Standish was the son of the late Charles Standish, of Standish Hall, Wigan, Lancashire, where he was born in 1824. He was educated at Prior Park College, Bath, and then entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He subsequently obtained a commission in the Royal Artillery, in which he served for nine years, and retired with the rank of captain.
Standish was a known gambler on English racecourses, and lost a significant amount of money. He sold his mortgaged property in 1852 and left England for the Australian colonies.
Standish went to Victoria in 1852, and in 1854 was appointed assistant Commissioner of Goldfields at Sandhurst (Bendigo), and in 1858 Chinese Protector. On the resignation of Sir Charles MacMahon he was made Chief Commissioner of the Police. In 1879 he brought a contingent of Queensland Police Aboriginal trackers to assist in the hunt for the Kelly Gang. He resigned from the role of Chief Police Commissioner in 1880.
Captain Standish in 1861 was installed District Grand Master of the Freemasons of Victoria, English constitution. From 1881 to 1883 Standish was chairman of the Victoria Racing Club, and was credited with forming the idea to hold a horse race and calling it the Melbourne Cup.
Standish wrote of his experiences as a senior figure in the administration of early Victoria in The Leader, a Melbourne newspaper under the bylines "The Contributor" and "An Ex-Official" in a series of sixteen informative and historically valuable articles in 1887.
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- Legge, J. S. "Standish, Frederick Charles (1824–1883)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
- "How Some of Australia's Top Races Got Their Names". Logan Livestock Insurance Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2013..
- "First Past the Post: The Melbourne Cup of 1861". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 9 September 2013..
- "THE CONTRIBUTOR". Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918). 1887-04-02. p. 36. Retrieved 24 January 2018.