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Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt, 1895-96

Square H6

Quilt square H6


Cr Lugton / Fairfield


Cr Alexander Joseph (Joe) Lugton (1855-1939) represented the Fairfield Riding of the Shire of Heidelberg, 1894-1904. He served as Shire President, 1897-98.

Further information

Alexander Joseph Lugton, known as Joe, was born at the family home in Lonsdale Street West, Melbourne. He was the second child and son to Alexander ‘Sandy’ and Judith.

When Joe left school in the late 1860s, he joined his other brother William ‘Bill’, working for his father’s firm of blacksmiths, engineers and boilermakers in Lonsdale Street. Joe became the engineer and planner within the business.

In 1875, Joe’s father admitted Joe and his brother Bill into partnership in a new firm named ‘A. Lugton and Sons’.

Joe married Emily Victoria Morcombe who was from Collingwood in August 1877 at his parents’ house in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. They set up home near Joe’s parents at 29 Leicester Street, Fitzroy. After their first child, Edward died in infancy, they moved to a bigger house in Fitzroy where the next 12 children were born.

In March 1884, Joe and Bill together bought a large block of land on Heidelberg Road, Fairfield (adjoining Rathmines Street). They both built substantial double-fronted weatherboard houses, identical in Victorian style with surrounding verandas and placed side by side. Joe named his house ‘Atalanta’; Bill’s house was ‘Atlanta’. The street numbers for these houses were 361 and 369 Heidelberg Road. Unfortunately, they were demolished in the 1930s to make way for flats.

When the ownership of the Union Mine became available in 1900, Joe bought it in partnership with Cr Patrick Ryan from Diamond Creek who is represented on square [H11] of this quilt. Ryan is believed to have had interests in other mines. A further connection between the Lugton and Ryan families was formalised on 7 June 1919 when Joe’s third daughter, Jane Rosetta (known as ‘Jean’), married John Lawrence, the second son of Patrick Ryan. Several daughters, including Jean, were teachers at local primary schools.

Joe took an interest in local affairs and was elected to the Heidelberg Shire Council, serving as president in 1897-98. He also served on the committee of the Fairfield Primary School where nine of his children attended. In 1904 Joe was appointed a Justice of Peace and in 1910 he became a foundation member of the Honorary Justices Association of Victoria. He was also a Freemason and was promoted to the position of Worshipful Grand Sword Bearer in the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria.

Joe’s sister was married to William Cook, a Melbourne City Councillor.

Joe is believed to have been a Methodist. His family was very religious, following a non-conformist view. One of his brothers was a Methodist minister.

Joe died on 12 August 1939 aged 84 and is buried in the Heidelberg Cemetery.


Leckey, J. A. (2004). Low, degraded broots? Industry and entrepreneurialism in Melbourne’s Little Lon, 1860-1950, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Kew, Victoria.

Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922.

‘Weddings’, Table Talk, 19 June 1919, page 20.

‘Deaths’, The Argus, 14 August 1939, page 10.

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