Edward Dillon

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Edward Dillon
Born (1832-09-03)3 September, 1832
Cork, Ireland[1]
Died August 5, 1923(1923-08-05) (aged 90)
St Benedict's Hospital, Malvern[2]
Burial place Boroondara General Cemetery, Kew
Ethnicity Irish
Religion Roman Catholic[3]
Spouse(s) Bridget Mary[1]
Children Edward Emmet, David Tone, Kevin Sarsfield, Gerald Brian, Mary Ierne, Rose Mary Perkins, Patricia Perkins[1]

Edward Dillon was a councillor for South Ward, City of Camberwell and the Shire of Boroondara for 48 years. He was elected president five times, as well as serving in a number of other public offices.

Early life

Like many early settlers of Melbourne, Dillon emigrated to Australia by sea in July 1857, arriving in Hobson's Bay in October of the same year.[1]

He purchased land in Summerhill Road, in present-day Glen Iris. Due to his Irish background, he was the subject of Anti-Irish sentiment of the period.


Dillon served in many capacities in public life across a wide range of government agencies and organisations.


After an initial foray into local politics in which he crossed swords with several established members on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Boroondara Road Board, Dillon stood for his first election in November 1866. He was defeated by the only other candidate, George Henry Taylor, by 12 votes. He stood again in the following year and was successful, despite a strong campaign against him in the local press.[1] The apparent dispute between the local South Bourke Standard and Dillon continued for a number of years. This may have been due to the Protestant slant of the paper, at odds with Dillon's Irish Catholic background.[1]

Dillon quickly developed a reputation for robust debate and questioning the methods of the government. His principal policy throughout his first term was against the use of day labour by the Board. [1] It is unclear whether or not he was eventually successful. At a meeting on 20 January 1872, the new Shire of Boroondara was considering the construction of a new town hall in Camberwell. Along with Councillor McDonald, he attempted to have the motion lost due to the lack of funds. He was unsuccessful and the Camberwell Town Hall was built.

1873 election

Dillon ran for re-election at the August 1873 election, but was defeated by candidate G. P. Smith.[4] However, upon the death of sitting councillor Thomas Ragge in January 1874, Dillon ran for election once again and was successful, beating William Smith, the only other candidate.

Dillon disputed the validity of the election beforehand on a technicality. He maintained that as he was the only nominee within twenty-five days of his death, that he should be declared duly elected as the sole candidate. However, the rest of the council determined to make the date of the vacancy occurring from when they were officially notified, which occurred at their next meeting on 28 January, and the election was held.[5]

1889 reform proposals

Soon after the discussion over the new town hall had died down, the question of subdivision of the Shire into ridings arose at the 1887 election. One of the candidates standing at the same time as Dillon, Charles F. Taylor, spoke vehemently in favour of creating three ridings with three councillors representing each. He also proposed creating a new borough by excising Camberwell and the parts of Hawthorn south of Auburn Road from the rest of Boroondara. This proposal was strenuously opposed by Dillon, who argued that no argument had been put forward for either change to be made.[6] His opposition was moot, as a subsequent poll of residents showed some support for the proposal of subdivision and the ridings were proclaimed in 1889.[7][8][9]

1915 election

He was finally defeated at the South Ward election on 28 August 1915 by Arthur John Willison, having served for the longest period of time of any other councillor in the history of Boroondara, and possibly Australia.[1] This followed a serious accident in the previous year at Flinders Street Station in which he was thrown from a carriage and broke his hip.[10]


Edward Dillon died on Sunday 5 August 1923 at the age of 91.[2]


Dillon Grove in Glen Iris is named for him. It is the location of his original estate and was created as part of the Summerhill Estate subdivision.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Dillon, Paul (2015) 'Edward Dillon, the Forgotten Boroondara Warrior of Bench, Bank and Borough'. Melbourne: Dillon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Advocate. 'Mr Edward Dillon'. 9 August 1923, pg.16. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/171252485, accessed: 9 July 2016
  3. Kew Cemetery Grave Lookup. 'Dillon, Edward'. http://www.kewcemetery.com.au/ShowGrave.aspx?ServiceID=48347, accessed: 9 July 2016
  4. South Bourke Standard. Boroondara. 15 August 1873. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/70084735, accessed: 18 September 2016
  5. The Argus. The Argus - January 30, 1874. 30 January 1874. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5880559/238258, accessed: 18 September 2016
  6. The Age. The Boroondara Shire - Proposed Division into Ridings. 9 December 1887. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/197163542, accessed: 18 September 2016
  7. The Age. Boroondara (Shire). 12 August 1887. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/190633593, accessed: 18 September 2016
  8. Box Hill Reporter. Municipal Intelligence - Camberwell and Boroondara Shire. 22 August 1902. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/8185010, accessed: 7 September 2016
  9. Box Hill Reporter. News and Notes. 27 August 1897. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/93277831, accessed: 16 September 2016
  10. Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser. 9 May 1914