Bollinger Street sign and the clock that A G F Bollinger installed at the Post Office in 1895. Source: Street Sign from Google Maps, Clock face photograph from Parkes Champion Post Monday May 23, 2011 page 7
Many historical and significant people can be found by reading the street names of the Parkes Shire. Road names such as ‘Church Street’ and ‘Railway Sreet’ indicate close proximity to important town fixtures. Most residents would be aware that ‘Clarinda Street’ was named after Sir Henry Parkes’ first wife, Lady Clarinda (née Varney) in 1887. The original name of Clarinda Street was ‘Forbes Street’, highlighting that roads can be renamed. The street name parkeshistory will focus on today is Bollinger Street. Bollinger Street is a residential street, on the west side of the Newell Highway near the Parkes Showgrounds. It connects Victoria Street with Bushman Street. The street is named after the 26th Mayor of Parkes, A.G.F. Bollinger.
Life of Bollinger
Born Albert Godfrey Forbes Bollinger in the neighbouring town of Forbes in January 1865. His parents were Emanuel Gottfried Bollinger, a native of Switzerland who changed his middle name to Godfrey; and Anna Louisa Margarette Bollinger (nèe Schmidt). Bollinger’s mother died on December 11, 1876 – he was just 11 years old then. His father remarried one year later, to Annie Leifermann.
Former editor of Parkes Champion Post, Luke Merriman, produced a series on former mayors of Parkes. In his report on Bollinger he states:
After completing his apprenticeship as a watchmaker in Sydney and spending some time in Wilcannia, Bollinger established his own business in Parkes around 1892. His shop was located on the eastern side of the square, between John Manson and Co and Mark Coleman’s building built in 1890. He managed it until October 1925,
when it was sold to John Carr.
Parkes Champion Post Monday, May 23, 2011 page 7
Not much is known about the details of Bollinger’s life. Despite intense research by Parkes Shire Library’s Family & Local History Library Officer, as well as former Parkes Champion Post editor Luke Merriman, no photographs of A.G.F. Bollinger have been uncovered. What little is known highlights a life lived for others, in spite of the personal tragedies he experienced.
One of the many tragedies that A.G.F. Bollinger experienced. This newspaper report details the suicide of his father, E.G. Bollinger. The jury for the inquest returned the verdict that Bollinger Snr was on “unsound mind” when he took his life. Source: The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser Saturday December 18, 1897 page 2
Bollinger married Emma Allen May Close (1876 – 1958) at Parkes in 1894. Emma was the daughter of long-serving Parkes Municipal Council Alderman and Mayor, Sydney Ephraim John Close. (Close was Mayor on four separate occasions: 1891, 1895, 1903 and 1906-1909)
Albert Bollinger and his wife, Emma, had six children:
- Albert (known as “Bert”) Bollinger
- Ulric “Bill” Bollinger
- Elizabeth “Beth” Cockram/Franks
- Frederick William “Fred” Bollinger
- Sidney “Sid” Bollinger; and
- John Bollinger – who died young
Having already experienced the death of his mother in 1876, Bollinger’s father committed suicide on December 10, 1897. Bollinger’s brother, Frederick William Bollinger, was killed on May 18, 1901 during combat in the Boer War (Lachlan and Condobolin and Western Districts Recorder May 31, 1901 page 11; The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser May 28, 1901 page 2)
On March 4th, 1926 an incident occurred that made news throughout the state. Albert Bollinger, along with two of his sons, Fred and Sid, were accidentally poisoned. William Goudge [reported in this article as Gaudge] was visiting the “Binalong” property at Gunningbland and prepared a meal for the four men to consume. However Goudge unknowingly used water that had been mixed with arsenic in order to poison trees. This water was used to boil potatoes and the four men were taken ill. According to the doctor’s statement, the men consumed enough poison to kill 60 people. Thankfully they all made a full recovery. Not only was physical health restored but also the relationship as William Goudge was groomsman at Fred Bollinger’s wedding to May Olliver Goudge, William’s sister on 3rd April 1928 (Source: Western Champion April 5, 1928 page 11)
A costly mistake. This report details how an act of kindness almost turned deadly. William Gaudge cooked up some potatoes but in water that had been mixed with arsenic for the purpose of poisoning trees. As a result, Gaudge, Albert Bollinger and two of his sons, Sid and Fred, ended up in hospital. Source: The Wyalong Advocate and Mining, Agricultural and Pastoral Gazette Tuesday 9 March, 1926 page 5
After A.G.F. Bollinger recovered from the poisoned potatoes, more misfortune was to come. While out shooting on his son’s property, “The Mill” at Bogan Gate, Bollinger attempted to open a gate whilst holding his cocked and loaded rifle. Sadly the trigger is presumed to have come in contact with wire on the fence and resulted in Bollinger being shot fatally in the chest. His death was reported widely, including in the Sydney Morning Herald. While Merriman reports that Bollinger was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Parkes cemetery, there is no headstone. Emma, his wife, lived to 1958 and was cremated in Orange.
The final tragedy for the community-minded and popular A.G.F. Bollinger. While reports of the accidental death of one-time Mayor of Parkes were expected to be featured in local newspapers,such as Western Champion and Forbes Advocate, this report is from The Sydney Morning Herald. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 12 January 1927 page 16
Legacy of Albert Bollinger
At the time of publishing this post, there were still no photographs of A.G.F. Bollinger. However the impact of Bollinger is not hidden within the Parkes community. As a small business owner, Bollinger’s Jewellery store was well known. Bollinger was active on the Parkes Hospital Board, Parkes Jockey Club, a Board member of Parkes Town Band, “Star of the West” Masonic Lodge, Parkes Pony and Trotting Club, Parkes Bowling Club, the P.A. and H. Association. At one time, Bollinger was Secretary for the Parkes Cemetery Trustees (Western Champion Friday 3 June 1910 page 13) In addition to these numerous tasks, Bollinger was an Alderman on Parkes Municipal Council for eight years. He stepped into the role of Mayor when Owen Howard resigned suddenly due to moving away to Sydney. Bollinger was Mayor for nineteen months before being succeeded by Donald Geddes.
An extract of the Obituary for A.G.F. Bollinger which details the high regard he was held in, as well as the impact he had on the community. To read the full obituary, click here. Source: Western Champion Thursday January 13, 1927 page 11
Less well-known today was the fact that Bollinger was generous with gifts of trophies, medals and monetary prizes. His jewellery store included more than jewellery – with rifles and ammunition; spectacles and eye glasses (he was called an optician); fine china, crystal glassware, medals and also trophies.
The Generosity of a Gentleman
A.G.F. Bollinger was generous with both his time and wealth. While many acts of generosity may remain unknown, it was discovered that the very least he did was donate to the following organisations (click on the link to read each report about his donations)
One of the many organisations that benefitted from Bollinger’s services. Source: The Forbes Advocate Friday February 18, 1927 page 8
Map of portion of Parkes with Bollinger Street highlighted. Connecting Bushman Street to Victoria Street, it is close to Parkes Showgrounds and within walking distance of Parkes CBD. Source: Google Maps
Like many streets within the Parkes Shire, the original name suggestion didn’t become what the street is known as. Parkes Municipal Council meeting minutes record that a Mr A.T. Umpleby originally suggested Lachlan Street for the stretch of road between Bushman Street and Victoria Street. When it was pointed out that a Lachlan Street already exists, Alderman Best and Alderman Woodward put forward the motion that the name of the street become Bollinger Street.
NOTE: Lachlan Street is the road in between Grenfell Street and May Street near the Parkes Hotel
Two smaller clocks of Bollinger’s, partly made from marble. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday May 23, 2011 page 7
Photograph of the Forbes branch of A.G.F. Bollinger’s business about 1906. From 1902 until 1908, the branch was managed by Albert Alexander Cox, brother-in-law to resident architect John Holderness Bates. Source: Forbes Advocate website
Timeline of the events in A.G.F. Bollinger’s life.
Bollinger was elected mayor at a special meeting of the Municipal Council due to Alderman O.J. Howard’s resignation (Howard moved away from Parkes at this time) Source: Western Champion Thursday 11 July, 1918 page 4
Copy of Parkes Municipal Council meeting minutes dated 28th September 1920. The highlighted portion shows when and how Bollinger Street came to be named. Source: Parkes Municipal Council Meeting Minutes September 28th 1920 #903
This photograph was a double page in Ian Chambers’ excellent book Parkes: A Photographic History. The inscription reads: A fine photograph of Clarinda Street from just south of the Square in the early 1890s. Howard’s are still in their original store on the right, before the rebuilding program of 1896, and next door Manson & Co. are advertising a monster clearance sale. Next to this sign a carpenter can be seen working on the roof of Bollinger’s watchmaker’s shop. The double-storey building on the right housing the XLCR Furnishing Depot was built by Mark Coleman in 1890, and Powell’s Cash Store occupies the north-western corner of the Square. Source: Parkes: A Photographic History by Ian Chambers (1988) pages 62-63
Another photograph from Ian Chambers’ collection. A photograph of Parkes Post Office in the 1910s. The inscription in the book reads: The Post Office is probably the most photographed building in Parkes, with its many alterations, extensions and face-lifts faithfully recorded by the camera. This picture was used as a postcard, and the men on the steps, the horse and buggy, and the man with the bicycle add interest to the scene. Note the gas lamp at the corner of the building and the absence of formed footpaths and gutters. The clock was installed by local watchmaker A.G.F. Bollinger in 1895 at a cost of £30. Source: Parkes: A Photographic History by Ian Chambers 1988 page 109
When editor of Parkes Champion Post, Luke Merriman researched a series on the former Mayors of Parkes. This feature on A.G.F. Bollinger was one of the few Mayor profiles to not feature any photographs of person profiled. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday, May 23, 2011 page 7
Almost half a page was dedicated to the death of A.G.F. Bollinger in The Forbes Advocate. Details of his well attended funeral are in the first article and then the coroner’s report is in the adjacent report. To read the full report of Bollinger’s funeral click here. To read the full report on the coroner’s verdict click here. Source: The Forbes Advocate Tuesday January 18, 1927 page 4
If you have photographs of the Bollinger family, please contact Dan Fredericks at Parkes Shire Library – phone 6861 2339 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance with this blog post:
If you have stories or memories that you are willing to share about AGF Bollinger and/or Bollinger Street please contact Parkes Shire Library via email@example.com so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.
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