Ralph Abercrombie (1881-1957), public servant, was born on 19 July 1881 at Mount Duneed, Victoria, ninth child of Andrew Thomson Abercrombie and English born Mary Anna (nee Kenshole). His father was the head master of the local school from about 1868 until the state school began in 1878 when he became headmaster of it moving from Mount Duneed in 1882.
On 2 September 1896, Ralph became a pupil-teacher at South Melbourne State School. Ralph joined the Department of the Treasurer in July 1901. In 1902 Ralph won the 100 yards sprint championships of Victoria. On 1 August 1911 he was appointed a receiver of public moneys and paying officer in the Navy Office of the Commonwealth Department of Defence. He was appointed Auditor-General as from 1 September 1938. He continued in this role until 1946.
On 3 June 1935 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his service as Director of Navy Accounts.
He was unmarried and died on 3 May 1957.
Calder Park is situated on the northern corner of Mount Duneed and Torquay Roads being the two blocks marked WC Wilson on the map above in 1875. William Corbett Wilson purchased the land under Crown Grant in July 1857.
It was described in the Geelong Advertiser as being formerly owned by W Owen and having one of the grandest views to be obtained anywhere in the colony when offered for sale on 2nd April 1878. The house is substantially built of blue stone, with wide verandahs on all sides, and contains 8 rooms and entrance hall, all finished and fitted in a very superior manner, with sideboards, wardrobes; kitchen, servants' rooms, bathroom, cellar and pantries. The out-buildings comprise excellent stabling, coach-house, harness-room, barn and cowhouse. The garden and grounds are well and tastefully laid out and planted with the best trees, all in good growth. The land, comprising an area in all of about 75 acres of excellent quality, is subdivided into 5 paddocks, all of which are separately watered. Beautifully-grown Acacia hedges surround and divide the whole property.
On 20th June 1881 Calder Park was again offered for sale by John Laurie. It was then in the occupation of Donald Bantock. It was described as a twelve-roomed house, but the price did not reach the reserve and was then put up for private sale.
John Calvert Bell and his wife Francis Ellen (daughter of Charles AC Wilson of Teesdale) lived at Calder Park for many years. They had six children. A son John Wilson Bell died in infancy. Francis died in 1901 and was buried at Teesdale Cemetery. John remarried and moved to Addiscot. As a compliment to John Bell the name of the town of Jan Juc was changed to Bellbrae and Jan Juc became the name of an area closer to Torquay.
In April 1906 two daughters of William and Jane Walker of Calder Park were married in separate ceremonies.
Victoria Cross recipient Rupert Vance Moon lived Calder Park from 1943 until 1978. Electricity was brought to Calder Park in the late 1930s and then became available to the local residents.
In 1993 when Calder Park was again sold (in two separate lots of 34 acres), it was described in the sales brochure as an outstanding Victorian homestead (c 1860s) of bluestone and weatherboard construction in excellent condition. The house is approximately 50 squares in a courtyard design. The house is surrounded by a beautiful 1 acre landscaped garden of lawns and century old trees enhanced by dominating views over Geelong City, You Yangs, Lake Connewarre and Bass Strait.
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History