The Alfred Hospital was the second public hospital to be built in Melbourne. It was designed by Charles Webb and opened in 1871 and was named in honour of Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred who had been the subject of an assassination attempt whilst visiting Sydney in 1869.
A generous benefactor to the Alfred Hospital was John Linay, an accountant/clerk with the Victorian Assurance Company from the time of his arrival in the Colony in 1853 until his retirement in 1875. Linay was a frugal bachelor described as being “abstemious in his habits” and lived in a modest four roomed cottage in Fitzroy with his cousin James Firth. He seemed to have made most of his money by living a Spartan life and investing his money wisely in bank shares and minor interests in property. He died on the 1st of March 1883 whilst in Hobart and was buried in the Queensborough Sandy Bay cemetery in Hobart. In his will he bequeathed an extraordinarily charitable amount of £11,000 each to the North Melbourne Benevolent Asylum (who erected their ‘Linay Wing’), the Alfred Hospital and the Melbourne Hospital in Swanston Street. The money bequeathed to the Alfred Hospital was used to build the ‘Linay Pavilion’ which opened in 1885. Only a portion of the Pavilion still exists (2012) which includes the two story stair well containing the huge Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows. Other nearby passageways, the chaplain’s room, and the chapel room also include stained glass windows by Ferguson & Urie.
Photos dated 14th January 2012.
The first two historical old photos are from the State Library Collections and show the triple light window of the Linay Pavilion on the far right. The remaining colour photos were taken 14th Jan 2012 and 2nd April 2012. With the exception of the stairwell window and the bird scene in the door of the chaplains office, all other windows are artificially lighted from behind.
As you enter the chapel room, there is a brass plaque on the wall with the following text:
COME, O BLESSED OF MY FATHER, INHERIT THE KINGDOM PREPARED FOR YOU FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD; FOR I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU GAVE ME FOOD, I WAS THIRSTY AND YOU GAVE ME DRINK, I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU WELCOMED ME, I WAS NAKED AND YOU CLOTHED ME, I WAS SICK AND YOU VISITED ME, I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU CAME TO ME” MATTHEW 25:34-36.
THESE WINDOWS ARE FROM THE ORIGINAL ALFRED HOSPITAL BUILDING WHICH WAS COMPLETED IN 1870.”
In the chapel room there are five windows in a row suspended in wire frames with fluorescent back-lighting and a roll up blind in front to cover them (supposedly to cater non christian religions) . Each of the windows represents one of the five biblical scenes as depicted on the brass plaque. Only three of the chapel windows could be correctly photographed as the last two in front of the Muslim prayer mats have unfortunately had the fluorescent lighting removed. The order of the windows doesn’t reflect the order mentioned on the plaque.
According to the probate documents for John Linay, his total estate was valued at £35,499 and 16s.9p, after expenses. Of that amount, £19487 consisted of Bank Shares, £13,000 in bank deposits, £2,231 in real state and the remainder in rents, interest, dividends and incidentals.
Apart from the bequests to the three institutions, his cousin James Firth, who he had been living with at his Prince’s Street Fitzroy cottage, was left a mere £188. Other legatees, mostly his cousins, and the Hobart hospital, were left varying individual amounts under £100 each. His sole executor, the Rev Charles Strong received an amount under £100 plus additional expenses as the executor. The only personal item specified in his will was a silver watch he bequeathed to a Hannah Jamison.
John Linay was buried in the Queensborough Sandy Bay Cemetery at Hobart (which no longer exists). It served as the southern suburbs cemetery in Hobart, opening in 1873 and closed for burials in 1923. The area was “cleared” in 1961 to allow for the extension of Churchill Ave and development of Hutchins School. Headstones and human remains were re-located to the Cornelian Bay cemetery and re-erected in a special section. Some headstones still remain at Sandy Bay and form a small memorial park. John Linay’s will included an amount of £71 for his cemetery monument but it’s not known whether this was relocated or still exists.
LINAY.- On the 13th inst.[sic: 1 May 1883], at Hobart, John Linay, of 4 Prince’s-street, Fitzroy, formerly accountant of Victoria Insurance Company, Melbourne, aged 62 years.
LINAY.- On May 1, at No.111, Collins-street [Note: Hobart], John Linay, of Fitzroy, Melbourne, formerly accountant of the Victoria Insurance Company, Melbourne, aged 62 years
“A very liberal bequest to Melbourne charities has been made by a Mr. John Linay, who recently died suddenly at Hobart, while on a short visit to Tasmania for the benefit of his health. It has been ascertained that the value of his estate amounted to no less a sum than £34,000. With the exception of about £1,000, bequeathed to his relatives in Scotland, the whole of his estate has been left to charitable institutions. The deceased arrived in Victoria in 1853, and was from that time until 1875 employed as a clerk in the Victoria Insurance Company’s office. He was unmarried, and of abstemious habits, but the very large amount of his bequest was quite a surprise. He has appointed the Rev. Charles Strong as his sole executor. The late Mr. Linay retired from Victoria Company’s office in 1875, and has since then lived a retired life in Melbourne, except during a short visit to London in the year 1876”.
“A MUNIFICENT BEQUEST
[By Telegraph] Melbourne, June 27.
“Very substantial bequests have been made to several Melbourne charities by John Linay, who recently died at Hobart, whilst visiting Tasmania for the benefit of his health. The extent of his wealth has proved to be a great surprise even to his relatives. The value of his property is sworn under £35,499. By his will he directs that £100 should be given to the Rev. Charles Strong, his sole executor, and £50 to a charitable institution at Hobart. He leaves £100 each to six cousins in Scotland and £200 to a cousin in Fitzroy, with whom he lived during the past twenty-three years. The remainder of the money – £34,499 – he wishes to be divided equally between the Melbourne Hospital, the Alfred Hospital, and the Benevolent Asylum. Linay, who was very abstemious in his habits, arrived in Melbourne in 1853, and from that time until 1875 was employed as a clerk in the Victorian Insurance Company’s office”.
“THE LINAY BEQUEST AND THE MELBOURNE HOSPITAL.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir, – A few days ago it was announced in your columns that Mr. John Linay, who died recently in Hobart, had bequeathed nearly £34,500 to the Melbourne charities, this sum being divided equally between the Melbourne Hospital, Alfred Hospital, and the Benevolent Asylum. Each institution will therefore receive £11,500, and the question at once arises whether this sum should be converted into a permanent endowment of be devoted to the building funds. In the case of the Melbourne Hospital no doubt should exist; the agitation in favour of entire removal of the institution from the centre of the city has apparently been abandoned, but the necessity for partial reconstruction and general improvement becomes therefore undeniable. The central block of buildings has been unanimously condemned as radically and unalterably bad; the wards within it cannot be effectively ventilated; some of them are almost if not altogether untouched by the sun from year’s end to year’s end; they are approached only by winding staircases, and they communicate in most cases directly with closets whose defects are even more glaring than their own. The central block, therefore, should certainly come down, and its place should be taken by new pavilions, built with proper regard to sanitary requirements; the recognised faults in the existing pavilions should be corrected; the present wretched mortuary should give way to something a little less grossly defective; and detached quarters should be provided for the resident medical staff and for the whole administrative department. The present committee of management appears to be sweetness and light compared with that of time gone by, yet no watchfulness on its part, no precautions about cleanliness, no vigorous use of antiseptics, can atone for radical faults in the buildings themselves. Therefore I would urge that the present opportunity should not be passed by. Permanent endowment must yield to present needs. Let this 11,500, supplemented by Government aid and public liberality, be devoted to the reorganisation of the hospital on a sound sanitary basis, and then assuredly a charity so noble will not lack the funds necessary for its support.
– Yours, &c., MEDICUS, June 30”.
“IN the SUPREME COURT of the COLONY of VICTORIA: In its Probate Jurisdiction.- In the will of JOHN LINAY, FORMERLY OF Fitzroy, near the City of Melbourne, in the Colony of Victoria, but late of Hobart, in the Colony of Tasmania, Gentleman, Deceased.- Notice is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof application will be made to the Supreme Court of the colony of Victoria, in its Probate jurisdiction, that PROBATE of the LAST WILL and TESTAMENT of the above named John Linay, deceased, may be granted to the Reverend Charles Strong, of Number 91 Collins street east, in the city of Melbourne, in the said colony of Victoria, Presbyterian minister, the sole executor named in and appointed by the said will.
Dated this eleventh day of May, A.D. 1883.
THOMAS JAMES WYBURN, 45 Elizabeth-street, Melbourne, proctor for the said Reverend Charles Strong”.
Probate for John Linay was granted on the 28th June 1883.
There are also a significant number of articles written that refer to the benefactor of the Linay wing as the timber merchant named John Linay. These are all incorrect and there is no known relationship to the real benefactor, John Linay, the “abstemious” accountant, to John Linay the Timber Merchant.
The North Melbourne Benevolent Asylum also used their portion of the Linay bequest to build the “Linay Wing” of the Asylum. The Asylum was eventually demolished by Whelan the Wrecker in 1911. Although the Ferguson & Urie stained glass workshops in Curzon Street were diagonally opposite the location of the Asylum, there has been no evidence found to date that any of their stained glass windows were installed there.