Lauriston – A Grand Old Dame

by Heather Knight

(Originally published in Kilmore Connections, December 2005)

The above photograph is of “Lauriston”. This grand home once stood on the hill near where June and Gordon Ryan later built their house in Clarke Street.

It is thought that “Lauriston” may have been built by Reay Clarke. Reay was a very early settler in Kilmore and Clarke Street is probably named after him. Early rate records for 1863 show Reay Clarke, a gentleman, rated for a house and  land in Clarke and Fltzroy Street.  Reay also built the Dunrobin Castle Hotel c. 1848. This hotel stood where the Auto Pro and Sports Stores are today at No. 75 Sydney St. Reay Clarke died in 1882 at Kilmore.

Rate records show that Ronald Donald McKay, auctioneer and mining agent, lived in a brick cottage of 8 rooms on Lots 6 and 7 Section 16, Fitzroy, Clarke and Albert Streets. McKay was there from at least 1892 (rate records for the 1880’s are missing) until 1904.

From 1905 we find Bartholomew Durkin, a Kilmore tailor, and members of his family owning the house until 1915.

From 1916 until 1920/21 the rate books show that Jane Ward lived in a cottage on Lots 1, 6 and 7 Section 16, Clarke Street. In January 1921 the Kilmore Advertiser announced that Mrs. Ward had disposed of her residence in Albert Street to Robert Bowers,  formerly of “Floradale”. In the following February the same paper contained an advertisement  for the sale of Mrs. J. Ward’s furniture at her property “Lauriston”.

The Bowers family (Agnes or Robert) owned the property until June 1927 when the Advertiser announced an auction of “Lauriston” in Fitzroy Street on account of Mrs. Robert Bowers.

From 1927/28 up until 1940 the house was rated in the names of Winifred, Bridget and Alice Clarke,Lots I and 2 Section 16 Clarke Street.

The Clarke family owned the house until 1974 when it was purchased by a Doctor Andrews who demolished the house, possibly sometime in the 1970’s. The land was later sold to June and Gordon Ryan who built their residence on the hill in the mid 1980’s.

References:

  • Kilmore Advertiser 22 Jan 1921
  • Kilmore Advertiser19 Feb 1921
  • Kilmore Advertiser 25 June 1927
  • Kilmore Rate Records 1892-1940
  • The Clarkes of Tantaraboo by Graham Marshall.
  • Photo courtesy of Pat Clarke.
  • Thanks to June and Gordon Ryan and Pat Clarke for information and the loan of photos.
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