History of West Australia/Frederick Mosey


OLIVER Wendel Holmes, in his piquant and discursive "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," takes up a firm position regarding birth and blood. "Given," he says in some philosophic paragraph, "an equality of mental or physical capacity in two human beings, and I prefer him that hath nobility of birth traceable through the intermittable vista of genealogical descent." Such a sentiment finds corroborative truth in the expressions of many men of note.

Frederick Mosey HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

England glories in the valorous and chivalrous deeds of her ancestors, in the brilliant exploits of those men who have built up her magnificent Empire; what then can be more in harmony with this national feeling of pride than that each man should boastfully point to his own connection with historic names? Yet the fact remains that few are so privileged to go backwards in family history; most of the others anathematise such a procedure as antiquated. Heredity, with its transmitted characteristics, is a more powerful psychological factor than many admit.

For generations the progenitors of Mr. Mosey fostered and stimulated marine mercantile expansion. Their fleets of merchantmen brought spices and rich balms of the East to England's shores, or laden with costly merchandise, traded to distant foreign lands. No less than five Captain Moseys, in command of their ships, met in one foreign port at the same time.

It is plain that Mr Mosey comes of a very old English family, whose record can be clearly traced back to the fifteenth century (Henry VI.'s time), as shown by the church registers and tombstones in the old churchyards of Folkton, Barton, Agnes, Filer, and Scarborough. The orthography of the name must have undergone the usual transformation, for it bears a close consonant affinity with the Austro-French appellation, "Musey," which, again, is etymologically akin to the river Muse, which means moving. Mr. Mosey's father, Captain William Mosey, shipowner, Scarborough, was widely known and highly esteemed among shipping circles. He conveyed the first church organ to Sydney, Australia. He also took the first railway material to the West Indies; and during the war between Don Pedro and Don Miguel, while a convent was under fire, at great personal risk he, and a few brave sailors, succeeded in rescuing the inmates with the ship's boats. For this courageous act the survivors presented him with a valuable token of esteem, which is kept as an heirloom in the family. Of his father's kindly and genial disposition, coupled with sterling qualities of conscientious integrity, and of his mother's gentle, loving influence, Mr. Mosey can never speak too highly. His mother's maiden name was Auld, and she was descended from an old Scotch family of that name, which seems, according to contemporary literature, to have been on most intimate terms with Scotland's national poet, "Bobbie Burns." Burns was a frequent visitor at the house of John Auld's uncle. The nephew, with his frolicsome ways, became a great favourite with the poet, and an inseparable companion of his family. The "mighty bard" found delight in amusing the little boy in his rustic home in Ayrshire. The pet of the poet, so highly honoured, was the maternal grandfather of Mr. Mosey.

Mr. Fred. Mosey was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, the queen of watering places, on 18th November, 1857, and was educated under Mr. Yorke Richmond, B.A. Upon leaving school he entered the Mercantile Marine Service, and had one long voyage of sixteen months' duration, but on returning to English shores he resolved to seek some more congenial career. For several years afterwards he was engaged in some of the leading commercial houses in Hull, York, and London. That he was a capable exponent of the technicalities of his business, his testimonials amply demonstrate, for his efficiency won for him responsible positions in wealthy firms, and gained the expressed recognition of his able services.

Then he saw in the colonies a more elastic opening for his enterprising energies, and he sailed for Western Australia, arriving here on 5th April, 1887. For four years he successfully managed part of Messrs. G. and E. C. Shentons' large business in Perth, and then he decided to embark on his own account, and on 25th January, 1895, started a land agency, in a rude shanty at the corner of Hay and Barrack Streets, on which now stands the pretentious and elaborate edifice of McNes's Arcade. From Hay Street he removed to larger premises in St. George's Terrace (the present site of Prince's Buildings.) About this time his "sleeping partner," Mr. William Britnall, a wealthy gentleman of keen foresight and commercial and local knowledge, joined him actively in the rapidly growing business.

This conjunction led them to build their present substantial offices, known as "Austral Chambers," in Barrack Street. The largest commercial transactions in land have been effected from their office, and their conjoined efforts, vigorously maintained, have secured for them one of the widest and possibly the most influential clientéle in Perth. When Mr. Mosey first arrived the city was in a very primitive condition, but a few months' residence convinced him that there were golden possibilities in store. His confidence in the colony never wavered.

Mr. Mosey has visited North and South America, and many other places of note. He has twice been to the Eastern colonies, and on the last occasion (1897), during his absence, his sanguine and enthusiastic supporters pushed his candidature for the South Ward in the City Council. When he left Perth he was unopposed, but new aspirants coming forward forward for this honour, it was strongly contested. Still, severely handicapped as he was, he only lost the seat by sixteen votes.

Mr. Mosey is a man worthy of the highest esteem, and his influence has always been used to promote the welfare of this colony. He has gained general confidence and respect. His affability and gentlemanly instincts are a source of reflex esteem, and his sympathy and charitable tendencies have gained him the plaudits of many well-wishers.