Illingworth Family Fund

Ross and Simon Illingworth are the great-great-grandsons of Charles Henry and Mary Smith. Mary Smith (1846 to 1940) was one of Geelong’s earliest pioneers (arrived in Geelong Point Henry on a sailing ship “The Sir Robert Sale” in 1852 age six with her parents). Mary took a great interest in the district and the city and was a generous philanthropist. The family home was “Edgecumbe”, purchased from all Silas Harding (a pastoralists and businessmen). The Italianate Victorian Mansion was owned by the family from 1890 to 1940. Charles Henry Smith (1847 to 1908) “was one of the oldest fellmongers in the district” (Geelong Advertiser). Charles was a practical engineer and inventor of agricultural machinery, “…by constantly adding to the establishment eventually had one of the largest and best equipped works in the colony.” Charles Smith went into partnership with Charles Shannon (woolbroker) and Godfrey Hirst (woollen manufacturer) for the defunct Barwon Woollen Factory in July 1890, renaming it “Excelsior Number One Mill”. After the death of Charles Henry in 1908, the business was incorporated as Godfrey Hirst and Co Pty Ltd. Mary Smith assumed Charles Henry’s interest in the Excelsior Woollen Mills. Mary instructed her solicitors to approach Mr Lascelles’ executors to purchase his new steam car from the Estate. Mary appeared on the front page of the Geelong Advertiser. A journalist asked, “Do you have a man to drive the steam car?” Mary briskly retorted, “I’m taking lessons!”

One of their sons was Cr William Herbert Smith (born 30th of June 1885). He built a home called “Clyde” a few doors down, “To keep an eye on grandma Smith at ‘Edgecumbe’.” The family built a coastal retreat known as “Sea View Villa” in Anderson Street Torquay in 1894. W H Smith was elected to the Committee of Geelong Hospital in 1930. He was Chairman of the House and Finance Committee, educated at Geelong College, President of the Geelong and Western District President Orphanage, member of the Geelong City Council Villamanta Ward), Special Magistrate of the Children’s Court, Chairman Torquay Public Reserves Committee, member of the Torquay Progress Association and appointed to the advisory board of the Ballarat Trustee Executors and Agency Company Ltd.

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