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Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851–1931)

by John Atchison

This article was published:

Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851-1931), by unknown photographer

Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851-1931), by unknown photographer

Lake Macquarie City Library

Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851-1931), company executive and soldier, was born on 31 July 1851 at Gosford, New South Wales, son of James St John Ranclaud, settler, and his wife Eliza, née Wood. He was educated at West Maitland Grammar School and at Newcastle Presbyterian School where he later became a pupil-teacher. 'Sedate', 'of pleasing appearance' with 'a robust frame', he had tried dairy farm work, but preferred teaching; he was recommended for permanent employment under the Council of Education in late 1868.

In 1872 Ranclaud entered the service of the Australian Agricultural Co. as junior clerk at its Newcastle office. It was an eventful era for the company: its station Warrah was undergoing major internal paddocking and the Hamilton coal-mine was being consolidated. When major shareholder criticism of E. C. Merewether resulted in his replacement as superintendent by Jesse Gregson in 1875, Ranclaud was appointed second clerk. On 6 July 1880 at St Barnabas Church, Sydney, he married Agnes Emma Boyd and three years later was promoted first clerk on a salary of £275. He was responsible for checking invoices, pit pay-sheets, monetary statements and Newcastle rents, as well as the sale and lease of land and, from 1883, supervision of wool shipments.

When Ranclaud was appointed senior officer under F. V. C. Livingstone-Learmonth in 1907 he remained head of the lands section and became involved in town planning. To reduce its burden of municipal rates and taxes, the company increased land sales and in 1912 he planned with (Sir) John Sulman and J. F. Hennessy the subdivision and layout of many city sections, notably the garden suburb of Hamilton and Memorial Drive. On his recommendation National Park was handed over to the city council.

In 1871 Ranclaud had enlisted as a private in the Newcastle Corps, Volunteer Rifles. He was commissioned in the New South Wales Volunteer Infantry in March 1882 and promoted lieutenant in May. Promotion continued quickly after the raising of the 4th Regiment, New South Wales Infantry: captain (1884), major (1885) and honorary lieutenant-colonel (1896). As lieutenant-colonel from 1897, he commanded what became the 4th Australian Infantry Regiment, which he brought to a high state of efficiency. Addressing troops embarking for the South African War in 1899 he stressed that 'the heart of Australia beats with a mighty throb in union with that of Britain'. A colonel from 1906, he was a consultative member of the Military Board and acting State commandant in 1908-09. He retired in 1911.

By late 1920 Ranclaud was showing 'the strain of continuous hard work'. His 'soul and body' had been 'wrapt up' in the A.A.Co.'s interests for fifty years and, when he retired in December 1922, he was praised for his loyalty and resourcefulness, as well as for his kindness, courtesy and consideration. Regarded as 'one of the makers of modern Newcastle', he was well and widely known in the city, especially in the Chamber of Commerce. Survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons, he died at his Merewether home on 24 April 1931 and, after a service at Christ Church Cathedral, was buried in Sandgate cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • Cyclopedia of New South Wales (Syd, 1907)
  • J. C. Macdonnel, Toronto Tourist Guide (Toronto, NSW, 1924)
  • A. P. Pulver, After Coal (Newcastle, NSW, 1979)
  • A. P. Pulver, The A. A. Company's Coal at Newcastle (Newcastle, 1980)
  • J. C. Docherty, Newcastle. The Making of an Australian City (Syd, 1983)
  • Newcastle Morning Herald, 23 Dec 1922, 14 Feb 1931
  • Australian Agricultural Co papers (Australian National University Archives)
  • University of Newcastle Archives
  • Ranclaud papers (Newcastle Reference Library and State Library of New South Wales)
  • Council of Education records (State Records New South Wales)
  • private information.

Citation details

John Atchison, 'Ranclaud, Charles Mark (1851–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 18 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (Melbourne University Press), 1988

View the front pages for Volume 11

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851-1931), by unknown photographer

Charles Mark Ranclaud (1851-1931), by unknown photographer

Lake Macquarie City Library