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Alfred Hodgson, Outfitter & Tailor, Melbourne, Victoria (circa 1820s-?)

A.G. Hodgson Token Halfpenny

Image: A.G. Hodgson Token Halfpenny

Source: Museum Victoria

A Londoner by birth, Alfred Hodgson came to Melbourne in 1853. According to Gardner's brief biography he was a middle-aged man when he arrived, but the PROV index to immigrants does not show any men matching this description. There were two Alfred Hodgsons who arrived in Melbourne in late 1852, but they were aged 31 and 26. There is, however, an A.G. Hodgson, aged 35, listed as arriving in Melbourne on board the Lightning in November 1855. It does not appear that this was the man who issued the token.

He established a drapers, tailors and outfitters business at 41 Little Lonsdale Street in 1853, moving the following year to 17 Lonsdale Street West, where the business remained until 1860. He moved to No. 13 in time to issue his tokens in 1860. In his analysis of the tokens, Sharples notes, 'The token issues of A.G. Hodgson cannot be fully understood without realising that he and his business neighbour John Andrew [whose drapery and outfitting business was located at 11 Lonsdale Street West] made their arrangements together.' Both men ordered their tokens through a London agent named Coard, whose name appears on their tokens. It is thought that the dies were cut by Birmingham medallists Heaton and Sons (based on the design employed for Hide and De Carle, 1857-1858) and struck by W.J. Taylor in London.

In 1865 Hodgson is also listed at 1 Dudley Street, West Melbourne, and in the following year at 12 William Street. In 1867 he was listed in Lonsdale Street and at 5 Dudley Street West Melbourne. It is unclear whether the West Melbourne listings were business addresses or if they were his private residences. Between 1868 and 1870 his address was given as 'Corner of William and Dudley Streets, West Melbourne,' (Sands & McDougall, 1868, 1869, 1870). His trade is not listed at this address, giving rise to the interpretation that he retired in 1868. Hodgson operated his business with great success until his retirement, 'having the reputation in the trade of doing an excellent hosiery business.' He is said to have moved to St. Kilda and was then the owner of substantial portions of William Street in the City (Gardner, 1910).

Mr. Hodgson visited England after his retirement and when he returned to Australia his wealth seems to have evaporated. He died aged 80, in a charitable home run by Mr. Syme of The Age (Gardner, 1910). According to John Hope, Hodgson's widow 'retired to Canterbury (in Melbourne's eastern suburbs) and died there about 1910.'

Like Andrew, Hodgson issued tokens in both 1860 and 1862, struck by W.J. Taylor.

References:
Gardner, F. (1912). "Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them", The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal, 31 October, pp.12-13.
Public Records Office of Victoria, internet index of Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria, 1852-1923.
Sharples, J. (1993). "Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens", Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7, December, pp.41-43.
Melbourne Directories in the Collection of the State Library of Victoria, 1851-1870.
Hope, John (2005). 'A.G. Hodgson (Melbourne)', unpublished MSS, 1pp.

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