This printed red ‘One Penny’ QV printed envelope of Victoria has been cancelled with a MELBOURNE/ 16S/ FE 4/ 90 duplex obliterator ‘VICTORIA, and it is simply addressed to Sali Cleve, Queen Street, City. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

Sali Cleve has been very difficult to research and most of the information obtained has been fragmentary. An early finding in the Victorian Government Gazette was that he had beeen appointed a Consul to three German States, as follows: “The Consul for Hamburg and Bremen and Acting Consul for Hanover, Adolph Schlostein Esquire, has intimated to the Governor that, in exercise of the power to appoint a provisional administrator of the said Consulates, he has appointed SALI CLEVE Esquire, to be the Acting Consul for Hamburg, Bremen, and Hanover, during his absence from Victoria.  His excellency has been pleased to recognise Mr. Cleve accordingly.  J. McCULLOCH. Chief Secretary’s Office, Melbourne, 22nd January 1866.” This is suggestive, but not conclusive that Sali Cleve may have been of German origin (Figure 2).

Sali Cleve, Melbourne businessman and extensive land owner of properties in Queensland and Victoria was a benefactor to St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne was praised as a fine example of good citizenship. He had been a resident of St. Kilda for the past 62 years and he presented to the city the handsome drinking fountain, on the Lower Esplanade. It bears the inscription “This drinking fountain is a gift to the public, from Sali Cleve Esq., April 1911.” Mr. Cleve took a great interest in the reserve, at the corner of Beaconsfield Parade, and Fitzroy Street, and much of its beauty is due to his liberality. The Council, recognising Mr. Cleve’s good works, paid him the deserved compliment of naming the reserve after him, “The Cleve Gardens.” A picture of Cleve Gardems is seen in Figure 3.

There is no doubt that he was a large property owner in Queensland for in 1888 he bought in association with Benjamin Joseph Fink and Henry Henty the lands described as ‘consisting of 14.5 miles of double frontage on the Bulloo River, with the waterholes of permanent water at Coomelia Waterhole, Pothamunga and Pinketta. Other waterholes Boolbannah, Comongin, The One Mile, The Five Mile and the Thirteen Mile’. In order to give a further idea of the land holdings of Sali Cleve and partner, I will quote a paragraph in The Argus 17 September 1881 concerning a sale of “the southern portion of the Comongin station… comprising the blocks Nyngin, Nyngin West, Owthorpe No. 6, No. 7, portion of No.1, Balthassar, Napoleon, etc., containing an estimated area of 856 square miles of country, together with 8,600 cattle, mixed ages and sexes, and 50 horses, Messrs Sali Cleves and B.J. Fink, of Melbourne, being the purchasers, at a satisfactory price. Terms, cash. (Figure 4).

By 1894, the partnership of Cleve and Fink had been terminated and Cleve took on another partner. Cleve was capable of dealing with large sums of money, one being a tender for £365,022, and another was a tender for steel rails with a tender for £300,000, as described in the Maitland Mercury, 25 September 1879, well prior to buying his extensive land holdings. I found only one mention of family members in a law case in which Sali Cleve was involved. Two family members, Alfred Cleve and Daniel Hermann Cleve, trading as Alfred Cleve and Co., of Cooktown, Queensland (Trading as Storkeepers). The case was held in the Supreme Court of Queensland before his Honor Sir James Cockle, and I don’t have the expertise to understand the legal implications of the case, and a decision had not been entered in this article [recorded in The Brisbane Courier 4 December 1877.

I have yet to learn when Cleve was born, where at, to whom, whether he married and had children, but he died on 2 November 1919 at his home ‘Majestic Mansions’. I hope that my readers are able to supply more information!

Categories: Business