How did this happen? How did an Englishman working as the curator of the Darwin Botanical Gardens get to purchase land in Patonga?
Charles Ernest Frank ALLEN was born on the 2nd of July 1876 in Wimbledon in the county of Oxford, England. Before his arrival in Australia, C. E. F Allen spent some time working in Rhodesia and Mozambique. By trade he was a botanist, he received his formal training at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England.
He went on to apply to join to His Majesty’s Armed Services during the Second Boer War in South Africa. Due to medical issues with his teeth, he was declared as unfit for service. C. E. F. Allen worked with the botanic gardens in Cairns and later in Darwin, Northern Territory, and on October 7, 1913, he was titled curator and later acquired the additional role of Superintendent of Agriculture for the Northern Territory. He was the garden’s very first full-time curator but he soon left to join the Australian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.
C. E. F. Allen returned to the Botanic Gardens in the 1920s but due to his many responsibilities, he was unable to devote much time to the Gardens. Allen undertook experimentation in economic botany and established the Gardens first Herbarium during his time as Curator. He retired from the position in February 1936. He later returned to the United Kingdom where he later died. Since then, there has been a park and street dedicated to him in Fannie Bay, Darwin.
Perhaps in anticipation of his retirement ALLEN, in 1935, purchased a grant of land sold by auction being Allotment 7 of Section 3 DP758831 (67 Bay Street). There is no evidence that he ever visited the site let alone built or lived there. At retirement he returned to England and died in 1939.
It may have been his role as a public servant that gave him the notification of the gazetted auction but maybe someone knows the answer.
Virtual War Memorial of Australia.