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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Curtis, Anthony (1796–1853)

by Cara Cammilleri

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Anthony Curtis (1796-1853), merchant and whaler, was born in London. He ran away from home at a very early age and entered the navy as a ship's boy. He was at the taking of San Sebastian in 1813. On the termination of his service he came to Western Australia in the Medina in October 1830.

Curtis commenced business as a hotel-keeper at Fremantle and soon afterwards opened a store. In 1834 he invested in the 36-ton schooner Fanny, and traded between Fremantle and Albany calling at intermediate ports. This coastal service was of much benefit to the settlers, providing a market for their produce as well as supplementing their provisions. In 1843 he started a fishing station at the Abrolhos, where he cured fish and exported them to Mauritius. During the 1840s Curtis was actively engaged in whaling and by 1845 had established his own station and was operating off Rottnest. He made regular trading voyages to Mauritius and the East Indies and in January 1846 took his 43-ton schooner Vixen to Ceylon to try the market with Western Australian products. The Vixen was the first vessel to trade between Ceylon and Western Australia.

In 1836 at Fremantle he married Suzannah Glindon; they had two sons and two daughters. He died at Fremantle on 11 January 1853.

Select Bibliography

  • C. Cammilleri, Anthony Curtis: His Life in Western Australia, 1830-1853 (typescript, 1963, State Library of Western Australia).

Citation details

Cara Cammilleri, 'Curtis, Anthony (1796–1853)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 30 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

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