Hyman Levinson

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H. Levinson was a watchmaker, clock maker and jeweller operating from premises in Main Road, Ballarat East in 1858.[1]



Clocks. Clocks. Clocks.
‘The largest stock of
Ever seen on Ballarat,
From 15s each, warranted to go well,
Watch and Clock Maker,
Jeweller, &c.,
Adjoining Sweeney’s Horse Bazaar,
Main Road.
Wholesale and Retail.’ [2]

By 1866 the jewellery business of Hyman Levinson was operating from premises on Sturt Street, Ballarat.[3]

Mark Levinson, Ballarat, is one of the leading jewellers of the Golden City, and old residents of Ballarat will remember the jeweller's shop of Mr H. Levinson, opened in 1854, in a tent on the Main-road, from which the present extensive business has grown. The original proprietor carried it on until 1872, when his brother, Mr. M. Levinson, purchased the business, and has since been sole owner. Mr. M. Levinson came to Australia from England in 1863, Prior to that he had served several years' apprenticeship to the watchmaking trade, and after his arrival was for three years with R. Robertson and Son, prominent manufacturing jewellers of Melbourne, and was also for several years with Feldheim, Jacobs and Co., wholesale importers, so that before going into business on his own account he had received a thorough training in every branch of the watchmaker's, jeweller's, and optician's trades. Besides the principal establishment in Sturt-street, Mr. Levinson, ten years ago, opened a branch house in Bridge-street, Ballarat East, and keeps an extensive and varied stock at both places.[4]

Hyman Levinson was a freemason with the United Tradesman Lodge of Ballarat East.[5]



We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. Hyman Levinson of St Kilda, Melbourne. The deceased gentleman had been unwell for some days suffering with rheumatism which, touching the heart, caused serious symptoms to appear. His constitution was however so strong that he could cope with his infirmities until on Friday morning, the 14th inst, while Dr. Joske was present with his patient, Mr. Levinson was stricken with an apoplexy from which he never recovered, but died peacefully with his family by his bedside at three o'clock in the morning of Friday the 21st inst. The deceased gentleman was 71 years of age. He was born at Posen in February 1834 and at the age of nine went with his parents to Sheffield. Though he left his native town thus early, his recollections of it were to the last phenomenally clear and accurate. In Sheffield he remained till 1854, when, at that time 20 years of age, he came to Victoria in company with the late Mr. Abraham Myers, his cousin, late of Ballarat and of Dunedin, on board the 'Marco Polo' a small sailing ship which carried 300 immigrants to the land of the new found goldfields. Arriving in Melbourne he found his way almost at once to Ballarat, then in the midst of the turbulence which preceded the riots. He pitched his tent and set out in a make-shift window his small watchmaker's stock-in-trade. In the riotous days which fol lowed, he lost his modest possessions and narrowly escaped with his life. In later years he used to tell how the troops under Captain Wise were drawn up on both sides of the main road, quite near to his own tent, when a rough digger crept into the shelter of his canvas and deliberately took aim at the captain with a revolver. He remonstrated with the man, pointing out to him that if a shot, were fired, the Military would reply, directing their fire towards them and that they would both be killed. Failing in his efforts to dissuade the man he promptly called the attention of the officer to the situation. The miscreant, shrunk away, and soon the troops left the scene, not to appear again until after the stockade had been taken. But after they had gone Mr. Levinson saw a file of diggers approaching him. They attacked him, destroyed his belongings, and drove him to refuge in a shop kept by a Mr. Abrahams in the Main Road where he remained in biding for some days till the sound of the jingling of swords in the early morning of Sunday, the 3rd December told its story that the troopers were about again and the Eureka Stockade had been taken. He used to say that he was one of the very first to visit the scene of the conflict, which he would describe in after years in the minutest detail. Recently he had the satisfaction of receiving a special invitation from the committee, which arranged the celebrations upon the fiftieth anniversary of the event. He was familiar with all those who, like Peter Lalor, were figures of those stirring days. Indeed throughout the long period of his connection with Ballarat he was acquainted, sometimes intimately, with all its public men and his reminiscences were equivalent to a history of the town he dearly loved. In 1860 Mr. Levinson paid a visit to his parents in England, returning in the Great Britain with his sister, who became the wife of his partner of later years, and Miss Augusta Jacobs, third daughter of Mr. E. Jacobs of Manchester, and sister of Mr. Isaac Jacobs of Melbourne, the lady who was destined to become his wife, and to whom he married at St Kilda (Melbourne) on the 20th March, 1861. Soon afterwards he resigned his first business into the hands of his brother, Mr. Mark Levinson, now of Perth, upon his own appointment as Official Assignee in Insolvency, an office he held for many years, accumulating a wide knowledge of Insolvency Law. In 1877 he joined the late Mr. Emanuel Steinfeld (afterwards member of the Legislative Council for the Wellington Province) in the firm of Steinfeld, Levinson and Co. He thereupon removed to Melbourne, and since 1879 he has resided at St. Kilda. In 1888 both he and Mr. Steinfeld retired from business. Mr. Levinson, however, retained the office of Official Liquidator, which he filled till the time of his death. Since relinquishing business he has lived a retired life, deeply interested in communal affairs, though of late his age and in firmities prevented him from taking an active part in them, deeply interested besides in the history and the present conditions of the Jewish people and in the consideration of scientific and philosophical subjects. In Ballarat he gave invaluable services to the local public and charitable institutions. He was one of the founders of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum and one of its first presidents, and its superintendent has frequently declared that it is in no small measure due to his early advice and guidance that that institution s probably the best managed and most successful institution of its kind in Australia. He was at one time president of the local hospital and for many years a member of its committee, and some of his practical ideas carried out then and there have since been adopted by all the hospitals of Victoria. He was director of various companies, notably of the famous Newington and Winter's Freehold claims. In Masonry he was a Past Master of the Yarrowee Lodge and Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. He was one of the founders of the Ballarat Synagogue, and was in turn secretary, treasurer and president of the local Congregation. Later he served for many years on the committee of the St. Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and in his time held the offices of president and treasurer. He was a loyal and observant and liberal minded Jew. It is 17 years since Mr. Levinson retired from business but his reputation in commercial circles for integrity, and ability remains a distinguished one. Deliberate and wise, his opinion was always valuable and his advice was often sought and always with advantage, especially in matters of finance, whether commercial or public, in which he was remarkably well qualified.
Mr. Levinson leaves a widow and a united family of 12 children and 17 grandchildren. His relatives in Sydney are Mrs. W. Zander (daughter) and Mrs. C. Nettheim (sister). The funeral took place on Sunday, the 23rd inst., leaving the deceased gentleman's late residence,Chatsworth, Beaconsfield Parade, St. Kilda, for the St Kilda Cemetery, where the Rev. Dr. Abrahams ministered at the grave. [6]

See also

M. Levinson


The Main Road of Ballarat East has a prodigious recuperative power of its own. We have no very precise evidence touching the appearance of the mythological salamanders or phoenixes, after a good roasting in the flames, and cannot say therefore whether or not they looked any the fresher, and handsomer, and livelier, for the burning process they underwent. In the absence of any proof to the contrary, we incline to the opinion that they would look decidedly the worse for the fire, and in this respect we suspect the modern phoenix; yeleped the Main road, beats the antique ones hollow. Anyone who knew what the Main road was two or three years ago, before the largest of our conflagrations took place; and looks at it now, will quite understand our meaning. It has been "purified by fire" over and over again, and once it was apparently in danger of being, purified out of existence, some 50 or 60 houses being swept off at once. But it has sprung up in such renovated smartness as takes the shine out of all the phoenixes all the poets ever sung about, and has led to the conclusion with many that of all the strokes of good for tune that ever could happen, to the Main Road, none is equal to a fire. The long line of dark and desolate ruins that marked the site of the great fire of January last has been almost entirely changed into a series of handsome and substantial shops, offices, and dwellings. The site of the old "Charlie" is, it is true, occupied in part only by a mean wooden shanty; but next to it there rises the handsome two storied place be longing to Messrs Godfrey and Abrahams, the jewellers, and designed by Mr Korn. There is not a better looking building any where along the road. The next place of substantial material was that just burnt down in the occupation of Mr Bade the tobacconist. Then we come to a good looking two storied build ing belonging to Dr Hobson, consisting of shop, consulting room, and dwelling. The material is brick, tuck pointed, and is plain and substantial in appearance. A one storey brick shop, belonging to Mr Skardon, boot maker, leads us onto Burridge's Cornwall Arms Hotel, a two-storied brick building, neat and smart in appearance. Anwyl Brothers' drapery establishment is the next in the line, and is a strongly built one storied brick building. Already our readers will perceive that the denizens of the Main road appear to be as independent of uniformity in street architecture as they are invincible by fire. Two-storied and one storied buildings alternate, with delightful irregularity, and each one is built with an apparent aim at as great a dissimilarity to its neighbor as possible. But to digress to further, we pass on to the wide frontage occupied by the two-storied brick building known as the Great Britain Hotel, occupied by Mr Morwitch. All the buildings we have noticed have an air of strength about them but all, except the one belonging to Messrs Godfrey & Abrahams, are deficient in height and ornament. We next come to a block of three two-storied buildings for shops, now in course of erection by the representative of Mr Groves, one of the victims in the wreck of the Royal Charter. If this block is carried up a sufficient height, and is fairly finished, it will be one of the very best-looking places in the street. A one-storied, then two-storied brick building, come next, built on the site of the shop formerly occupied by Messrs Cotterell & Asher. The two-storied ironmongery store belonging to Mr Cohen comes next, at the corner of Main street and Eureka Street south and is a very sightly ornament to the corner. Passing the cross street and the ugly wooden buildings that cover the site of the old "Monte," where the great fire originated, we come to Mrs Plummer's Greenock Hotel, a two storied brick building, plain and substantial in appearance. Mr Heath's one-storied brick shop comes next, and next to that a two storied building in course of erection by Mr Samuels or Levinger, and which promises to rival that of Messrs Godfrey & Abraham in architectural appearance. The architect in this case also is Mr Korn we believe, who indeed seems to have had nearly all the designing work in connection with the improvements we are now noting. The one storey shop belonging to Messrs Roberts Co., drapers, aud one or two other one-storied places of smaller dimensions, complete the list, including that known as Harris' Dining Rooms, on the site near the John o'Groat once occupied by Messrs Evans Brothers booksellers and stationers. Mr Lazarus has also a small one-storied place farther west; and farther west still, next Dyte's auction rooms, are two other one-storey shops, occu pied as an ironmongery and general goods store. At the corner of Victoria Main, and Bridge streets, Messrs Smith & Co. are about to erect a handsome and substantial block in lieu of the wooden premises so long known as drapery and outfitting establishment there. The design, which is by Mr Korn, will be somewhat ornamental, and will involve an outlay of some £2000. The many handsome one and two storied buildings in Bridge Street, on sites where fires have raged, and where they have not raged, we have noticed on previous occasions; but we may again mention, without being dis agreeably invidious, the ornamental places of business belonging to Messrs Baird & Co., decorators ; Messrs Wittkowski Brothers tobacconists; Messrs Draper and Tabel upholsterers and furniture dealers; Mr Dunk, British Queen Hotel; Messrs R.B. Gibbs, Great Western Hotel; Mr Levinson, jeweller, and Mr Steinfeld, furniture dealer. The rather long list of substantial erections we have thus noticed as sprung up, or springing up, along this old thoroughfare, proves, we think, the proposition with which we started, that Ballarat East has already beaten the fabulous phoenix; and perhaps we should not be hazarding too much if we were to say "the men of the East" are ready to beat it again. We only hope, however, that they may never have the opportunity, a hope in which, doubtless, our readers will heartily join.[7]


  1. ’’Huxtables Ballarat Directory for the Year 1858’’, page 60. [Federation University Australia Historical Collection.]; The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), Wednesday 1 September 1858, page 1.
  2. The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), Wednesday 1 September 1858, page 1.
  3. 1866 Ballarat Burgess Roll.
  4. Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present, 1888.
  5. Williams, Leonard M., Creswick Havilah Lodge No. 26 VC 1859-1984, Tustees of the Creswick Havilah Lodge, 1984.
  6. Hebrew Standard, 28 April 1905.
  7. Ballarat Star, 20 August 1861.

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--Beth Kicinski 16:47, 31 December 2012 (EST)

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