Thomas Sutcliffe Mort Statue
Public Art : Thomas Sutcliffe Mort Statue
Sculptor : © Pierce Francis Connelly (1840 - 1932) also known as Pierce Francis
Date: Unveiled 1883
Description : Sitting proudly atop a a red and
white marble pedestal is the bronze statue of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. Mort is posed with right hand on hip whilst
his left hand rests on a stand. On the trachyte plinth is a plaque noting Mort's achievements.
Location : Maquarie Place, Sydney, Australia
Background to Thomas Sutcliffe Mort :
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort (1816-1878) was born at Bolton, Lancashire, England. He arrived in
Australia in 1838 at the age of 22 on the ship "Superb". His first job was as a clerk but it wasn't long
before the enterprising young man began starting wool and livestock auctions. After great success
Thomas tried his hand at commercial and pastoral enterprises. Thomas's greatest claim to fame was
refrigeration. He was determined to find a solution to the long term food storage issues, which
hindered Australia's export trade. Thomas financed experiments by Eugene Dominic Nicolle, a French born
engineer, who had arrived in Sydney in 1853. As a result he built, at Darling Harbour, the first freezing works in
the world, which afterwards became the New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Company. He later tested his new
refrigeration system on 300 unsuspecting guests who had been invited to a picnic. The
guests were fed food that had been refrigerated at his plant for over 18 months (risky!). Other
important milestones in Thomas Sutcliffe Mort's life were ; founding member of AMP (Australian Mutual Provident
Society), pioneering of wool auctions, helped in establishing the first railway in New South Wales,
construction of Mort's Dock at Balmain and donating land to build churches.
History of the Thomas Sutcliffe Statue : Following Thomas Sutcliffe Mort's death from pneumonia in 1878, a meeting of
working men was held in Sydney . They gathered to discuss an appropriate way to honour "the greatest
benefactor the working classes in this country ever had". Pierce Francis Connelly was commissioned to
create a monument to one of the well respected pioneers of Australia. The Thomas Sutcliffe statue was unveiled in 1883 with great fanfare, flags flew,
a band played and thousands gathered. The statue replaced an earlier Doric Fountain of
1819-1820 designed by Francis Greenway for Governor and Lady Macquarie. It is strongly believed that the remains of
the fountain lay underneath Mort's monument.
|Thomas Sutcliffe Mort
Born: England 1816
Arrived: Australia 1837
Died: Australia 1878
Pioneer of Australian resources and founder of Australian Industries.
One who established our wool market.
First to make exports of perishable food possible by refrigeration
and to provide docks for the reception of the world's shipping.
A founder of the Australian Mutual Provident Society
And foremost in every movement for the care and welfare of his
fellow citizens who in gratitude erected this monument to his memory.
Trivia : The tallow left over from Mort's abattoirs
was sent to a a soap factory in Soapy Gully (later to be known as 'State Mine Gully') where it was made into
soap (oh so 1800's).
Mort's business Mort & Co eventually became what we know today as Elders Limited.