Fremantle Stuff > people > Matilda Drummond

Matilda Drummond


Matilda Drummond was a resourceful and enterprising woman. She started her own store in 1898 in George Street Plympton, took on a partner in 1901, and then, after his death in 1909, moved to another premises at 48 George Street (diagonally across the road) before retiring in 1919, handing on the business to her nephew. She had a liquor licence - in fact four altogether - which meant she was seen as a reliable person of good reputation.

George and Matilda Lacey >

Matilda was born in 1866 in Hokitika in New Zealand, the daughter of Jane GRAY Drummond, who had married Andrew Drummond in Scotland in 1852, who had died in Melbourne in 1859. Jane and Matilda came to Fremantle in 1897 to join Jane's half-sister Amelia. Jane Gray had a background in grocery stores, as her mother and uncle had both been involved in the business in Scotland. Matilda's marriage in George Lacey in 1900 produced two children, Ida and Amelia Jane, neither of whom married. All of them are buried in the Lacey family grave in Fremantle Cemetery.


Matilda Drummond is at the centre of this photograph taken in front of her original store, c. 1898, 44 Hubble Street cnr George Street, East Fremantle, standing next to her mother, Jane. The man on the left is George Lacey who will marry Matilda in June 1900, and then die in 1909. In 1899 George had his home and his own grocery store in James Street, Fremantle. (The man with the horse is unidentified, but may be George's brother.) The store was originally Matilda Drummond's (and was at 84 Hubble Street) until she married George Lacey, and both her name and that of the store changed to his.
Click/tap images for larger size.


In this later photo, c. 1900, the store sign on the new verandah still shows Matilda as the owner. (She's again with her mother Jane, who died September 1902.) That may be George Lacey on the extreme left edge of the photo, as they were married in June 1900.

The store sign has changed, and the now married couple George and Matilda Lacey traded here 1901-1912 (tho George died 1909). They are shown with their two little girls, Ida (b. 1902) and Amelia Jane (b. 1905), dating the photograph at c. 1906-7. Again there is the same unidentified man with the horse who may be George's brother (the man, not the horse).


Until 1919 Matilda Lacey had liquor licences for the premises diagonally opposite 44 Hubble Street - at 48 George Street - which had by that time taken over the title of 'Lacey's Store'. The West Australian of 21 November 1919 carried a notice that she was transferring the licences to Alfred Marie.
George Lacey obtained a liquor licence for the first 'Lacey's Store' in 1901. After her husband died, Matilda moved in 1912 from the fancy goods (and liquor) business on one side of George Street to the liquor business on the other - probably taking the liquor licence with her - but then retired from the latter in 1919.
There was another application in the same court at the same time identical in every respect except that the address was 79 Hubble Street. I believe that it was the same premises, but referred to by the address in the other street. (The numbers in the early 1900s were different, and 44 Hubble, for example, was 84. Which would make the then 79 Hubble very likely to have been the same as the present 48 George Street.) The second application in respect of the same address may have been necessitated by the fact that one was a wine licence and the other a gallon licence, and they happened to have been lodged originally at different addresses (George and Hubble Streets) tho it was the same premises.


Matilda Drummond on the left with her elder daughter Ida at her feet and her husband George Lacey behind her. The other people are unknown.

The Alfred Marie to whom Matilda transferred the licences in 1919 was her nephew. Here he is how he is seen by niece, Christine Hearne.

My uncle never married and lived his whole life with his parents (until 1926 when his father died), then his widowed mother (until 1961 when she died) and then his spinster sister Constance. All the above mentioned were strictly teetotal, except uncle, who did love a whisky. I can imagine, him taking possession of liquor licence at 23 would have caused a bit of a stir in the household! I wonder if greatgrandma gave her sister (Matilda) a telling-off for that one?!

References, Links, Acknowledgements

I am most grateful to Christine Hearne, who sent me the wonderful first, second and fourth photos on this page, and the dates and much other information about her family.

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle, UWAP: 207.

Streets of East Freo, site by Museum of Perth.

See also: East Fremantle historical photos

Garry Gillard | New: 5 March, 2016 | Now: 25 June, 2021