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Robert Purdie was a native of Peeblesshire, Scotland, arriving in Geelong in 1852 with his family:
John Chisholm (born about 1849, died May 1926)
William (born 1847, died 1916, married Annie Blair in 1881 — shifted to Wunghnu, served on Numrukah for many years and one term as shire president)
Helen (born about 1849, died 19 June 1926)
Elizabeth (born about 1851, died 1911, married Col William Henry Hall)
Jessie (born 1853, died July 1932 aged 78)
Margaret (born 1856, died 1938, married Henry Cooke Hanna in 1884
Jean (born 1859, died 28 August 1939 aged 79)
The family initially settled at Clifton Springs at Greenvale Farm. This allotment, with a bay frontage, is to the east of Coryule. From here they shifted to Bellfield Farm, Hovells Creek. By 1884 they were living in Feehans Road at Mount Duneed in a bluestone cottage built by Charles Rowand in 1858.
Son, John Purdie was a stationer, bookseller and book publisher. Mentions of his shop appeared in the Geelong Advertiser regularly starting in 1871. It is not clear when he became a newsagent. He continued living at Mount Duneed after the deaths of his mother and father with his unmarried sisters, Helen, Jessie and Jean until 1924. He travelled to Geelong from this property each day in a pony drawn jinker. He died on 18 May 1926, aged 79 years, and was buried with his sister, Helen, at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. By the time of his death he was living at 54 McKillop Street, Geelong.
Robert died on 20 August 1902 at the age of 86 at his late residence at Mount Duneed. He is buried with his wife Helen (née Chisholm) in the Presbyterian section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. Helen died on 21 August 1904 at the age of 84 at Mount Duneed.
from the Geelong Advertiser Thursday 20 May 1926
As announced in the death notices appearing in yesterday’s issue of the Advertiser, another well-known and highly esteemed citizen in the person of Mr John Purdie, has entered into his last rest. Mr John Purdie died at 5 o’clock on Tuesday evening. He was a native of Peebleshire, Scotland, and came to Victoria accompanied by his parents in the year 1852, and they settled in this city.
In early youth he began his business career as clerk in the drapery business conducted by the late JM Anderson, in this town, a few years later entering into the book and stationery establishment known to old residents as Wise’s Book Store. At the death of Mr Wise, Mr Purdie took over the stock, and for many years conducted a successful business, inspiring by his steadfast commercial principles the confidence of one and all. This business as old residents of Geelong and district well remember, was familiarly known by town and country folk alike as “Purdie’s Corner”. Subsequently, the business was moved to the property in central Moorabool Street, where the name still appears although now under new management.
Mr Purdie was from early life connected to the Ryrie Street Presbyterian Church, and remained a faithful member all through the ministry of the late Rev Arthur Davidson until the time when the services were removed to Newtown. He enrolled then as a member of the High Church, where he continued as an earnest dependable committee man, also an elder until a few months prior to his death. Mr Purdie was also a member of the Geelong Hospital Committee, and in his connection of service, both with church and hospital committee as well as on other charitable institutions with which he was associated. Mr Purdie by his natural graciousness and courtesy, combined with his exceeding humility, was most highly esteemed by all who came in contact with him.
Many old residents of Geelong and district will realise that by his death they have lost for a while a true and faithful friend.
The funeral takes place this afternoon, leaving his late residence McKillop Street, at 2.30 pm for the Eastern Cemetery.
Photos contributed by Julie Campbell