History of West Australia/Frederick Charles Monger

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THE Monger family is among the best known in Western Australia. Three generations of them have helped in the development of this colony and have held positions of prominence among colonists. The biographies of these gentlemen embrace almost the whole history of Western Australia. The grandfather of Mr. F. C. Monger came to the colony a few months after it had been proclaimed, and his son was one of the first white children born here. Both these gentlemen did much useful work, and then the third generation finds in Mr. F. C. Monger, M.L.A., a worthy descendant of such well known men and a son of Western Australia who to the best of his ability aids in stimulating industries, and in pioneering the community to a prosperous condition. The landed and commercial interests of the Mongers throughout the colony have been large they have assisted in the growth and guidance of public affairs. The town of York owes them much, and Western Australia as a whole has reaped many benefits.

Frederick Charles Monger HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

Upon the arrival of the late Mr. J. H. Monger, sen, in this colony in 1829, he engaged in pastoral and agricultural pursuits. At that time only a small area of local land was opened up, and comparatively nothing was known of its potentialities. In course of years, when populations pushed their way into the country and farms were established where the soil was suitable and the blacks were not too troublesome, this old pioneer purchased interests in and near York. There his son, the late Hon. J. H. Monger, continued the work, and combined a mercantile business with farming and grazing. He opened stores in York which have since become so large that branch businesses, under the name of J. H. Monger, are at present in existence in many parts of the colony. The head office is situated in Perth, and the transactions of the firm at Coolgardie and other goldfields are comparatively immense. The Hon. J. H. Monger was a nominee member of the Legislative Council under the Crown Colony régime. He was born in Western Australia in 1830, and during his long and honourable career laboured constantly for his native land, whether in public affairs or in making local industries expand. He left a name worthy the emulation of his sons.

Mr. Frederick Charles Monger, member of the Legislative Assembly for York, and son of the late Hon. J. H. Monger, was born at York on January 19, 1863. He was educated at Wesley College, Melbourne, where the curriculum is little behind those of the famous collegiate institutions of Great Britain, and where many prominent Australians learnt their lessons of wisdom. Leaving school when sixteen years old, Mr. F. C. Monger returned to Western Australia and entered his father's business house. He studied the conditions of mercantile, agricultural, and pastoral affairs, and eventually became a partner with his father, and succeeded the late gentleman on his death, four years ago. Mr. F. C. Monger demonstrated that he was eminently fitted to supervise the varied nature of his business. Two years ago he severed his connection with the old firm and interested himself in mining matters as an agent and subsequently as a director of mining companies. His assistance to this industry has been material, and recently he has largely stimulated investment in and the development of promising mines throughout Western Australia. He apparently recognises that his native land depends to a large extent on the proof of the permanence of her gold resources. When it becomes known that such deposits do exist the present prosperity will be augmented to an extent unequalled in the annals of Australian history. And this prosperity will not be confined to mining, but will be infused broadcast into every industry of the colony and into every individual. Mr. Monger has been a large promoter of mining companies, and is a director of the Lady Loch, Lady Emily, Lady Maude, Forrest King, Brown Hill South, and the Great Ophir (Murchison). These are well-known properties, and the prospects of some of them are hopeful. Mr. Monger was a member of the original syndicate which fitted out the prospector Dunn of the Wealth of Nations. He is a member of committee of the Perth Stock Exchange.

Occupying as he did such a prominent position in Western Australian business circles, it was natural that Mr. Monger's services should soon be brought into requisition in the municipal and political arenas. The man successful in business is bound to possess an experience and a knowledge useful in colonial public affairs. We require not so much a great orator as a man of sterling common sense,a practical man, who by helping development will increase our population. In 1892 Mr. Monger was elected a member of the York Municipal Council, but in the same year he was requested to stand for a vacancy in the Legislative Assembly, and he resigned his previous position. The old member for York, Mr. S. H. Parker, Q.C., M.L.C., upon assuming control of the Department of Colonial Secretary, took a seat in the Legislative Council. Mr. Monger was duly elected to the vacant seat for his native district, and sat until the general elections of 1894, when he was again returned, this time unopposed, an honour which was repeated at the elections of 1897. His business training and experience of Western Australia generally enable him to speak on all matters of local importance.

On the 11th April, 1895, Mr. Monger was married to Ethel Margaret, daughter of the late Mr. Charles Vale Sherard, one of the first wardens of the Ballarat goldfields.

It may safely be conjectured that Mr. Monger is on the eve of a bright future. He is one of the rising young men of the colony, and should aid both in mining development and in the perfecting of valuable political institutions.