Thursday, 9 August 2018

Michael Drew - photographer

The State Library of Victoria has 470 photographs taken by Michael Drew. You can access them on the State Library of Victoria website  Many are unidentified as to location or the people photographed, however some of the ones that are identified are of Harkaway (there are 21 of these) and there are a few labelled as Berwick and one is labelled as Narre Warren. The photos were donated to the State Library of Victoria by Max Thomson, the author of Little Hills 1839-1977 a history of Narre Warren North.

 Thought to be the Shire of Berwick workers and plant.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/343

We have met Michael Drew before in this blog - I did  a post about the Harkaway Hall and illustrated it with his photographs (you can see the post, here.) The photos on this page have a local Casey Cardinia connection. Most of his photos are thought to have been taken between 1890 and 1910.

Three lovely chooks and their prize winning certificates - most of the certificates are from the Dandenong and South Bourke 40th Annual Agricultural and Horticultural Show.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/230

So what do we know about Michael Drew? Michael Forristall Drew was born in Malvern  to 1873 to Amos Langton Drew and Mary Elizabeth Evans. Amos and Mary married in 1859 at St Pauls in Melbourne. According to the marriage notice in The Argus, his address was Collingwood and Mary was the eldest daughter of Mr Luke Evans of River, near Dover, Kent. They had the following children - Amelia (born 1859 - died 1860), Amos Wallworth (c. 1860 - 1893, married Margaret Parker in 1889, they had one daughter Lorna who was born and died in 1892),  the second Amelia Catherine (1862 - 1916, married Frank Ernest Findlay in 1903),  Rosa (1864 - 1937), Charles (1865 - 1866), Frances (1868 - 1891), Frederick Langton (born and died 1872) Michael Forristall (1873 - 1943) and Philip George (1878 - 1899).  There were ten children in all and apart from  the short lived little Lorna, no grandchildren.

The Drews lived on Dandenong  Road, East Malvern (a  property of 15 aces according to the Probate papers). Amos was the Secretary of the Victorian Mining Accident Relief Fund and died in 1902. Mary had died in 1891 at the age of 58. Amos' obituary appears below.

Obituary of Amos Drew
The Age   December 10, 1902.

In 1903 Michael was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Darling Road, East Caulfield. His occupation was 'Independent means'. According to the Berwick Shire Rate Books he purchased land in Harkaway in 1907/08. The Rate books record that the land had  a house on 13 acres and was part of Lot 3, Section  13, Parish of Berwick. His occupation in the Electoral Roll at this time was still 'independent means' and in the Rate Books it was 'gentleman'. His sister Rosa was also in the Electoral Roll at Harkaway. 

In 1913, when he was about 40 he married Bertha Rooks (nee Osbaldstone). Bertha had married Luke Rooks in 1890 and he passed away at the age of 25 the next year. The Rooks were living at  Nunawading at the time of his death. 

According to the Rate Books Drew sold the Harkaway property on February 23, 1921 to a Mr Chapple and they moved to Peel Street in Berwick (Lots 8 - 11, Section 21, Berwick township) The property was sold in the 1942/43 Rate book year, before he died on February 9, 1943, as his address in the Death Notice in The Argus is  22 Montana Street, Burwood. He had a private funeral. Bertha died May 30, 1952 at the age of 81.

We have all this family information, but what did Michael actually do? We know he went to Melbourne Grammar School, as he is listed in Liber Melburniensis He obviously was  a keen photographer as his photos at the State Library cover parts of South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria especially the Gippsland region as he has photos of Bairnsdale, Walhalla, the Gippsland Lakes, Wonthaggi etc. Apart from being a 'gentleman of independent means' I can't find an occupation for him. I can't find him listed in the Post Office Directories with an occupation, so it seems that he had a private source of income. Did it come from his parents?  His father, Amos, left an estate valued at just over 8,600 pounds divided equally amongst his children and when he died in 1902 he had three remaining children - Amelia, Rosa and Michael - so that's about 2,800 pounds each - well over ten times the average annual  wage for a labourer, but it wasn't massive money and surely not enough for Michael to live on for the next 40 years. So his source of income is a mystery to me.

Narre Warren Railway Station
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/340

Dandenong Journal  February 10, 1943

According to his obituary in the Dandenong Journal (see above)  he was a keen bowler, supported the Berwick Agricultural Society and was  a Berwick Cemetery Trustee, effective from September 17, 1930 according to the State Government Gazette.

Michael's appointment as Berwick Cemetery Trustee
State Government Gazette September 24, 1930

Three men in a boat - the boat has Tooradin on the stern.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/306

Michael left behind a great body of work, he has some fabulous photos and it is a shame that they are not all identified, so hop onto the State Library of Victoria website,, type his name into the search box and enjoy his photographs.

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