History of Doepel Lilley & Taylor – Chapter 2

as compiled by Geoff Cunningham


When West & Chandler moved to the historic site of Bath’s mine in 1902, the mine was situated on what was formerly known as Cobb‘s Corner as previously stated.

Cobbs Corner, Ballarat - circa 1860's

Picture reproduced from National Gallery of Australia (NGA 84.2907.63)

It had a frontage of 165 feet to Sturt Street by 132 feet to Lydiard Street.  It was bought on the 1st June 1853 by Thomas Bath for 250 pounds after Thomas C. Riddle had purchased the site at a previous sale of the 24th November 1852 for 13 Pounds, but forfeited his 2 Pound deposit believing the Lot to be too dear at that price.  The building originally erected in 1864 was demolished and in 1904 the National Mutual Building was erected on the site.

Laying the National Mutual Building foundation ftone.

Picture reproduced from Ballarat Historical Society collection (Catalogue 085.81)

Upon completion of the new construction, the business, then operating under the name of DOEPEL & CHANDLER occupied the ground floor fronting 2 Lydiard Street South, adjoining ALEX MARKS & Co. – Jewellers.  This photograph of the laying of the foundation stone is of considerable interest and the stone is still quite prominent adjoining the present entrance in Lydiard Street.

On the 17th November 1904 a luncheon celebrating the laying of the Foundation Stone was held in the City Hall attended by a great number of prominent citizens of the day.  The Menu of the luncheon is an indication of the importance of the building to the City.

Insurance occupied much of the internal work and this advertisement appearing in the Ballarat Courier of the 22nd May 1915 is testimony to the efficiency of the office at that time.

The Courier, May 22, 1915

The expansion of the Insurance department resulted in our office being appointed as Chief Agent for State Accident Insurance Office for Ballarat & District on the 4th December 1915 following the proclamation of the Employers Liability Act (Workers Compensation) during World War 1.     

During 1917, Mr Chandler who had a family of three sons felt that better opportunities existed in Melbourne and he joined the Real Estate Office of W.H. Edgar – MLC.  As W.H. Edgar & W.H. Chandler they operated with success in the Western Market site at 437 Collins Street, Melbourne.  (Corner Market Street).  He retired when the market site was sold for further development in 1933.

It was natural that the move of Mr. Chandler created the opportunity for Mr. Doepel to introduce his son Edmond Christian Doepel into the business under the name of DOEPEL & SON. 

Edmond Christian Doepel jnr

They both conducted the business until 1926.

Mr. Walter Harold Emery was admitted to the partnership and as before, the business prospered in the name of DOEPEL & EMERY, until the death of Mr. Emery a few years later on the 1st May 1929 just prior to the inauguration of the Ballarat & District Auctioneers and Estate Agents Association, in July of that year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Val. Lilley was operating a very successful agency at 14 Doveton Street North, he being an excellent salesman, a person held in the highest regard by all who knew him.  However, he found difficulty in keeping the office and accounting records as efficiently as he would like, due to the pressures on his time whilst out of the office on selling appointments.

Val Lilley

Mr. Doepel, having lost Mr. Emery, invited Mr. Lilley to join the partnership with Mr. Lilley concentrating on selling, letting and real estate matters generally, whilst Mr. Doepel undertook the internal administration of the office.  It then operated for a short while as E. DOEPEL & SON & VAL LILLEY.

It was in 1931 that DOEPEL & LILLEY, comprising E. Doepel Snr., E.C. Doepel and V. Lilley became the new Partnership.