Fremantle Stuff > People > Anthony Barnaby Curtis 1798-1853
Anthony Curtis was born in London 28 December 1798, to William Curtis and Mary Bishop. After serving in the RN, he came to Fremantle on board the Medina 6 July 1830. It's possible that his sister Paula Susannah was with him, as she was to marry Pilot Captain Edward Back (born 1815) probably not long after that date.
Anthony Curtis was running the Black Swan Inn with John Bateman (who also arrived on the Medina) between Cantonment Street and the river in 1830, but it was apparently not successful. He was then licensee of the Stag's Head Hotel from 1833 (still extant in 1844), on Lot 106, which was on the SW corner of Pakenham and High Streets. (The building now on that corner is known as the Ajax Building.) Hitchcock records that Anthony Curtis was granted town lots 381 and 385. In 1836 at Fremantle he married Suzannah Glindon; they had two sons and two daughters. He died in Fremantle 11 January 1853.
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. (Cammilleri 1966)
Cammilleri, Cara 1963, Anthony Curtis: His Life in Western Australia, 1830-1853 (typescript, State Library of Western Australia).
Cammilleri, Cara 1966, Entry for Curtis in ADB.
Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.
Tuckfield, Trevor 1971, 'Early colonial inns and taverns', Early Days: Journal and proceeedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, 7, 3: 65-82; Part 2, Early Days: Journal and proceeedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, 7, 7: 98-106.
Map compiled by Allen Graham in the Fremantle Library collection showing Fremantle hotels 1829-1857.
Thanks to Dianne Dench, a Back descendant, for many details.
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