LORD, Simeon (1773-1840)


LORD, Simeon (1773-1840)
pioneer merchant
was born in 1773. He was transported to New South Wales, probably for a trifling, and certainly a youthful offence, for he was only 18 when he arrived in 1791. In a few years he established a general merchandise and agency business, and in 1800 with a partner purchased a brig the Anna Josepha. He also became an auctioneer and prospered, a return made in 1804 said that the "estimated value of commercial articles imported from abroad in the hands of Simeon Lord and other dealers was £15,000". Though his position was not comparable with that of Robert Campbell (q.v.), it is clear that already he was one of the leading merchants of Sydney. His business was on the site of the corner of Bridge-street and Macquarie-place. In 1807 Bligh (q.v.) spoke adversely about his business dealings with the masters of ships, and judge Field (q.v.) several years later spoke in a similar way. Aspersions of this kind against members of the emancipist class at this period must, however, be accepted with caution. No doubt Lord was a keen business man well able to look after his own interests, but he also had enterprise and courage, valuable qualities in the developing colony. He was engaged in trade with New Zealand, and in 1809 had the misfortune to lose a valuable cargo of sealskins in the Boyd, which he had chartered and sent to New Zealand to complete its cargo with a consignment of spars. The captain flogged a Maori chief for alleged misbehaviour, and in consequence the vessel was raided and looted, nearly everyone on board being killed. In spite of this disaster Lord joined in an attempt to obtain a monopoly to establish a flax plantation in New Zealand, and manufacture canvas and cordage from it in Sydney. The monopoly was, however, not granted and Lord turned his hands to other things. He employed a man to experiment in dyes and tanning, and was the first to weave with Australian wool. He succeeded in weavings coarse cloths, blankets and stockings and also made hats.
Long before this, in May 1810, Lord was made a magistrate and he became a frequent guest at government house. Macquarie in his dispatch to Viscount Castlereagh stating his intention to make Lord a magistrate described him as "an opulent merchant". He was, however, a man of little education, and when J. T. Bigge (q.v.) was making his investigations in 1819-20, the alleged unsuitability of Lord for his position was used as a stick to beat Macquarie. Lord soon afterwards resigned and appears to have been less prosperous in his business for a period. He, however, succeeded in compounding a claim for land resumed for public purposes in Sydney, by accepting in 1828 a large grant of land in the country. He did not come into public notice after this, and died on 29 January 1840. He married and his sons were well-known in public life. One of them, George William Lord (1818-80), a pastoralist, was elected to the first New South Wales legislative assembly in 1856, and transferred to the legislative council in 1877. He was colonial treasurer in the third Martin (q.v.) ministry from December 1870 to May 1872. Another son, Francis Lord, was a member of parliament for many years, and a third son, Edward Lord, became city treasurer at Sydney.
A. W. Jose, Builders and Pioneers of Australia; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. II, IV to X, XIV, ser. IV, vol. I; J. M. Forde, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. III, pp. 569-75.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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