeant-major.
The following is an excerpt written by Roy Rayment from the Guild of One Name Studies website -He was decorated, firstly for ‘devotion to duty at all times and under all circumstances sometimes under shell fire’, dated 14th June 1916, then again on 13th September 1916 ‘for gallant work at Pozieres on the night of the 3/4th August. - ‘Sergeant Rayments section had to construct H.G. (heavy gun) emplacements in the captured German trenches. In one position which was swept with machine gun fire, he ordered the sappers to work in the trench and he took the risky work on top of the parapet and carried it out. His work in laying out new work on the same night is to be highly commended’.
Sadly, it was only a couple of months after James Rayment was decorated for the second time that his younger brother William died from wounds received during the siege of Kut-El-Amara by the Ottoman Army in Iraq. Two weeks later his father died.
James served in Port Said in Egypt, Marseilles in France and Belgium and it was in December 1916 whilst he was in France that he was awarded the Military Medal.
In 1917 an article appeared in The Reporter newspaper entitled ‘Distinction Won for Surrey Hills’. The article was about the war experiences of James A and George ‘Leslie’ Rayment during World War 1.
At the end of the war James asked the Australian government for free passage for his fiancée Lilian Sarah Smith from England to Australia. Lillian was given permission in March 1920, and she travelled to Melbourne where they were married in June 1920.
During World War 2 James enlisted in the Volunteer Defence Corps and held the rank of Lieutenant from 1942 to 1945, he was based at the Memorial Hall in Canterbury Rd, Canterbury.
James and Lillian had six children, one of whom, Kenneth Rayment, died as a Prisoner of War on the Burma Railway during the Second World War. James died aged 84 on the 14th of September 1973 and Lillian died aged 80 on the 19th of September 1974 both at Tweed Heads, Queensland.
William Charles Rayment
William was the fourth child of James Rayment and Harriett Frances Rayment (née Ratten). William enlisted on 29th June 1915 in Melbourne, he was 23 years old and his occupation was Heating Engineer. He was in the Australian Flying Corp, 1st reinforcements. William embarked in Melbourne on the P&O Persia on August 10th, 1915. He was an air mechanic at Kut al Amara. The town was 160 kilometers south of Baghdad and the base of an 8,000 strong British Army garrison, in 1915, its population was around 6,500.
In December 1915 the Ottoman Army attacked and laid siege to the town until 29th April 1916, this is known as the First Battle of Kut. The garrison surrendered on 29th April 1916, the survivors of the siege were marched to and imprisoned at Aleppo, during which many died.
William survived the siege but was wounded and after the surrender he was transferred to a hospital in Tarsus, Turkey where he died on November 11, 1916, of Chronic Nephritis. In 1927 his remains (along with others) were moved from the Tarsus War Cemetery in Turkey to the Baghdad War Cemetery (north gate), Iraq in order to secure the future maintenance and upkeep of the British war graves.
George ‘Leslie’ Rayment
George Leslie Rayment was the fifth child of James Rayment and Harriett Frances Rayment (née Ratten).
After leaving school George became a Clerk. On 16th November 1914, he enlisted at the age of 20 in the Australian Army 3rd Light Horse Postal Corps. After three months military training in Australia, he embarked aboard the ship HMAT Star of Victoria on 25th February 1915 for Egypt via Colombo and Aden.
Following further training at Mena and Heliopolis, he landed at Gallipoli in May and served with the 3rd Light Horse Headquarters Brigade, where he was appointed the Brigade Clerk in July 1915 and promoted to Corporal. After four months active service in Gallipoli, during which he experienced trench digging, shortage of water, shellfire, enemy attacks, snipers and lice, he contracted Typhoid and was evacuated to London aboard the ship hospital ship Aquitania.
He was promoted to Temporary Staff Sergeant at “C” Group Headquarters and was mentioned in dispatches, having been brought to the attention of the Secretary of State for War but was discharged on compassionate grounds following the death of his father on 27th November 1916. Although a discharge on such grounds was not common, the military authorities had probably been swayed by the fact that, in addition to having now lost both his parents, he had also very recently lost his brother William who had been badly injured whilst serving in Iraq and another of his brothers was missing in action. When James returned home, he applied for work with the armed forces in Melbourne.
On 6th July 1918 he married Grace Lewis at the Highfield Road Methodist Church in Surrey Hills, Victoria. James and Grace Rayment had two children Dulcie born in 1921 and Norma born in 1923. Grace Rayment died in 1927, leaving George alone to bring up their children. In 1933 James married Celia Lewis. Celia Rayment died in 1967 in Surrey Hills and James died at the age of 82 in 1976 in Blackburn, Victoria.
THE JACOBS FAMILY
I have previously briefly mentioned Amelia Jacobs the daughter of Henry and Eleanor Jacobs. Three years after Eleanor’s (her mother) death, her father married Amy Scales. After his marriage to Amy, Henry sent his daughter Amelia to live with her maternal grandparents Robert and Ann Mills at ‘Terregles’ (the house is still there) on Warrigal Rd in Surrey Hills.
In 1916 Amelia married James Dodgshun and they moved to and lived at ‘Kerrisdale’ in Maling Rd, Canterbury - the address of the house is now 2 Christowel St, Camberwell. James Dodgshun had named the house after his Uncle Williams’ home in Harrogate, England.
James Dodgshun’s father John Dodgshun had left England in 1873 onboard the ship Dandenong to work in the families Melbourne wool merchants and brokers business. He returned to the England and married Sarah Dixon in 1881. James Dodgshun was born in 1886 in Morley, Yorkshire, England. In 1887 John Dodgshun then returned to Melbourne with Sarah and their three children James, Ethel and Mary.
Records show that James worked as a warehouseman in his father’s wool business James Dodgshun and Co in Flinders Lane, Melbourne. The company also had an office in Leeds in England operating under the name of Dodgshun, Dickinson and Co and was founded in 1790. Their office in Melbourne was opened between 1855 and 1860 by John Dodgshun’s father and two uncles and operated under the name of Dodgshun, Austin and Co; they also opened an office in Launceston in 1879.
James’s uncle James Dodgshun was Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1882 to 1883. James Dodgshun was a great supporter and fund raiser for the Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne and sat on the board eventually serving as Vice President and President. Dodgshun House in Brunswick St, Fitzroy was named in his honour. His nephew Keith Dodgshun was a politician and started his career in local government, progressing to state government then federal government, attaining the position of Deputy Leader of the Country Party before retiring in 1955.
In 1884 renowned Australian artist Arthur Streeton worked as a Clerk for Dodgshun, Austin and Co. In 1887, Arthur Streeton camped and painted with Louis Abrahams, Tom Roberts and Fredrick McCubbin at the weekends on David Houston’s property on Gardiner’s Creek in Box Hill and visited the site again in 1888. The City of Box Hill now Whitehorse has several ‘Heidelberg School’ paintings by some of the above artists in their collection.
THE SCALES CHILDREN
The Scales family had many connections with significant families in the Colony of Victoria and deserve to be mentioned here.
John and Emily Davies (nee Scales)
Emily Frances Scales was the first daughter of Reverend Alfred and Sarah Scales (nee Dickenson) and sister of Amy Jacobs (nee Scales). She was born at Alston in Cumbria in 1846.
In 1865 Emily Scales married John Mark Davies and they moved to Melbourne where they lived through the boom years of Melbourne, into the crash of the 1890’s. Emily and John had fifteen children, the first four dying soon after birth, then a daughter Gladys drowned in a boating accident in Portarlington, and Arthur who vanished without trace soon after the birth of his first child in 1907 and Howard who was killed in France in WW1.
John Mark Davies was born at Halstead in Essex, England in 1840, the second son and fifth child of Ebenezer and Ruth Davies (nee Bartlett). His family with nine children including John immigrated to Australia in 1849. They settled in Geelong where his father Ebenezer became a tannery and land owner as well as a director of the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company.
John was educated in Geelong; he was employed as a clerk in the legal firm of Messrs. Clayton and Martyn in Geelong in 1858. He served his articles with Mr. C A Woolley who was later joined by Mr. T C Harwood. He was admitted to the Supreme Court as a Solicitor and Proctor in 1863 and moved to Melbourne as a representative of the firm. He went into private practice before going into partnership with J M Campbell in 1873 creating the firm of Davies and Campbell.
John became engaged to Emily Scales, and they married in December 1865. After moving from Geelong the family initially lived in a 5 room brick house near the railway station in Toorak Road, buying 11 acres of land in 1872 and building a 17 room house which they named ‘Valentines’. The house was named after an imposing property in the London borough of Redbridge, where John’s ancestors George Finch and his son William Finch, had lived early in the 18th century. The Finch ancestry goes back to Sir William Finch, who distinguished himself in the French wars of Henry VIII; to Sir Heneage Finch who was Solicitor- General at the Restoration and Lord High Chancellor in 1675, and to Elizabeth Finch, Countess of Winchelsea.
John served as Minister of Justice in 1890 and Solicitor-General and Attorney-General in 1891. He was mainly responsible for the Voluntary Liquidation Act (1891), the cause of significant controversy in the Depression which followed the Land Boom in Melbourne. The Davies family were financially badly affected by the collapse of the Boom. In 1892, John Davies resigned from Cabinet and from the Board of the Commercial Bank, of which he was Chairman. Three years later, he lost his seat in the Legislative Council and resumed private practice as a solicitor. He re-entered Parliament unopposed in 1899 and served as Attorney-General from 1902 to 1908. He was President of the Legislative Council from 1910 to 1919, for which he received a knighthood - Knight Commander St Michael and St George (KCMG) in January 1918. Emily Davies became Lady Davies when John Davies was knighted.
After the family moved to East Malvern John Davies built their Italian Renaissance style mansion ‘Valentines’, it was named ‘Valentines’ after their former Toorak home. One of Australia’s most significant buildings, the house consisted of 40 rooms and was built from 1891-92, on 25 acres (10 hectares) of land fronting Burke Road. It was designed by British born Melbourne architect Thomas Watts.
In 1895 after the collapse of the General Land and Savings Bank of which John Davies was chairman went into liquidation and combined with the failure of his other businesses, he was unable to keep up the payments on ‘Valentines’. John Davies gave the land back to Robert Morgan, from whom he had bought it from a few years before. Under a new agreement John Davies rented ‘Valentines’. In 1911 Robert Morgan decided to sub- divide the western half of the 48 acres which surrounded ‘Valentines’. John Davies bought adjoining lots on the eastern corner of Wattletree and Willoby Ave just over the road from the mansion in which he was still living. On the new site John Davies built a large brick house with stables, croquet lawn, tennis court and a small orchard and called the house ‘Valentine’s. The family, with 5 children still living at home, moved to the new house in 1912.
In 1913 the ‘Valentines’ mansion was put up for auction, but it did not sell. In 1915 Robert Morgan died and his executors again offered the mansion for sale, and again it did not sell. A few days later it was offered for sale again and did not sell. On the same day, the remaining 45 blocks on the estate were also offered and all were sold. A few weeks later the executors decided to sell some of the land to the north and south of the building and all were sold.
Archbishop Henry Lowther Clarke, Melbourne’s Anglican archbishop was interested in buying the ‘Valentines’ mansion as a new home for the McLean’s Malvern Grammar. In 1923 a group of past students and friends of the Archbishop Clarke helped buy ‘Valentines’ for the school, it opened in 1924. The property became Malvern Grammar and is currently a junior campus of Caulfield Grammar.
John Davies resigned from the Legislative Council in June 1919, following a stroke. He died three months later and was given a State funeral, he was buried at St Kilda cemetery without a headstone. Emily Davies died at their home in Wattletree Rd in 1932 aged 86.
Rose Marion Scales
Rose Scales was the second daughter of Reverend Alfred Scales and Sarah Angus Scales (nee Dickenson); she was born in Geelong in 1858.
Rose Scales never married and lived in The Grange in Malvern East. She died in 1911 at ‘Valentines’ her sister Amy’s home in Malvern and I am unable to find any more information about her.
James and Ethel Balfour (nee Scales)
Ethel Maud Scales was the third daughter of Reverend Alfred Scales and Sarah Angus Scales (nee Dickenson); she was born in Geelong in 1860.
Ethel married James Hugh Balfour in 1885 in Melbourne. James was born in Geelong in 1861; he was the son of James and Charlotte Balfour (nee Henty).
James Balfour Jnr gained commercial experience in Melbourne, and after a trip to America, England and Scotland, settled at the 90,000 acre Round Hill Station a sheep farm in, NSW in 1881 and worked as a jackaroo, becoming Manager in 1886, later a partner, and subsequently owner.
He was a well known breeder of Merino sheep and the Round Hill Stud was renowned around the world for the high quality of it merino wool. He was President, and for many years an active member, of both Albury and Culcairn P. & A. Show Societies, he worked for the local Council - served as President 19 times, an Elder of the Presbyterian Church for 61 years, and until his death in 1949 and a member of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales since its inception. He was a recipient of the King's Jubilee Silver Medal in 1935; the medal was awarded as a personal souvenir by King George V to commemorate his silver jubilee. The medal was awarded to members of the Royal Family, officials, ministers, public servants, members of the military and police in Britain, and Commonwealth countries.
In 1935 James and Ethel Balfour celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary and a notice that was placed in The Sydney Morning Herald. Interestingly the notice states ‘Rev. Alfred and Mrs. Scales of Spencey Croft’. Records show that in 1885 Alfred Scales was living at ‘Avondale’ on Union Rd, Surrey Hills and his wife Sarah Scales had died in 1884. Records show that Henry and Amy Jacobs (nee Scales) lived at 654 Canterbury Rd from 1905 to 1909; the site was referred to as ‘Spenceycroft’ in the 1910 edition of the Sands and MacDougall directory for the first time.
James’s father was James Balfour Snr, a contributor to Melbourne’s early political, merchant and religious development. In 1855 he had been appointed by James Henty as a representative of James Henty and Co in Geelong, participated in the negotiations to unify the Victorian Presbyterian Church; he was a president of the Chamber of Commerce, a Magistrate and a Lieutenant in the Volunteer Corps - but resigned when he entered the Legislative Assembly in 1866 as a member for East Bourke.
In 1874 he had become the first chairman of the Australian Deposit and Mortgage Co. which was managed by G. S. Davies (brother of John Davies). In 1887 James Balfour Jnr's mercantile firm was converted into a limited liability company with an authorized capital of £250,000 held in five shares by James Balfour Jnr, his managing director E. C. Elliott, Joseph Davies (brother of John Davies), Matthew Davies (brother of John Davies), and John Moodie. In 1889 James Balfour Jnr became a director of another Davies company, the ill-fated Freehold Investment and Banking Co.
In 1883 James Balfour Jnr helped to establish the Banner and the Southern Cross newspapers in 1874. In 1883 with a syndicate of Christian gentlemen he bought the Daily Telegraph which was to be edited by William Fitchett in accordance with sound morality and evangelical religion. James Balfour Jnr was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1885-86 and in 1887 was invited by Matthew Davies to join the Royal commission on banking institutions.
James Balfour Jnr’s mother was Charlotte Henty, the eldest daughter of James Henty, the eldest of the Henty brothers, he was a Melbourne pioneer, politician and merchant.
James Henty and two of his brothers moved from England to Western Australia in 1829 with an order to acquire 84,000 acres of land near the Swan River to farm sheep, after two unsuccessful years they decided to move Tasmania in 1831. James Henty opened a trading company in Launceston and 1834 the Henty’s established a pastoral settlement at Portland Bay in Victoria. In 1842 James Henty was offered a seat in the Tasmanian Legislative Council but he declined. James Henty visited England in 1848 and in 1851 settled in Melbourne where he established the flourishing business of James Henty and Company, merchants.
In 1852 James Henty was elected a member of the initial single chamber Victorian Legislative Council for Portland, and from 1856 was one of the inaugural members for the South-Western Province in the now-upper house Legislative Council, a position he held until his death in January 1882. James Henty was one of the early promoters of the first Victorian railway - the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company, of which he was chairman of directors. He was a commissioner of savings banks and took a leading part in the business life of Melbourne.
Daniel and Alice Kekwick (nee Scales)
Alice Kate Scales was the fourth daughter of Reverend Alfred Scales and Sarah Angus Scales (nee Dickenson); she was born in Geelong in 1862.
Alice Scales and Daniel Jefferis Kekwick were married in 1886 in Surrey Hills, Melbourne. Daniel Kekwick Jnr was born in Adelaide in 1859; he was the son of Daniel Kekwick Snr and Caroline (nee Merchant). Daniel Jnr worked as an accountant at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Melbourne.
On an interesting aside Daniel Jnr’s uncle was William Kekwick second in command on the last four of John Stuart’s Australian expeditions; John Stuart was a protégé of the explorer Charles Sturt. They explored the Australian mainland from south to north and through the centre of the continent. In 1860 Stuart had named Kekwick Ponds in the Northern Territory after William Kekwick.
William Kekwick was appointed mineral and botanical collector for William Gosse's expedition to Central Australia, but fell ill before they set out, and died at Nuccaleena on the way back to Adelaide in 1872.
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