Robert Reid (1842 – 1904) benefactor, politician
Robert Reid had a long connection with the Collins Street Baptist Church. He was chairman of the Baptist Union of Victoria and secretary of its theological college for many years.
As ‘one of the foremost of Australian commercial magnates’, Reid was president of the first Congress of the Chambers of Commerce in Australasia during Victoria’s centennial exhibition. He represented the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition (1886) in London and was a commissioner at the Paris Exhibition (1889) when he received the cross of the Légion d’honneur. He was president of the Melbourne chamber in 1888-90 and 1899-1902. Short, alert, rugged, well-travelled and well-informed, Reid rode or drove daily to the city from his family home, Belmont, at Balwyn. During the boom he was a public champion of business rectitude, criticising the ‘smart’ promoters of ‘wicked schemes’ which ‘endangered the whole character of this colony’ in 1889, and condemning banks and other institutions for abandoning ‘the old-fashioned lines of the British merchant’.
Reid had a long connection with the Collins Street Baptist Church. He was chairman of the Baptist Union of Victoria and secretary of its theological college for many years. A prominent philanthropist, he contributed £1000 for a wing of the Homoeopathic Hospital. As a member of the royal commission on the sanitary condition of Melbourne (1888) he had contributed comparative reports from his travels. He was a member of the board of the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia.
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