- MMBW plans
- Abortion battles
- Bishopscourt garden
- Bomb shelter
- Cairns Memorial Church
- Early Melbourne
- Jean Campbell
- Margaret McLean
- Yarra Park
- Yarra River
East Melbourne, George Street 108, Varzin
Architect:James Thomas Conlon
First owner:Maurice Aron
Large two storey house, with symmetrical facade having central doorway with bay windows each side on ground floor. Brickwork at ground floor level laid in alternating bands of light and dark brick. A tennis court lay to the east of the house.
Maurice Aron owned the house from 1877 to 1897. Maurice Aron of Cohen Aron & Co., was also a partner with Benjamin Josman Fink in an Elizabeth Street emporium called Wallach Bros. Wallach Bros. were furniture manufacturers and retailers. In 1880 NAB lent Fink £60,000 to buy out Aron. During the 1880s Aron rented Varzin out, and in 1886-87 the house was occupied by William McLean and his wife, Margaret. In 1897 Aron sold to Charles Atkinson, who added three rooms, bringing the total to fifteen. After Atkinson's death it was bought by Eliza Welch, of the Ball & Welch family, in 1906. She rented it to Mrs. Isabella Eason. Eason also rented the adjacent house, Eastcourt, at 122 George Street from Eliza Welch. The lawn between the two houses was used as a croquet lawn. The story is told that after the birth of her last child Mrs. Eason banished her husband from her bedroom and moved him into Eastcourt with their sons. The daughters remained with her at Varzin. The Easons lived in the two houses until 1920. Many Board and Lodging advertisements appeared in The Argus during this time for both Varzin and Eastcourt so it appears the Easons were subletting rooms. One such tenant was Arthur Gowan Shann Williams, accountant, who died at Varzin in 1914. In his Letters of Administration an unspecified debt to the Easons is listed amongst his liabilites: no doubt rental due. He lived At Varzin with his wife, Sarah Louisa, and his two sons. In 1915 Stuart Alfred Scragg married Minna Whest Eason, the daughter of John and Isabella Eason, and lived at Varzin. At the time he was a member of the Council of the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria and was no doubt a member of the Varzin Tennis Club, photographed by Table Talk in 1911.
In 1918 one of the Eason daughters, Thelma, was called to give evidence at a sensational trial in which her boy friend, Henry Cook, was charged with being one of two armed men who robbed two other men of two bags containing 4,471 pounds on the steps of the Government Printing Office. In spite of the alibi Thelma provided Cook was convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
Owners and occupiers:
1877-1897: Maurice Aron
1886-1887: William McLean, hardware merchant. McLean Bros. & Rigg was a large business with branches interstate. It was absorbed by McEwan's in 1903 (now Bunnings). Margaret, his wife, was a leader in the temperance movement and first signatory to the 1891 "Monster Petition" seeking female suffrage. They lived here while waiting for their own house, Torloisk, Vale Street, East Melbourne to be built.
1898-1905: Owner - Charles Atkinson
1898-1900: Occupier - Elizabeth Suffren
1906-1915: Owner - Eliza Welch. She died in 1915.
1907-1920: Occupier - Isabella Eason, wife of John Weston Eason, timber merchant with business in Brighton.
Melbourne Mansions Database http://www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/staff/milesbl/melbourne-mansions.html ref. no. 2363
Australian Dictionary of Biography. See under Fink, Benjamin Josman
City of Melbourne Rate Books
The Argus 18 Dec 1911, Board and Lodging, p.7; 15 Oct 1914, Funeral Notices.
Table Talk, 15 Jun 1911, p.23, The Varzin Tennis Club, East Melbourne: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/cite/17430600/146589653
The Argus, 7-16 Aug 1918.
Letters of Administration of Arthur G.S. Williams, 137/262: PROV VPRS 28, P0003, 504