Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Frederick Augustus du Croz (1821–1897)

by Isabella J. Mead

This article was published:

Frederick Augustus du Croz (1821-1897), merchant, was born in London, the third son of John Du Croz, a dealer in glass and china who became a director of the Van Diemen's Land Co. and died at Merton, Surrey, on 13 March 1873. After training by his father Frederick sailed in the Emu and in March 1840 arrived at Launceston were he had been invited to manage Willis Keogh & Co. The firm was taken over by William Jackson with whom Du Croz soon became a partner. They bought land and wool, acted as import and export agents for many pastoral estates and became shipowners. At St John's Church on 20 December 1845 Du Croz married Margaret, daughter of Archibald McDowall, of Logan, Bothwell; they made their home at Fairplace (Pen-y-Bryn), off Elphin Road, Launceston.

In 1846 Jackson left to establish the head office of the firm in London and in November Gervase Bedford Du Croz arrived to join his brother in Launceston. Frederick was appointed agent for Lloyds in 1846 and became chairman of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Derwent and Tamar Assurance Co. The firm prospered until 1849 when the increase in convict transportation and a sharp fall in wool prices led him to write to Jackson: 'You must send very limited Supplies of Goods & no Articles of Luxury as none here can afford more than the common necessaries … The exclusively penal character of Van Diemen's Land has drawn the well-directed Capital & Skilful free Labor to the other Colonies'. This letter was sent by Jackson to the Colonial Office without avail, but meanwhile Du Croz opened agencies with merchants at Adelaide and with Frederick Dalgety in Port Phillip. In March 1852 he went with his wife and two children to England where he won confidence as 'an honest and thorough man of business'. With his partner he planned to amalgamate with Dalgety but after he returned to Tasmania early in 1853, Jackson withdrew. Du Croz then bought out his partner and with his family sailed for London in 1854 to establish his own head office. Gervase became manager in Launceston and on 8 August married Jessie Tasmania Massey; he died aged 34 on 19 February 1855, survived by his wife and one son; as a mark of respect all the business houses in the town were closed for his funeral.

Although Du Croz continued to deplore the poverty of Tasmania's economy and never returned to Australia he had a succession of partners in his own firm at Launceston. In London he continued to correspond with Dalgety and by 1857 was his most important partner and chief administrator of the spreading colonial branches. Du Croz represented Tasmania in the General Association for the Australian Colonies in 1860 and at the London International Exhibition in 1862. With Dalgety he attempted in 1871 to improve the preparation of wool in Australia and silenced protests by his assertion that the firm acted simply as brokers and made no transactions on its own account. After his wife died in 1872 he sought to retire but continued his active management until the firm was incorporated in 1884 and then served as a director until 1895. He died aged 76 at his home, Courtlands, Sussex, on 28 May 1897. He left an estate of £200,000 to his two sons, three daughters and a nephew.

Select Bibliography

  • P. L. Brown, Clyde Company Papers, vols 3-6 (Lond, 1958-68)
  • Town and Country Journal, 7 Oct 1871
  • Examiner (Launceston), 1 June 1897
  • Dalgety papers (Australian National University Archives)
  • CSD 1/62/1364 (Archives Office of Tasmania) CO 280/252/464.

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Citation details

Isabella J. Mead, 'du Croz, Frederick Augustus (1821–1897)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 20 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


London, Middlesex, England


28 May, 1897 (aged ~ 76)
Sussex, England

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