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Edwin Tivey (1866–1947)

by Roger C. Thompson

This article was published:

Edwin Tivey (1866-1947), by George Coates, 1919

Edwin Tivey (1866-1947), by George Coates, 1919

Australian War Memorial, ART00196

Edwin Tivey (1866-1947), soldier and stockbroker, was born on 19 September 1866 at Inglewood, Victoria, fourth surviving child of Joseph Tivey, an English-born storekeeper who had arrived in Australia in 1848 at the age of 14, and his wife Margaret, née Hayes, from Tasmania. Edwin was educated at All Saints Grammar School, St Kilda, and at Wesley College, Melbourne, where he rowed bow in the second crew of 1882. 'No scholastic genius', he eschewed university to return to Inglewood as an accountant. He was commissioned lieutenant in the Inglewood detachment of the Victorian Rangers in 1889 and promoted captain in 1891. Townsfolk elected him to the Inglewood Borough Council on which he served for five years from 1894. In 1899 he became a founder and first president of the local branch of the Australian Natives' Association.

In May 1900 Tivey embarked for South Africa as a captain in the Victorian 4th (Imperial) Contingent. Serving in widespread operations, he was mentioned in dispatches. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order for leading forty troops on a forced march to Philipstown on 11 February 1901. His men drove back over 300 opponents, occupied the adjacent kopjes and held them until reinforcements arrived.

In 1903 Tivey became a member of the Melbourne Stock Exchange. On 26 September 1906 he married Annie Bird Robb (d.1921) at the Presbyterian Church, Toorak. A captain in the new 9th Light Horse Regiment of the Victorian militia, in 1906 Tivey was appointed brigade major in the Victorian 3rd Light Horse Brigade and in 1911 as lieutenant-colonel became its commander. He received the Volunteer Officer's Decoration in 1910.

By the commencement of World War I Tivey was a successful stockbroker and temporary colonel commanding the Victorian 5th L.H.B. He was promoted colonel in January 1915 and was commandant of the officers' school at Broadmeadows. 'Of neat build, middle height, crisp appearance, he looks every inch a soldier', observed Melbourne Punch.

In July Tivey was appointed commander of the Australian Imperial Force's 8th Infantry Brigade which he personally helped to recruit. He quickly endeared himself to men of all ranks with his sincerity and his concern for their interests. In December the brigade disembarked in Egypt where it held a sector of the Suez Canal defences. Its men were soon dubbed 'chocolate soldiers' because, to relieve Moascar, they travelled by train from Tel-el-Kebir while supporting troops marched for two days through heat and sand. Thenceforth the brigade was known as 'Tivey's Chocs'.

Tivey was appointed temporary brigadier general in February 1916 and in June his brigade left with the Australian 5th Division for France. It went into action at the battle of Fromelles and continued to fight on the Western Front until the war's end. In December 1916 Tivey was wounded in action but remained on duty. For brief periods in 1917 and 1918 he temporarily commanded the 5th Division when Major General (Sir) Talbot Hobbs was absent. Tivey was again wounded at Westhoek Ridge, Belgium, in October 1917 and was gassed in May 1918. In the great allied offensive of 8 August 1918 his brigade captured 831 prisoners and 85 machine-guns. During the war he was mentioned in dispatches six times; he was appointed C.B. in 1917 and C.M.G. in January 1919.

From late November 1918 to May 1919 Tivey was temporary major general, again temporarily commanding the 5th Division. In July 1919 he embarked for Australia where, in the reserve of officers, Australian Military Forces, he was promoted major general in June 1920. In 1921-26 he commanded the 2nd Cavalry Division of the Citizen Military Forces. Governor-General Lord Forster undervalued Tivey in 1925 by describing him as 'a nice little man who fancies himself a bit'. Having resumed trading as a respected and well-known member of the Melbourne Stock Exchange, from 1920 Tivey lived in a small mansion, Nauroy, Kooyong Road, Toorak, and worshipped at nearby St John's Anglican Church. He was an honorary colonel in the Victorian mounted rifles from 1928 and, from 1932, in the Victorian 32nd Battalion. On his eightieth birthday he was described as a 'silver haired dapper sharebroker [who] retains his soldierly bearing' and 'attends his office every day'.

Tivey died at his Toorak home on 19 May 1947 and was buried with full military honours by the bishop of Geelong in Brighton cemetery, Melbourne. His estate was sworn for probate at £75,303, the principal beneficiary being his daughter Violet. His son Major Edwin Peter Tivey had died as an Italian prisoner of war in 1943.

Select Bibliography

  • A. D. Ellis, The Story of the Fifth Australian Division (Lond, 1920)
  • G. Blainey et al, Wesley College (Melb, 1967)
  • London Gazette, 22, 25 Mar, 7 May 1901
  • Inglewood Advertiser, 10, 21 Aug 1894, 25 Apr, 2, 19 May 1899
  • Advance Australia, 15 May 1900
  • Punch (Melbourne), 5 Aug 1915
  • Herald (Melbourne), 30 Jan, 19 Sept 1946, 20 May 1947
  • Tivey papers (Australian War Memorial)
  • Stonehaven papers (National Library of Australia)
  • St John's Anglican Church, Toorak, Melbourne, records.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Roger C. Thompson, 'Tivey, Edwin (1866–1947)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 14 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Edwin Tivey (1866-1947), by George Coates, 1919

Edwin Tivey (1866-1947), by George Coates, 1919

Australian War Memorial, ART00196

Life Summary [details]


19 September, 1866
Inglewood, Victoria, Australia


19 May, 1947 (aged 80)
Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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Religious Influence

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