Henry Moore, a 2nd great-uncle (1815-1888)

Image: Mr and Mrs Henry Moore of Carrara (Strickland House), Rose Bay, between 1880-1888/ photographer Freeman & Co. courtesy of State Library NSW

What a treasure trove of information! We took copies of the ship’s logs and other documents in the box, and the box was weighed by the librarian when we handed it back. Clearly, with its priceless contents, the library had to be mindful that nothing went missing. I was walking on air when we caught the train home and I was now determined to find out anything and everything about the Australian Moores and Mashfield and Ann Mason.

My continued research uncovered records of Henry Moore, Ann’s oldest brother and one of my nine 2nd Moore great-uncles; Joseph and Ann also had three daughters (including Ann Mason née Bailey Moore). It must have been quite a challenge to bring up and educate such a large family!

Henry became one of Sydney’s leading merchants and ship owners and together with his father he bought the wharf at Miller’s Point, which for 60 years was known as Moore’s Wharf. It was one of the busiest wharfs in Sydney during the early sailing ship days. Later in his life, Henry became the first agent for P&O Lines in Australia.

Henry and his father established Henry Moore & Co, a mercantile company in 1837. Although Henry was young, only twenty-two, he already had six years of business experience as a corresponding clerk for the firm William Walker and Co, a position that gave him access to a worldwide network of mercantile businesses, ship owners, manufacturers and banks*.

At this time it was important for colonial families to invest in the future of their sons; a future that would give their sons financial independence through hard-work and initiative, and Joseph formed the partnership with Henry to achieve this goal. Henry’s other brothers were still too young to be part of the newly-established company, however, they too would benefit from jobs that were created for them within the company. All the female family members would also be financially taken care of.

On the 20 April, 1839 Henry married Elizabeth Scholes Johnson and they went on to have nine children. The family flourished with the initial success of the company, but with the downturn in the market and extensive debt, Henry Moore & Co would experience financial woes. It is believed that they could have survived this period had it not been for one of their smaller creditors, a German woolbroker, Charles William Roemer, who pursued them relentlessly and eventually on the 10 February 1844, Joseph and his eldest son applied for sequestration. How sad and I can only imagine the negative impact this must have had on my 3rd great-grandparents Joseph and Ann. Because Joseph and Henry were both personally liable for debt, Joseph and Ann lost virtually everything that had taken a lifetime to build, and they both died without witnessing Henry’s financial recovery over the next three decades. Ann died in 1854 aged only sixty-two and Joseph died three years later on the 25 September, 1857.

Henry must have been an astute businessman and well-liked by his contemporaries as with good business management and their support, he, his family and his family of origin prospered. In 1879 Henry and his family moved to a magnificent estate Carrara (Strickland House) in Vaucluse in Sydney and lived there until Henry’s death in 1888. Strickland House is now a heritage listed house.

StricklandHouse_Revised1  ‘Carrara’ now Strickland House, Vaucluse NSW

Henry also became a member of the NSW Parliament in 1868 and remained in this position for twenty years.

* Courtesy of Janette Holcomb in her book Early Merchant Families of Sydney (more about Janette Holcomb (now Mallyon) in a future post!

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