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JULES RENARD, WOOLBROKER MERCHANT, BELGIAN CONSUL, MELBOURNE

The purple 1d N.S.W. postcard went through the mail uncancelled and was posted to Messrs Jules Renard & Co., 306 Kent St., Sydney (Figure 1).

The reverse showed it was sent from Dalgety & Company Limited, Sydney on 4 th May 1892.The message read: Dalgety & Company Limited, will offer for Sale by Public Auction, atWool Brokers Chambers on Friday the 16 th inst at11 30 o’clock sharp: Sheepskins. On view at their Stores, Windmill Street, Miller’s Point from ( ) ( ) Sale (Figure 2).

Jules Renard, wool-broker and merchant, was born at Verviers, Belgium, son of Clement Renard, wool-merchant, and his wife Marie Josephine, nee Lennarz. The family later moved to Antwerp, where the sons were trained for wool trade. Educated at the Athenee and Ecole Superieure de Commerce, Antwerp, Renard won a scholarship enabling him to gain business experience in a foreign country and he went to London.
In 1852 he went to Australia in charge of stud Rambouillet sheep for S.P. Winter of Murndal, near Hamilton, Victoria. He remained some years in the Western District, gaining experience and contributing his technical knowledge of the wool industry. He is reputed to have helped control scab in the area and contracted to build sheep dips. Later he overlanded stock, drove wool teams and was a wool-buyer in Sydney for a short period, before joining Gustave Beckx & Co. in 1862.
 

About 1865 he set up his own wool business and in 1867 with his brother Arthur formed Renard Bros & Co. in Melbourne, with branches in Antwerp, London, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. They bought wool in Melbourne and Sydney for export and also imported goods. Renard advocated sending Australian wool to the Antwerp sales rather than solely to London. In 1874 his company, with the backing of Winter and other Western District growers, made the first shipment of wool direct to Belgium, opening a new market to Australian wool and general trade.


In 1870-95 Renard was Belgian consul in Melbourne, after which he took over his company's Sydney business, and was granted the title honorary consul for life. His services to Belgium, including regular trade reports to Brussels on Victoria, were recognized by his appointment to chevalier of the Order of Leopold on 4 February 1878 (officier, 1892). A commissioner for the Melbourne International Exhibitions of 1880 and 1888, and for the Bordeaux Wine Exhibition in 1882, Renard also represented the Belgian government when he accompanied Sir Henry Parkes to Belgium that year.


Well above average height, Renard was handsome as a youth but became very heavy in old age. On 22 February 1866 at Richmond, Victoria, he had married Fanny, daughter of William Hardcastle, a wool-merchant and staunch Congregationalist, who had migrated from Bradford, Yorkshire. She died of cancer on 25 November 1897; her long illness had signalled Renard's gradual retirement from public and business life and absorption in literature and religion, but he remained a member of the Chamber of Commerce and read a prescient paper on 'Long Distance Telephony' to the conference of Australasian Chambers of Commerce in Sydney in May. He died of pneumonia, aged 65, on 27 August 1898 at Stavelot, Glebe Point; and he was buried with his wife in the Congregational section of the Waverley cemetery. Seven children survived them. All three sons, educated in Melbourne and Belgium, were trained for the wool trade and the eldest, Clement William, Melbourne partner of a Bremen-based wool firm, was appointed permanent acting consul on 4 January 1893. The eldest son Clement Renard followed in his father’s footsteps by sending letters to the Argus (Melbourne) on 15 February 1915, as follows:


The Lorimer Case: Referring to the case of George Lorimer, trading as Renard, Lorimer, and Co., as reported in your issue of to-day. Out of respect for the memory of my late father Monsieur Jules Renard who for so many years, had the honour of representing the King of the Belgians in this land, and who died in 1898, I would like to say that since 1901 neither myself nor my brothers, nor any other members of our family has been connected with the firm of Renard, Lorimer and Co., Yours &c. CLEMENT RENARD, Feb 13 (Figure 3).

Frederick Dalgety's importance to Australia was his role in the development of large-scale facilities for financing and organizing the production and marketing of rural produce. He was one of the first merchants to see clearly the potentiality and needs of the squatters, and to exploit the mercantile and financial resources of Britain for the growing requirements of the Australian economy. Since Britain provided both market and capital Dalgety realized, earlier than most, the greater strength of a business with its London headquarters closely co-operating with colonial branches. Except for the important gold interlude, wool was the core of Dalgety's business and it grew with the pastoral industry; by 1880 his firms were consigning over 70,000 bales a year, about 90 per cent of the firms' colonial exports, and about 7 per cent of the total Australasian clip exported.

The information about Jules Renard was taken directly from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. The paragraph about Frederick Dalgety was extracted from the same source.

 
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