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Derham, Frederick Thomas

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 6 years, 3 months ago

Time Travellers in Essendon, Flemington and the Keilor Plains



Detail from 'A New Ministry', 1886.  State

Library of Victoria Collection. IAN03/03/86/40


Frederick Thomas Derham was born 1844 in the UK and arrived in 1856. He established himself as broker and agent and developed a thriving export firm. In 1877 after the death of Thomas Ariell, Derham became the business partner of Thomas Swallow, biscuit manufacturer.  A year later the widowed Derham married his partner’s daughter, Frances Swallow. The firm developed canneries, preserving works, sugar plantations, crushing mills and refineries. In 1890 Swallow died and the company was managed by Derham alone. He was a good public speaker and in 1880 became a member of the Sandridge Council. In 1883 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Sandridge (Port Melbourne). He was Postmaster-General in the Gillies-Deakin ministry 1886-1890 and introduced the Victorian penny post and the pneumatic tube method for distributing letters and telegrams. Although politically conservative and anti-socialist he was a close friend of Alfred Deakin. After an outstanding series of land boom transactions in 1892, Derham became secretly bankrupt. He paid 1d in the pound on debts of £550,000. He retired from Cabinet the same year because of pressure of business and lost his seat in 1892. He continued in business and was active in charitable and church affairs. He died 1922.


© Marilyn Kenny, 2015


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