90 Year Anniversary Blog

1928 - Ralph Coleman opens offices on Church Street in Parramatta

Posted by on 23 Feb 2018

As part of our 90th celebrations, Coleman Greig Lawyers will be publishing a bi-monthly blog focussed on the firm's rich history within the Parramatta region, as well as some general historic information on the area - and some of our key business partners' histories!

The Coleman Greig story goes back to 1928, when Ralph Coleman - on the advice of his Uncle, Mr W. Noller (the Mayor of Parramatta at the time) brought his family down to Western Sydney from the Mid-North Coast hinterland town of Bowraville.  Ralph had been a practising solicitor in Bowraville, so was eager to set up his first Parramatta office on top of Steward's Boot Store on Church Street.

Ralph Coleman

At the time, Parramatta was a country town surrounded by orchards and small farms - and whilst it was definitely a growing hub for business, it would be some time before it became the CBD that it is today.  Similarly, the Parramatta streets were starker than they would later be, come Ralph's partnering with Malcolm Greig in 1940 (more to come on this later..!).

Ralph and his wife Olive had two children, Robert and Judith - both originally born in Bowraville, but who came to Parramatta alongside their parents in 1928.  Robert would go on to become a lawyer, working alongside his father and carrying on the Coleman legacy within Western Sydney.

Ralph was originally from Smithfield, so although the Western Sydney area wasn't completely unknown territory - his Church Street office was his first local business venture to speak of.  

In 1928, when Ralph moved his family to Parramatta - the suburb had just five legal firms in operation: Greenwell Shephard & York, F.W. Todhunter, Sholto P Kemp, G. Robilliard and Bowden & Bowden.

From the Tooth & Company Ltd Collection of the Noel Butlin Archieve Centre at ANU

Whilst Ralph went on to purchase the firm of Bowden & Bowden - a number of these other firms have remained in the Parramatta area (although changes in names have occurred), with Greenwell Shephard & York now being known as Shephard & Shephard Solicitors, F.W. Todhunter now being known as Stacks Champion - and notably, G. Robilliard being purchased by Coleman Greig Lawyers after being renamed as Robilliard & Robilliard!

Stay tuned for our next 90th celebratory blog, which will delve into Parramatta's local history during the period in which Ralph Coleman brought his family to live in the area.