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Pratt Court – a testimony to four generations of support
June 19, 2019
In 1968 ten self-contained homes were built around a courtyard garden at Rushall Park. Known as Pratt Court, the new homes were a tribute to four generations of support to the Old Colonists.
Keeping family connections has always been a mainstay of the Old Colonists, and so it is with the Pratt family. Starting in 1891, the first Pratt to be involved was Alderman Joseph Pratt, who was President from 1891 – 1893.
Joseph migrated to Victoria in 1852 in the barque Orestes. He mined for gold in Ingelwood, settling there as a storekeeper, auctioneer and accountant. He moved to Melbourne in 1868, joining the auctioneering firm of McCulloch Campbell & Co. A strong supporter of the Federation, Joseph became a Melbourne City Councillor in 1888. The next year he was elected member of the Legislative Council for the North-West province.
In 1907 Joseph and his wife donated money and built the J.M.Pratt Cottage in memory of their eldest son Francis, and the Mrs J. M. Pratt Cottage in memory of their daughter Caroline. Both cottages were designed by John Cameron, the architect who succeeded Joseph Crook.
When Joseph Pratt laid the memorial stones of the two cottages, he reminded his audience that to build a cottage was a better way of providing oneself with a memorial than to spend large sums of money on a tombstone.
Pratt was known for being keen-eyed and shrewd, however his relish of a yarn and ‘a bit of fun’ enhanced his reputation for being honest and straight. A councillor and president of the Old Colonists’ Association, through his identification with the growth of Victoria he was recognized as a founding colonist ‘of the finest type’.
The next Pratt to become involved in the Old Colonists’ Association was J Cleveland Pratt who served from 1946 to 1959; followed by John M. C .Pratt from 1960 to 1989. It was during John’s time that Pratt Court was built.Peter Pratt served on the Council until recently. Peter’s first recollection of the Association was attending the opening ceremony of Leith Park in 1963.
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