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Hobart Legacy

Legacy House, 159 Macquarie Street, Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6234 6581

Email: admin@


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History - Hobart Legacy

Being a Junior Legatee - Jan Colville

Being supported by Hobart Legacy as a child enabled me to receive a high quality education and something like family life. Alec Colquhoun was my ‘legatee’, surrogate father; his wife, Olwyn, and their two children became like family for me and my mother Joyce.

I was born in February 1939. We lived in Gardenvale, a suburb of Melbourne with my Grandad and my mother’s two brothers. My father, Jack Hamilton Colville enlisted in the armed forces in June 1940 and was sent to Singapore in June 1941. Singapore fell in February 1942. My father did not return. He was missing, presumed dead, then was found to be a prisoner of the Japanese on the Burma railroad. He died of malaria in March 1945. My mother, Joyce, lived in limbo until the end of the war, September 2 1945, when she received a telegram confirming his death. Choosing to make a fresh start, in 1946, she accepted the challenge of opening a store in Macquarie Street, Hobart, for her Victorian employer, Beverly Lee: Quality Knitwear. The shop was in the Continental building, now demolished, opposite Legacy House.

Very quickly we were accepted into the Legacy family and received great support. I must have had a scholarship to attend Collegiate School, just up the street from the Continental, as my mother worked full-time. I later attended The Friends’ School, again probably on a scholarship. There were subsidies for school supplies. During this time Legacy House became an activity hub. I had elocution lessons there, sewing lessons and attended a stamp collecting group. I was very lucky to live right opposite. At the time there was an abandoned garden at the back of Legacy House, encircled by a marvellous sandstone-topped high brick wall. Christopher Holland, whose father had a shop in the Continental, and I tried to bring the garden back to life. It was our Secret Garden. The hall now stands on that spot.

Around 1951 the Beverly Lee shop closed due to competition from synthetic knitwear and my mother became what I think would be called Executive Officer of Hobart Legacy. My involvement now stepped up a notch. I stuffed envelopes, ran errands, wrapped Christmas gifts, which usually came from Fullers Bookstore – Mr Fuller was a legatee, and the annual Christmas party was held at his bookstore under the T &G building in Collins Street. Around 1954 the upstairs flat at Legacy House needed some work. A builder, Les Deakes, returned soldier, came to do the work. He and my mother were married a year later. I was fifteen years of age. I went on to receive a very good education, obtain a teacher scholarship to university and enjoyed a career with the Department of Education as well as teaching in Canada. I have such strong and fond memories of being part of the Legacy Family.

Jan Colville


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