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CALVERT, John (1807-1869)

CALVERT, John (1807-1869)

John Calvert

John Calvert

John Calvert was notable among the founders of Geelong College as a member of the committee convened to enquire into the feasibility of establishing a Presbyterian Grammar School in Geelong in April 1861 and as a member of the first Committee of Management.

John Calvert, eldest son of John Calvert (c1771-1846) and Janet Rogerson (c1771-1818) married Jane Murray (1824-1898), daughter of Hugh Murray (1789-1845) and Jean Carmichael (c1788-1871) at Colac on 26 April 1849. They had seven children. The three boys including: John Calvert (1850-1907), Leonard Murray Calvert (1852-1911), and Lewis Gordon Calvert (1855-1916) were educated at Geelong College, entering the School in 1861.

John's sister, Mary Calvert (c1797-1878) married Lewis Bell (c1793-1835) and their son, John Bell (c1821-1876) was also an early settler in Victoria and married Margaretta Chirnside (1843-1892). Bell Park was named after the Bell Park homestead built by John Bell.

Not only was John Calvert associated with Geelong College but he also occupied 'Morongo', later part of the Morongo Presbyterian Girls' College, where he lived for a time. The two storeyed bluestone house with Barabool sandstone dressings named 'Morongo' was designed by Geelong Architect, Joseph Shaw for John Calvert and built by Foyle & Co in about 1859-60.

John Calvert of 'Irrewarra', Colac died in London and the Geelong Advertiser newspaper reported his death several months later: 'Considerable sorrow was evinced in town yesterday, when it became known that news had been received by the mail of the death of Mr John Calvert, who a year or two ago left us to pay a visit to England. His death took place at London on the 25th February.

Mr Calvert was one of the pioneers of this colony, one of those indomitable characters who, fearing no danger, penetrated into the wilds of an unknown country and, from a useless waste, helped to make its, attractions known to the over-crowded, countries of Europe, and by so doing induced many thousands to wend their way to the new land which is now inhabited by over half-a-million of, let us hope, prosperous and happy people.

Like others who were here during the early years of the settlement of this colony, Mr Calvert had many hardships to contend against, but manfully he stemmed the current, and in his latter days had the pleasure of seeing himself surrounded by a happy family, and of knowing that when he departed from this busy scene he would leave them in comfort and affluence. He was singularly unostentatious in his habits, was much respected by his equals, and loved by those in his employment. Many will mourn the death of John Calvert.'

Sources: Geelong Advertiser 17 April 1869 p2 (NLA).

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