Alexander Sturrock

Alexander William Sturrock (abt. 1857 - 1940)

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Alexander William Sturrock
Born about in Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of — married in Victoria, Australiamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Elwood, Victoria, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Dec 2017
This page has been accessed 34 times.

Alexander Sturrock pioneered the 3-ply industry in Australia in 1912 and was the first to use a steam box-making plant in Australia. He was also the first to introduce nail-making machinery to a timber yard."

Who's Who in Australia, 1923 [1]



Alexander William Sturrock was born in 1856 to Alexander Sturrock of Forfar and Grace Miller of Dunbarton, Scotland.


Alexander married Jessie Jarvis, the eldest daughter of Charles Jarvis from Edinburgh, Scotland, on 14 April 1881.[2]. They had 2 sons and 2 daughters.

The family notice in the Argus newspaper stated[3]:

STURROCK.-JARVIS. -On the 14th inst., at the residence of the bride's parents, Dorritt-street, by the Rev. D. S. M'Eachran, Alexander, eldest son of Alexander Sturrock, builder, to Jessie, eldest daughter of Charles Jarvis, both of Carlton.

Schooling and Business Career

Alexander was educated in private schools in Australia and Carlton College.[1]

From 1872 to 1877 he worked with Kerr and Co., Melbourne, as an apprentice in the joinery trade.[1]

From 1877 to 1882 he worked with his father who was a building contractor in Melbourne.[1]

In 1882 he started to work under this own account and in 1885 he started his business, Alexander Sturrock and Sons at East Brunswick.[1]

The South Melbourne branch was established in 1908 which later became the head office of the business. About this time he admitted his sons, Leslie and Alexander as partners to the business and changed the business name to Alexander Sturrock Pty Ltd.[1]

In about 1912 Sturrock went to the United States and learnt the trade of plywood manufacture. On his return, and after shipping a lathe to Australia, he spent two years of experimentation. Sturrock concluded that butt logs of timber from certain districts produced a better three-ply product. The best results came from ordinary Australian hardwood and superior veneer resulted from Queensland walnut and Queensland maple. He also found that Queensland hoop pine did not warp or twist. Foreign glue was neither strong nor waterproof so he began experimenting with casein. Queensland hoop pine held the glue perfectly.

By July 1914 Sturrock’s mill was in full production at the corner of Lygon Street and Brunswick Road, East Brunswick. Sturrock was confident that within a few years a large number of plywood factories would be established, and opened up the results of his experiments to anyone who wished to enter into the plywood business.[4]

The Federal Wood Products Co. Ltd. was established in 1922.[1]

Alexander was the Governing Director of Alex Sturrock and Sons Pty Ltd, Timber Merchants, Joinery and Mantel, and Three-Ply and Nail manufacturers. The Head Office was in Lorimer Street, South Melbourne, and there was a branch in Lygon Street and Brunswick Road in East Brunswick, Victoria.[1]

Clubs and Interests

Source: Who's Who in Australia, 1923 [1]


Member of Princess Park Bowling
Member of the Melbourne Chamber of Manufacturers
Member of the Grate and Mantlepiece Association of Victoria
Member of the Masonic Society

Recreational Interests

Enjoys Bowling, motoring and reading





Residence - Auld Reekie - 511 Royal Parade, Parkville

Alexander and Jessie Sturrock built their home at 511 Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria. This property is now listed on the Victorian Heritage Database.

Auld Reekie is architecturally significant as intact example of an Edwardian era villa in the so-called Federation Queen Anne style. This style, arguably one of the first distinctive Australian architectural styles, is illustrated by the elaborate roof detailing, picturesque appearance and materials of red brick and terra cotta tiles. The belvedere to 'Auld Reekie' and the first floor balcony with gum leaf pattern balustrading are significant, unusual and distinctive features of the style. The intact interiors with original decoration add to the stylistic importance of the building. The distinctive fence of marble pillars and iron palisade is highly unusual as timber fences were more usual during the Federation period.[5]

Auld Reekie - Home of Alexander and Jessie Sturrock

National Trust Building - 11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

This building was built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891 and is recognised on the Australian National Trust.

The Residence at 11 Brunswick Street is of architectural significance as an interesting example of boom style terrace house architecture. The superimposed arcade is a typical element used in domestic buildings of this period. This particular example is of unusual width and the different application of mouldings and other decorative features on each floor is notable.

The Residence at 11 Brunswick Street is of historical significance as an example of the character of inner Melbourne.[6]

National Trust of Australia. Property built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891.
11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy


Alexander passed away in 1940[7].[8]

Notable Descendants

Alexander's grandson Alexander Jock Sturrock was an elite yachtsman who represented Australia in the Olympics, Americas cup. He was named Australian of the Year in 1962.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Who’s Who in Australia, 1921-1950, Edition 1923, "Alexander Sturrock Snr", Page 1325
  2. Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950; 1881; Reg no 2237
  3. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) Saturday 30 April 1881, page 1
  4. The story ofJohn ‘Mac’ McGinnis Williams, the pioneer of the Queensland plywood industry, retrieved online on 10 February [1]
  5. Victorian Heritage Database, "Auld Reekie", retrieved online 10 February 2019 [2]
  6. Victorian Heritage Database, 11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, retrieved online on 10 February 2019 [3]
  7. Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Victoria; Victorian Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925; Series: VPRS 7591; Probate Date 12 Dec 1940
  8. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985; Victoria, 1940, Ref 11950

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Alexander by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Alexander:

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Images: 6
Auld Reekie - Home of Alexander and Jessie Sturrock
Auld Reekie - Home of Alexander and Jessie Sturrock

Dining Room of 'Auld Reekie'
Dining Room of 'Auld Reekie'

National Trust of Australia. Property built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891.
National Trust of Australia. Property built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891.

Property built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891
Property built for Alexander Sturrock in 1891

Golden Wedding Anniversary - Alexander and Jessie Sturrock
Golden Wedding Anniversary - Alexander and Jessie Sturrock

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Alexander is 26 degrees from Susan B. Anthony, 29 degrees from Keith Cook and 26 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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