Historical information

John Box 1841 - 1914, the 4th son of George and Mary Box, was born in Withyham, Sussex England and came to Australia in 1856 with his parents. He lived and worked on his fathers market garden in East Brighton ( now Bentleigh) for several years and then rented a property in Tucker Road in 1862. John married Martha Sheldrake and they had 10 children who were all born in East Brighton ( now Ormond ). Their eldest daughter Rebecca 'Faith' Box 1863 -1950 was a member of the 1st Australian party to go to China with the Methodist Church China Inland Mission in 1890. During the Boxer Rebellion 1900-1901 Rebecca was rescued from her inland mission post by a group of traders from Shanghai. She later married Nicolas Viloudaki, a Greek Silk merchant , who was a member of the rescue party. Rebecca sent a bolt of chinese hand embroidered cream silk to Mary Closter for her wedding dress at her marriage to Alonzo Box, who was Rebecca's younger brother. This Dress has been published on the Australian Dress Register in 2015 and is on display at Box Cottage Museum Ormond.


John Box is the brother of William Box who, with his wife Elizabeth Box, lived in Box Cottage . John Box was a pioneer market gardener in North Road, East Brighton now Bentleigh. He married Martha Louise Sheldrake and they had 10 children. The eldest daughter Rebecca was a Methodist Missionary in China and Alonzo, their 9th child, served in the Army WW1 at Gallipoli, France and Flanders. Rebecca sent the hand embroidered Chinese silk material for the Wedding Dress worn by Mary Closter at her marriage to Alonzo Box 1918. After Martha died John Box married Eleanor Rushall c 1900 and they had 3 children. John was well respected by the community and also a Methodist lay preacher.
Box Cottage Museum, a reconstruction of an early settler hut, is named after the Box family who resided there 1865 -1913 . William Box who, with his wife Elizabeth Avis Box and 13 children, lived and farmed on the block of land in Jasper Road, East Brighton ( now McKinnon / Ormond) that was part of the Henry Dendy Special Survey 1841.

Inscribed in Album
“ The early photos in this album were found by Mr (Laurie) Lewis when he was demolishing the Old Box Cottage. He gave them to Mrs Avis Box Eldridge who in turn gave them to me. They were not identified. I believe they rightly belong in the Cottage. I have attempted to identify them and present them in a way they can be preserved as a historical record of the era.” A B Leigh

Physical description

A black and white photograph of Martha Sheldrake d1895 the 1st wife of John Box 1841-1914

Inscriptions & markings

Photographed by J Read Brennand / 83 Chapel St. Prahran