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Horace Bately ALLARD

Allard Family

Horace Bately Allard was born in Filby, Norfolk, England on the 5th July 1856. He came to Australia in June 1874, arriving on board S.S. Somersetshire in Melbourne before travelling to Sydney. He was employed in several merchant firms, and in the early 1880’s set up his own practice as an accountant.


In 1880 Horace Allard married Maria Cowlishaw Woolnough, and they had 4 children. They lived at “The Priory”, on the Appian Way at Burwood.


Around 1888 he became involved with Andrew Lyell and Richard Butler.

Andrew Lyell, born in Scotland in 1836, had arrived in Melbourne on board ‘Penola’, in 1853 aged 16. He had worked in the office of a Dundee firm, Moon, Langlands &Co., and on arrival in Melbourne found work with Henry Langlands in his ironworks and importing business, which also incorporated a wholesale warehouse business. As various changes took place in the company, Lyell became a partner in the warehousing branch, later known as Buick, Christie and Lyell. In 1866 he set up an accountancy business, with Denovan Gowan, and this was the start of his flourishing company which became one Melbourne’s leading and most reputable firms of accountants. Gowan died in 1885, and Lyell joined with Benjamin Fink. Lyell resigned in 1888, just before the collapse of the Mercantile Finance Company, with which his company was linked. He resumed business as a public accountant, and traded as Lyell & Co.


In April 1891 Lyell formed the partnership with Horace Bately Allard, who headed the Sydney office of Lyell, Allard & Butler at 68 Pitt St.


In 1895 H B Allard returned to England for 6 months, and William Densham joined the firm which was then known as Lyell, Allard and Densham, until Lyell’s death in 1898.


Horace Allard’s son Gordon (George Gordon Woolnough Allard) joined the firm in 1906. In 1913, Frank Way and James Hardie became partners, with a proviso in the deal that Gordon could be nominated as a partner within 2 years, and Allard, Way and Hardie came into being. The small firm had some large accounts, and continued to flourish.


Gordon became a partner in 1915, despite the fact that he was away for most of the war years on active service. 

“Gordon Allard made a significant impact on the firm, even if it was less substantial and permanent than that of Way or Hardie. He seems to have been approachable, bluff and genial, taking particular responsibility for ‘indoor work’, that is, accounting and tax work carried out in the office as distinct from ‘outside’ auditing. Gordon Allard also agreed that the firm could support a staff rugby team. This was formed in 1928 and played an annual match against another firm of leading Sydney accountants. The fixture has continued unbroken except for the war years, into the present, although both firms now bear international names.

This was one instance of the growth of a spirit of comradeship which was evident in the interwar years, and which was fostered by very genuine concern for the welfare of the staff. Another instance was James Hardie’s annual excursion in his yacht for female members of the firm.

Less auspicious though, was the unfortunate Gordon Allard’s departure from the firm. In 1939 he faced court action for some irregularity with his personal income tax return, and partners felt obliged to ask for his resignation. The following year, Gordon Allard committed suicide.”*


In 1933, when he was 77, Hrace Allard again visited England, where he arranged a meeting with Cooper Brothers, and discussed the possibility of joint representation between Coopers and the Sydney firm. The day following an agreement was drafted and sent to Allard to sign, not the other partners, to represent each other in their respective countries.

In 1948 the firm joined forces with Cooper Brothers and Co., of London, along with firms from 4 other capital cities, and in 1976 the firm became Coopers and Lybrand.


Horace Allard was particularly active in the development of his profession, following in Lyell’s footsteps. He was a founder member of the Sydney Institute of Public Accountants in 1894, and a council member and later vice-president. He was a member of a delegation to Melbourne in 1903 which sought to establish an institute of Australian accountants.  When in 1908 the Sydney Institute was merged with the new Australasian Corporation of Public Accountants, Allard became a member of the general council and also of the NSW council of this body. He was president of the State council between 1916 and 1918. Later when the Royal Charter was granted in 1928 Allard had the privilege of being named in it as a member of the institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia’s first council, and he remained on the council until 1933.


“ Horace Bately Allard was dedicated to his profession and carefully nurtured his directorships and varied business contacts.  He was neat and meticulous in appearance, with a groomed moustache, and usually wore a Gladstone collar and bow tie. His office attendances were regular and punctual, and he built a reputation of solid respectability and unimpeachable integrity. In his own way he was clearly a forceful figure, whose expertise was sought on the boards of many large companies, who became one of Sydney’s best known accountants, and who played a leading part in developing the profession of accountancy in Australia. As well as his many directorships he was also for some years auditor to the Bank of New South Wales.”*


 * This quote from “Called to Account, A History of Coopers and Lybrand in Australia by Malcolm Falkus, printed in 1993 by Coopers and Lybrand.

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