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Ramaciotti, Gustave Mario (1861–1927)

by C. Neumann

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

Gustave Mario Ramaciotti (1861-1927), law clerk, theatrical manager and soldier, was born on 13 March 1861 at Livorno, Italy, son of Angiolo Ramaciotti, coachman, and his wife Cleofe, née Corti. Arriving in Australia in his teens, he immediately showed an interest in military affairs and joined the Rockhampton Volunteers, Queensland Defence Force, as a private in 1878. In 1880 he was naturalized and on 6 July 1882, describing himself as a law clerk, he married Ada Wilson (d.1918) at Waterloo, Sydney, with Congregational forms. They had a son and a daughter.

Though untrained in the law Ramaciotti, through natural ability and business flair, became managing clerk of the conveyancing department of Minter, Simpson & Co., prominent Sydney solicitors. 'A prosperous city man, of whom all friends and acquaintances spoke with warm liking', he was 'worth the solid income he earned, and his sound business instincts led him to invest well and profitably'. In 1904 he left the law to buy into the biggest theatrical enterprise in Australia, becoming a partner of his friend J. C. Williamson and (Sir) George Tallis. Ramaciotti soon showed a specially quick insight into theatrical work and the years 1904-11 were busy and prosperous. In 1911 he sold his partnership in J. C. Williamson Ltd; that year he bought the Theatre Royal, Sydney, for £15,000, Sutton's Hotel for £10,000 and land at the hotel's rear for £300.

The 'well-gilded' Ramaciotti then decided to concentrate on his military interests. In 1890 he had been commissioned second lieutenant in the 2nd Infantry Regiment and had been promoted captain in 1894, major in 1904 and lieutenant-colonel commanding the 1st Battalion, 2nd Australian Infantry Regiment, in 1909. In 1911 he travelled to England on a brief attachment to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Aldershot and then spent several weeks with the Italian Army in Rome before accompanying it to Tripoli on the outbreak of the Italian-Turkish war. He published Tripoli, a Narrative of the Principal Engagements of the Italian-Turkish War during the Period 23 October 1911 to 15 June 1912 (London, 1912). In August 1912 he was given command of the 24th Infantry (2nd Sydney Battalion) and after a year (July 1913–July 1914) on the unattached list, Australian Military Forces, was promoted colonel commanding the 11th Infantry Brigade.

Ramaciotti's health as well as his age precluded overseas service in World War I. His duties were largely confined to New South Wales. He participated in the mobilization of troops in Sydney to crush an expected insurrection of the German community but this 1914 'Christmas Eve uprising' did not eventuate. In November 1915 he became commandant in New South Wales. He held this position until February 1917 when, after a few months on the retired list, he became inspector general of administration at Army Headquarters, Melbourne. He finally retired as honorary major general in March 1920. He had been appointed C.M.G. in 1917.

After retiring from the army Ramaciotti lived in Italy. He visited Australia in 1924 and was returning on another visit in 1927 when he became ill with dental sepsis. Off Melbourne he was taken from the Oronsay to Mt St Evin's Hospital. Survived by his two children, he died there on 6 December and was buried in Brighton cemetery. His estate in New South Wales was sworn for probate at £91,485.

Select Bibliography

  • British Australasian, 13, 27 July 1911
  • Who Was Who 1916-1928
  • Bulletin, 25 Jan 1912
  • Australasian (Melbourne), 19 Oct 1912, 10 Dec 1927
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Oct 1915, 3 Mar 1916, 26 Jan 1917, 7 Dec 1927
  • Punch (Melbourne), 9 Feb 1911, 16 Dec 1916
  • Town and Country Journal, 24 Jan 1917
  • card index, 1914-18 personnel (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

C. Neumann, 'Ramaciotti, Gustave Mario (1861–1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ramaciotti-gustave-mario-8149/text14241, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 22 December 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (MUP), 1988

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