Looking back: Builder John Malcolm

CONTINUING the 1888 Who's Who in the Bega Valley from the Centennial History of New South Wales. Today's subject was a builder whose work may still be seen in Bega today. 

Early days: John Malcolm was building the Bega Hospital in the centenary year of 1888. This view is from the back about 10 years later.

Early days: John Malcolm was building the Bega Hospital in the centenary year of 1888. This view is from the back about 10 years later.

John Malcolm is a native of Scotland, and was born in Fifeshire in 1829. At the age of 16 years, he became apprenticed to the firm of Messrs Leech and Sons, the proprietors of a large carpentry and joinery in his native town.

Five years passed when he journeyed to Dundee, where for a period of six years he followed his trade. In 1856 he sailed for Australia.

Arrived in Victoria he followed his business both in the capital and in Warrnambool, assisting in the erection of several important public and private buildings.

He was attracted by the rush to the Kiandra gold fields, and visited Eden in 1860, where he and another obtained the contract for the erection of the lighthouse and harbourmaster’s quarters, which were very satisfactorily executed.

Mr Malcolm then obtained several Government contracts in 1862, including a watch house and police station at Nimitybelle, and in 1863 completed the Cooma court house and gaol.

He also built a court house in Nimitybelle, in the following year the post office and telegraph station at Braidwood, in 1865 the court house and gaol at Bega, and later on the post and telegraph station at that place, where he finally settled.

He also erected the Candelo court house and lockup, and completed seven public school contracts under the Department of Public Instruction. He erected many private buildings, and did a pushing trade in connection with the Bega School of Arts library, the police barracks and Bega Lyceum Hall.

He erected the new Joint Stock Bank, which is creditable alike to the company, the contractor, and the town; and he is now busy building the Bega Hospital, which is well advanced, and will, when finished, be an ornament to the district.

Mr Malcolm was gazetted a trustee for the land set apart for Presbyterian Church purposes at Bega.

He is one of the trustees for the People’s Park at Bega, and he stands at the front among Oddfellows, being the esteemed financial and corresponding secretary of the Prince Alfred Lodge, MU, 200 strong, a position he has held with honour for nearly 20 years.

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