Frederick Dalgety

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Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety (Canada, 3 December 1817–London, 20 March 1894) was a merchant and financier, the founder of Dalgety plc, one of the United Kingdom's largest conglomerates. He was born in Canada to Alexander Dalgety, army officer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Doidge.


Dalgety arrived at Sydney in Australia on 2 June 1834 (at the age of 16) in the Dryade and was an apprentice clerk in a local merchandising business, T. C. Breillat & Co,[1] a business that was just being set up by Thomas Chaplin Breillat.[2] His apprenticeship ended in 1840.

In December 1842 he moved to Melbourne, which had only recently been established, and became manager of a new wool trading firm. Dalgety soon secured a partnership in the business, and, when his partners left the firm, he formed his own company, Dalgety and Company, in 1846.[3] Dalgety and Company outfitted sheep ranchers with supplies and financed them in anticipation of yearly wool sales. The firm then shipped wool to England.[3] By 1848 he was an independent and well-to-do merchant, concentrating on 'the settlers' trade', providing merchandise for the squatters and buying their produce. He visited England in 1849 to strengthen his facilities for credit and the disposal of colonial produce and returned to Victoria in 1851. In the gold rush, Dalgety continued with general business, enlarged his pastoral trade, sold merchandise to the diggers and bought much gold from them.[1] Between 1851-55 he made about £150,000 from his gold speculations alone. At this time he lived at Como House in Melbourne which he bought in 1852, but sold it within a year.[4]

In 1854 he moved to London to establish the headquarters of a metropolitan-colonial enterprise dealing mainly with the Victorian pastoral industry. He took with him as London partner Frederick Du Croz, and left C. Ibbotson as a colonial manager-partner in Geelong. He returned to Victoria in 1857 and established James Blackwood as the manager-partner in Melbourne in 1859.[5] In 1859, he returned to live permanently in England at Lockerley Hall in Hampshire and was appointed High Sheriff of Hampshire for 1877. [1]

In the 1850s Australian stores like Buckley & Nunn, Melbourne imported most of the goods sold in their stores through Dalegty's firms.

In 1884, with advancing age, the increasing demand for capital and competition from joint-stock companies and banks, Dalgety incorporated his private partnerships as a joint-stock company, called Dalgety & Co, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. By that time it had operations in London, Melbourne, Geelong, Launceston, Dunedin, Christchurch and Sydney.[1] In the next three years Dalgety branches were opened in Queensland and Western Australia, and the properties and assets of the company increased by 50 per cent. Dalgety continued in active management as largest shareholder and chairman of directors until his death in 1894. Dalgety & Co. continued to grow after its founder died.


In December 1855 he married Blanche Trosse Allen and together they had five sons and five daughters, none of whom went into the business. She died on 11 April 1883. Dalgety died in Hampshire on 20 March 1894.[1]