1945: James Auld, Lead-lighter & Glazier (1873-1945)

James Auld (1873-1945) is recognised as an employee of the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company between 1888 and 1898. He was also a  grandson of the principal partner of the company James Ferguson (1818-1894).

Photos from family history collections dating from 1898 from Australia & New Zealand.

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James Auld was the second eldest of nine children and was born on the 27th of August 1873 at his parent’s chandlery and grocery business premises in Flinders Street Melbourne. His parents, Thomas Auld (1838-1913) and Janet Kay Ferguson (1844-1925) were natives of Scotland who married in the West Melbourne Presbyterian Church in 1871.

His mother was the second eldest daughter of James Ferguson, a principal partner of the pioneering stained glass company Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne.

It had long been suspected that James Auld had been an apprentice to his grandfather’s stained glass firm but no evidence had previously been found to make any association with him and the Ferguson & Urie Company despite it being known in later years that he was a Glazier and Lead-light craftsman by trade.

The first clue comes in 1891 when The Ballarat Star of 15 May 1891 reported the prizes awarded at the Ballarat Juvenile Industrial Exhibition. In Class 17 it listed “J. Auld, Melbourne” as Silver Medal winner for “stained glass windows”. At the time this report was published James Auld was just short of his eighteenth birthday. 

In August 1896 another clue reveals him as an employee of his grandfathers stained glass company. A Ferguson & Urie employee named, James ‘Jim’ Urie (1870-1896)[1], the son of James Urie[2], died. An account of Jim Urie’s funeral in the local tabloids referred to the names of his coffin bearers as:

“…the deceased’s fellow employe’s – Messrs. J. Scott, C. Hardess. F. L. Lording (sic), J. Murdoch, J. Auld, and E. R. King…” [3]

One of those employees listed was James Auld. Many other confirmed employees of the firm were also listed as pall bearers, such as; John Scott[4], Charles William Hardess[5], Frank Clifford Lording[6], E. R. King[7], James Ferguson Jnr[8], and J. M. Gilligan[9].

It can be surmised that James Auld was apprenticed to his grandfathers firm when he was about the age of fourteen or fifteen years of age (circa 1888) where he started learnt his trade with firm.

In 1890 Ferguson & Urie partner James Urie died[10] followed by James Ferguson in 1894[11] and the business ceased trading in 1899[12].

James spent some time in Western Australia circa 1898, but for how long is unknown. The last dated photograph of him in Victoria was in Melbourne in June 1899 and sometime after this he left for New Zealand where he gained employment with “Robert Martin, Ltd[13] sometime between 1900 and 1903. This firm were decorators in Manners Street Wellington[14] and whilst they were primarily renowned for their wall papers and other decorations, they had their own dedicated stained glass department under the direction of stained glass artist Chester Edward Carter (1862-1908)[15]. At the 1898-99 Auckland Exhibition the company was awarded a first prize for a stained glass window[16]. In 1900 the Wellington Industrial Association published a detailed report of their visit to Robert Martin Ltd in Wellington. The article provided an in depth description of the company’s business premises and stained glass department and of the specialist employees it stated;

“…Special men have been procured by Mr. Martin for each branch of the work here described – men having both English and Australian experience…” [17]

James Auld married Charlotte Mary Clarke (1876-1937) in Wellington on the 9th April 1903[18] and between 1904 and 1915 they had seven children;

Ian Kay (1904-1992), Marion Una (1906-1977), Stella Mary (1907-2010), Eric James (1908-1998), Jessie Olive (1910-2009), Irene Florence (1913-1914) and Frances Norma (1915-1987).

In 1907 James returned to Melbourne with Mary and their first three children, Ian, Marion and Stella aboard the “Maheno” in November 1907[19]. Family lore has it that they intended on staying in Australia but within a short time were reminded of the Australian summer heat and they subsequently returned to New Zealand circa mid 1908.

In 1913 James formed a business partnership with a Mr. Patrick Gleeson as “Auld & Gleeson”[20] in Gisborne and by the 1930’s they had premises in Taranaki Street Wellington advertising as Oil and Colour Merchants, Leadlight Makers, Glass Bevellers, Painting supplies, Wallpapers, Window Glazing, and Bevelled Mirrors.

In 1915 Auld & Gleeson were awarded a Government tender at Gisborne to supply “…paints, oils, colors, etc…” “…for the period ending June 30, 1916…”[21] This undoubtedly increased their trade turnover and along with their reputation for quality workmanship and materials enabled them to expand and employ more craftsmen in the trade. In 1920 they advertised for an apprentice, requesting a “Smart Lad” to learn the lead-light and glazing trade at their premises in Gladstone Road at Gisborne[22]. Later they were able to expand the business to include premises at Napier.

In many of the New Zealand electoral rolls James’s occupation was listed as a “Glass Merchant,”  “Lead Glazier,” and other variations of the same.

In December 1938 James visited his six surviving sisters at Moonee Ponds in Melbourne and its thought that at this time he gifted them a handmade lead-light fire-place screen, most likely of his own workmanship. The screen still exists and has been handed down to Australian descendants of his sister Isabella Stella Burleigh (nee Auld 1884-1980).

James’s wife Mary died on the 23rd August 1937 at the age of 62[23] and was buried in the Karori cemetery. James died eight years later on the 12th of February 1945[24] at the age of 71 and was buried with Mary.

The other partner in “Auld & Gleeson”, Patrick Gleeson, sold his business interests in the company and retired to Auckland where he died in 1965 aged 78 [25]. The new business owners, “Smith & Smith,” retained the “Auld & Gleeson” Company name and built a new warehouse in Jackson Street Petone in the mid 1960’s where James Auld’s second eldest son Eric was an employee of the firm until his retirement in the 1970’s.[26]

James’s second eldest daughter, Stella Mary Fowler (nee Auld 1907-2010), lived to the extraordinary age of 103 years and in her lifetime she had revealed very little of her fathers history in the glazing trade, after she passed away in 2010 five extraordinary pieces of family history were uncovered.

The designs for Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows:

Among Stella’s family history items, were four hand drawn and water colour painted designs for secular stained glass windows [images]. One rectangular window depicts a woman with long blond hair surrounded with the letters which make up the word “INDUSTRY”. On either side of her are two blue birds in diamond shaped quarries and the rest of the window depicts floral designs with the inclusion of three crimson bullseyes above and below the central image.

The second design is of a rectangular window which depicts another image of the long haired woman picking and eating an apple from a tree. The surrounding floral designs include fourteen glass bullseyes of varying colours.

The third design is of an arch shaped window of simple leadlight design with no figurative element and the fourth design depicts three long thin rectangular windows incorporating arch shapes with glass bullseyes of varying sizes and colours.

Along the edge of two of the designs, stamped in purple lettering, are the words, “For Ferguson & Urie”[27]. It is not known whether this series of windows were ever made but written in pencil on the reverse of one of the designs is what appears to be the dimensions for the windows and the name “…for Johnston” and at the bottom is what appears to be an estimate for the creation of the windows of  “15/- per foot.

Based on the patterns and designs for the windows it is estimated that the drawings were most likely created in the mid to late 1890’s. No other detail is known.

The E. L. Yencken Glass Cart Photo:

Another of Stella’s historical items was an original photo of the employees of the “E. L. Yencken” lead-light and stained glass Company of Melbourne. The photo depicts a horse drawn cart adorned with lead-light glass panels that has been decorated for the eight hour week procession and has the company employees next to it.

At the top of the cart can be seen the Royal Crown with the numbers “888.” Below this, within the lead-light windows can be seen the letters “E” and “R” on the far left and right of the cart. The date of the photo can only be estimated as between 1901 and 1910 as this is the period of King Edward’s (E.R) reign from the 22nd January 1901 until his death on the 6th of May 1910. The Eight Hour March, which began on April 21st 1856, continued each year until 1951 and since then Australian workers continue to enjoy the Labour Day public holiday celebrated by a public holiday on the 2nd Monday in March each year.

It’s not known how Stella came into possession of these historical artifacts but it can reasonably be assumed that they originally belonged to her father James Auld.

Significant transcriptions:

Evening Post, New Zealand, Vol CXXXIX, Issue 37, 13th February 1945, page 1.

“AULD.- On February 12, 1945, at his residence, 82 Jubilee Rd., Khandallah, James, dearly-beloved husband of the late Mary Charlotte Auld, and father of Ian, Una, Stella, Eric, Jessie, and Frances; in his 72nd year.”

Evening Post, New Zealand, Vol CXXXIX, Issue 37, 13th February 1945, page 1.

“AULD.- The friends of the late James Auld are invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave our Chapel Tomorrow (Wednesday), February 14, 1945, at the conclusion of a service, commencing at 11 a.m., for Karori Cemetery. Robt. H. Wilson and Sons, Ltd., 164 Adelaide Rd.”

New Zealand – Evening Post Issue 40, 16 February 1945 Page 3.


The many friends of Mr. James Auld will regret to hear of his death at Wellington on Monday morning after a brief illness. Born in Melbourne Mr. Auld came to Wellington 47 years ago to the firm of Robert Martin, Ltd. In 1913 he joined Mr. P. Gleeson and started business in Gisborne, subsequently expanding to Wellington, Napier, and Petone. He retired from active business six years ago. Being of a kindly and reserved nature he endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact. He was a member of the Khandallah Bowling Club and also of the Masonic lodge. His wife predeceased him seven years ago. He is survived by two sons, Mr. I. K. Auld and Mr. E. J. Auld, and four daughters, Mrs. C. H. Fowler, Wellington, Mrs. A. T. Robinson, Mrs. D. Lee, and Mrs. S. R. Vincent, Gisborne. Six sisters reside in Melbourne.”


Robert Martin Ltd, Wellington New Zealand.


[2] James Urie (1828-1890) was a principal partner in the Ferguson & Urie stained glass firm.

[4] John Scott (1850-1919), appears in the 1887 Ferguson & Urie dinner portraits.

[5] Charles William Hardess (1859-1849), appears in the 1887 Ferguson & Urie dinner portraits

[6] Frank Clifford Lording (1860-1944) appears in the 1887 Ferguson & Urie dinner portraits.

[7] A photo of “E. R. King” appears in the 1887 company dinner portraits.

[8] James Ferguson Jnr (1860-1945), appears in the 1887 company dinner portrait.

[9] A photo of “J. M. Gilligan” appears in the 1887 company dinner portrait.

[12] The Ferguson & Urie Company closed in July 1899 after a 46 year history.

[13] Shop interior, including wallpapers, Robert Martin Ltd, Wellington. Shore Bennett, Beverley Doris, 1928- :Photographs. Ref: 1/2-173024-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22578337

[18] NZ BDM: 1903/2577, Presbyterian Church Kent Terrace Wellington

[19] PROV, index to Unassisted Inward Passengers, Nov 1907, Fiche 328, page 003.

[23] NZ BDM: 1937/27935, age 63.

[24] NZ BDM: 1945/28964.

[25] Patrick Gleeson born Cowwarr, Victoria, Australia VIC BDM: 1886/17478, died Auckland New Zealand age 78, NZBDM: 1965/27070 age 78.

[26] Janice Ball (nee Auld) – email 28th August 2013.

[27] Copies of items from James’s grandson, Errol Vincent, New Zealand 2010.


My gratitude to the Auld family descendants from New Zealand who have liberally contributed some fantastic family history and magnificent photos which appear on this and many other articles on the web site.

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1889: Alexander Lumsden Young (1833-1889)

Alexander Lumsden Young (1833-1889) played a significant role in the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company.

He was born in Scotland circa 1833-34 to Benjamin Young and Isabella Cumming. He married Elizabeth Belle Gray on the 27th December 1864 in Melbourne at the age of 30, at which time his profession was cited as being a plumber.

His early business interests were with Urie, Young & Co producing by-products from maize such as ‘maizena starch’, which won awards at the 1866-67 Intercolonial Exhibition. 

Sometime in the 1870’s he joined his brother in law, James Urie, and became a member of the stained glass firm Ferguson & Urie. His sister Grace Hardy Young married James Urie in Nth Melbourne in 1855 . In late 1885 he traveled to Brisbane with his nephew, William Urie (son of James Urie, principal of Ferguson & Urie), to supervise the installation of the companies largest stained glass window known to have been created by the firm  (35 feet in height) which was erected at the west end of St Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane.

At the 1886, 87, and 88 Ferguson & Urie company dinners he played the part of Vice-Chairman for the formalities on each occasion.

His portrait appears amongst the 31 photographs in the collage created for the occasion of the Ferguson & Urie company dinner held on the evening of the 22nd of June 1887 at the North Melbourne Mechanics Institute.

Alexander Lumsden Young died at his residence, “Dean-Bank” 21 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne, on the 1st August 1889 aged 56. His probate (intestate) was not applied for until more than seven years later, by his wife Elizabeth, who cited her eldest son, George Watson Young, as the reason and that the entire matter was left in his hands, which he had neglected. Elizabeth died 36 years later in 1925.

Alexander Lunsden Young [1887 Company Dinner]

Alexander Lumsden Young on the occasion of the Ferguson & Urie Company Dinner held on 22 June 1887.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 30th December 1864, page 4.

“YOUNG-GRAY.- On the 27th inst, at the Manse of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Collins-street, by the Rev. Irving Hetherington. Alexander Lumsden Young, plumber, Melbourne, to Elizabeth Bell Gray, late of Stockbridge, Edinburgh”.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 2nd August 1889, page 1.

“YOUNG.- On the 1st inst., at Deanbank, Abbotsford-street, North Melbourne. Alexander, the beloved husband of Elizabeth Young, aged 56 years. Home papers please copy”.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 3rd August 1889. page 1.

“THE Friends of the late Mr. ALEXANDER L, YOUNG are respectfully invited  to follow his remains to the place of interment in the Melbourne General Cemetery. The funeral will leave his late residence, “Dean-Bank”, Abbotsford-street, North Melbourne, THIS DAY (Saturday, 3rd inst), at 3 o’clock. ALFRED ALLISON, undertaker, 221 Victoria-street, West Melbourne; Mount Alexander road, Moonee Ponds; and Racecourse-road, Newmarket, Telephone 980″.

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 9th March 1925, page 1.

“YOUNG.- On the 6th March (passed peacefully away), at her late residence, Dean Bank, Beaconsfield parade, Croxton, Elizabeth Belle, widow of the late Alexander Young, much loved mother of Isabelle (Mrs. Arthur H. Padley, Bacchus Marsh, Vic). In God’s Care”.

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22-08-1896: James ‘Jim’ Urie (1870-1896)

James ‘Jim’ Urie Junior, son of the late James Urie (1828-1890) of the stained glass firm, Ferguson & Urie, died of Tuberculosis on the 22nd August 1896.

North Melbourne Courier and West Melbourne Advertiser, Vic, Friday 28th August 1896, page 2.

“DEATH OF MR. JAMES URIE.- The above gentleman died on the 22nd, at his mother’s residence, “Glencairn,” Wellington-street, Kensington, of consumption, after an illness of about twelve months’ duration. The funeral took place on Monday, and was largely attended. The Rev. Mr. Taylor, Presbyterian Minister, of Flemington, officiated; and the bearers of the coffin were the deceased’s fellow employes – Messrs. J. Scott, C. Hardess, F. L. [sic] Lording, J. Murdoch, J. Auld, and E. R. King; the pall-bearers being J. Ferguson, A. Young, P. Gunter, D. McPhail, A. Nathan, and J. M. Gilligan. Mr Urie was only 26 years of age at the time of his death; and was generally liked owing to his kind and urbane disposition. Amongst the many floral tributes was a beautiful one sent by the employes of the firm of Ferguson and Urie. By a strange coincidence Mr. Urie’s uncle, Mr. J. Yeaman, died the same day, at his residence, which adjoined that of his nephew, and was also buried on Monday. Mr. Yeaman was 68 years of age. Great sympathy is felt on all hands for Mrs. Urie and the other members of the bereaved family. Mr. Alfred Allison, of Victoria-street, West Melbourne, carried out the funeral arrangements”.

James ‘Jim’ Urie 1870-1896 -A

James ‘Jim’ Urie 1828-1896 -B

James ‘Jim’ Urie and his uncle John Yeaman both died of  Tuberculosis, coincidentally, on the same day. They both lived in close proximity to each other and it was a highly infectious disease. The coincidence is that they both happened to die on the same day. His uncle mentioned as ‘John Yeaman’ also accompanied William Urie (Jim’s elder brother) to England in March 1888 as described at The 1888 Ferguson and Urie Company Dinner.

Other names mentioned at the funeral:

F. L. Lording –  One of the pall bearers mentioned was Frank Clifford Lording (1860-1944), not ”F. L. Lording” as described in the article.

J. Scott – John Scott (1850-1915)

C. Hardess – Charles William Hardess (1859-1949)

J. Auld – James Auld (1873-1945). Grandson of James Ferguson Snr (1818-1894).
James Auld left Australia for New Zealand c.1898 and later formed the partnership of “Auld & Gleeson” glaziers in Wellington. Prior to this article, it was only a theory that he gained his skills in the glass trade with his grandfather James Ferguson at ‘Ferguson & Urie’.

J. Ferguson – James Ferguson jnr (1860-1945) son of James Ferguson Snr (1818-1894).

A. Young – Alexander Lumsden Young (1833-1889)?

P. Gunter – Unknown

D. McPhail – Possibly Donald McPhail 1856-1926, son in law of James Urie Snr (1828-1890). Mcphail is not (yet) known to have been an employee.

A. Nathan – Alfred Lewis Nathan (1867-1939), son in law of James Urie Snr (1828-1890). Nathan is not (yet) known to have been an employee.

J. M. Gilligan – No detail known (photo appears as an employee in the 1887 Ferguson & Urie Company dinner poster).

References / Links:

The 1887 Ferguson & Urie Company Dinner

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1890: Curzon Street, Ferguson & Urie Employees circa 1890.

This is a magnificent historical photo of James Ferguson and five of the Ferguson & Urie employees circa 1890. I would guess this photo may have been taken at the rear of the Curzon street workshops North Melbourne which was their first workshops when they started business in 1853. They advertised from the site as early as 1853 but the workshop building wasn’t erected until after 1858 as indicated in the diaries of stained glass artist David Relph Drape. The building still exists as at 2012 but the interior has been converted to individual apartments and only the shell and facade remain as it appeared in the Ferguson & Urie employee photos of June 1887.

The only two positively identified men in the photo are, James Urie Jnr,  James Ferguson Snr and James Ferguson Jnr. The other identifications are based on a likeness from the 1887 employees photos that were taken for the company dinner held on the 22nd January 1887.

CURZON Street Photos 01a

1.D. Morris, 2. unknown, 3. James Urie Jnr (1870-1896), 4. James Ferguson Snr (1818-1894), 5. J. M. Gilligan, 6. James Ferguson Jnr (1861-1945). Photo kindly contributed by my 3rd cousin Errol Vincent from New Zealand 2010.

CURZON Street Photos 02a

The Curzon Street workshop building as it appeared in June 1887 and photo taken 2012.

When the building was being converted to apartments in 2012 the sales brochures indicated that the building had been “remodeled circa 1875 to become the North Melbourne Masonic Lodge”. This incorrect. Ferguson & Urie retained the building as their workshops until the company demise in 1899.


In May 1899 an advertisement was placed in the Melbourne Age advertising the auction of their stained glass workshops at 42 Curzon Street would occur at 3p.m. on the 9th of May 1899.

The first tabloid article indicating the building had become the North Melbourne Masonic Lodge appeared in the North Melbourne Courier & West Melbourne Advertiser in September 1902 and it remained in their possession until 2008 when it was put up for auction and sold for $1.3m.

20081014 Curzon

Related posts:

1887 Ferguson & Urie Company Dinner

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05-03-1949: Charles William Hardess (1859-1949)

Charles William Hardess (1858-1949) was the son of George Mathew Hardess (1827-1909) and Mary Ann McCarthy (1834-1889). He began his career at the Ferguson and Urie stained glass company as an apprentice stained glass artist circa 1873 at the age of fourteen. As part of his apprenticeship, he attended the Hotham School of Art which was formed in 1873 by prominent members of the Ferguson & Urie company. His father, George, was an Honorary Superintendent of the school in 1877 as well as a reader of the Legislative Assembly.

C. W. Hardess married Janet ‘Jessie’ Gilchrist Pie on the 28th of October 1886 and they had three known children. William, Hilda, and Elsie.

After the Ferguson & Urie company closed in 1899, the stained glass firm of E. L. Yencken purchased the vast majority of  the equipment and stock in trade from their Franklin Street warehouse. My fair assumption at this point in time is that C. W. Hardess was enticed to join the Yencken firm as their stained glass artist. On Good Friday in 1900 a stained glass window was unveiled in the Buninyong Presbyterian Church to the memory of the Rev Thomas Hastie and notes of this event recorded in the  Buninyong Historical Society’s June 2014 newsletter wrote that the window was made by ‘Zenken & Co Melb’ and the artist was a ‘Mr. Harness’. That clue was too coincidental to ignore and so I’m absolutely sure that this was supposed to refer to the company as
E. L. Yencken & Co, Melb’ and the artist was none other than ‘Charles William Hardess)’. 

In later years Hardess teamed up with another former employee of Ferguson & Urie named Frank Clifford Lording, and they became a partnership as ‘Hardess & Lording’. They are known to have done the lead-lighting for the homestead ‘Warra’ in Wangaratta (sometime after 1908). C. W. Hardess was buried in the Burwood cemetery 1st March 1949.[1]

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic Saturday 13th November 1886, page 1.

“HARDESS-PIE.- On the 28th ult., at the residence of the bride’s parents, Ravenscraig, Flemington-road, Hotham, by the Rev. R. Short, Charles W., second son of George K, Hardess, Royal-park, to Jessie G., eldest daughter of Captain W. Pie, Hotham.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 5th March 1949, page 15.

“HARDESS.- On February 28 at the residence of his daughter, 8 Martin Crescent, Glen Iris, Charles William, loved husband of the late Jessie G., and loving father of William G., Hilda (Mrs. Ellis), and the late Elsie Vera (Mrs. Clark), aged 90 years”.

Charles William Hardess. Photo was taken for the June 1887 North Melbourne company dinner

This article was updated 20190706 to reflect the connection with the Yencken company at para 3.

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27-07-1945: James Ferguson Jnr (1861-1945)

James Ferguson Jnr (1861-1945), was the only son of James Ferguson Snr (1818-1894), who was a principal partner in the firm ‘Ferguson & Urie’.  James Jnr was also a member of the firm until its closure in 1899. He never married and nothing significant is known of his life between 1899 and 1945. Numerous electoral rolls after 1899 simply listed him as a labourer and he resided in a small two storey terrace house at 22 Capel street North Melbourne (one street back from the Victoria Markets) prior to his death in 1945. Family lore has it that he was spoilt as a result of being the only son (amongst his seven elder sisters) and never had any of the business acumen and determination to succeed like his pioneering father. This would seem to be a contributing factor in the firm’s demise after his father’s death in 1894. Most noticeable was the absence of regular company advertising in the leading Melbourne newspapers after the death of James Ferguson Snr on the 18th April 1894. After September 1894 all traces of advertising for the company ceased to exist.

Only three photos of James Jnr are known to exist, being: the employee poster created for the June 1887 company dinner, the Ferguson Clan photo at ‘Ayr Cottage’ on 1st January 1888 and a photo with his father and some employees at the back of one of the stained glass workshops (at either Curzon or Franklin street) thought to be circa 1892-94.

James Ferguson Jnr is buried with his parents, James and Jane Ferguson, and sibling Margaret in the Ferguson family grave at the Melbourne General cemetery but he and Margaret are not listed on the headstone.

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The Argus, Melbourne, Friday 27th July 1945, page 2.

“FERGUSON.- On July 26, at Parkville, James, loving son of the late James and Jane Ferguson, and loving brother of Margaret Ferguson (deceased), Mrs. Koop (sic) (deceased), Mrs. Auld (deceased), Mrs. Williams (deceased), Mrs. Gordon (deceased), Mrs. Kier (deceased), Mrs. Gentles (deceased). – At rest.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 27th July 1945, page 14.

“FERGUSON.- The funeral of the late JAMES FERGUSON will arrive at the Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton, THIS DAY, at 3.30 p.m. RONALD MAY, St. Kilda LA4406.”

Related posts:

18-04-1894: James Ferguson (1818-1894)

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14-10-1944: Frank Clifford Lording (1860-1944)

Frank Clifford Lording (1860-1944), was born in Melbourne on the 10th October 1860 to architect and builder, Frederick Henry “Harry” Lording and Marianne Coulsell.

Frank became an apprentice glass stainer and embosser with the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company in his early teens. His name is mentioned a number of times in the press articles about the company dinners of 1886, 1887 and 1888.  At the 1886 company dinner he sang ‘The Old Brigade’ and at the 1887 dinner sang, ‘Romany Lass’. After the firm closed in 1899 he went into partnership with Charles William Hardess (1859-1849), another employee of the firm, to become ‘Hardess & Lording’. Lording was also a capable footballer and was selected for the Victorian team in the first Inter-colonial football match against South Australia on the Tuesday 1st July 1879 [1] which the Victorian team won. The Hotham Football club later became the North Melbourne Football Club and he was selected as state representative in 1879 and 1881.

Frank Clifford Lording. A subset photo from the Ferguson & Urie company dinner portraits in June 1887, North Melbourne.
Frank Clifford Lording in the Hotham (North Melbourne) Football Club uniform in 1879 (Museum Victoria)

The Argus, Melbourne, 14th October 1944, page 15.

“LORDING.- On October 7, at his residence, 18 McDonald street, Mordialloc, Frank Clifford, beloved father of Cliff, Fred, and Len, aged 84 years.”

Related Posts:


[1] The Argus, Melbourne, Wednesday 2nd July 1979, page 5.

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27-07-1930: George James Coates (1869-1930)

George James Coates was born at Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) on the 9th August 1869, the son of John Robert Coates (1842-1877) and Elizabeth Mina Irwin (1847-1902).

His father died when he was eight years old and his mother allowed him to be apprenticed to the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company at age fifteen, circa 1884.

George studied at the North Melbourne School of Design and Hotham School of Art and attended classes under Frederick McCubbin. He won a scholarship in 1896 that enabled him to travel to London then Paris and in 1903 he married artist Dora Meeson (they had no issue). He was also the Australian Governments unofficial war artist during WW1.

In 1937 his wife Dora wrote his biography; George Coates, ‘His Art and His Life’, in which she makes minor mention of his time with the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company and that he had a distaste for the coarse jokes from the other employees.

In all of the Ferguson & Urie windows found to-date,  it is impossible to know which of them, within George’s era at the company, may contain examples of his artwork. The exception to this may be in the house of his employer, James Ferguson, whose house ‘Ayr Cottage,’ in Parkville has a stairwell window containing a detailed portrait of the Scottish bard ‘Robbie Burns‘ which I reasonably suspect may have been done by a young 17 year old George Coates in 1886.

The photo below is of a young George, age 17, as he appeared in the Ferguson & Urie employee poster created for the 1887 company dinner, held at the North Melbourne Mechanics Institute hall on the 22nd June 1887.

George James Coates. Photo taken for Ferguson & Urie company dinner June 1887.

The Register, Adelaide, 23rd September 1921, page 7.

Transcription of article “NOTABLE ARTISTS’ RETURN”

“In the realm of the arts, Australia is proving herself a keen contestant for honours, and during the past few years many Australian painters have obtained public recognition. Mr. and Mrs. George J. Coates (nee Miss Dora Meeson), of Melbourne, went abroad to study, and now have returned to their native land covered with honours. They arrived in Adelaide by the Melbourne express on Wednesday, having reached their own city some months ago. It is 24 years since Mr. Coates set out for the great adventure, and, like many other Australians, he found it a stressful road, full of obstacles, and necessitating the most frugal mode of living. But the painter felt that he had something to impart to lovers of beauty, and so he persevered in London, and then migrated to Paris with such success that to-day he can boast of more significant letters after his name than any other Australian artist.

Among his distinctions may be mentioned:- Member of the International Society of painters, Sculptors, and Gravers, London; Member of the National Portrait Society, London; On the Council of the Royal Portrait Society, London; Member of the Royal Society of Oil Painters, London; Associate of the Nationale des Beaux Arts (New Salon), Paris; Hon. Member Royal Society of Arts, Sydney; and also of he Victorian Artists of Australia. Asked about his first works, Mr. Coates said that as he evinced a leaning towards art at the age of 11 years it was definitely decided that he should be given his chance. That this decision was justified was revealed when the youthful painter won the Victorian Travelling Scholarship, and set out for London.

– The Road to Fame –

After hard work he went on to Paris and studied under Jeans Paul Laurens, Constant, and others. From 1897 to 1900 he exhibited in the salon des Artistes Fracaise (old Salon), and then returned to London, where he and his wife engaged upon some illustrations for the Encyclopedia Brittanica [sic] and the Historian’s History of the World (an American publication). They also contributed to the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon. In 1910 the well-known “Walker Brothers,” a group, was accepted by the Royal Academy of London, and in 1912 by the Associate de Nationale de Beaux Arts (new salon). By some mistake it was sent to the new Salon in stead of the Champ Elysees, as first intended, and was accepted and brought an Associate ship in its ?rain. “So much for a happy accident,” as the creator of the picture modestly remarked. A portrait of Miss Strubelle, an American singer, also won recognition in the old Salon of Paris. At the Grand International Exhibition, Pittsberg, a Diploma of Honour was conferred upon Mr. Coates’s work; and he had the honour to

be specialty incited to again contribute last year and this year too. The Carnegie Institute exhibits only 300 works, and these come from brushes of artists selected by a jury from England, Europe, and America. In reply to a request for further details, Mr. Coates said, “I have painted for the Australian Commonwealth a portrait of Gen. Sir Neville Smythe, V.C., and with natural pride I heard this usually reserved and cold type of man break out into eulogy of the gallantry of the Australians in the war; and, during the sittings he told me that he considered their deeds were equal to those heroic achievements of the Greeks at Salamis and Marathon. I also painted Capt. Jacka, the first Australian V.C; Gen Griffiths, C.O, Australian headquarters in London; Gen. Tivey, Gen. Foott, and other notabilities of the war. These were commissions by the Australian Commonwealth for the War Museum. During the war I spent four years in the R.A.M.C., and so came into personal contacts with realities. I was official war artist to the Canadian Government and to the Australian Commonwealth. It is pleasant to return to our homeland and feel that appreciation awaits my wife and me. When I return to Melbourne various commissions will occupy me, including a group of generals who went to Gallipoli. We have had exhibitions of our work in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, and in each capital some of our works have been purchased by the national Galleries. Next week we intend to hold an exhibition in Adelaide.” Mrs. Coates (Miss Dora Meeson) has no love for the limelight either; but she had to confess to membership of the Royal Institute of Oil Paintings, London, and also membership of the Mural Decoration and Tempera Society.

– Australia Revisited –

In reply to a query, Mr. Coates said that, of course, he observed a great advance all over Australia, and whether for good or for evil, he was struck with the gradual assertion of independent characteristics in the race as a whole, that seemed to be crowding out English characteristics. Asked about impressionism in art, Mr. Coates said he did not consider that belonged to any particular age or craze, but should be regarded merely as the ordinary impressions of an artist’s mind. The works of men like Manet, Monet, and Pissaro, of the so-called impressionistic school, would live forever. These men gave exquisite beauty through their brushes, and sincerity too. The futurists and cubists were all dead.  It was wisdom, indeed, that made people judge a nation by its art, for literature had no eyes. The Elgin marbles of ancient Greece showed the visitor to the British Museum what a vision that nation had held. Australia was young and immature, but in her natural talent was ahead of the other dominions; and her representatives were in all the big “shows” in England. The Australian climate was so much like that of Italy or Greece, which were the home of fresco, that Mrs. Coates was sure that fresco painting would be a happy style of decoration here. It was an art entirely suited to the dry climate, and Mrs. Coates gave a demonstration in Melbourne with a lecture at the Victorian Artists’ Galleries. Mrs. Coates painted a picture at Southampton of the last Australian wounded to leave England, which has been purchased by the Sydney Gallery. In Australia this gifted couple are represented in the galleries of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Bendigo. They look forward to viewing Adelaide from the hills, of which they have heard much. Among many interesting incidents that have occurred in Mr. Coates’s career, none was more remarkable than that associated with a portrait of George Claridge, who sat as a “wounded Tommy,” and then went back to the trenches, won his commission, and was killed. His fiancé in Adelaide recognised his portrait in a catalogue, and sent home to purchase it. It was being exhibited in the Royal Academy. The portrait “King and Empire,” a lovely piece of work, is on loan in our own gallery”.

George Coates, ‘His Art and His Life’, Dora Meeson Coates, Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1937:

“Lionel Lindsay, in an article on George Coates in Art in Australia, mentions his prowess with the gloves and how a trainer had begged him to give up art and take up a ‘mans’ work, i.e. boxing,’ instead, and become a professional…” [p3]

“He was twelve when he first went to North Melbourne Art School, and at the age of fifteen was apprenticed by his mother to the leading firm of glass-stainers in Melbourne, Messrs. Ferguson & Urie, and he worked there for seven years…” [p5]

“The years in the glass-staining workshop were a great ordeal. Though the work was congenial enough, as good models were set up to be carried out in glass, he hated the coarse jokes of the men, for he had a woman’s sensitive refinement along with his masculine strength.” [p5]

Related posts:

19-02-1874: The Hotham (North Melbourne) School of Art.

External links:

Obituary: George James Coates.

Biography: George James Coates.

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1915: John Scott (1850-1915)

The Argus, Melbourne, Thursday 3rd June 1915, page 1.

“SCOTT.- On the 1st June (suddenly), at 506 Doveton street, Ballarat, John Scott, husband of Agnes Scott, and for many years of the firm of Ferguson and Urie, glass merchants, North Melbourne. Native of Paisley, Scotland”.

John Scott (1850-1915) was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1850 and was apprenticed to the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company as a glass cutter circa 1866 at the age of 16.

At the company dinner held on the 9th April 1886, he was presented with a handsome diamond locket in appreciation of his 20 years of faithful service to the company and as farewell before his impending holiday to Europe.

“In making the presentation Mr. Young addressed a few words of good advice to the recipient, whom he strongly recommended to become a Benedict so that he could hand down the locket to his family as an heirloom”.

John Scott did marry, but due to the lack of any marriage record in Australia I suspect that he married his wife Agnes in Scotland on his journey back to the old country in 1886. On their return to Australia they lived at Haines Street in North Melbourne but there is no record of them having any children

In James Urie’s speech at the dinner he stated: “Mr. Scott had come to them when a boy as an apprentice and had gradually worked himself up to be the right hand man in his department”. His department was where the pieces for the stained glass windows were selected an cut to the exact dimensions according to the stained glass designs.

At the 1886 dinner John Scott sang “Remember me Mr George Drury, when Jeff comes home today’ and “Bonnie Hills of Scotland”. At the company dinner the following year, held on the 22nd of June 1887, he again gave a rendition of “Bonnie Hills of Scotland”.

John Scott died at his residence at Doveton Street Ballarat on the 1st June 1916. In his last will and testament of 1915 there was no mention of the diamond locket.

John Scott, taken for Ferguson & Urie employee poster in June 1887

Related posts:

The 1886 Employee Dinner
The 1887 Employee Dinner
The 1888 Employee Dinner

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18-04-1894: James Ferguson (1818-1894)

From a family history perspective there is quite a lot known about James Ferguson, his family, and his colonial colonial stained glass company from North Melbourne.

I have many historical artifacts which include photographs, pieces of furniture, documents, and many other interesting items which make up a magnificent collection of colonial history as well as my own family history.

James Ferguson was born in Ayr, Scotland circa 1818. His parents were Janet Kay (1791-1860) and Master Slater & Glazier, James Ferguson Snr (1777-1886).

On the 13th of June 1841 he married Jane Williamson Lawson (1820-1886), the daughter of Gavin Lawson and Margaret Williamson and between 1842 and 1852 five girls and a boy were born in Wallacetown;
Margaret (1842-1913) who was mentally disabled from birth, Janet Kay (1844-1925), Jane Williamson (1846-1875), Marion (1848-1927) and Antonia Wallace (1852-1926). A son named James was born in 1851 but died as an infant in the same year.

On the night of the 1851 Scottish Census (30/31 March) his future business partner, James Urie, was recorded as a visitor at his cottage in John Street Wallacetown. Whether this was one of many meetings the two men would have to discuss their bold plans for the future can only be speculation but only nine months later their plans would come to fruition.

In early December 1852 James Ferguson was given a farewell party at the Robert Burns Arms Inn at Wallacetown prior to his departure for Australia.

“…After the usual preliminaries, Mr John Templeton, watchmaker, in neat and appropriate terms, proposed the health of Mr Ferguson and, in name of many friends, present and absent, presented him with a splendid purse containing 25 sovereigns…”

James and his younger brother David departed Greenock on the 12th of December 1852 aboard the ‘Tamerlane’ and after more than four an a half months at sea they arrived in Port Philip on the 29th of April 1853.  James’s wife Jane would remain in Wallacetown for two years with the children whilst James established the business in North Melbourne. She arrived  aboard the ‘Emma’ with the five girls in November 1855.

In August 1853 the first business advertisements for the company, “Ferguson & Urie”, began in the Melbourne Argus Newspaper. The rest of the Ferguson & Urie history forms the basis of this entire web site.

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The Argus, Melbourne, Wednesday 18th April 1894, page 5.

“The death is announced of Mr. James Ferguson, the surviving partner of the well known firm of Messrs. Ferguson and Urie. Mr. Ferguson was a colonist of about 40 years’ standing, and for many years carried on business with his partner in Collins-street near the National Bank. Mr. Ferguson died at his residence, Parkville, early yesterday morning, at the advanced age of 84 [sic].”

(James Ferguson was 74 years of age at death).

The North Melbourne Advertiser, Friday 20th April 1894, page 2.


“We regret to have to record the death of Mr. James Ferguson, the surviving partner of the well known glass staining firm of Ferguson and Urie. Mr. Ferguson was a colonist of about forty years’ standing, and for many years carried on business with his partner, Mr. Urie (deceased about six years ago) [sic: 1890], in Collins Street, near the National Bank. Mr. Ferguson passed away at his residence, Parkville, early on Tuesday morning, his death being simply a decay of nature, as he was in his seventy-first year [sic: 74]. For the past four years the business of the firm has been carried on in Franklin Street and Curzon Street, North Melbourne. Mr. Ferguson was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and was much respected as a private citizen, but never aspired to enter public life. He died a widower, and leaves a grown up family. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, deceased being interred in the Melbourne general cemetery and the cortege was followed by a large number of mourners. The body was conveyed to the grave in a panelled hearse, and enclosed in a plain coffin. There were three mourning coaches. Mr. Ferguson was buried in the Presbyterian compartment, the arrangements being carried out by Alfred Allison, of 221 Victoria Street, West Melbourne.”

Related posts:

19-04-1886: Jane Ferguson (nee Lawson) (1820-1886)

19-04-1894: The funeral of James Ferguson Snr.

1886: The History of ‘Ayr’ Cottage, 1 Leonard St. Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria.

08-10-1887: ‘Ayr Cottage’, 1 Leonard Street, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria.

01-01-1888: The Ferguson Clan at Ayr Cottage, Parkville.

04-07-1901: The sale of Ayr Cottage, Parkville, Melbourne.

19-02-1874: The Hotham (North Melbourne) School of Art.

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