Fremantle Stuff > people > Henry James Allpike 1851-1921

Jim Allpike

Sue Birch

Jim was born on 5 February 1851 in Perth, Western Australia, the second son of Stephen and Hannah Allpike, nee Dyer.

Jim and Julia Allpike in about 1910 >

Jim’s father was a leading Perth blacksmith and farrier, having arrived in the colony in 1844, establishing a business the following year.

When Jim was eleven, his father was appointed the Superintendent Blacksmith of the Fremantle prison and consequently the family moved to the port town. They lived in William Street, in an old house adjoining the Salvation Army Barracks. During his 20 odd years in the position, Stephen taught many of the inmates the trade of blacksmithing, a useful trade for them after they had served their time.

After finishing his schooling, Jim served a lengthy apprenticeship as a saddler and harness maker under Thomas Rontree.

By 1872, he had set up his own harness and collar making business in Fremantle, opposite T & H Carter’s Store. See the advertisement published in the Herald, Fremantle, on 9 March 1878. >

As horses were the main form of transport around the town at the time, his business flourished. He was kept busy making and repairing harnesses and collars. The South Terrace shop was always noisy with the sound of horses hooves on the floor and the sound of cracking whips.

One of Jim’s grandsons, Norm Birch, remembers working in the saddlery shop every Saturday morning as a young lad of about eight. His tasks were mostly sweeping, teasing out horse hair for collars, greasing twine with beeswax and minding shop. Jim would often disappear with a customer for ten minutes or more and Norm was left in charge of the shop. He didn’t know where they went until later in life he realised the Freemasons Hotel was on the other corner!

During World War 1, Norm remembers the Light Horse men frequently coming into the shop. They purchased harnesses for their horses, leather polish for their leggings and bandoliers (ammo pouches). Their slouch hats were adorned with emu feathers and were very impressive to the young Norm.

Norm recalls: “I tried my hand at window dressing one morning, with all the bridles and reins etc, and a pyramid of axle grease tins. Alas, on Monday morning, the pile had collapsed and the window covered in grease”. Jim was very upset and gave Norm a severe telling off but didn’t sack him.

Norm received sixpence for his morning’s toil and would use it to go the pictures with his brother at the old Palladium on the corner of Bannister and Market Streets.

Jim’s saddlery business continued for over forty years in South Terrace, and was eventually part of the Fremantle Markets.

In 1876, Jim married Julia Mews daughter of Thomas William and Caroline (nee Inkpen). Both Thomas and Caroline were early European settlers of Western Australia - Thomas had arrived in 1830 and Caroline in 1829.

Jim and Julia had ten children over the next twenty-two years, with seven surviving into adulthood.

Jim was an active member of the Fremantle Rifle Volunteers for nearly 30 years. He enlisted as a Private in 1872 at the age of 21 and towards the end of 1883, he was promoted to Corporal. By May 1885, he was the Colour-Sergeant for the corps.

On 15 November 1896, Jim received a medal for long service in the Western Australian Volunteer Forces. The medal was awarded to those who had completed 20 years of service in the Volunteer Forces.

The Governor’s Deputy, Sir Alexander Onslow, presented the medals in a ceremony in Perth on Sunday 15 November, 1896. Three-hundred-and-one officers and men of the Perth, Fremantle and Guildford Corps assembled in front of the Central Railway Station before attending church services at their respective denominational churches. The majority of the men proceeded to St George’s Cathedral, while a large number also attended the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

At the conclusion of the services, the men reassembled on St George’s Terrace for the presentation of their medals. Nineteen medals in total were presented to men from the Perth, Fremantle and Guildford Corps. The men then marched back to the Railway Station before going their separate ways. The proceedings finished just before one o’clock.

The Volunteer Long Service Medal was silver and was to be worn upon the left breast and only with the tunic.

Jim was a member of the Royal Antedeluvian Order of Buffaloes, (R.A.O.D.) Lodge No 32. The Buffaloes are a large fraternal organisation that provides aid to its members, their families, dependants of former members and other charitable organisations. Members of the Lodge were invited to attend Jim’s funeral and were singled out for particular mention by Jim’s widow and children in their notice of thanks after Jim’s funeral.

Jim passed away at his home at 29 Wardie Street in South Fremantle on the second day of 1921 at the age of 69. His wife survived him by another 15 years, passing away at 14 Wardie Street on 15 November 1936 aged 78.

Jim and Julia Allpike with grandchildren circa 1912


Erikson, Rica. 1987-1990, The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, University of WA Press, Nedlands WA.

Grant, James Ritchie. 1998, Vigilans, the author, Mt Pleasant WA.

Birch, Norman Algernon Basil. 1991, Memories collected by Sheila Ayres for Melville Historical Society, Fremantle Library Local History collection.

Allpike, Henry James. 1878, Advertising, Herald, 9 March, p3.

Allpike, Henry James. 1879, Advertising, Victorian Express, 26 November, p2.

Anon. 1907, Advertising, Empire, 9 November, p7.

Kylie. 1907, 'Old Fremantle Memories', Empire, 21 September, p8.

Anon. 1921, Deaths, West Australian, 4 January, pi.

Anon. 1921, Funeral Notices, West Australian, 4 January, pi.

Anon. 1921, Bereavement Notices, West Australian, 8 January, pi.

Anon. 1921, The Late Mr. H. J. Allpike, Fremantle Times, 14 January, p2.

Anon. 1921, 'Old Time Memories', Western Mail, 20 January, p34.

Anon. 1921, 'Old Time Swan River Settlement', Sunday Times, 30 January, p1.

Garry Gillard | New: 12 January, 2022 | Now: 14 January, 2022