Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lawson Burdett Poole and Laura Mary Poole (nee Brunt)

The Poole family have played a significant role in the development of the Cranbourne area, Brothers, Frederick (1826-1894), George (1827-1909), and Thomas (1837-1906) were early settlers in the area. George operated the Sherwood Hotel. Frederick was elected to the Cranbourne Road Board, which became the Shire of Cranboure in 1868, from 1865 to 1872, 1873 to 1874 and 1885 to 1893. He was Shire President in 1887-88.


Frederick and Mary Ann Poole had a son William Burdett Poole. William Burdett married Mary Frances Einsedel. Mary's grandmother Pauline Einsedel had migrated to Australia from Prussia in 1849 with four children. Her husband and other children had died of cholera shortly before the family left for Australia. Pauline's son Gustav settled in Cranbourne and one of their ten children was Mary Frances. William and Mary had three children - Lawson Burdett Gustav born 1898; Cora Violet (1900 to 1983, married Malcolm Gowan Watson in 1922) and Frances Myrtle (1902 to 1986 married Culbert Cecil Fisher in 1925). Lawson went to School at Cranbourne State School and then Swinburne Technical College and in 1919 opened the first garage in Cranbourne (shown above). His is also credited with having the first car in Cranbourne, a 1918 Buick; the first telephone line in 1920 and the first talking picture plant in 1929.

In 1932 he married Laura Mary Brunt (1891 to 1981). The couple are shown, above. Laura was also from an old Cranbourne family, her father was William Brunt and her mother was Mary Jane Espie. They lived at Spring Villa, where the Settlement Hotel is now located. William's cousin, Ralph, who came to Australia with him lived at Officer and is the source of the name Brunt Road. William was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1904 to 1923.

Laura and Lawson had no children and devoted much of their life to community service. Lawson was a Justice of the Peace, an Honorary justice and Life Governor of the Dandenong Hospital, the Hastings Hospital and Westernport Memorial Hospital at Koo-Wee-Rup. The Berwick Hospital benefited from a donation from them and the Lawson Poole wing was named for him. Dandenong Hospital also had the Poole ward to honour their generous donations. The Pooles also supported a variety of local groups such as schools, churches and the Girls Guides. Lawson was involved in the Cranbourne Masonic Lodge from 1923.

Lawson was a member of the Cranbourne Turf Club, where he joined the committee in 1919 and was Chairman from 1959 to 1979. The Lawson Poole Stand at the Turf Club and the Lawson Poole Reserve in Cranbourne are named in his honour. Lawson died in 1987 and is buried with Laura in the Cranbourne cemetery.

Photographs: The photograph of the garage is from the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection. The photo of Laura and Lawson is from a brochure produced in 1977 for a Testimonial for the couple, but I have no other details about the form this Testimonial took. The picture of Lawson taken at the Race track is photo of an oil painting. The testimonial brochure and the oil painting are both in the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I received a Lawson Pooles scholarship in my final years of secondary school and first year of university. The financial support meant a lot and helped me get my education.

Heather said...

Thank you for your comment, it's nice that Lawson Poole can be remembered in this way.