Chapter 17 Dulhunty Papers

CONTENTS, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, (452kB), (1341kB), (860kB),


Frank Duesbury, a grandson of William Duesbury, and cousin of Sally, was born in Derby and married Juliana Parker. His son, George Tunnecliffe Duesbury, came to Australia in 1863 with his son, John William, aged five, the child of his second wife, Harriet Stephenson.

John William Duesbury, who evidently inherited the "excellent business capacity" of his ancestor, became a successful Sydney accountant.

A document, comprising 14 pages of his fine handwriting, addressed to the Board of Directors, the Haymarket P.L.B. and Investment Company Ltd., entitled Minute re Company's Position and Suggestions for Improvement, October 1894, signed by J.W. Duesbury as manager, is preserved in the Archives of the University of Sydney. Some extracts from it give a glimpse of the financial state of the colony at the time:

The state of business generally both in ordinary commercial as well as financial circles, is so unsatisfactory and the outlook, if not wholly bad, has so little of promise in it, that it is necessary to frankly review our position, in order to discover what is best to be done to improve it in the extremely novel and unparalleled circumstances by which we are surrounded.

Three years ago we were doing a very satisfactory business and considered ourselves in a fairly strong position. Since that time the great financial crisis occurred, the particulars of which are so impressed upon our memories as to require no recapitulation.

He did not favour a scheme which had already been suggested for disposing of the company's properties on the Art Union or Lottery principle. He pointed out that;

... for the assets of one of the Banks now in liquidation - assets consisting chiefly of rent-producing properties - an Art Union has been approved of by the Legislature of the Colony in which the Bank carried on its operations. But, although legal assent to this course was obtained over twelve months ago, and the total amount to be raised is only £300,000, at enormous expense the whole of the Australian Colonies have been canvassed for subscribers, and the conduct of the matter has been entrusted to those whose experience in this business is unquestioned and whoseintegrity is beyond suspicion, the fact remains that the list is still far from complete, and the advertised time for the drawing for prizes has been several times postponed.

He had several schemes to suggest, but the one he most favoured was that the Banks and Finance Companies should place their assets in a huge trust to be held as a floating security against a loan of some twenty or twenty-five millions to be raised in London, the currency to be extended over a long term of years.

For the immediate improvement of his own company he suggested building small but attractive cottages on some of their most favourably situated estates, since a cottage that would have cost £240 three years ago can now be built for £150. This plan was carried into effect, and by its success his company weathered the financial crisis.

Extracts from his letter book give an idea of values in 1895:

I am not in a position to give you any reliable information respecting the details of expenses of companies outside our own except to say that managers of companies and secretaries receive from £300 to £450 p.a. As regards our own institution, I shall willingly reply to your queries. Very considerable retrenchment has been exercised and the expenses now are as under:
Manager £300 p.a.
Accountant £180 p.a.
Messenger £ 40 p.a.

Directors, five in number. and they have reduced their fee from £1/1/- to 10/6d.

Mr. John R. Stephenson,
Naval Station. Port Royal
South Carolina, U.S.A.

Dear Uncle,

Australia enjoyed the most unparalleled prosperity for 25 years prior to 1893; in that year, the terrible financial crisis occurred which ruined thousands of wealthy people, closed most of the banks, and down went values, wages etc. We are gradually pulling through, but it will take a longtime to get back to the former state of things. Ten years ago, bricklayers and plasterers were getting 12/6 to 15/- (21/2 to 3 dollars) a day, and wharf labourers 1/3d. an hour. I remember the time in the 60's and 70's when 1/- an hour was regarded as the standard pay of a blacksmith or mechanic, but later on their wages increased 5% and have now gone back again, and fewer at work. Things, however, are mending, and in several places lately I have heard of the workmen getting 1/- (1/4 dollar) a day increase.

On 28th December, 1896, a festive note was introduced:

Sydney Tramway and Omnibus Co. Ltd.,
Macquarie Street,

I want a 4-horse ‘bus (similar to the one previously supplied to me and at the same price) for next Friday 1-1-‘97 to call at my private residence "Erica", Frazer Road, Petersham, outside Nicholls Masonic Hotel, not later than 9 a.m., thence to proceed either to Tom Ugly’s, Sandringham or some similar place not yet decided on but in all probability the latter, calling for another party at Newtown or elsewhere as directed. Please send a large size ‘bus and oblige.

It was late in the 1880's before he had a telephone installed in his office, and in 1896 the first typewritten copies appeared in his letter books. He was a member of the Metropolitan Liedertafel, which apparently encountered financial difficulties, for in October, 1894 he was required to pay the Mercantile Bank of Sydney £40 to discharge his obligation under a joint and several Letter of Guarantee.

A national crisis could not reduce interest in Australia's principal sporting event, and in 1893, the year of the financial disaster, it appears that it was unwise to visit Melbourne on business during the first week in November, for "The Department over there will not do anything until after the Race Meeting."Cricket has always played an important part in the social history of Australia, and the following letter shows that J. W. Duesbury did not lack the national enthusiasm:

7th March, ‘07
Dr W. Grace,
Crystal Palace,

My dear W.G.
This note will introduce to you a very great friend of mine, Mr J. W. Duesbury, who is visiting your country. He is keenly interested in Cricket and knows personally all of the Australian players.
Any kindness he may receive, or friendly consideration you may show him, will be greatly appreciated by them, especially by myself, and shall be grateful for anything you may do to make his visit a pleasant one.
Yours as ever.
M. A. Noble

J.W. Duesbury married Mary Biggs, who bore him two sons and five daughters. He died in 1915, and his wife in 1932.

His two sons, Frank and Leslie, both chartered accountants, are partners of the well-known Sydney firm F. W. Duesbury and Company.

F.W. Duesbury, a member of the A.J.C. Committee and.owner of 'Minnaville' stud at Penrith, is mentioned in Who’s Who in Australia, 1955:

DUESBURY, Frank Wentworth, F.C.A. (Aust.) Member Committee A.J.C. Sydney; Snr. Partner F. W. Duesbury & Co., Chartered Accountants (Aust.) son of John William Duesbury, b. Feb. 11 1889, Petersham, ed. Mudgee Gram., Chairmn P.& M. Co. (Aust.) Ltd., Smith Sons & Rees Ltd., Brico (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Director of W. H. Paling & Co. Ltd., Bailey & Jorgenson Pty. Ltd., Newbold Gen. Refractories Ltd., m. Sept. 1914 Nellie d. Capt. Fergus Cumming, 2 d., recreations, grazing and breeding, farming pursuits.

There are no male heirs to carry on this name.

CONTENTS, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, (452kB), (1341kB), (860kB),