Craig Family Saltcoats to Sydney

Discuss all aspects of the three towns in the Threetowners' Lounge.
Forum rules
Please familiarise yourself with our Board Rules and Guidelines
Post Reply
User avatar
Hughie
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 10097
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:42 am
Location: Australia Formerly Ardrossan
Contact:

Craig Family Saltcoats to Sydney

Post by Hughie » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:29 am

The following is forwarded with the approval of the author Andrew Howell. I've given Andrew contact details for the Local History Department at Ardrossan Library. But if you can help, or this family interests you please contact him. (Hugh McCallum)

Hi,

Let me say first up - great website!

I am currently writing an architectural PhD on a firm of architects who practiced in Sydney between 1907 and 1922. The architects did a lot of work for a very famous family here called the Craig's who migrated from Saltcoats to Australia in the 1880s. An amazing family full of famous surgeons, academics, captains of Industry. I have a stack of information on the family (Captain Robert Craig), Dr Robert Gordon Craig etc. Dr Robert Gordon Craig (born Androssan 24 May 1870) was the first golfer in Australia to wear shorts. My interest in the family is that they were amateur architects who used my architects to produce some pretty remarkable houses in Sydney around the turn of last century. Captain Robert Craigs wife was Elizabeth Brown from the town of Irvine, brother of John McMillan Brown famous scholar who moved to NZ, and married the first woman in the British Empire to gain a Masters Degree in Arts. Etc etc etc

There is a famous house in Sydney named Ailsa which I think is named after an Island nearby plus a couple of daughters called Ailsa who all died in strange circumstances. There is also a restored Barque in Sydney named the James Craig named after a son of Joseph J. Craig who I also believe is part of the same family but emigrated to New Zealand.

Is there anyone there, such as a member of a local history group that might be able provide some information on the family pre-migrating to Australia? The organisation that run the Sailing Ship the James Craig in Sydney are also interested. I return I can provide a stack of information on the family, pretty remarkable lot. Despite the fact that none of them were architects, they had a significant impact on the development of domestic architecture in Australia in the first part of the 20th Century.

I hope you can pass me onto someone who can help.

Cheers and thanks in advance
Andrew


Andrew Howell
Architect
Graham Brooks + Associates
Architects, Planners and Heritage Consultants
71 York Street Sydney 2000 Australia
andrewhowell@gbaheritage.com

User avatar
Hughie
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 10097
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:42 am
Location: Australia Formerly Ardrossan
Contact:

Re: Craig Family Saltcoats to Sydney

Post by Hughie » Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:13 am

As far as we know this Captain Craig is unrelated to the Captain Craig mentioned recently in the topic Saltcoats Shipmasters
A small part of the article is hidden by tape.
Image

Ardrossan & Saltcoats herald
January 5, 1900

Captain Robert Craig, Sydney

Among the many well known Scotsmen who are familiar figures in Sydney's business life, not the least noted Is Captain Robert Craig, of the firm of H. Prescott & Co., No. 101 Sussex Street. Captain Craig was domiciled among us for many years before he settled down finally as Marine Superintendent of the E. & A. Co., at this port.

A native of Ardrossan, Scotland, the subject of this sketch received his early education in the Parish School, after which five years were passed in teaching. He possessed, however, some of that roving blood that sends so many of Scotia's sons adventuring in distant climes, and yielding thereto, went to sea while still a young man. For 10 years he sailed out of Glasgow for the firm of James and Alexander Allan, chiefly to Montreal in the R.M.S. service. Another decade was passed with Messrs T. & J. Harrison in voyages to Brazil, New Orleans and Calcutta.

He then changed to the service of the E. & A. Company, under whose flag he made many successful voyages to China, and finally accepted the position of Marine Superintendent at Sydney, as already stated. During this period, as providore, he bought largely from the firm of H. Prescott & Co., and at length purchased the interest of the sons on their retirement. At this time the firm were doing an average business of £30.000 per year. Although now their volume of business touches the £200.000 mark.

Five years ago, Mr James B. Wright, another native of bonnie Scotland, became a partner, the concern retaining its proprietary character. Captain Craig is fully absorbed in the details of the enormous business of which he is the head. A married man of many years matrimonial happiness, his eldest son, Dr Gordon Craig, of Newton, in eminent in his profession; one of the other sons is managing salesman of the firm, and another a junior clerk therein. Captain Craig is a resident of Neutral Bay, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, in the affairs of which, particularly those appertaining to local matters, he takes a keen interest. Of the Presbyterian faith, he is an elder in the "Kirk," and gives largely to benevolent purposes, as do the firm, of which a few words may not be out of place.

The firm of H. Prescott & Co., of No. 101 Sussex Street, was organised in 1850, and forms not an unimportant chapter in the history of our city's development. In the early days the business was only in dairy produce, but of late years all classes of agricultural products are included in the list of the firm's dealings. While dairy produce till remains the speciality, a tremendous volume of business is negotiated in potatoes, maize, and chaff. In the Hunter River district their stores are the largest in the trade, having a capacity of many hundreds of tons The firm also are owners of a tracking depot at East Maitland, have lately organized branch at Orange, are heavy exporters of butter, and are reputed to sell more eggs than any firm in the city.

Since 1886 the increase of the volume of business done by H. Prescott & Co., has been enormous. Then the premises consisted of small buildings of galvanized front now their three storied and basemented building is one of the most ornate in the produce line, being complete in every department, while the extensive offices teem with the efforts of their energetic and capable staff of assistants. Under the management of Mr Wm. F. Penny, a department devoted to the auctioneering of livestock has become a lucrative branch of the business. The firm's correspondence extends throughout the Colonies, and all over the known world.

In these days of business trickery and commercial sharp practice, it is a pleasure to be enabled to pay a merited tribute to the universally acknowledged reputation of a firm so many years established. Its good name now, as it has always been, is of the highest, and its standing as one of the most reliable houses in the trade has never been questioned.

In closing we can only say that we feel complimented at bringing before those of the public, whose knowledge of these circles may not be extensive, the personalities of two such testimonials to the possibilities of a Colonial career, as the partners in the business of 1. Prescott & Co., That a continuation of their first good fortune and success may attend their future, can only be wished by every Sydneyite sincerely desirous of his city's prosperity--for it is in the signal success of each honest enterprise that the best feature of the colony's progress is exhibited.

Post Reply