Robert Simpson started his wheelwright and blacksmithing business at 173 Plenty Road in 1886. J. T. Peters had a coachbuilding business next door which no doubt led to much cross trade.
Simpson was born in 1860 onboard the Champion of the Seas, whilst on the way to Australia. His father, David, was a military blacksmith, having served in the Crimea. The family established themselves in the Castlemaine area before moving to Preston. Robert Simpson married Mary Lilly Sutton in South Preston in 1881.
Around 1890 Simpson moved to Ocean Grove, taking up work there as a blacksmith. He later lived in Geelong, Newport, Eldorado before dying in Gardenvale in 1945.
Robert Crum later took over the business and in the years leading up to the First World War Edward Barklem was the wheelwright.
Two of Robert Simpson's children died during the 1st World War. Lieutenant Colonel James Simpson was awarded a Military Cross and Amy Alice Cordingly (nee Simpson) served as a nurse.
You can read more about this in Darebin's Great War: in memoriam (J - Z) in the Special Collections area of this website.
Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. [Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall.