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Flemington has been and is home to a diverse range of interesting individuals.

We celebrate the lives of those who have been influential in Melbourne and Australia, but also those who represent the variety of backgrounds of Flemingtonians.  This ranges from Hugh Glass, once the richest man in the colony of Victoria, to more recent residents, who contribute to the richness of Flemington life.

We encourage you to submit your story of your connection to Flemington.

Arthur Calwell 28 August 1896 - 8 July 1973

Stretching from 1853 to the present, the Calwell family must have one of the longest ongoing connections with Flemington.  The most famous Calwell was our federal member for 32 years from 1940 to 1972.  Arthur Calwell was Immigration Minister in the Chifley government from 1945 to 1949 and Leader of the Australian Labour Party from 1960 to 1967.  No wonder a local park carries his name.

Bill Gardner 30 September 1921 - 9 November 2008

John William Gardner, known as Bill, was the inaugural president of the Flemington Association and responsible for preserving and maintaining much of what we hold dear about Flemington today. Bill led a movement in the 1970s that led to the creation of Flemington’s many neighbourhood parks, including those at the Canterbury Street Stables, the Coronet/Crown Street Stables, Farnham Street and Travancore Park. He went on to become the first Lord Mayor of Melbourne from the Australian Labor Party.
Boxing has long been a sport associated with Flemington and Kensington, with local competitions, gyms and successful boxers of the like of Billy Russell. Born as Russell Horsburgh, and part of the Horsburgh family who lived in Kensington from the late 1890s to 2010, Billy Russell was widely accepted in the boxing fraternity as the man who had more professional fights than any other fighter in Victoria. Billy Russell lived his whole life in Kensington, captained the Kensington Juniors Football Club and trained at Bill O’Brien’s Athletic Club in Flemington.

Doris McRae 25 January 1893 - 9 October 1988

Doris McRae was Principal of Flemington Girls School during the 1940s, but her influence extended well beyond the school, helping form the Flemington-Kensington Progress Association, fighting to campaign for the removal of tanneries from Debney’s Paddock, setting up youth facilities and organising lunches for the less fortunate. The 1940s also saw the end of McRae’s career in Education, due to repeated attacks on her Communist sympathies. McRae’s tireless contribution throughout her life to the women’s movement and as an advocate for the rights of women, students and workers saw her placed on the inaugural Victorian Roll of Women.

Graeme "Porky" Brooke Present Day

One of the recent champions in Flemington and Kensington, and part of a long line of local boxing legends, Graeme “Porky” Brooke’s career took off while he was a student at Debney Park High School. Porky had earlier watched his relative Lionel Rose train in a fibro-cement shed in an Essendon backyard and dreamed of following in his footsteps. By 1984, at only 21, the long-term Flemington resident took out the Commonwealth lightweight boxing title at Festival Hall, one of his many achievements.

Helen Papadimitriou Present Day

Helen was born and grew up in Flemington, where she has lived and seen many changes over the past 40 years. She recounts stories of her parents running a deli on Racecourse Road, where there is now a halal butcher, and at the Greek School at the old church on Mt Alexander Rd, which is now gone.  Moving to Debney Meadows Primary the year it opened, Helen remembers a school excursion to the new McDonalds!

Hugh Glass 1817 - 1871

Hugh Glass is the grandfather of Flemington.  In 1853 he bought the land now bordered by Racecourse Road, Ascot Vale Road, Kent Street and Citylink for £4,100 and dreamed of building a northern suburbs nirvana to surpass Toorak. Glass arranged our first school (Flemington National School in 1858), our first permanent church (the Wesleyan Church, next to the school, in 1865) and, with others, our first railway line (Melbourne to Essendon, in 1860).

Jack Carroll 1906-1976

One of Flem Ken's many boxing talents, Arthur Ernest Hardwick took on the name Jack Carroll before going on to win the Australian welterweight boxing title in 1928 and 1933. Carroll attended Kensington State School and worked in the abattoirs and Kimpton's Flour Mill. He was inducted at George Lynch's Physical Culture Class on Eastwood St and trained by, amongst others, Flemington's Bill O'Brien. He also practised in makeshift gyms above local stables. In 2003 Carroll was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame.

James Watson 1811 - 1869

James Watson was the first landowner of Flemington, and provided its name. In 1847 he purchased the property from the Crown and named it after his wife's father's Scottish estate. His wife died that year. Watson started as an agent for the sale of land and stock. By the end of 1847 in Flemington he was selling sheep, cattle, horses and pigs. He probably remarried. He moved into a house in what is now Flemington Street. He built shops and a hotel. By October 1849 he was selling up, leaving behind "Flemington" and its colonial beginnings.

JJ Holland 3 September 1877 - 25 December 1955

JJ Holland Park in Kensington is named after John Joseph Holland, who was the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Flemington for over 30 years from 1925. Jack lived in McConnell Street, Kensington for over 50 years and died there on Christmas Day 1955.   He was president and secretary of the Flemington Branch of the ALP.  His son Kevin carried on his legacy, by following his father and representing the local community in Parliament and on Melbourne City Council over 20 years.
There are few identities in Flemington as local, or as enduring and endearing, as Patto.  You can still see him driving his horse and cart around Flemington, as he's done for almost the past 50 years.  John Patterson became a clerk of Flemington Racecourse in 1961.  For more than half a century he's been heavily involved with the Racecourse, the Royal Melbourne Show, the Newmarket Saleyards and the broader Flemington community.

Lydia Kauzlaric 1954-2006

In 2004 Lydia Kauzlaric became the first woman mayor of Moonee Valley.  After her untimely death in 2006, the Friendship Circle in Debney’s Park was dedicated to Lydia, acknowledging her substantial devotion and contribution to our area. In addition to being our local councillor, Lydia was a member of the Flemington and Kensington Associations and the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek, editor of the Flemington Kensington News, a board member of Doutta Galla Community Health and founding member of the Moonee Valley Peace Network.

Solomon Peardon 1826 - 1885

Solomon Peardon was a businessman, property developer and local councillor who lived from the 1870s in an area called Flemington Bank in a two-storey mansion called Sorrell House.  He operated the Glenmore Tannery, which employed locals, was a North Melbourne councillor from 1864 to 1866 and owned various properties, including one in Kensington. His great granddaughter, Gabrielle Morgan, has contributed this piece.