Alfred, son of James and Clarissa Douglass, was born on 14 March 1820 at Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. He arrived in Hobart, Tasmania on 9 March 1835 aboard the Wave. He gained valuable experience in the wool industry in Tasmania then came to Geelong in 1850 after a short stay in Melbourne. Soon after arriving he advertised his wool store business in Yarra Street.
When he noticed a shortage in housing in Geelong he advertised prefabricated houses which he brought from Sydney.
He went into partnership with John Wright and they built the Barwonside wool scouring works and the Barwonside Tannery in Horseshoe Bend Road, Marshall in 1851. Wright died at his residence, "Merlin Hill", St Albans on 25 July 1866. The tannery was leased to James Munday in 1869 then a Mr Pearson in 1878. Michael Bolger occupied it in 1880-1881, then Martin Hardyman 1883-1886 and Alex Boyd James Giffen in 1887, after which it appeared to have been unoccupied. In July 1885 Douglass sued the Department of Land and Works and recovered damages caused by the damming up of water from the defective construction of the railway bridge.
In 1867 Alfred Douglass and Co sold a 183 acre farm at Mount Duneed.
Alfred married Elizabeth née De Little, who was born on 4 July 1825 in Launceston, in 1853. In 1856 Alfred had Corio Villa erected at Eastern Beach. It was a prefabricated building, manufactured in Edinburgh and had remained unclaimed at the wharf. They had the following children:
Alfred Byerly — born 3 May 1854, died 12 April 1855
Alfred William — born 21 June 1855, died 14 October 1855
Charles Clipston — born 2 September 1856, died 5 February 1858
Henry Percival (Percy) — born 9 June 1859 in London, married Enid Mary Webster, died 1927
Arthur Reginald — born 16 June 1860, died 14 February 1861
Emily Constance — born 16 June 1860, died 29 December 1860
Frederick Montague (Monty) born 31 March 1862, married Amy Elizabeth Thompson, died 1943
Charles Leslie — born 11 August 1863, died 1864
Edmund — born 6 January 1865, died 1865
Percy and Monty were the only children to survive to adulthood. Both were successful early Geelong Football Club players.
In 1861 Alfred purchased the Geelong Advertiser with his brother-in-law Joseph De Little. They traded under the name of Alfred Douglas and Co.
Alfred was a trustee of the Geelong Savings Bank for twenty eight years, terminating with his death on 30 October 1883 at the age of 65 years.
Elizabeth received recognition for her art, mainly miniature portraits on ivory, chalk drawings, watercolour, engraving and oil colour.
Elizabeth died on 25 December 1902 at the age of 77 years. They were buried together in the old Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
The Landell mentioned in the advertisement above should have been spelt Landale
You might ask what are these occupations.
A fellmonger is a dealer in fells or sheepskins, who separates the wool from the pelts. He is the person who prepares the skin prior to leather making. The wool was then scoured. A wool scouring factory might have bought fleeces and then scoured the wool.
A tanner is the person who processes the skins to produce leather.
A currier applies the dressing, and colouring to the tanned hide to make it strong, flexible and waterproof.
Boiling down is the process of rendering fat from animal carcasses to produce tallow. Tallow was used for making soap and candles. It brought the price of old animals up considerably and was a boost to the farmer when animal prices were low.
Glue is produced by the boiling of animal connective tissue.
Bone mills produce fertiliser and glue by processing animal bones.
These industries were an important part of Geelong's economy. Hundreds of men were employed at these factories. At first the river was used to wash the skins. Later they were washed in vats. The area probably smelled like the abattoirs and sale yards at Newmarket in Melbourne which I remember well from my childhood. Maybe it was worse.
A number of streets have names that reflect the activities carried on in the area:
Tanner Street, Leather Street, Currier Street and Fellmongers Road in Breakwater
Woolscour Lane and Tannery Road in Marshall
Some of the owners of factories on the south and west side of the Barwon were (from North):
Charles John Dennys, sold to Samuel Bradley Corrigan
Patrick McDonald and Lawrence Webster, later leased by George Kingsbury and George Connor, later became Corrigans
George Gardiner (see article in next volume of "History Matters" — available at the Torquay Newsagency)
Charles Frederick Palmer
Joseph and Sharp Brearley
Joseph married Jane Hillard's sister, Margaret, on 25 March 1852 at St James Cathedral, Melbourne. Their children were:
Joseph Henry "Harry" — born 1853, married Mary Elizabeth Gillot on 20 September 1881, died 29 June 1918 at 5 Crimea Street, St Kilda aged 65
Hannah — married Johann Christian Richard Ohiff on 30 May 1881
Rebecca Elizabeth — born 1857, married William James Joseph Gallagher in 1883
Josephine Louisa — born 1859, married Robert Imray on 1 May 1882
Annie Maria — married Conrad Kollmann on 22 December 1889
Victoria — born 1862, married Ernest Castles on 19 May 1885
Robert George Hillard — born 30 June 1864
Margaret "Maggie"— born 1866 at Hawthorn, died 18 November 1901
John Frederick William — born 1868 at Kew
Edna — married Alan Roberts
Alfred — born 1871, died 29 July 1972 at Clifton House, Studley Park, Kew
Joseph was prominent in local sporting organisations and was elected a member of the Geelong Town Council, serving from 1864 until 1966. During the 1880s he left Geelong and moved with his family to Melbourne where he went into the leather business.
Margaret had a severe stroke on 6 June 1885 and died at her residence in Waltham Street, Richmond the next day, aged 53. She was buried in the Church of England section of the Boroondara Cemetery. Joseph died on 24 May 1911 at Balaclava, his daughter Rebecca Gallagher's home, aged 88. He was buried with his late wife.
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