Agnes Glew - Bootmaker and early settler (1819-1911)

Early Settler 

Agnes Glew and her husband George arrived in the colony of Victoria 1852. They immediately began a family. Their first-born, George and Agnes were born in 1855, with James in 1857 (by which time the family was living in Northcote), Jesse in 1860 and Alice in 1863.

The family had a small plot of land in High Street on the top of Rucker’s Hill opposite what would later become Northcote Town Hall. At this time Rucker’s Hill was higher that its present level (the top of the hill was later gouged away to for the base of the Rucker Hill embankment). Only 10 feet by 7 feet, the building was reached by a set of stairs cut out of the hillside. It is not sure whether this was a family home, shop or both.   Either way, this was Agnes raised her children.

George, a bricklayer, passed away in 1880.  In his will it was stated that his total assets were valued at £410, however he owed over £200 to assorted boot and shoe suppliers, including James Boyd of Brunswick who was owed £90. Clearly George had been attempting to establish a shoe business in Northcote for his wife to run. Their cottage in High Street cost was rated at £40 per annum.

Agnes would continue to operate a shoe shop for most of her life. She seems to have moved premise at least once because in 1885 she had a boot warehouse on the west side of High Street near the Wesleyan Church. From 1892, she ran her business on the south-east corner of High and Lawry Street (316 High Street). The shop then became Crawford & Sons dye works after her retirement in the late 1890s.

In 1885, her youngest daughter Alice, passed away, aged only 22. Worse was to follow when Jessie died in 1890, aged 30 followed by James in 1892, aged 35. James’s death was a bitter blow to the  people of Northcote as he was a highly regarded member of the community.

Agnes moved around Northcote and in 1897 had moved to 177 Bastings Street and by 1899 she was living in Hartley Street Northcote. By 1907 she was back living in Bastings Street and in the final year of her life was living at 75 Roberts Street Northcote.

Agnes, lived to the grand old age of 92. A member of the Northcote Presbyterian Church since its inception, upon her passing, the Reverend Rock was noted to have said that

“…he could not refer to her neither as a rich woman or a talented woman, but she was much more that either, she was a good woman.”

She is buried in the Northcote Cemetery, Separation Street.

In 2015 as part of the Darebin Music Feast, a song was written about Agnes Glew. 


McClure, Sandra. NORTHCOTE CEMETERY: 1855-2003.

Reminiscences.  Northcote Leader (Northcote, Vic. : 1882 - )19 May 1933, p. 3.

Obituary. Northcote Leader (Vic. 1888 - ), 2 December 1911, p.2

Find My Past

 Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974.[Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne,Australia:Sands & McDougall