Fremantle Stuff > People > Lawrence Isaac Alexander

Lawrence Alexander

Lawrence Alexander was a businessman who was a leading member of the Jewish community and helped to establish the Fremantle synagogue. He was elected mayor in 1901-2 after Edward Davies was removed because he was found to be insane. His son Leslie, dead at 4, was buried in the orthodox Jewish section of the current Fremantle Cemetery.

Lawrence Isaac Alexander: P.Falk & Company
"Jewellery, Silverware and Electro-plate Every description of Fancy Goods"
Lawrence Alexander was born in Victoria in 1863. The dynamic Laurence [sic] Alexander arrived in March 1888 (all of 25 yo) to assume control of the firm's activities. Premises, originally in Cliff Street Fremantle now know[n] as #2 Henry Street, were erected, and, the shift thereto in May 1889, together with the population explosion of the next decade certainly ensured prosperity. The firm in 1895 secured the lucrative agency for W.D. & H.O. wills [sic] of Bristol, England, one of whose lines was the best selling "Capstan" cigarettes, and in consequence the capacity of the Henry St. property was doubled the following year. The bonanza attracted the attention of Mr A.G. Knox, Mgr of Robt. Harper & Coy; and he, and his cousin Mr F.T. Knox, an employee of Falk and Coy for 9 years, established a rival business a short distance away, also in Henry Street!!! This business, A.G. & F.T. Knox flourished for 40 years.
He returned to Melbourne in to marry Annie Lichtenstein at Brai House, Prahran. They were married by the bride’s father Rev (Rabbi of Dunedin, NZ) in Feb 1889. Interestingly, there was a Rabbi Falk at Palmerston North, NZ about this time. The question is, did the connection to Rev Lichtenstein make the connection to Flak [sic] & Co in far-off WA? Anyway, Leslie was born the following year and survived to age 4yo. They had 2 other children.
Mr L. Alexander was the driving force behind Elias Solomon and Fred Samson in establishing the Jewish Synagogue in South Tce., opposite the Oddfellows
Hotel. He was the 1st President of the WA Hebrew Congregation, holding weekly meetings from Sept 1888 (6 months after arriving). He was Mayor at the time of the 1902 (Mayor of Fremantle in 1901-2; and was) foundation laying ceremony. He told those present that “from an initial membership of 6 or 7, there were now 60 adherents.”
His attractive two storeyed house stood in Cantonment Road (Now Queen Victoria Street) opposite the Flying Angel Missions to Seaman. About 1910 he shifted his abode to Ord St., Perth.
Losing the Will's [sic] agency resulted in a modest contraction of the firm's activities, and, in 1911 a shift was made to 41-43 High Street, next to P & O Hotel. In those far-off days, the firm of P. Falk and Coy was the answer to a Christmas - Tree promoter's prayer, as the variety of toys and presents was completely bewildering both as to range and price. "MADE IN GERMANY", was the all-too familiar tag, and, consequently the Great War hampered any attempt to increase turnover. The return to peace-time conditions in 1919, decided the firm to determine [?] the Fremantle branch, which was managed by Mr L. Silverstone.
Henceforth, P. FALK & COY operated from Murray Street, nearly opposite Forrest Place, Perth, and Egan St. Kalgoorlie. Lawrence and Annie lived to 69 and 76 and are both buried in the Orthodox Section of Karrakata [sic, Cemetery]. For a short time, Wray Ave was named Alexander Road from 1904 to 1914.


The stone on the grave of Leslie Falk Alexander, son of Lawrence at F16 in the Jewish section.

References and Acknowledgements

This bio was given to me by Ari Antonovsky, who uses it as part of an tour he conducts entitled 'Visiting the residents of the Jewish section of the Fremantle Cemetery', as above. I have no information about S. Jones.

Garry Gillard | New: 13 January, 2016 | Now: 15 November, 2019