Benjamin Cribb

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Benjamin Cribb
Benjamin Cribb circa 1860.jpg
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
for Stanley Boroughs
In office
10 February 1857 – 11 April 1859
Serving with John Richardson
Preceded by Thomas Holt
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for West Moreton
In office
26 April 1861 – 2 July 1867
Serving with Henry Challinor, Robert Herbert, Joseph Fleming, Joshua Peter Bell
Preceded by George Thorn, Sr.
Succeeded by Patrick O'Sullivan
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Ipswich
In office
12 Aug 1870 – 14 Nov 1873
Serving with John Thompson, John Johnston, Arthur Macalister
Preceded by John Murphy
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Personal details
Born (1807-11-07)7 November 1807
Poole, Dorset, England
Died 11 March 1874(1874-03-11) (aged 66)
Ipswich, Queensland
Resting place Ipswich General Cemetery
Nationality English
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Brideson (1839–1852), Clarissa Foote (1853–1899)
Relations Robert Cribb (brother), Thomas Bridson Cribb (son), James Clarke Cribb (son)
Occupation General merchant, Businessman
Religion Congregational

Benjamin Cribb (7 November 1807 – 11 March 1874) was an Australian businessman and politician. He was an unaligned Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for one term in 1858–1859 and a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1861–1867 and again in 1870-1873.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cribb was born in Poole, Dorset, England into a rigidly Nonconformist family. He was educated at his mother's Dame school.[2] Cribb's father, John Galpin Cribb, was a mariner and ship owner, operating to Newfoundland and the Mediterranean; young Benjamin and his brother Robert sometimes accompanied their father.[3] However, this ended when their father was killed in action during the Napoleonic Wars. Following his father's death, Cribb's mother Mary Cribb (née Dirham) apprenticed Benjamin and his brother Robert to two merchants.

By 1832 Benjamin and his brother Robert had established baking and retail businesses in London. Influenced by John Dunmore Lang's description of the opportunities available in Australia, they migrated to Moreton Bay on the Chaseley arriving in May 1849.[4]

Benjamin Cribb was married twice, in 1839 to Elizabeth Bridson (1810—1852) and in 1853 to Clarissa Kendal Foote (1825—1899). Two of his sons Thomas and James also served in the Queensland Parliament. His brother Robert Cribb also served in both the New South Wales and Queensland Parliaments.


After arriving in the Moreton Bay colony, Benjamin Cribb established a retail business in Ipswich. In about 1852, he employed John Clarke Foote as a store manager. In 1853, Benjamin Cribb married Clarissa Foote, the sister of John Clarke Foote. In 1854, Benjamin Cribb and John Clarke Foote went into partnership as Cribb & Foote, creating the major department store that stood on the corner of Bell and Brisbane Streets.[5][6][7]

During the American Civil War he encouraged the growth and export of Australian cotton.


On 1 February 1858, Cribb was elected to represent Stanley Boroughs in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly at the 1858 election. He was a strong supporter of the separation of the colony of Queensland and opposed the use of convicts, coolies or Kanaks as cheap labour. He was defeated at the 1859 election on 11 April 1859.[8][9]

After the separation of Queensland, he was elected to its Legislative Assembly. On 3 April 1861, George Thorn (senior), member for West Moreton, resigned. Benjamin Cribb won the resulting by-election on 26 April 1861. He held the seat until 2 July 1867.[9]

He was elected in the seat of Ipswich on 12 August 1870 and held it until 14 November 1873. He did not hold ministerial of parliamentary office.[9]

Later life[edit]

Benjamin Cribb died on 11 March 1874 at his home Gooloowan in Denmark Hill, Ipswich. He was attending divine service at his local Congregational Church when he collapsed. Relatives and friends carried him home on a stretcher where he died a few moments later. His death was attributed to apoplexy of the brain.[6] His funeral was held on 13 March 1874 where a funeral procession, one-and-a-half miles long, travelled from his home to the Ipswich General Cemetery. Present were relatives, employees, politicians and many others. Many businesses were closed for the day.[10]


His home Gooloowan is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cribb, Margaret Bridson, 'Cribb, Benjamin (1807–1874)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, , accessed 5 November 2011
  2. ^ Parliament of New South Wales, Mr Benjamin Cribb (1807-1874) Archived 23 April 2012 on Wayback Machine., accessed 1 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Death of Mr. Robert Cribb.". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 18 April 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "C" (PDF). Queensland State Archives.  External link in |work= (help)
  5. ^ Ancestry user: rfoot14. "John Clarke Foote". Foot family tree. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "DEATH OF MR. CRIBB.". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 12 March 1874. p. 3. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cribb & Foote – Celebrations". By the Bremer: Memories of Ipswich. Ipswich Library and Information Service. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Antony Green, New South Wales Elections Index,, accessed 1 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b c "Alphabetical Register of Members of the Legislative Assembly 1860-2012 and the Legislative Council 1860-1922" (PDF). Queensland Parliament. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "LOCAL AND GENERAL NEWS.". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 14 March 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Gooloowan (entry 600593)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Thomas Holt
Member for Stanley Boroughs
1858 – 1859
Served alongside: John Richardson
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
George Thorn, Sr.
Member for West Moreton
Served alongside: Henry Challinor, Robert Herbert, Joseph Fleming, Joshua Peter Bell
Succeeded by
Patrick O'Sullivan
Preceded by
John Murphy
Member for Ipswich
Served alongside: John Thompson, John Johnston, Arthur Macalister