William Moffitt

William Moffitt's Trade Card, 1833.
William Moffitt’s Trade Card, 1833. © Douglas Stewart Fine Books.

MOFFITT, William (1802-1874) — Sydney

Bookseller, printer, bookbinder, stationer, engraver & copperplate printer. Engraved William Light, Chart of Port Adelaide, South Australia 1839. Published William Henry Wells, “Key to Wells’s map of the city of Sydney, 1850”. Also produced views, diaries, directories, almanacs, letterheads, music, trade-cards, etc., employing both John Carmichael (see BME 2011) and William Wilson at various times.

Born at Liverpool 19 Feb 1802 and baptised William Preston Moffitt at St. Peter Liverpool 29 Sep 1811 — the son of William Moffitt, an attorney who died in 1807, and his wife Mary Smith. Originally trained as a printer and bookbinder, in 1823 he was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing a case of tea and eventually sailed from Plymouth on the Guildford 22 Mar 1827, arriving at Sydney 25 Jul 1827. He was granted permission to marry Mary Anne Galliott (1813-1863) on 24 Dec 1829 and was married 18 Jan 1830 at St. James, Sydney. At the expiry of his sentence, Moffitt set up in business for himself. Two of his six children — his only son, Henry, aged ten, and Sophia Jane aged sixteen months — died of scarlatina in April 1841. In the 1840s Moffitt also “neatly executed” the first bank-notes for the New Zealand Bank. “In 1844 he stood unsuccessfully for the City Council but in general he avoided public life, devoting himself to his business and to unobtrusive acts of private benevolence” (ADB). He died 31 Jul 1874, survived by three married daughters and was buried 1 Aug 1874 at Camperdown Cemetery after a funeral service at St. Stephen, Sydney. He left a very considerable estate — “We understand that Mr. Moffitt left personal property to the amount of £230,000, and that £2,300 has been paid on it as legacy duty. His real property is valued at nearly the same amount — say somewhat under half a million sterling in the whole” (The Empire, 4 Sep 1874). The Pitt Street business continued under Thomas Roger Yeo (1817- 1899), Moffitt’s long-serving manager.

8 King Street, Sydney — 1831-1833
23 Pitt Street, Sydney — 1833-1843
299 Pitt Street, Sydney — 1844-1845
301 Pitt Street, Sydney — 1846-1856
277 Pitt Street, Sydney — 1858-1874

ADB. NLA. DAAO. Niedorf. Tooley. Trove.

Leave a Reply