Historical information

This door plate was found at 28 Spence Street, Warrnambool by the builder Ray Hollingsworth, when he was renovating the building for the Warrnambool Presbyterian Church in June 2019. He realized that the inscription had been placed there by Leslie O'Callaghan, probably when he left the premises in 1942 after boarding there for some years. Leslie O'Callaghan (1918-2014) was born in Balmoral and left there at the age of 13 with a scholarship to study at Warrnambool Technical School. He became an industrial chemist, working at the Kraft Walker Cheese Factory in Allansford (Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory). His experimental work in cheese cultures over a 45 year period was regarded as cutting edge work in the Victorian dairying industry. Known as 'Mr History', Leslie O'Callaghan was also an important Warrnambool historian, serving as president of the Warrnambool and District Historical Society for 35 years. In later life Les wrote about his time in 28 Spence Street, noting the lay-out of the early building and other boarders at the time. He never mentioned the interesting memento of his time there that he left on the back of a door plate. The Warrnambool and District Historical Society Archives Centre is called 'Les O'Callaghan History House'


This door plate with its inscription was found 77 years after the inscription was written. It is of considerable interest because the writer of the inscription was well-known in Warrnambool as a bacteriologist and an historian. He left his own personal historical message and by sheer chance it was found years later. (All the old door plates at the time of the renovation were thrown out and it was fortunate that the builder happened to see the writing on one of them and to recognize who the writer was.)

Physical description

This is a cream-coloured ceramic door plate. It is rectangular-shaped with curved edges at the top and bottom. It has been painted white and has two holes at the top and bottom for the insertion of screws for a5taching the plate to the door. The inside of the plate has handwriting in black pencil

Inscriptions & markings

Leslie Alexander O'Callaghan lived here for some years 1939-1942 AD. His occupation was as assistant bacteriologist for Kraft-Walker Cheese Coy. at Allansford. Born at Balmoral, 40 miles NORTH of Hamilton, Victoria