Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Charles William Roemer (1799–1874)

by A. F. Pike

This article was published:

Charles William Roemer (1799-1874), merchant, was baptized at Leipzig, Saxony, on 11 May 1799, the son of Carl Wilhelm Maximilian vön Römer, an officer in the Royal Saxon Regiment, and his wife Justine Dorothee, née Frohlich. For many years he lived at Cheapside, London, as an importer of German wool. Early in 1832 he emigrated to New South Wales to grow and export Australian wool. In February 1836 he petitioned for letters of denization to give him legal title to the crown land he had already bought in New South Wales; his request was granted in August. Roemer bought land including 847 acres (343 ha) in the Port Phillip District in 1840-41 and property at Moreton Bay, Scone, Raymond Terrace, Clarence Town, Mudgee, Yass and Queanbeyan, but he continued to live in Sydney as a merchant. He imported some rare wine in 1841 but most of his activity was in the export trade.

In 1834 he had opened the Sydney Bank in Charlotte Place, on a plan that was original, but too cautious for his associates. In November 1836 he was elected director of the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney, and in December was appointed auditor for the Fire and Life Assurance Co. By January 1840 he was a director of the Australian Auction Co., but mostly he operated as an individual financier. He was charged in the Sydney Police Court on 10 November 1840 with obtaining £522 15s. under false pretences from J. T. Hughes and was committed for trial but acquitted in February 1841. In January 1839 Roemer, a short, fair man with a round face, chaired a meeting in Sydney in support of a German mission at Moreton Bay, and in January 1841 he subscribed to the building of Christ Church St Laurence in Sydney. He was also a member of a committee appointed in July 1842 to report on the suitability of Broulee as a shipping port on the south coast of New South Wales. Roemer sailed from Sydney in the Shamrock on 16 September 1844. In October 1854 he gave a power of attorney to Severin Kanute Salting of Sydney and Bielby Hawthorn of Melbourne to enable them to dispose of his property in the mainland colonies, New Zealand and Van Diemen's Land. In 1852 at Lambeth he had married Clementina Levett who bore him a son and daughter. Roemer died in Stuttgart, Germany, on 26 July 1874 and was survived by his wife and two children.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol 18
  • S. J. Butlin, Foundations of the Australian Monetary System 1788-1851 (Melb, 1953)
  • newspaper indexes under Roemer (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

A. F. Pike, 'Roemer, Charles William (1799–1874)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 24 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Leipzig, Saxony, Germany


26 July, 1874 (aged ~ 75)
Stuttgart, Germany

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