The plaque is no longer there, it was removed when the public toilet was built in High Street. One of the long term City of Casey officers made a few enquires for me and found that the plaque was stored safely at a Council depot. They sent me a photograph of it, see below.
Richard senior and Ann had twelve children, but there were only seven living when he passed away in 1882. One son, John, was given a Knighthood and was Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University and had substantial business interests. Another brother, James, was a foundation member of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club and Chairman on a number of occasions. As you can see, the Grice family was well connected and part of the Establishment.
This brings us to Richard Junior, the man whose name is on the plaque that was previously located in High Street, Berwick. Richard married Louisa Jane Currie (1858-1908) in 1884. Louisa was the daughter of John Lang Currie. Currie, described as a ‘pioneer squatter’, had arrived in Victoria in 1841 and when he died in 1898 he left an Estate valued at over £517,000. He left his daughter, Louisa Grice, £30,000 of which she had already received £7,000. Given that the average wage in the manufacturing industry at the time was around £130.00 per annum, that’s serious money.
Richard purchased 710 acres in the Shire of Cranbourne in 1884 and in 1887 he purchased 234 acres in the Shire of Berwick. It was on the Cranbourne property that they built the wonderful house, Eyrecourt most likely in 1887 or 1888. When the house was built the property was known as Eirruc (Currie spelt backwards, perhaps indicating that some of Louisa’s family money paid for the Estate).
Eirruc or Eyrecourt by Charlie Hammond
The Grices sold off parcels of land from around 1906 and the Eyrecourt homestead (at 211 Grices Road, Clyde North) in 1908. Grice did retain some Berwick property as he was living there when he died on September 6, 1911. His Probate Record lists all his assets and, amongst other property, Grice had 66 acres in the Shire of Cranbourne; a weatherboard house, Wonalta, described as seven rooms, plus kitchen, bathroom, scullery and outbuildings on three acres in Berwick; a block of land on Station Street (Gloucester Avenue) and another block on Elgin Street in Berwick.
Richard was described as a pastoralist or grazier and, like his brother James, had an interest in horse racing. They owned Hova who won the Newmarket Handicap in 1894 and was ‘beaten by a neck’ in the 1895 Melbourne Cup by Acracia. They also owned Crysalite who won the Australian Hurdle Race in 1899. Grice was also a member of the Victorian Racing Club, the Melbourne Hounds and the Mornington Farmers Society. He was a Shire of Cranbourne Councillor from 1894 until 1903 and Shire President 1898-99.
Richard and Jane had three children - John Alan born 1885; Henrietta May born 1889 and Annie Elinor Julia born 1894. This is what I could find out about Richard’s children.
John - The Ancestry database has the New South Wales Electoral Rolls from 1930 and John is listed in 1930 at Corowa, but he is not listed in the Victorian Rolls before 1930, so I assume that he was in New South Wales for most of his life. I haven’t been able to find out if he was married or had children and there is no wife listed with him in the Electoral Rolls. John died in 1932 in Corowa.
Henrietta May - I found her in the Victorian Electoral Rolls in 1914 at Mount Elephant at Derinallum. Her grandfather, John Lang Currie, owned Larra at the foot of Mount Elephant and when he died in 1898 it was taken over by his son, John Lang Currie junior, so I assume she was living with her Uncle and cousins. According to the social columns of many Australian newspapers, May (as she seemed to be called) married Auburn (sometimes written as Aubyn) Wilson in London in May 1915. There are a few other reports about her staying with her sister in London at this time. She died on February 28, 1922 in England.
Annie Elinor Julia married Lieutenant Percy Robert Murdoch Collins in London in May 1915. Sadly, he was killed in action near Ypres in France on June 25, 1917 and Annie died on December 8, 1918 in London. Percy was the son of Henry and Isabella Collins of Frankston and in October 1925 a stained glass window in St Paul’s Anglican Church in Frankston was dedicated to the memory of Percy and Annie.
Richard and Jane are buried at the Berwick Cemetery. In 1912 the plaque was erected to the memory of Richard Grice in High Street in Berwick. It was erected by the Berwick Town Improvement Association. It was decided at a meeting in June 1912 to erect the plaque (see article from Berwick Shire News dated June 19, 1912 next page) but I haven’t been able to find the exact date the plaque was placed in High Street.
|Berwick Shire News June 19, 1912|
• Ancestry Family History database. Available at Casey Cardinia Library Corporation.
• Australian Dictionary of Biography - on-line at http://adb.anu.edu.au. This provided information about Richard Grice senior and John Lang Currie.
• Berwick Shire News and Pakenham Gazette
• Berwick Shire and Cranbourne Shire Rate Books
• Early days of Berwick and its surrounding districts (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society 1979)
• The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson (Cranbourne Shire, 1968)
• Richard Grice’s will and probate papers available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website www.prov.vic.gov.au
• Trove Digitised Newspapers http://trove.nla.gov.au Information about Richard’s brothers and Percy and Annie Collins came from various newspaper reports accessed on Trove.