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The McCracken Family

Alexander McCracken was born in 1856, the son of Robert McCracken. Robert together with his brother emigrated to Australia in 1841. Ten years later they began a brewing business in Melbourne. The brewing business prospered due to the increased industrialization of the brewing methods and also the practice of tying publicans to their brewery.

One of the brothers' less successful ventures was the construction of the Railway to Essendon. The financial disaster nearly bankrupted the family.

In his early life Alexander McCracken wanted to be a horse trainer. However his father did not consider that engaging in this trade was was a suitable occupation for his son and insisted that Alexander pursue business interests in the family company and elsewhere. In 1884 Alexander McCracken joined his father's business.

Alexander McCracken was a well known public figure in the Essendon area, either founding or in other ways involving himself with a large number of local clubs and and Societies. I will list only some of these associations here. He was:

  • the founding Secretary of the Essendon Football Club at the age of 17. His father was the Founding President of the Club and his cousin Coiler, the Captain. He later went on to become President of the club.
  • First President of the VFL.
  • Founder Essendon Cricket Club.
  • Founder Essendon Rowing Club.
  • Founder Essendon Tennis Club.
  • Vice President of the Victorian Racing Club.
  • President of Essendon Literary and Debating Society.

In 1884 he married Mary Elizabeth Peck, the daughter of John Murray Peck, another early landowner in Strathmore.

At the insistence of acquaintances and against his better judgment he ran for political office in 1894. He stood for the Essendon Flemington electorate against Alfred Deakin (who was to later become the Second Prime Minister of Australia in 1903). Alexander lost the election.

In 1907 the McCracken brewing business became part of the Carlton and United Breweries.

McCracken was fiercely Presbyterian and did not want his property North Park to fall into the hands of a Catholic institution on his death. He was so adamant about this that he put a codicil in his will. On his death the property was sold to Harvey Paterson, an executive of BHP, who later sold to the Catholic St. Columban Mission.

Alexander died in 1915 at the age of 59.

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