Handwritten and printed mortgage, dated July 20, 1886. Robert Willian mortgaged the Princes Street property to E.G. Figg Esq. M.D., for £240.

This document is part of the financial dealings of Robert Willian and others, regarding this same property over the space of eight years. Eventually being unable to make repayments, this piece of land became property of John Howe in 1893.

Robert William was born in what is now Port Melbourne in 1862. Working as a blacksmith for the Victorian Railways from 1880 until 1922, Robert spent his early life in the Williamstown area, later moving to the Ballarat area where he died in 1927.

J K Ogilvie Smith, solicitor, Williamstown, was witness. This contract was drawn up in the same 7 Collins Street West, Melbourne offices, on the same date and time as HT32087, suggesting that these two documents represent a single meeting or event.

Evidently, as soon as the Princes Street property was in Robert Willian's possession, he used it immediately as collateral for a loan, however he could not borrow the original amount paid for the property, referred to in HT32087.

An addition made to this document in1888 verified that the July 1886 deed was accurate, and appears to be a re-conveyance of the Princes Street property from Edward Garland Figg to Robert Willian.

Physical Description

One sheet document folded three times, with title, date and names on cover. One postage stamp on cover and one on reverse cover. Large amount of text printed and written in black ink. Postage stamps and red wax seals on inner pages.


These documents, and the related personal stories, are significant to the state of Victoria and also to the areas of Williamstown and potentially Ballarat. They represent a single person's financial and personal struggles but also place this man within the larger context of the Depression of the 1890s and the many affected.

Aspects of the lives of the people mentioned in these documents (and their families) represent a community's involvement with events and themes in Australia's history that many feel define the nation, including immigration and a pioneering spirit of adventure, both world wars, the depression of the late 19th century. and the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century.

The documents also suggest a sense of community - both as part of Williamstown's Scottish community and the wider Williamstown community.The men involved in this property's history were workers, doctors, architects, carpenters; rich and poor, yet they were all part of one close and vibrant community, where 'class', in the traditional sense of the word, did not appear to limit people's interactions with one another.

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