Donated photograph unearths the story of a pharmacist

May 18, 2022

Recently a photograph was donated to St Patrick’s College by Margo Lawrence, the daughter of the late Old Collegian Frank Brabner (SPC 1921-24), who was born at nearby Illabarook.

1n 1921 on his first day of school, Frank Brabner was a nine-year-old day student, and his parents were publicans of the Southern Cross Hotel in Ballarat, known now as La Porchetta.   

This original photograph from 1921 was recently donated by a family member to the College archives. Among the students photographed in this Third and Fourth Class photograph is young Frank Brabner, pictured bottom far right. Frank was born on January 19, 1912.

Frank pictured in the 1921-1922 College Annual.

Frank pictured in the 1922-1923 College Annual.

Frank pictured in the 1923-1924 College Annual.

At the age of 15, Frank’s parents moved to the Croxton Park Hotel, in Thornbury, operating the hotel where he continued his education at Parade College East Melbourne.

The Croxton Park Hotel, Thornbury. Photo: Victorian Collections

He completed his pharmacy apprenticeship in Balwyn on 7 July 1930, with his first employment as a relieving pharmacist for two years in Gippsland and Hamilton.  

He moved to Geelong and worked for Bull and Owens Pharmacy for approximately eight years to finally open his pharmacy in Lismore, Victoria.

Frank and his wife Masie and their three children operated the pharmacy for 30 years.

Frank volunteered for many clubs and charities before retiring to Geelong and passing away in 2000.

Frank was a dedicated Hawthorn supporter who remembered when the Hawks’ nickname was Mayblooms in 1925 when they entered the VFL. for those who do not know, Maybloom was a profuse flower in the Hawthorn suburban area.  

Frank Brabner in later life working as a pharmacist at the Lismore Pharmacy.