Francis Ormond

Francis Ormond (November 29 1829 - May 5 1889) was a Scottish-born, Australian grazier, member of the Parliament of Victoria and philanthropist. He's notable for his philanthropy in the areas of education and religion.

He founded the Working Men's College of Melbourne, which became the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and donated the majority of funds towards the establishment of the residential college, Ormond College, at the University of Melbourne.

Ormond Hall at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, Ormond College at the University of Melbourne, Ormond Road in Geelong and the Melbourne suburb of Ormond, are all named in his honour. A bronze statue of Francis Ormond, by Percival Ball, stands outside the former Working Men's College building (now RMIT's Francis Ormond Building) on La Trobe Street in Melbourne.

Early life and wealth

Francis Ormond Jnr. was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1829, the only son of Francis Ormond Snr. and Isabella (née Esson).Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] [http://www.whitehat.com.au/melbourne/People/Ormond.asp The White Hat Guide to Francis Ormond] ] He was educated at the Tyzack's Academy in Liverpool, England, after his family relocated there from Aberdeen, c1835. His father was in command of the merchant ship, the "John Bull", which carried settlers to Melbourne in the Colony of New South Wales, in 1840. His father purchased the barque, the "Tuscan", when he returned to England, with plans of relocating his family to New South Wales' burgeoning Port Phillip District (later the Colony of Victoria, from 1851).Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538]

The Ormond family arrived in Melbourne in 1842, [http://www.whitehat.com.au/melbourne/People/Ormond.asp The White Hat Guide to Francis Ormond] ] and subsequently took a seven year lease on 20 acres of land near Shelford, on the River Leigh.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] As part of the lease, Ormond's father agreed to improve the land and build a substantial inn. As the first inn on the route from Geelong to Hamilton, the "Settler's Arms" (also affectionately known as "Ormond's") prospered.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] The younger Ormond, who's father originally wanted him to enter the merchant shipping office, worked as a stable boy and bookkeeper at the inn. The early skills gained while working at his father's inn would later served Ormond in stead, when his father saved enough money to purchase a sheep station in 1848.

In 1848, Ormond's father sold his inn and purchased 30,000 acres of land at "Borriyalloak Station" in Skipton, near Ballarat.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] [http://www.whitehat.com.au/melbourne/People/Ormond.asp The White Hat Guide to Francis Ormond] ] He was appointed to the position of station manager, by his father, at age 19. As station manager, he discovered that many of the young workers on the station were quite uneducated. In 1850, he formed a class among them and succeeded in giving them an all elementary education. The Black Thursday bushfires, one of the worst bushfires of the Australian colonial era, swept through the Ormond's land in 1851. Although some of their livestock was saved, the Ormond's station and the majority of their grazing land were completely burned.

The devastating bushfires also burned through a thick layer of scrub, which previously covered large areas of the Ormond's land. When the rains came, they renewed the previously worthless scrubby areas. Ormond was then able to sell his father's land for an advance on its original price, after which he purchased prime grazing land, again in the Skipton area.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] With his financial position assured, he then married Mary Ann (née Greeves) in Geelong on November 26 in 1851.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] In 1853, he was appointed territorial magistrate for Skipton, and by 1854 he had completely taken over his father's land holdings.Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538]

Philanthropy in education and religion

As his wealth grew, Ormond continued to take an interest in education and even established a school on his station for the children of his employees. In 1860, during a trip to Europe, he was impressed by an appeal he had heard by Thomas Guthrie on behalf of the Ragged Schools charity. Upon his return to Victoria, he began to take a greater interest in philanthropic endeavours. His first substantial donation was in 1872, when he donation £1,000 towards the establishment of a scholarship at the Presbyterian Theological Hall in MelbourneChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] .

After his father died in 1875, Ormond and his wife moved from Skipton to Melbourne. He purchased the mansion house, "Ognez", in Toorak, and later assisted with the establishment of the Presbyterian Church of ToorakChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] . Ormond was a devout Presbyterian, and also an elder within the church. When the question of establishing a Presbyterian college at the University of Melbourne was raised in 1877, he pledged £10,000 to the appeal. At the opening of the college on March 18 in 1881, it was announced that it would be officially named Ormond College, in honour of his major contribution. Over his life time, Ormond donated almost £40,000 towards its complete constructionChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] .

Ormond's wife, Mary Ann, died on July 6 in 1881, at their home in Toorak. His late wife was a member of the Church of England and, in memorium, he anonymously donated £5,000 towards the construction of St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. The donation financed the completion of its central tower and its western towerChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] [http://www.whitehat.com.au/melbourne/People/Ormond.asp The White Hat Guide to Francis Ormond] ] . In 1881, he purchased a large section of James Balfour's 45,000 acre "Round Hill Station" near Albury in New South Wales, naming his section "Kirndeen Station"Chambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] . He also futher expanded his Victorian land holdings at his "Bangal Station" in Skipton.

In 1881, he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Education Act. He refused the position of Commission Chairman, due to his advocacy of religious education in state schools, but accepted a general position with the CommissionChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] . Ormond encouraged the creation of the Technological Commission, which was later responsible for the introduction of technical education into state schoolsChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] . He also proposed the idea of a technical college for Melbourne. He pledged £5000 towards the proposal, on the provision that the government supply a site and trade unions contribute the majority of funds. However, the proposal was met with little support from the Commission, and was subsequently dropped.

Ormond also tried to establish a music college in Melbourne, in 1882. However, like his technical college proposal, it was met with little support. He stood for the Parliament of Victoria in 1882, and was subsequently elected the Member of the Legislative Council for the South-Western ProvinceChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] [ [http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/re-member/bioregfull.cfm?mid=626 'Ormond, Francis'] . re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria.] . With his new political status, Ormond revived his technical college proposal, which received approval in late 1882. He remarried on October 1 in 1885, to Mary (née Oliphant) in London, while visiting technical colleges and music colleges in Europe to examined their methods and practicesChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] . Also in 1885, he became a key contributor of the proposed Gordon Memorial Technical College in GeelongChambers, Don. ' [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050428b.htm Ormond, Francis (1829 - 1889)] '. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Copyright 2006. Published by Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538] .

Working Men's College of Melbourne

During his first four trips to Europe, Ormond visited a number of technical colleges, to examined their methods and practices. He set out to apply the best of these methods and practices to a model for a similar college in Victoria.One result of this was his conviction that a working men's college would serve a very useful purpose, and he intimated that if the government would provide a site he would give £5000 towards the building. He met with no encouragement, and the scheme was temporarily droppe

In May the question of a Working Men's College was revived. He again offered £5000 and, after some preliminary difficulties had been disposed of, the college was at last opened in June 1887. There were 320 students on the opening night, within 12 months the number had risen to over 1000. The number of students reached nearly 10,000 in 1938. Later known as the Royal Melbourne Technical College and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, it's known today as RMIT University and is one of Australia's largest and leading universities.

later life and legacy

In the 1880s, after he tried to found a college of music in Melbourne; when other assistance was not forthcoming he gave £20,000 to found the Ormond chair of music at the university.

He found there was much difference of opinion in Melbourne concerning the wisest way of using his proposed donation, and very little response had come to the appeal for funds to found scholarships. However, the money was eventually raised and in May 1887 the Ormond chair of music at the university of Melbourne was founded.

Ormond had no children, but adopted two girls and a boy.

On his fifth visit to Europe Ormond had a rapid physical breakdown ascribed to overwork and died at Pau, South France, on 5 May 1889. His body was sent to Melbourne and after a service at Scots Church and a large procession to Spencer Street was taken by train to Geelong where he was buried on 7 September. He was survived by his wife who died in 1925

Ormond left an estate of nearly £2 million, three-quarters of it in Victoria and the rest in New South Wales. His will provided £5000 each to the Melbourne Hospital, the Benevolent Asylum, the Orphan Asylum, Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Blind Asylum (Ormond Hall), Sailors' Home, Alfred Hospital, Children's Hospital, Geelong Hospital, Geelong Orphans' Asylum, Ballarat Hospital, Ballarat Benevolent Asylum, and £1000 each to St George's Presbyterian Church, Geelong, and Toorak Presbyterian Church, in addition to his large educational bequests.

References


*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=Francis|Last=Ormond|Link=http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogN-O.html#ormond1

ee also

*Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
*Ormond College (University of Melbourne)
*Gordon Institute of TAFE
*Ormond, Victoria


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