1895: Apsley House, Armadale, Melbourne, Victoria.

Apsley House in Armidale contains a magnificent Ferguson & Urie stained glass window in the stairwell. The window depicts the Patron Saint of England, St George, on horseback and in full armour, slaying the legendary dragon. Below the figure of St George is the “Order of the Garter” with the Latin text “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (loosely translated to “Shame on him who thinks evil of it”). [1] Conservation work on the window was completed in 2012 by Bruce Hutton of Almond Glass, Oakleigh [2].

Photos taken: 10th November 2012.

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An early colonial owner of “Apsley” house  in the 1890’s was the accountant William Crellin, who was the founding member, and first president of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants (the IIAV, now known as CPA[3] Australia).

William Crellin arrived in Australia in the 1850’s and married Margaret Anne Fisher in Melbourne in 1856[4]. They began their family in Brunswick, first residing at “Parkside-Cottage,” [5] and later at 24 Peel-street, Windsor[6]. Between 1857 and 1870 they had seven children but only three boys, William, John, and Edward, survived to adulthood and all followed in their father’s footsteps to become accountants with William and John in their own business partnership[7].

During Crellin’s residency in Brunswick, he was both the council secretary[8] and auditor[9] and on the 8th of March 1870, J. W. Fleming, the Brunswick Mayor, declared that William Crellin was the only candidate nominated to fill a council vacancy created by the resignation of Councillor Thomas Clarke, and was subsequently elected to fill the vacancy[10], a position which he held until his resignation in March 1872 [11]

William Crellin lived and breathed his profession as an accountant and took great pride in his mathematical abilities. On numerous occasions he felt the necessity to prove a point and was quite prolific at submitting “letters to the editor” of the tabloids, where he would refute the dubious calculations and claims of others in matters of accountancy. Apart from his role as the president of the IIAV, he held many positions among which were; Honorary Auditor to the Alfred Hospital [12], Honorary Treasurer of the Australian Health Society [13], and Secretary of the Australian Fresh Meat Company [14] and many other voluntary and paid positions. He had business premises at 46 Elizabeth street Melbourne and was regularly appointed as the trustee in many insolvency cases[15].

William Crellin died on Sunday the 17th February 1895 at “Apsley” house in his 74th year [16]. He left an estate valued at £3,763 [17] which he left entirely to his wife Margaret .

It’s not known if William Crellin was the original owner of “Apsley”, or whether it was he who had commissioned Ferguson & Urie to create the St. George stained glass window. Crellin’s probate documents filed in March 1895 indicate that he was “formerly of “Lansmere,” Alma Road St Kilda in the colony of Victoria but late of “Apsley” Malvern Road Armadale,”[18]  indicating that he had possibly not resided in “Apsley” very long before his death in February 1895.

One of his sons, William Langdon Crellin, took up residence in “Apsley” after his wedding to Maggie Wauchope in September 1896 [19].

William Crellin’s wife, Margaret died on the 4th Oct 1915 in her 89th year [20]. They are both buried in the St Kilda Cemetery [21].

Circa 1915, “Apsley” house was then used exclusively as “Nurse Thomas’s” Private Nursing Home [22].

In 1925 “Apsley” was either owned, or resided in, by the actor Arthur Styan, famous for his roles as “the moustache-twirling villain”[23] who had a 25 year career as a stage actor until his death on Christmas day in 1925 [24].

 In 1947 a Mrs Clarice Evelyn Herring resided at Apsley [25].

[3] “Certified Practicing Accountants”.

[4] Vic BDM: 2899/1856 Marriage; William Crellin & Margaret Anne Fisher.

[14] Vic Probate Record File: 106/177 in the estate of William Crellin 27th Mar 1895.

[18] Vic Probate Record File: 106/177 in the estate of William Crellin 27th Mar 1895.

[21] St Kilda Cemetery, Independent Monumental, Compartment A, Grave 9A.

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