John Frazer (politician)

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John Frazer
John Frazer (politician).jpg
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council
In office
3 November 1874 – 25 October 1884
Appointed bySir Hercules Robinson
Personal details
Born(1827-01-01)1 January 1827
Dromore, County Down, Ireland
Died25 October 1884(1884-10-25) (aged 57)
Edgecliff, Colony of New South Wales
Resting placeRookwood Cemetery
SpouseElizabeth Ewan
OccupationPolitician / Businessman

John Frazer (1827 – 25 October 1884) was an Irish-born Australian politician and businessman.[1]

The Frazer family vault in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.


Frazer was born at Dromore in County Down to John Frazer and Sarah Waddell. He migrated to New South Wales in 1842, becoming first a squatter and then a clerk. In 1847 he opened a grocery in Sydney. He married Elizabeth Ewan, with whom he had four children, in 1853.[1]

Frazer took his brother-in-law, James Ewan, into partnership in 1859. In the 1860s he was involved in land speculation and acquired several properties.[2] In 1869 he retired from the business of John Frazer & Co, with his former client and future brother in law, James Watson, joining the partnership.[1][3]

In 1862–1863, he was one of four prominent new shareholders that reformed the company operating the Fitzroy Iron Works at Mittagong.[4] After this venture failed, he was instrumental in interesting English capitalists in investing in the Mittagong works.[5] Frazer paid £10,000 to the bank in 1872, clearing the debts of the works. The new company issued its prospectus in April 1873.[6] It was controlled by English interests, with Frazer being a shareholder.

He was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1874 and served there until his death on 25 October 1884.[2][7]

The last twenty years of Frazer's life were spent at Ranelagh, a three-storey, Italianate mansion in Darling Point Road, Darling Point. Ranelagh was demolished in 1967 and replaced with a high-rise apartment block also called Ranelagh.[8]

Frazer and the members of his family were interred in a sandstone mausoleum in Rookwood Cemetery. It was built in 1894 along the lines specified by Frazer before his death. The doors bear his initials and those of his wife: JF and EF.


  1. ^ a b c Rutledge, Martha. "Frazer, John (1827–1884)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 3 January 2018 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ a b "Mr John Frazer (1827–1884)". Former members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  3. ^ Digby, Everard, ed. (1889). Australian men of mark (PDF). Vol. 1. Sydney: Charles F Maxwell. pp. 72–75. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  4. ^ Hughes, Hughes (1964). The Australian Iron and Steel Industry 1848–1962. Melbourne University Press. p. 7.
  5. ^ "The Fitzroy iron mines". The Empire. 20 July 1870. p. 2. Retrieved 9 May 2019 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "The Fitzroy iron works New South Wales". The Tasmanian. 12 April 1873. p. 15 – via Trove.
  7. ^ "Death of the Hon. Captain Frazer". The New Zealand Herald. Vol. XXVIII, no. 8602. 25 June 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Ranelagh, Darling Point, Sydney, the place & its people". Retrieved 3 January 2018.