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Frederick William COMMONS

Frederick William COMMONS

Ballarat & Vicinity
W B Kimberley 1894

Frederick William COMMONS

Frederick William COMMONS

(photo from the family of John Henry Hutchins)

Frederick William COMMONS m 1884 Emily Ada WILLIAMS
1. Frederick William COMMONS 1860 Linton s/o Richard COMMONS/Elizabeth BARKLA [Vic 8072]
Frederick William COMMONS d 1925 aged 65 yrs Ballarat s/o Richard COMMONS/Elizabeth Jane BARTLETT [Vic 3845] (error, should be BARKLA)
Frederick William COMMONS, 65, 312 Creswick Road, Ballarat, Monumental Mason, bur 4 Apr 1925 Ballarat New Cemetery [C of E C 5/05]

COMMOMS headstone
 Headstone transcription:

In Memoriam
Born 1860 - Died 1925.
A devoted Husband and Loving Father.
Our Dear Sons
Frederick William,
Born 1886 - Died 1920.
Robert Hannaford
Born 1888, Killed in Action, France, 1918.

Frederick William COMMONS bp Linton m 1884 Emily Ada WILLIAMS bp Ballarat [Vic 2930]
Emily Ada WILLIAMS b 1861 Ballarat d/o John WILLIAMS/Ellen WHITE [Vic 20015]
Emily COMMONS d 1937 aged 77 yrs Ballarat East d/o John Hanaford WILLIAMS/Ellen WHITE [Vic 15649]
Emily COMMONS, 77, Norman Street, Ballarat, Widow, bur 20 Sep 1937 Ballarat New Cemetery [C of E C 5/05]

In Ballarat & Vicinity 1898) on page 222 there is one page biography and a photo of Frederick William Commons, monumental mason. "He was educated at the school of Mr Ebenezer Parker MA, Scarsdale and when sixteen years of age went to England to undergo a technical training and to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the art of working in stone. He gained valuable experience at different yards and learnt the latest devices of the English manufacturer."
In June 1877 at the age of 17, Frederick William did make the voyage to England but not alone. His parents, 3 brothers and 3 sisters accompanied him on the Northumberland bound for London. At the age of 18, he returned with his family and a new baby brother born in St Austell, Cornwall, on the Somersetshire in February 1879.
The Commons monumental works were established on the site of an old butter factory at the corner of Creswick Road and Webster Street, and there was another yard in Victoria Street for heavy stone cutting. Many fine memorials in public buildings such as the Ballarat Town Hall and countless headstones in district cemeteries bear the name of FW Commons.
In the community Frederick William Commons held the position of Honorary secretary of the Ballarat Chamber of Commerce, was Captain of the Ballarat Rowing Club and also the Rifle Club, and Worshipful Master of the Freemasons Orion Lodge.
During WW1 Frederick William Commons, the aviator, astonished the public of Ballarat by landing a plane with floats on Lake Wendouree. He brought out a stone worker from Italy named Mario Burali and named one of his sons after him.

in Granite, Marble and Bronze
The most advanced works in the Commonwealth.
No imports or outside productions, everything made on the premises. The district contains specimens of work in all the principal erections which stand out by comparison.
Letters patent have been granted F. W. COMMONS for a new construction in memorial work. No more fallen tombstones. The invention is convincing at a glance. Unique, chaste and durable, easy to transport, and distinctly simple to assemble. A decided improvement on the old time tombstone at a considerably less expense.
Awarded first order of merit for art sculpture. Premiumed for sculpture by Victorian Government. Awarded first and second Premiums in open competition for sculpture for the decoration of Parliament House, Melbourne.
Inspection Invited at the Works.
Corner Webster st. and Creswick Road.
Phone 22 (No other address).
Advertisement Ballarat Courier, 22 Jan 1923

COMMONS Fred W b Linton, 1860; educ. Parkin's school; visited England for experience in monumental sculpturing 1876; and on returning to Ballarat established business at cnr Webster-st and Creswick-rd; founder, and first secretary of old Chamber of Commerce; W M Orion Masonic Lodge, 1894; later secretary and treasurer for 17 yrs; appointed P.S.G.D., ex-captain Ballarat Rifle Club; successful shot, winner Queen's badges at Sydney and Melbourne; member Victorian inter-State team at Sydney and winner of aggregate honors of NSW Rifle Association 1898. [M. McCallum's Ballarat District Citizens and Sports, 1916, online, digitised by the University of California]

COMMONS family rowing successes
Ballarat citizens enjoyed a half-day public holiday for the Annual Rowing Regattas which were held on Lake Wendouree, generally in February or March which is when the weather is likely to be the most agreeable in this part of the world. Brass bands played on View Point where huge crowds gathered for the finish of the races. There were processions of people in colourful costumes and a water parade of decorated boats. Adding to the carnival atmosphere were sideshows, fun parlors and sporting events on the land and in the water. There were fruit and flower stalls and children's attractions such as a merry-go-round and a maypole dance. Novelty events mentioned were Greasy pole, Sea horses, Boxing on raft and Tilting in boats. Various swimming races for fun also entertained the spectators. Melbourne Rowing Clubs provided the most intense competition for the three Ballarat Rowing Clubs but crews came from Geelong and the Western District, the Wimmera and as far away as Echuca on the Murray River and Gippsland in the east of Victoria.

Extracts from The History of Ballarat Regatta Australia's Inland Henley 1862-2002, Kathryn M Elliot, 2009.
1886 F W COMMONS member of the Ballarat Regatta organising committee. Representing the Ballarat Rowing Club came second in the Maiden Sculls and beat his opponent to win the Junior Sculls, also won the Senior Sculls. [The Star (Ballarat) Saturday 6 Mar 1886, p60]
1891 T COMMONS, was 4 seat in the winning crew of the Maiden Eights for the Wendouree Rowing Club [p71]
1896 T COMMONS was 2 seat in the winning Junior Four [p82]
1906 William COMMONS was the bow in the winning crew of the the Maiden Eights for the Ballarat Rowing Club [p107]
1908 William COMMONS, stroke of the winning Maiden Pair with W HAWKINS and cox O McPHAIL [photo p110]
1908 W COMMONS winner of the Maiden Sculls and the Junior Sculls for Ballarat City Rowing Club [p115]
1911 Robert COMMONS bow of the winning Junior Four for Ballarat City Rowing Club [p118]
1912 Robert COMMONS and William COMMONS won the Senior Pair for Ballarat City, while M COMMONS was 2 seat in the winning Maiden Fours for Ballarat Rowing Club [p119]
1913 William COMMONS won the Senior Sculls in the 'row over' (the only victory for the day for his club), while M COMMONS was stroke of the winning Junior Four and in the 6 seat of the victorious Senior Eight for Ballarat Rowing Club [p121]

There are also several pre-WW1 reference to the COMMONS brothers in Boys from the Rush Beds : The History of the Ballarat City Rowing Club 1870-2004, Kate Elliott, 2004.
Season 1907-08 'This year the club recruited two oarsmen who were to become outstanding representatives of the club'. The COMMONS brothers (sons of FW and Emily Ada), William and Robert commenced rowing as a maiden pair, winning at Upper Yarra and Footscray regattas. At the Ballarat Rowing Association's annual regatta the brothers took out the final of the Maiden Pairs 'in a splendid race winning with ease'. [p111]
Winners of the Maiden Pairs, Ballarat Regatta 1909, W HAWKINS, W COMMONS, cox O McPHAIL [photo p 112]
1910 William COMMONS vice-captain of the Ballarat Rowing Club [p113]
The 'Boys of the Club' circa 1911 photo (COMMONS brothers in front) [p121]
1913 W and R COMMONS won the Senior Pair at the Barwon Regatta [p123]

Children of Frederick William COMMONS and Emily Ada WILLIAMS


Richard COMMONS m 1854 Elizabeth Jane BARKLA

© Created : 12 May 2008
© Last Modified : 8 February 2012
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