W.G. Raven Funerals
The Raven family arrived in Melbourne in 1841, and William Raven opened a drapery and furniture manufactory and store in Collins Street, where he was soon also producing coffins. He formally openened his own Undertaking business at purpose built facilities in Collingwood in 1849, when the small Mebourne community was still a part of New South Wales.
His son William George (pictured) opened more premises over the next decades in places like Fitzroy, Clifton Hill, Hawthorn, Carlton, Northcote, and Kew.
When Willliam George fell ill, his daughter Ophelia (pictured) ran the business on her own for some years before marrying: an astonishing achievement for a woman in Colonial Victoria. She became a mainstay of many Melbourne charities, and newspapers ran notices when she was dying, advising the great and the good of Melbourne to pay their respects before it was too late. Her husband, Thomas McMahen, although Mayor of Fitzroy and respected JP and director of multiple charities in his own right, was referred to simply as her 'relict' after in her obituaries.
Their sons William George Raven-McMahen (William George II or William III, often referred to in the Melbourne media in the 1930's and 1940's as the 'happy undertaker') and Hartley Raven-McMahen, continued the business into the 1970s. The last member of the Raven-McMahen family to grow up in a family still working in the business – Hartley II, known as Max – died as recently as January 2011.
Raven’s was one of the most successful and respected funeral company’s of Melbourne’s first century, and the 1869 funeral of John Pascoe Fawkner (pictured) is still considered – at over 220 vehicles and 2.5 miles length - a contender for the record for the longest funeral cortege in Melbourne’s history.
Along the way most of Raven’s 19th Century contemporaries were slowly absorbed into bigger companies, that usually downgraded or ended their operations in their local communities. Raven’s has managed to avoid this fate and we still operate quietly and independently, serving the same community we have served for over 165 years, with our own particular brand of understatement. A decade ago, when head office transferred from the 1852 branch in Fitzroy to the 1854 branch in Clifton Hill, we called it ‘moving to more modern premises’.
The current directors at Raven’s have been with the company for many years, and intend to maintain the tradition of old fashioned, high quality independent service. We feel there is still room for the traditions of a Funeral Director being in, and of, their community.
Thank you for the sincere thoughtful and measured way you conducted my father's funeral service,... for your guiding contribution and the gentle support your service offered us.
Whether you need immediate assistance, or are pre-planning or pre-paying your funeral for peace of mind, Raven’s can help.
Call 9489 8711 at any time, for any assistance.
Our business is built on referrals.
The best compliment you can provide is a referral.