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Duesbury, Frank Wentworth (1889–1960)

by R. G. Dryen

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Frank Wentworth Duesbury (1889-1960), chartered accountant and businessman, was born on 11 February 1889 at Petersham, Sydney, elder son of John William Duesbury, an accountant from Derbyshire, and his native-born wife Mary, née Biggs. His father, whose ancestor had founded the manufacture of Royal Crown Derby porcelain in 1750, migrated to Sydney as a child in 1863 and became well known as a public accountant, business entrepreneur and innovator. Frank was educated at the Grammar School, Mudgee, then worked in a bank at Newcastle. He was practising as an accountant in Sydney when he married Nellie Madge, daughter of Captain Fergus Cumming, on 19 September 1914 at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle.

In 1921 Duesbury was a fellow of the Institute of Incorporated Accountants of New South Wales, of which body he was a councillor and vice-president of its Students' Society. When the institute was absorbed into the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants in 1930, Duesbury was admitted as a fellow. He was also an original fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia in 1928 and thereafter practised as a chartered accountant, having founded the firm of F. W. Duesbury & Co. in 1927.

As a professional accountant Frank Duesbury's services were much sought after—he became chairman of the P. & M. Co. (Aust.) Ltd, Smith Sons & Rees Ltd, and Brico (Aust.) Pty Ltd, and was a director of such companies as Goodlet & Smith Ltd, W. H. Paling & Co. Ltd, R. Fowler Ltd, Sargents Ltd, Music Houses of Australia Ltd, Federal Mutual Insurance of Australia Ltd and Newbold General Refractories Ltd. In 1959 he was voted out of the chair of Smith Sons & Rees Ltd when three directors reneged on accepting a take-over offer by Repco Ltd that he had negotiated; he resigned from the board and the offer lapsed.

Duesbury was interested in horse-breeding and racing administration. Already a committee-member of the Rosehill Racing Club, he was elected to the committee of the Australian Jockey Club in June 1942. He first leased Yarraman Park, Scone, and then bought successively Minnaville, Castlereagh (from which he derived an income of £600 a month from its river-gravel deposits), and Hobartville, Richmond. He looked after the financial affairs of A. W. (Frank) Thompson, owner of Widden Stud, Denman, whom he partnered in several breeding and racing ventures: little prize-money was won but many famous brood mares were bred. He was part-owner of Escutcheon, Hesione and Minnamurra, the dam of Achilles.

Survived by his wife and two daughters, Duesbury died in St Luke's Hospital, Darlinghurst, on 11 July 1960 and was cremated with Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £128,294.

Select Bibliography

  • B. Dalhunty, The Dalhunty Papers (Syd, 1959)
  • Institute of Incorporated Accountants of New South Wales, Thirteenth Annual Report, 1921
  • Commonwealth Institute of Accountants, Year Book, 1937
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Aug 1959, 12 July 1960, Australian Jockey Club, Records (Randwick, Sydney)
  • Sydney Stock Exchange, Company records
  • private information.

Citation details

R. G. Dryen, 'Duesbury, Frank Wentworth (1889–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/duesbury-frank-wentworth-6024/text10295, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 17 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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