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CARL LUDWIG PINSCHOF, MERCHANT, ECONOMIST & AUSTRIAN CONSUL

The rose ONE PENNY postcard of Victoria is postmarked with a duplex BALLARAT/ 7D/ DE 11/ 83 cancel with a barred numeral ‘5' obliterator. It is addressed to Messrs Pfaff Pinschoff (sic) & Co., 73 Flinders Lane West, Melbourne (Figure 1).

The message on the reverse is difficult to decipher, but reads: 34 Sturt St. Ballarat, Dec 10 th 1883. Dr. Sirs Your parcel of colours are to hand but no mention of the 5lbs of “Rich Pale Gold” ordered by letter when we sent cheque. Please send on at once & oblige, H.W. Niven & Co. There is an illegible Melbourne backstamp (Figure 2).

Francis Wilson Niven lithographic printer was the originator of the F.W. Niven & Co. which became a large provincial printing business of highly colored maps, books, Tasmanian crate labels for apples. His son Henry became the manager and partner. An example of a colorful map of Ballarat frontispiece produced by the company is seen in Figure 3.

Carl Pinschof was born on 14 April 1855 in Vienna, eldest son of Franz Pinschof, banker, and his wife Karoline Aloisia. His forebears, from Pinczow, Galicia, included eminent merchants, bankers and scholars. Carl attended schools in Vienna and at Coburg, Germany, and lectures at Leipzig University by Wilhelm Roscher, to whom his later independence in economic thought owed much. After a stint as management trainee with a drug company, and a year's military service leading to a commission in the Dragoons, he spent some months in his father's company before gaining banking and financial experience with the Vienna Girokassen Verein.
 

To widen his commercial horizon, with support from several Austrian industrialists, Pinschof became honorary secretary of the Austrian commission to the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879. Encouraged by the 209 prizes, including 95 first prizes, won by the 251 Austrian companies represented, he decided when passing through Melbourne, on his way home, to settle there. He returned in time for the International Exhibition which opened in October 1880.
On 19 August 1883 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, Pinschof married Elise, daughter of Carl Wiedermann, merchant, and his wife Elise. Born in Vienna on 31 August 1851, Elise had in 1873 been created laureate of the Conservatorium of Vienna and had sung on the operatic stages of Vienna, Zurich, Brunswick, Hanover, Hamburg, London and Leipzig. Her principal role was Carmen.
 

Pinschof was appointed in 1885 honorary consul for Austria-Hungary in Victoria. In 1881 he had joined the importers and merchants Pfaff, Reichenbach & Co., which soon after became Pfaff, Pinschof & Co. By 1893 Pinschof was trading as sole partner with branch offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. In 1900 he became a director of the reformed Herald & Weekly Times Ltd. By 1904 he had become a director of Carlton Brewery Ltd which in May 1907 formed with five other Melbourne breweries Carlton and United Breweries Pty Ltd, with Pinschof as chairman. He resigned as consul and sold his company in 1908.


From the 1890s Pinschof had become known, through his speeches and articles, for advice on Australia's economic problems. He stressed the need for a central bank, for fully paid-up shares, for long-term agricultural loans, and for tertiary education in commerce and public administration. Following his forced surrender of all directorships during World War I, despite his naturalization in 1909, he wrote mainly on international issues such as the fluctuating exchange rates as a consequence of the gold/silver standard in India. He reviewed J. M. Keynes's A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923) within five months of its publication in London. Commonwealth treasurers such as Sir John Forrest enjoyed his hospitality and advice.

Carl and Elise Pinschof became leading patrons of music and art in Melbourne. They were foundation supporters of the Marshall-Hall Orchestra; Carl was one of the founding members of the Lady Northcote Permanent Orchestra Trust Fund. In 1906-07 he underwrote a visit to Melbourne by a German opera company. Their home of 1900: 16, Studley Hall, Kew, provided a fine backdrop for business, social and musical functions and for the many paintings and sculptures acquired. The Pinschofs invested in land in Melbourne, and at Mount Macedon, where pine trees around Hohe Warte, now Camelot, are reminders of their presence.

Carl Pinschof's public career ended in World War I when, although he was not interned, a maid reported on the family to the defence authorities. He died in Cape Town en route to Europe on 19 May 1926, and his body was brought back to Melbourne for burial beside his wife in Boroondara cemetery.

I acknowledge that the information on Carl Ludwig Pinschof was obtained from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

 
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