Fremantle Stuff > people > George Alfred Davies
George Alfred Davies (1846-1897) was Mayor of Fremantle in 1895. He was a founding director of the Fremantle Building Society and a Justice of the Peace. He built the Oddfellows Hotel (Norfolk). He also owned from 1884 the warehouse, cellars, and stables on lot 428 (no. 8) Bannister St, including a wine store which he called Grosvenor Cellars. He had a house, probably called ‘Grosvenor’, built at 151 South Street Beaconsfield on the land where the Curedale farm had been, in Beaconsfield. The Davies family owned extensive land in the area after taking over the Curedale farm following its foreclosure. The land comprised approximately 80 acres and included vineyards and dwellings. The house still stands on a prominent rise in South Street, with the current entrances in Field Street. It functioned as the Grosvenor Hospital for some time. It is now used as the Beacon Yoga Centre aka Sivananda Ashram. There is a Grosvenor Street at the end of Field Street, probably named after the house or hospital. Davies Street is named after him, as is Davis Park, tho a mistake was made at some point, and it is still so spelt. The present Bruce Lee Oval is also on what was his land until 1897.
Alfred George Davies (1776-1853) arrived 19 April 1834 on the Quebec Trader. One of his sons was George Alexander Davies (1813-1875) who was the father of George Alfred Davies (1846-1897).
As well as being a prominent business man, George Alfred Davies was a Councillor for the first Town Council formed in 1871 and a Fremantle Municipal Council Mayor in 1895. As an active community member he supported the idea of public ownership and instigated the sea baths at Arthur Head.
In 1910, the warehouse at 8 Bannister Street was rented by Walter Mews (who was married to Sophia nee Davies) who used the office, factory and cellars and made confectionery there. He had previously been located next door on lot 430 since 1899. In 1950 Abraham Tate bought the site from the Davies estate which, following Leticia’s death, comprised only of two brothers of George. By this time the property had been in the Davies family for approximately 100 years.
George Alfred Davies' grandfather, Alfred George Davies, was said to be one of the first settlers in Fremantle, arriving 19 April 1834 on the Quebec Trader, only a few years after Captain Fremantle claimed West Australia for Britain. His father, Alfred Alexander Davies (1813-1875), was twenty-one when he emigrated with his parents and younger brother, Thomas, to Western Australia. Alfred Davies married twice, and had several children, including: George born in 1846, Edward William Davies born in 1855 and Arthur Elvin Davies, born 1866, who was a cabinet maker and an undertaker in Fremantle.
George attended school in Fremantle until he joined his father's business at the age of seventeen. Alfred Davies, between 1849 and 1869, built extensive real estate holdings along some of Fremantle's main streets and operated a pawnbroking business between 1870 and 1874. George formed his own business after working with his father for a decade. Davies sold spirits but he was to become well known for his wine, which he bottled and sold at premises known as the Grosvenor Cellars, in High Street and Bannister Street in Fremantle. The cellars also held bottling equipment, which enabled his business to buy in grapes to supply the demand for his creation. In 1892 Davies was one of only three people who had a colonial wine licence in Fremantle.
In 1875 he married Letitia ] 'Letty' King (1853-1948), with whom he had nine children: George (1872-1940), an unnamed girl (1878-1878), Emma Elizabeth (1879-), Mary Elizabeth (1879-), Ernest Edgar (1884-1914), Ethel May (1888-), Harold Alfred (1893-), Nellie Hannah (1895-) and Georgina Adeline (1897-).
Davies was active in public life and supported the idea of enterprises and facilities in public ownership. He was involved in establishing public baths on the sea front and in ensuring that the more attractive land around Fremantle was not sold off.
The Oddfellows Hotel
Davies owned a plot of land in 1880, which he rented out, but he appears to have had the land cleared by the time he planned a new hotel building. This building, which opened in 1887, was on the corner of South Terrace and Norfolk Street and was known as the Oddfellows Hotel. This building is heritage listed and [part of it] is still standing and is now known as the Norfolk Hotel.
Davies and his brother Edward were directors of the Fremantle Building Society, which Davies saw as important as it enabled others to establish themselves as property owners.
Davies was elected Mayor of Fremantle in December 1894 and was made a Justice of the Peace in March 1895. He is said to have been offered a second term but stood down to allow others to share the honour of being mayor.
Davies died in Fremantle on 31 January 1897 and was buried in Fremantle Cemetery. Wikipedia.
Edward William Davies is seated on the left. He was a Councillor on the Fremantle Municipal Council from 1894-1902 and was Mayor in 1901. George Alfred Davies (on the right) was a committee man on the Fremantle Town Trust in 1871 and Councillor with Fremantle Town Council 1871-1883 and Fremantle Municipal Council 1883-1887. In 1895 he was Mayor of the Municipal Council. Fremantle Library Local History collection text and photo #637.
George Alfred Davies' splendid monument, near other Davies graves in the Fremantle Cemetery Anglican A. My snap.
Heritage Council page for the premises in Bannister St.
Top photo from Wikipedia. It is also in the Fremantle Library Local History collection as # 1565A, n.d. Library text for the photo: George Alfred Davies was born in Fremantle on 8.08.1846; the third child of Alfred Alexander and his second wife Hannah (nee Williams). George married Letitia King at Fremantle on 27.07.1875 and they had five boys and six girls. George was a successful pawnbroker, wine and spirit merchant, land owner, Town Councillor (1871-1883, 1883-1887), auditor, Mayor (1895) and Justice of the Peace. He died 31.01.1897.'
Garry Gillard | New: 29 September, 2015 | Now: 29 March, 2020