Elphinstone Dick

Harriet Elphinstone Dick was a notable Melbourne personality in the latter part of the nineteenth century. She first came to public notice when she won many swimming races at the old St Kilda Baths in the 1870s, when she was in her 20s.

In 1879, at 24, Miss Dick retired from championship swimming to run a ladies-only gymnasium in Collins Street. She continued to run her gym, which was extremely popular with members of the teaching profession, until her death in 1902 at the age of 50.  While running the gym, she taught swimming at the St Kilda Baths, the scene of her earlier swimming triumphs.

Miss Dick lived at various times in Carlton and Collingwood, but also took up farming at Upper Beaconsfield, on the very outskirts of Melbourne, with a female companion, Miss Alice Moon, who also was a partner in the gymnasium. 

The lives of Miss Dick (born Harriet Rowell) and Miss Moon are well remembered on a website for residents of Upper Beaconsfield –
https://www.upperbeaconsfieldhistory.org.au/g0/p46.htm#i1371 (for Miss Dick)
https://www.upperbeaconsfieldhistory.org.au/g0/p46.htm#i1372 (for Miss Moon)

Updated 9/7/2019.

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Posted in History Bites.