as compiled by Geoff Cunningham
CHAPTER ONE - NINETEENTH CENTURY
The Real Estate practice now known as Doepels Pty. Ltd. trading as Doepel, Lilley & Taylor, commenced under the name of STOCK WEST & CO. in the Commercial Chambers at No.38 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat, opposite the Cathedral in 1888. It continued until 1901 and is recorded in the Commercial Directory of the year 1901.
Sketch of the location of our early office at 38 Lydiard St Sth, Ballarat (reproduced from Heritage Council of Victoria database)
A short time later, Mr. Stock, whose brother was the Victorian Manager of the National Mutual Life Association left the Company to take up the position of South Africa Manager of the National Mutual Life Association when the South African Office originally opened in Johannesburg at that time. The Company was then named R.M. WEST & CO. and continued under that name, until Mr. Chandler joined in 1902 when the Company was dissolved. For the first time, the business became a Partnership – WEST & CHANDLER.
Mr. Chandler was experienced in all types of Insurance as well as being an Auctioneer and Valuator. Valuations for Mortgages and Probate were undertaken.
Mr. Chandler was the Official Valuator to the Ballarat Diocese and the National Mutual Life Association and its subsidiary – Fourth Victoria Permanent Building Society. The Society was registered in 1867 with total assets of 1,953,652 Pounds and at the time was “the Largest Building Society in Australia “.
The office changed in character from a Real Estate Agency to Real Estate, Commission Agents, Insurance and Shipping Agents and in 1902 the business moved to the historic site of Bath’s Mine, (Corner Sturt & Lydiard Street South). It was also commonly known as Cobb’s Corner.
Mr. Edmond Doepel joined the Partnership in 1904, which was conducted in the name of DOEPEL & CHANDLER.
The history of the office would not be complete without recording the working life of Edmond Doepel.
He was born in Geelong in 1857 and arriving in Ballarat with his parents in 1860 where they took up residence in Albert Street. He started work at the age of 11 years with Smith Wynne & Morrison’s mining office. Col. Collard Smith MLA and Mr. Wynne (Father of Agar Wynne MLA). The office was situated where Berry Anderson’s are in Dana Street today. Later he went to the office of J.R. Pascoe, Legal Manager (between the Commonwealth Bank and the Theatre) who also acted for many businesses at the time. With experience, he became a superfine penman.
Later he joined the office of Cuthbert & Wynne which later became Cuthbert, Morrow & Must and he served as the Accountant for some 26 years. That firm was later to become Cuthbert, Morrow, Must & Shaw and currently operates under the name of Cuthberts having moved from the original site at the corner of Lydiard Street South and Dana Street to 101 Lydiard St. Nth. The former site of The Union-Fidelity Trustee Co.- originally The Ballarat Trustees, Executors and Agency Co. Ltd. The building was originally built as the Ballarat Palace Hotel.
Mr. Doepel, although he did not seek public life, was a very community-minded citizen and served on the Committee of the Ballarat Hospital, Red Cross, President and long standing Committeeman of the Mechanics Institute as well as a committed Freemason – P.M. Yarrowee Lodge, P.J.G.D. of Vic., P.M. Mark Lodge and P.P. Royal Arch Chapter. He was also a Foundation member of Liedertafel. The long and valued service he gave to the Mechanics Institute was appreciated, when, as an octogenarian, a vote of thanks recognising 69 years of service – 20 years as Treasurer, 30 years as a Committeeman as well as serving as its President in 1911-12, was passed unanimously at the Annual Meeting in 1937. He became a Subscriber in 1869, and was elected to the Committee in 1908.