Emanuel Steinfeld

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Steinfeld's premises in Ballarat, courtesy of John Lancaster
Emanual Steinfeld table from the Ballarat Town Hall. Photograph: Clare Gervasoni, 2017
Emanual Steinfeld plate from table from the Ballarat Town Hall. Photograph: Clare Gervasoni, 2017



Born in Silesia, Prussia, Emanuel Steinfeld opened Steinfeld's Furniture Warehouse in 1860 in the part of Main Road now known as Bridge Street. Steinfeld was elected to the Ballarat East Council in 1861, serving as Mayor in 1866-1869. He was also has special interest in the Ballarat Orphanage, the fire brigade, libraries, and Freemasonry. Steinfeld was elected a member of the Legislative Council in 1892, but died the year after.

Emanuel Steinfeld was a freemason with the United Tradesman Lodge of Ballarat East.[1]



We announce to-day with regret the death of the Hon. Emanuel Steinfeld, which occurred at the York Hotel at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning. Mr. Steinfeld, who was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council and an ex-president of the Chamber of Manufactures, arrived from Melbourne by the express on Tuesday morning, the object of his visit being to confer with manufacturers, prominent politicians, and others upon the question of intercolonial free-trade, with a Customs union upon a basis similar to that of the German Zollverein. He was met at the station by prominent members of the South Australian Chamber of Manufactures, and in the after noon he met the committee of the Chamber of Manufactures at the Eastern annexe of the Jubilee Exhibition Building and explained his mission and solicited their support. After hearing Mr. Steinfeld the committee decided to hold a special meeting of the members of the chamber to-morrow to confer with Mr. Steinfeld and discuss matters. Shortly after finishing his remarks Mr. Steinfeld was seized with a paralytic stroke, and assistance being obtained he was removed to the York Hotel, and was attended by Dr. Way, who recognised the serious condition of the patient. Numerous messages of sympathy were received and opened by Mr. L. P. Lawrence, who, with other members of the committee of the Chamber of Manufactures, have done all in their power for the sufferer's comfort. The Rev. A. T. Boas, the Jewish rabbi, was also in constant attendance from the time of the seizure. Mr. Steinfeld, however, never rallied, and died early on Sunday morning.
Mr. Steinfeld was a native of the province of Silesia, Germany, and was 61 years of age. He went to London about 45 years ago, and there entered the employ of the firm of Krone Bros. merchants. When the gold rush to Australia broke out the firm decided to open a branch in Melbourne, and Me. Steinfeld came out as junior partner in the firm to take charge of the business. They opened a large establishment in Melbourne and subsequently an important branch in Ballarat, and in connection with the latter built two of the earliest hotels there, viz., the Victoria and the Free Trade, and it may be interesting to state that the Eureka Stockade, which played an important part in the miners' riot, was close to the latter building. Mr. Steinfeld continued to conduct the Ballarat business for some considerable time, until the firm was dissolved in consequence of the death of one of its members at home. He then started business on his own account at Ballarat. In the year 1859 he first exhibited an interest in public affairs by becoming a candidate for a Seat in the municipal council, and being elected continued to hold the position for about 15 years, during which time he was elected mayor of the borough for three consecutive years, an honor which has not been conferred upon any other person up to the present time. He took a great interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the town and district, more especially the important question of water supply, and he was the founder of the Gong Gong scheme of reservoirs which to the present day give Ballarat one of the best water supplies in the colonies. It was during his term of office as mayor that Prince Alfred, now the Duke of Edinburgh, came to the colonies, and Mr. Steinfeld entertained him during his visit to Ballarat. He also took an active part in the management of charitable institutions, and was the founder of the Ballarat District Orphan Asylum, which is now one of the (largest and most important institutions of the kind in the colonies. He was appointed a magistrate during his mayoralty and also held high distinction in the Masonic craft, his rank being P.D.G. warden. In 1874 he opened another furniture establishment in Elizabeth-Street, Melbourne, which proved so successful that two years later he erected very extensive buildings in the same street, and joined in partnership with his brother-in-law (Mr H. Levinson), tha firm becoming Steinfeld, Levinson, & Co. This business grew apace with the advance of Melbourne, and soon occupied a premier position in that line until 1887, when the land boom being at its height, the firm decided to dispose of its valuable premises, and the business of the firm was wound up. Mr. Steinfeld then devoted his attention to matters of public concern and politics, and he took a mast active put in the affairs of the Melbourne Chamber of Manufactures, of which he has been president. He was an earnest advocate of the principles of colonial federation and intercolonial free-trade. Through his instrumentality intercolonial conferences of the Chambers of Manufactures were held at Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney respectively, at each of which he had the honor of being elected president. His ideas on federation have since to a considerable extent been adopted by Sir Henry Parkes, and it was in the furtherance of the objects of federation that Mr. Steinfeld, being accredited by the Melbourne Chamber of Manufactures, paid Adelaide a visit on Tuesday last, when the misfortune befell him. Altogether Mr. Steinfeld paid four visits to America, Great Britain, and the Continent or Europe on business connected with his establishment, and he did not forget to take stock of any matter which struck him as likely to be useful to the colonies in any shape or form. On his last visit he was specially accredited by the Victorian Minister of Education to inquire into the systems of technical education, which prevailed in the various parts of the world that he was visiting, and on this subject he reported on his return. Mr. Steinfeld was also appointed chairman of a royal commission on technical education, which bad been created by the then Victorian Government. A meeting of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures was held on Mon day evening last, and on the motion of the president it was decided to send the following letter to Mr. Seinfeld : —" At the meeting of the Chamber of Manufactures held last evening, attention was called to your determination to visit various centres with a view of a conference re a Customs union. &c, and it was resolved that the best thanks of the meeting be tendered to you for the public spirit this matter, and as a member of the chamber have much pleasure in apprising you of this.— Yours truly. B. D. Smith, hon. secretary." This letter was received on Wednesday morning, and Mr. Steinfeld having been stricken down on the previous evening the letter remained unopened until the arrival of Dr. Levinson. A vacancy having occurred in the Legislative Council for the Wellington province, which includes Ballarat, by efflusion of time, Mr. Steinfeld stood in opposition of the retiring member who sought reelection, and was successful in defeating his opponent by a substantial majority in September, 1892. Mr. Seinfeld was a widower and has left no family. Mr. A. Kornblum (nephew), who bas taken over the old business in Ballarat, together with Mr. H. Levinson (brother in-law), are now in Adelaide on the melancholy duty of attending to the funeral, which is appointed to leave the Jewish Synagogue, Rundle-street, at 2.30 p m., this day, for the railway-station, from whence the body will be conveyed by the express train to Ballarat, where the interment in the family vault will take place. The members of the Chamber of Manufactures are requested to meet at the Jewish Synagogue at half-past 2 o'clock to follow the remains to the railway-station.[2]


By W.L.
Old Ballaratians scattered all over the Commonwealth, and, indeed, over the English-speaking world, are turning their eyes and their thoughts back to Ballarat. To them has come the call for a home reunion during Easter week. A general committee, with several sub-committees, is making extensive arrangements for a grand reunion extending from Tuesday, April 3, over Monday, April 10, and it is expected that many hundreds will avail themselves of the opportunity of revisiting the scenes of their early life.
Of the people who have left Ballarat during the last 30 years, there are estimated to he about 11,000 abroad. The figure is arrived at by taking the population in that period, the excels of the birth rate over the mortality rate, and the average death rate among those who left the place. Whilst Ballarat people are to be found all over the world, the vast majority of those who have left the city are settled somewhere in the metropolitan area of Victoria. From them the call home is meeting with a splendid response. Intimations have also been received of dwellers far distant returning home for Easter-week. Unfortunately, many brave young men who a few months ago thrilled at the sound of the name of their native city will not even hear the call home. They lie in their eternal sleep in Gallipolian Valleys or on French farms in the vicinity of the Somme. In the midst of its rejoicing, Ballarat will not forget its noble dead, nor its proud sons who are still fighting Freedom's battle.
Drawn generally from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, the men of the early Ballarat days were of a resolute and progressive type. Very few of them went to the goldfields intending to remain there, but the freedom of their environment accorded with their disposition, and they settled down to fashion the bush country around them into the beautiful city that Ballarat now is. The late Mr. Duncan Gillies was typical of the first residents of Ballarat. Digger at first, he became a member of the Legislative Assembly for Ballarat West in 1860, but lost his seat in 1868, when he first accepted office as Minister for Lands in the Sladen Ministry. Subsequently he was Premier of Victoria. An earlier pioneer of Ballarat, who also became a legislator, was Mr. Peter Lalor, one of the leaders of the Eureka Stockade riot against the Government authorities in 1854. Mr. J.B. Humffray and he were the first representatives of Ballarat in the old Legislative Council before the Constitution Act came into force. While representing the electorate of Grant in the Legislative Assembly Mr Lalor was elected Speaker of the House. Colonel W. C. Smith, or, as he was more familiarly known during the greater part of his Parliamentary career, "the Major," was another Ballarat man of some note who attained Ministerial rank. The late Mr. W.M.K. Vale, a former Attorney-General, was a Ballarat man of those stirring political times, while the late Sir Henry Cuthbert and the late James Campbell, M.L.C.'s. were typical Ballarat men who also became Ministers of the Crown. Turning to the municipal life of Ballarat - speaking collectively of the city and the town-the services of such men as James Oddie (the first chairman of the municipal council), Dr. James Stewart, Robert Lewis - (of Rowlands and Lewis), Daniel Brophy, John Whiteman Gray, J. Noble Wilson, Frederick M. Claxton, John Hickman, E. Morey, James McDowall, John G. McDonald, Charles C. Shoppee (city), W. B. Rodier. Dr. Clendinning, William Scott, Emanuel Steinfeld, James Russell, James Long, Theophidus Williams, and John Ferguson stand out. They were men of broad minds and high ideals. Ballarat's interests were supreme with them.
Among other men who influenced the life of Ballarat considerably in its earlier years were Mr. John Russell Thomson, whose magnificent bequest of statuary in the pavilion at the botanic gardens has attracted notice in world art centres; Mr. Thomas Stoddart, who made the first gift of statuary to the botanic gardens. Mr David Ham, a member of-the Legislative Council; Judge Rogers, Judge Trench, and Judge Gaunt, Mr. R. Walsh, Q.C., Mr. C.B. Finlayson, Q.C. (formerly Crown prosecutor), Mr. R. M. Serjeant (member of 'the Legislative, Assembly in 1860), Mr., Andrew Anderson, Mr. R.T. Vale (a former member of Parliament for Ballarat West, who died recently), Mr. E. J. Bateman, one of the founders of the Ballarat "Star".
Public men of note who are still living include Mr Agar Wynne (who attained Ministerial- rank in both Stale and Commonwealth), Mr. J. Y. McDonald (who within the last few weeks resigned from the Legislative Council), Mr. T. D. Wanliss (formerly n member of the Legislative Council, and now a resident of Scotland), Mr. W. M. Acheson, Mr. A.M. Greenfield, and Mr. J.M. Bickett.
Among the old Ballaratians residing in various parts of the Commonwealth are men prominent in legislation, law, art, science, and business. Legislators are found in the Minister for Customs (Mr. Jensen), the Victorian Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hagelthorn), Mr. Membrey (honorary State Minister), Mr. McWhae, M.L.C., and Mr. Menzies, M.L.A. The Chief Justice of Tasmania (Mr. Justice Nicholls), Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley are old Ballarat boys, as is Sir Bernard O'Dowd, poet and assistant, State Parliamentary draughtsman. Mr. H. E. Starke, the well known barrister, though born at Creswick, spent his boyhood in Ballarat. The Commonwealth Under Treasurer (Mr. J. R. Collins) is a native of Ballarat. Medical men among old Ballarat boys include Dr. Orr, of Collins street: Dr. T. E. Wills, of Malvern; Dr. H. E. Letcher, of Adelaide; Dr. G. F. Sleeman, of Creswick; Dr. J. H. Sleeman, of Portland; Dr. Gawne of Jeparit; Dr Fred Middleton, of the Ross Sea Antarctic Relief Expedition; and Drs. F. und H. V.- Bennett, of Prahran. Mr. A. A. Buley, formerly principal of Grenville College, where Mr. Justice Nicholls, Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley received their secondary education, is now on the staff of the Melbourne High School. Mr.D. Avery, of the Working Men's College-staff; Chief Inspector Fussell, Inspectors T. E. and J. J. Bothroyd and Mr. W. F. Gates (assistant chief inspector), of the Education department; and Mr. A.A. Peverill, chief clerk of the Lands department, are, old Ballarat boys, as well us the mayor of Prahran (Councillor Austin Embling), the Rev. S. Hoban, of the Central Methodist Mission, Sydney, and the Rev. M. Daly, Colac. Mr. William Davidson, formerly inspector - general of public works in Victoria, received his initial instruction in Surveying while a resident oí Ballarat, and the State income tax commissioner (Mr. R. M. Weldon) is a native of the city. Mr. J. F. Kirby, 'of Coleraine, who won the Melbourne Cup with The Parisian in 1911, was captain of the Ballarat Football Club in the seventies. Both Mr. Will Dyson, the artist, and Mr. E. Dyson claim Ballarat as their birthplace. Mr. Watkin Wynne, general manager of the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper in Sydney, in an old Ballaratian. He won the swimming championship of Ballarat in 1876, and the championship of Geelong by defeating Stedmun, on the Barwon River. Mr. Mcphan Ferguson, head of the Engineering firm which bears his name, was in business in Ballarat before he came to Melbourne. Ballarat men are conspicuous among members of the Stock Exchange of Melbourne. They include Messrs. W. J. Roberts (chairman). John McWhae. John S. Reid, Wallace Smith, John Rippon, A. E. and B. Millard, A. H. Tonkin, F. W. Holst, and J. Buchanan. Among other old Ballaratians may he mentioned Messrs- Alfred, Walter, and Frederick Sutton, of Suttons Proprietary Limited; Frederick and Maurice Cohen, of S. Cohen and Sons, hardware merchants; John Bailey, conductor of the Melbourne Choral Society: John West, secretary of the National Union; Hugh V. McKay, of the Sunshine Harvester Works; J.W. Kirton, formerly a member of the Legislative Assembly, and now secretary of the Master Bakers Association; Ex-Inspector Beckmann, of Warrnambool; Messrs. Hans Irvine, formerly member for Grampians in the House of Representatives; S. E. Figgis, secretary of the Colonial Gas Company, and a noted bowler in the Ballarat Cricket Club 33 years ago; Lieut. Colonel Wanniss, who had charge of a battalion in the First Australian Expeditionary Force; Captain D.J. Ham, who served through the Boer war; Major Jackson; and Messrs. J.H. Dill and D. Murray, legal managers: E. Cocking. J. L. Anderson; James Scobie, the well-known trainer; Mr. H. Niven, (F.W. Niven and and Co.), and Mr. E. A. Bennett (Superintendent of the Homeopathic Hospital).
Miss Mary Gaunt, the novelist; the Lady Mayoress of Melbourne (Lady Hennessy), Lady Irvine (wife of Sir William Irvine, K.C.). Mr. J.R. Trantham Fryer (Miss Bechervaise), and Mrs. J.J. Kingsbury (wife of a former Queensland Minister of the Crown, and now a Crown prosecutor) may also be mentioned as old Ballaratians. [3]

See also

Susman and Kornblum



  1. Williams, Leonard M., Creswick Havilah Lodge No. 26 VC 1859-1984, Tustees of the Creswick Havilah Lodge, 1984.
  2. Adelaide Advertiser, 17 April 1893.
  3. The Argus, 3 March 1917

Further Reading

External links

--H. Scarpe 13:52, 25 August 2011 (EST); --Sallyanne Doyle 20:16, 3 February 2013 (EST)--Sallyanne Doyle 13:07, 3 February 2013 (EST); --Clare K.Gervasoni 13:44, 16 November 2016 (AEDT)

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