Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sir George Frederic Verdon 1834 - 1896


Sir George Frederic Verdon was born in Lancashire England in 1834.  At aged 17 he sailed to Melbourne and over the next 45 years life took him from a brief and unsuccessful stint at gold prospecting to positions at the Melbourne Observatory, The Mechanics Institute, and the Williamstown Municipal Council.  He became Treasurer, a Member of the Lower House, a member of the Royal Commission of Fine Arts, a member of the Athenaeum Club (which still exists in Collins Street today), a board member of the English, Scottish and Australian Chartered Bank.  He was president of the Philharmonic Society, and the Victorian Institute of Architects. He was also a member of the Shakespeare Society.  

It was not all wine and roses as along the way he was cited with the attorney general, George Higginbotham in an action for conspiracy and faced some criticism for advancing unwise loans.  His epitaph indicates that he was Victoria’s First Agent-General.  I believe this means he was Victoria’s representative in the United Kingdom. Some sources indicate he wanted to build a better Britain in the antipodes.  Others refer to him as being pompous and overbearing. He certainly was a man of titles and office.  He died at the Melbourne Club on 13 September 1896.

His wife predeceased him by 7 years and her epitaph reads Wife, Dame Anne Verdon, died 22 August 1889, aged 52 years. A devoted wife and mother and true friend moved by kindness and Christian charity she sought the good of others by word and deed. Those who knew her best loved her most.  Her death is deeply and widely lamented.

Shared with Taphophile Tragics.

10 comments:

  1. The tomb seems to be an unusual colouring and style! (Maybe it has weathered to this colour!)This man seems to have many "titles" but I wonder what his "doings" were really like.

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  2. Probably related to Henrik Ibsen's 'pillar of the community' ... The list of memberships and activities are all those of someone punching above his weight. I do like his memorial though, and especially the rust/coppering of the inserts for the various inscriptions. I can well image that he might have been a touch pompous.

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  3. Everyday I come to your blog, I become wiser each day. Seriously, I would never research this much like you did. Yet it is all worthwhile :)

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  4. Very interesting Joe!
    His story is so complex that I believe there are many things unknown about him, as a good British, his life was full of intrigue and contradictions! ;-)

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  5. Beautiful tomb and such a busy and involved member of the community

    Beneath Thy Feet

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  6. Reading all of the things he joined...seems he was still searching for that gold!
    Pretty picture.

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  7. He certainly didn't let the dust settle under his feet Joe, somehow his wife sounds like she was a much happier person.

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  8. Lovely photo and interesting story!

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