[Editor: This article, about William Samuel Lyon (1856-1942), was published in The Prahran Telegraph (Prahran, Vic.), 6 February 1892.]
Our gallery of portraits.
Sketches of prominent local men.
Contracting in a medical sense
President of the Medical Institute.
And a successful contractor.
Mr. William S. Lyon.
The Medical Institute of Prahran was recently established by the various friendly societies of the district in order to give members an opportunity of contracting with a medical man on different terms to that to which the public have been accustomed. Up to recent dates medical men gave their advice and charged an all round fee, except when in a case of a friendly society they accepted a yearly one. But the object of the medical institute is to enter into a contract with a competent doctor who will undertake for a fixed salary per annum to keep all and sundry of its members in good bodily order and condition, so far as it is possible for a doctor to do.
How potent the institute system may become was indicated in the valedictory address of Dr. Hinchcliff, president of the Medical Society of Victoria, “Living as I do,” said Dr. Hinchcliff, “in a city where the club system flourishes, the full effect has been forcibly brought under my notice, and speaking as one who has duly considered the matter in its various phases, I cannot shut my eyes to the influences that are affecting this question. We have in Bendigo an association of clubs, who, by combining their members to the amount of between 2,000 and 3,000, are able to employ two medical men to attend their members and their families at a remuneration of £500 a year each, and by offering inducements, are gradually adding to their numbers, so that they seem likely to absorb the bulk of the population. As a means of checking this tendency, would it not be better for us as a society to carefully consider the advisability of re-arranging the scale of fees, so as to be more in accord with the different stations of life of our patients. In England, there is a system of basing fees on the principle of rating. Could we not in the colonies attempt something of this kind, by regulating our charges on the basis of income, so that the honest man may be able to employ us in a legitimate way, and also feel that he is not receiving charity at our hands. I feel sure that unless something of this kind is done, the club system will increase.”
When the inauguration of the club system has the effect of making the whole medical profession pause to ask itself whether its old system of fees is correct and equitable, it must be acknowledged that it has accomplished a great deal. The Bendigo Medical Institute was the first established in Victoria, the one at Prahran being successfully inaugurated last year, since when it has enjoyed a period of uninterrupted progress.
When the raison d’etre of the institute is to enter into a suitable contract with the medical profession it is but appropriate that its president should be a contractor, and it is almost needless to mention that Mr. Lyon, of Airlie-avenue, Armadale, the first president of the Medical Institute of Prahran, is a contractor in the general business acceptation of that term.
Mr. William Samuel Lyon was born at Geelong on the 20th August, 1856, but his parents removed from that town two years subsequently, and settled at South Yarra. In this district he has remained ever since. He went to school here, grew up, entered into business, and settled down here, and during the whole course of his life has never been away from it for more than a fortnight at a time. He was educated at various schools, principally private ones, and his father being a builder brought the subject of our sketch up to the trade of a carpenter. Mr. Lyon, who was the senior member of the Prahran Board of Advice, died in 1870, and his son, in conjunction with his brother, have continued to carry on business as building contractors until the present time.
Mr. Lyon is a member of Court Benevolence, A.O.F., and of the Loyal Standard Lodge I.O.O.F. In the former he passed through all the chairs with the utmost credit to himself, and was also appointed as the representative of the Court on the Dispensary Board at the inception of the latter. When the Medical Institute was finally formed he was chosen as the first president at the October meeting of the board, an honored position which he occupies with dignity.
The Prahran Telegraph (Prahran, Vic.), 6 February 1892, p. 3
In the same issue of the newspaper, there were two references to the above picture of William Lyon, both of which are reproduced below:
“Our Portrait Gallery to-day contains the portrait of Mr. William S. Lyon, a prominent resident of Armadale, who occupies the proud position of president of the Prahran Medical Institute. The latter, though but recently founded, as the result of consideration extending over a couple of years, has proved thus far a distinct success, and is a most interesting experiment in medical administration. Mr. Lyon, as a leading representative of the Ancient Order of Foresters, has had the honor of being the first president of the institute, an honor all the more deserved inasmuch as that gentleman has lived since he was two years of age in this district, with which he grown and flourished.”
See: The Prahran Telegraph (Prahran, Vic.), 6 February 1892, p. 2, column 4
“The engraving of Mr. W. S. Lyon, which we present with this issue, is from a portrait taken at Messrs. Yeoman and Co.’s popular studio.”
See: The Prahran Telegraph (Prahran, Vic.), 6 February 1892, p. 2, column 8
A.O.F. = (abbreviation) Ancient Order of Foresters
Ancient Order of Foresters = a friendly society founded in England in 1834, when over 300 branches seceded from the Royal Order of Foresters (a society founded in the 18th century); members of local “courts” (i.e. branches, or lodges), could obtain assistance in times of sickness or financial hardship; Courts of the AOF were established in Australia in the 1840s; in modern times, the Ancient Order of Foresters reformed itself as the Foresters Friendly Society
See: 1) “Records of the Ancient Order of Foresters, St Andrews”, Archives Hub [“Royal Foresters formed in the 18th century”]
2) “Friendly Societies: Foresters & Shepherds”, CultureNL Museums Collections [“formed in Rochdale in 1834 … over 300 branches of the Royal Foresters Society, which may have been established as early as the 1720s”]
3) “The Ancient Order of Foresters”, Epsom & Ewell History Explorer [“The earliest verifiable evidence of the Foresters’ existence is in 1790”]
4) “Ancient Order of Foresters”, Parramatta History and Heritage (City of Parramatta Council) [“established at various branches in Australia from the c.1840s”]
5) “Ancient Order of Foresters” (M. Mosley, Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood, Christchurch: J. T. Smith & Co., 1885, pp. 91-93), New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (Victoria University of Wellington Library)
6) Audrey Fisk “The Ancient Order of Foresters in the Lothians”, Self Help: Edinburgh, Lothians and Fife
7) “Foresters Friendly Society”, Wikipedia
Co. = an abbreviation of “Company”
Dr. = an abbreviation of “Doctor” (plural: Drs.)
I.O.O.F. = (abbreviation) Independent Order of Odd Fellows
See: “Independent Order of Odd Fellows”, Wikipedia
Messrs. = an abbreviation of “messieurs” (French), being the plural of “monsieur”; used in English as the plural of “Mister” (which is abbreviated as “Mr.”); the title is used in English prior to the names of two or more men (often used regarding a company, e.g. “the firm of Messrs. Bagot, Shakes, & Lewis”, “the firm of Messrs. Hogue, Davidson, & Co.”)
photo. = (abbreviation) photograph
raison d’etre = (French: raison d’être) “reason to be” or “reason for being”; (for a person, group, organisation, or something) the reason for one’s existence (especially the most important reason), one’s mission in life, one’s purpose; the claimed main reason or justification for carrying on in life, so as to fulfill a goal, mission, or purpose
valedictory = of or relating to a valediction (an act of saying goodbye, bidding farewell, or parting company, e.g. a speech made when leaving a college; or a final act, operation, or performance); a valedictory address, oration, or speech is one given when leaving an institution, company, or situation
[Editor: Changed “raison de etre” to “raison d’etre”.]
William Samuel Lyon was born at Chilwell (Geelong, Victoria) on 20 August 1856. His parents were Daniel and Louisa Lyon, and his siblings were Julia, Edwin, Clara, Charlotte, and Bertha. He married Ellen Augusta Davies in 1887, and had three children, Nellie, Ernest, and Myrtle. His wife Ellen passed away on 5 July 1941, at the age of 77, and William died the following year, at his home, 13 Airlie Avenue, Armadale (Victoria) on 5 March 1942, at the age of 85.
1) “Mr. William S. Lyon” (series: Our gallery of portraits, No. 199), The Prahran Telegraph (Prahran, Vic.), 6 February 1892, p. 3
2) “Deaths”, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 7 March 1942, p. 2 [home address; wife’s date of death; names of children, siblings, and parents.]
3) “Search your family history”, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria
a) birth record: name: William Samuel LYON; mother’s name at birth: Louisa PHILLIPS; father’s name: Daniel LYON; place of birth: CHILWELL; reg. year 1856; reg. no. 12775/1856
b) marriage record: name: Ellen Augusta DAVIES, to William Samuel LYON; reg. year 1887; reg. no. 6367/1887
c) death record: name: William Samuel LYON; mother’s name at birth: Louisa PHILLIP; father’s name: Daniel LYON; place of birth: GEELONG; place of death: ARMADALE; Age at death: 85; reg. year: 1942, reg. no.: 2177/1942
d) death record: name: Ellen Augusta LYON; mother’s name at birth: Harriet BROWN; father’s name: David William DAVIES; place of birth: HEIDELBERG; place of death: ARMADALE; Age at death: 77; reg. year: 1941, reg. no.: 6308/1941