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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Ormond, Hon. Francis

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Ormond, Hon. Francis, M.L.C., the well-known Victorian philanthropist, was the son of Captain Ormond, of the Mercantile Marine, who in 1839 visited Port Phillip, and having determined to settle there, bought a small ship and brought out his family (including his son Francis) in 1842. The glowing reports from the new colony of New Zealand induced him to go on thither, instead of settling, as he had intended, in what is now Victoria. He soon, however, brought his family back to the latter colony, and settled at Geelong. Mr. Francis Ormond was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, on Nov. 23rd, 1829, and was educated at Tyzack's Academy in Liverpool In Victoria, after a somewhat rough life as a lad, he was at first engaged in mercantile pursuits, and then went into squatting, in which he was very successful. He was made a territorial magistrate in 1855. When the Melbourne University was incorporated, ground adjacent to the main building was reserved for four denominational colleges, and in Nov. 1877 the Presbyterian Church decided to build on their portion at a cost of £10,000, to be raised by public subscription. It soon, however, became evident that more than £10,000 would be required, and Mr. Ormond in the first instance offered to contribute £1000 if £9000 were subscribed by others. About £6000 was got in, and then Mr. Ormond announced that he would give £10,000 if a like sum were got elsewhere to make up a total of £20,000. This was accomplished, and, in addition to his first £10,000, Mr. Ormond in Nov. 1880, when the college was opened, gave £2571 to complete the erection of the tower, and offered to give £2500 extra for endowment provided £7500 was raised elsewhere. Finally he undertook to pay the whole cost of the buildings (about £22,500), thus setting free the whole of the receipts from other sources to defray the cost of fittings and the current expenses of the institution. In 1883 additions were made to the building, and in 1887 Mr. Ormond erected the Victoria wing, to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee. Altogether Mr. Ormond contributed £40,000 to the building fund of the college. Mr. Ormond mooted the idea of a working men's college for Melbourne in 1881, and offered to give £5000 towards its establishment if others gave £5000, and the Government a site. At first the project was received coldly, but with the aid of Bishop Moorhouse, Mr. Higinbotham, and others, the initial difficulties were got over, and a site was secured near the public library, Mr. Ormond being the first president of the institution. It was found that the gildings would cost £20,000, and Mr. Ormond offered to erect them if £7500 were contributed from other sources towards the endowment, and the name were changed to the "Leopold Working Men's College," to commemorate the late Prince Leopold. It was found, however, impossible to raise the £7500, and when Mr. Ormond reduced the required subvention to £5000, this too was found not to be feasible. There was a strong objection, too, to the change of name. The offer therefore lapsed, but Mr. Ormond contributed £500 a year to the maintenance fund for two years. The college was opened in 1887, and proved highly successful, there being two thousand names on the roll of students at the time of Mr. Ormond's death in 1889. In 1887 Mr. Ormond offered to contribute £20,000 towards the endowment of a chair of music at the Melbourne University, on condition that the public subscribed £2500 to endow scholarships. The condition was promptly complied with, and Mr. Ormond paid over the £20,000 to the credit of the university. It was, however, a considerable time before an eligible professor could be found to accept the stipend of £1000 per annum. Mr. Ormond died whilst on a visit to Europe, in the south of France, on May 5th, 1889. His first wife was the daughter of Dr. Greeves, and in 1886 he married a daughter of Mr. Ebenezer Oliphant, formerly of Victoria. By his will and codicils Mr. Ormond bequeathed the following legacies to public objects: £5000 each to the Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, Melbourne Protestant Orphan Asylum, Melbourne Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Melbourne Blind Asylum, Melbourne Sailors' Home, Melbourne Alfred Hospital, and Melbourne Sick Children's Hospital; £40,000 to the Ormond College; £10,000 to the Melbourne Working Men's College; £5000 each to the Geelong Hospital, Geelong Benevolent Asylum, Ballarat Hospital, and Ballarat Benevolent Asylum; £1000 each to the St. George's Presbyterian Church, Geelong, the Toorak Presbyterian Church, and the Gordon Technical College, Geelong; and £500 to the Skipton Presbyterian Church. He also directed that any residue should be divided so as to increase the above legacies proportionately to their several amounts.