Friends of Hastings Cemetery

FD A01

In loving memory


David Abbott

late of Melbourne Australia

who departed this life

29th September 1921

Age 78

David Abbott (late of Victoria, Australia)

David Abbott was born on 3 November 1844 at Witham, Essex, to David Abbott, a shoemaker, and Amelia Abbott (Gamble).  He had two older brothers; Charles who was nine years old and Thomas two years.

At the time of the Census of 1861 seventeen year old David Abbott was boarding with Frances Hills in the town of Great Coggeshall.  His occupation was given as lawyer’s clerk.  In  Victoria and Its Metropolis: Past and Present, 1888, Vol 2 page 510 A. Sutherland says that Abbott was engaged in a lawyer’s office when he was twelve years old.

Without any letters of introduction, and at nineteen years of age, David Abbott travelled to Melbourne arriving on the Wellesley in June 1863 as an unaccompanied passenger.  Travelling to Warrnambool a few years after arrival in Melbourne, Abbott began working in the legal office of George Barber.  Completing matriculation in 1869 at Melbourne University he commenced in that same year as an articled clerk to William Cleverdon of Chancery Lane, Melbourne.  He remained for a little more than three years.  By 1874 he had finalised his articles with William Hughes, thus completing the balance of the proscribed five years as an articled clerk.

At the age of twenty nine on 9 April 1874 he was admitted to practice as on the motion of George Higginbotham, a former Attorney-General, a member of the Legislative Assembly for Brighton and later Chief Justice; an influential mentor.  By 1875 he was practising as a solicitor on his own account in Collins Street, Melbourne.  His residential address in 1869 was given as 3 Lansdowne Street, East Melbourne, while at the time of his admission to the bar his address was 41 Powlett Street, East Melbourne. He moved his legal practice from Collins Street to 64 Chancery Lane c1878 and it was in 1887 he took Thomas Eales into partnership.

As a lawyer David Abbott defended many people in the courts but was also obliged to defend himself in some actions.  One such case was Robinson v Abbott heard by Mr Justice Holroyd in the Victorian Supreme Court in 1893.   It might be considered as insider trading.  For fuller details and more about David Abbott see

On 10 October 1876 on the occasion of his marriage to Emily Maude Elliott, his second wife, at St Peter’s Church of England in Melbourne he gave his address as Brighton. [Victoria]  (His first wife, Elizabeth Jane Woods, was born in Tasmania and died in May 1874, aged twenty.)  David Abbott had no children with his first wife but Emily bore three children: David (1877) Frank Walter (1880), and Elsie Maude (1884).  In 1876 he commenced building his substantial house ‘Coggeshall’ at Picnic Point where he resided until the early 1900s.

David Abbott’s first purchase of land at Picnic Point was four acres plus a few perches in 1876. It was on this land that he built his residence. Subsequently he added to this holding with a large purchase from Roger Leech in 1879 followed by further purchases of other land in 1883 and 1884, making him a substantial land owner in the district

After the sale of Coggeshall in 1909 Abbott’s address was listed at different times as the Australian Club in William Street, City, or 54 Cromwell Road, Hawksburn.  In the year 1914 he was not listed in the Melbourne Directory.

Arriving in London in 1919 he and his wife toured around for a while and stayed with their married daughter, Elsie Maud Robertson, in Hastings.  There he became sick and was admitted to the Buchanan Hospital where after a short illness he died on 29 September 1921, aged seventy seven years. At the time of his death his assets include two acres and eight perches of land in the Parish of Casterton together with several bank accounts, Commonwealth of Australia Stock, mortgages and five shares in the Royal Melbourne Golf Club totalling an amount of approximately £6,716.  He had at one time been thought to be a millionaire.

Abbott appointed his wife and daughter as executors of his estate and directed that they should equally share the five thousand pounds invested in Commonwealth of Australia stock; that his son Frank Walter Abbott should be discharged from repaying loans he had made to him, and the balance of the estate should go to his wife Emily Maud Abbott.  However, she was to divide this balance amongst his three children in ‘such proportion as she thought proper’ either in her lifetime or by her will.

‘A copy of the will of the late Mr David Abbott, formerly a solicitor of Melbourne, but latterly of "White Rock", Hastings, has been presented in Melbourne for re-sealing.  Mr Abbott, who died on September 29, left real estate in Victoria valued at £40, and personal property valued at £6,621 to his widow and daughter.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 19 July 1913
Miss Abbott, the young Australian ladv, who gained high honours in last year's Hastings Festival, is again in the town, and, with her father, has joined the Hastings and St. Leonards Club.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 11 October 1913
…… One of their lady anglers. Miss Abbott, said that her father and his family visited Hastings last year for the first time.  They had since been to Hastings four times.  Her father was Australian. [Born in Essex] and had travelled practically all over the civilised world; and had never found another place which compared favourably with Hastings and St. Leonards.