Thomas Mort Statue – Industrial Pioneer

This is a statue of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort which is found at Macquarie Place Park on Bridge Street near Circular Quay. Mort is regarded as one of the early pioneers and innovators in Australia’s resource and agricultural industries.

Mort was born in 1816 in Bolton, England. A clerk by trade he moved to Sydney in 1838 after being offered a position with Aspinall, Browne & Co and an opportunity rebuild family wealth after the death of his father caused his family some financial pressure. He became a pioneer in wool and livestock auctioneering, innovating in the area of finance for his preferred customers. In 1855 he founded Mort & Co. which facilitated wool sales between Sydney and London with London operations operated by his brother William. He also set up ice works in Darling Harbour to [reportedly] facilitate refrigerated transportation of perishable foods.

He was also founder of the Australian Mutual Provident Society and director of the Sydney Railway Company in 1851 as well as being involved in promoting the sugar industry in Queensland. He dabbled in copper mining in Queensland and coal mining in Newcastle. In 1855 Mort opened a dry dock in Balmain which serviced some of the largest vessels at the time. Particularly those running overseas mail services.

Finally, Mort tried his hand at dairy farming in the Bodalla region where he produced milk, cheese and butter. He experimented with imported grass and the blending of milk from different breeds of cows. It was here that Mort retired and eventually passed away in 1878. He was survived by seven sons and two daughters.

Mort was also a prominent Anglican having provided the land for St Mark’s Church, Darling Point and contributed generously to its building. He was also involved in financing for the construction of St Andrew’s cathedral, St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


Statue of Thomas Mort

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