Mundaring & Hills HISTORICAL
S O C I E T Y
Agnes Elfrida Devenish
Born into the well-known Jacoby family, Freda Jacoby grew up in the Mundaring Weir settlement at her father's property known as "Greystone". Here her father Fred and mother Agnes reared pigs and poultry and grew fruit and vegetables. Freda and her husband Dick Devenish later worked closely with her father Fred, running the Mundaring Hotel. Freda was the sole heir to her father's estate and in 1955 she gifted land from her father's estate to the Forestry Commission, to be used as a public park.
Agnes Elfrida (Freda) Devenish (nee Jacoby)
Freda was born on 22 April 1899 in Perth, the daughter of Frederick William and Agnes Jacoby (nee Wilson). Freda was born into a dynasty that started in Australia with the arrival in South Australia of Daniel Jacoby born in Gdansk, Poland in about 1830. Daniel married Hannah Mathieson in Adelaide on 4 July 1868. Daniel was a cook and became landlord of several hotels in Adelaide, then was appointed bailiff to the Local Court in Orroroo in the Flinders Ranges.
In 1891 Daniel and Hannah moved to Perth with their family and Daniel took over premises in Murray Street Perth to open a restaurant, Café de Paris, and later applied for a publican’s license. This was later called the Bohemia Hotel. Daniel also moved into theatrical enterprises and managed the first theatrical company to visit the goldfields with Freda’s father Frederick. Hannah continued to run the restaurant and hotel after Daniel’s death in 1894 alongside her son Fred. Two years later, Fred purchased property in Mundaring. His elder brother Mathieson had already purchased adjoining properties, which gave the brothers a total land holding of about 250 acres which they developed into an orchard and vineyard. Fred and Mathieson erected the first hotel at the Mundaring Weir settlement which opened in March 1898. After leasing out the hotel, Fred took over the running of the hotel, renamed it the Goldfields Weir Hotel and with Agnes and their children lived at the Weir Hotel for many years, planting fruit trees, vegetables, daffodils and reared pigs and poultry for use at the Hotel.
Fred purchased all the properties formerly belonging to the Jacoby Brothers in around 1899 and made extensive renovations to the Weir Hotel. In October 1926 Freda married Walter (Dick) Ernest Devenish. In 1932 Fred purchased the Mundaring Hotel and gave management of the hotel to his younger son Jack. Jack was killed in a train accident in around 1948 when Fred, Freda and her husband Dick ran the hotel until Fred’s death in 1955 when the hotel was sold.
Freda was the sole inheritor of her father’s estate and Mundaring owes gratitude to Freda for her donation of land from the estate to the then Forestry Commission in 1955, subsequently renamed Fred Jacoby Park to be used as a public park with conservation and educational themes.
Freda and Dick had 3 children, Norma, Donald and Robert. Freda died in Perth on 20 November 1984. Her husband Dick died on 22 January 1990.