The envelope is addressed to Messrs Strelitz Bros, Merchants, Fremantle and the yellow Two Pence printed stamp is postmarked M.R. ROOM/ ( )/ JA 17/ 06/ G.P.O. W.A. (Figure 1).

The reverse has a roller cancel PERTH JAN 18/ 12 AM/ 1906 as well as a reception FREMANTLE/ JA 18/ 06 (Figure 2).

Paul Strelitz had originally landed in Melbourne in 1886 and after various jobs moved to Western Australia in 1894, attracted by the glowing reports of gold discoveries. He was an inaugural East Fremantle Councillor, serving for a year on the first Council after the area was declared a municipality on 2 April 1897. On 23 August 1904, he was selected for the consulship of Western Australia by the Netherlands Government. Richard Strelitz settled in Victoria in 1892, following a post in a shipping office in Germany. Through his association with a wholesale merchants agency he was transferred to Western Australia six months after his arrival. In 1894, he severed his connection with that firm and commenced in business with his brother in Fremantle. Richard Strelitz was appointed consul for Denmark in 1897, and six years later became Acting-Consul for Sweden. The two brothers established themselves as the firm Strelitz Brothers, Merchants and Shipping Agents of Fremantle and Kalgoorlie.

Among the agencies possessed by the firm, one of the most important was the German-Australian Steamship Company, owners of the direct line of continental sailers who were the pioneers of direct trade between Europe and Western Australia. Strelitz Bros. also held the agency for Alfred Nobel’s Hamburg Explosive Company, Ltd and through this had agencies for magazines in the goldfields. They also imported railway material and mining machinery. Ratebooks indicate that Drummond & Strelitz bought vacant Lot 49, 30 Mouat Street in 1896. By 1897, the owners were listed as Strelitz Bros.,whose occupation was noted as merchant, and the description of the property indicated that a warehouse had been built. This is verified by an entry in the Fremantle Minute Books that states that on 5 January 1897, plans were passed for the Strelitz warehouses and offices in Mouat Street. It is thought that Strelitz Building was designed by J. F. Allen, as it is similar in style to a number of his other designs. Allen later designed commercial buildings for the expanding Strelitz business in Hay, Murray and William Streets, Perth.

By 1898, in addition to occupancy by the firm, offices in the building had been leased to a number of other companies, including: A.U.S.N. Coy, Steamship Agents; Cavanagh and Keogh, Architects; Frank Viles, Commission Agent and W. M. Lovegrove, Solicitors. Between 1904-06, American mining engineer, Herbert Hoover, who later became President of the United States of America, rented an office and workshop in the building. Strelitz Bros. continued to expand its business, taking advantage of the development of Fremantle as the major trading port for Western Australia’s gold boom. Despite their internment as aliens during the 1914-1918 war Paul and Richard Strelitz remained the owner-occupants of the building until 1920, when the building was sold to George Evans. Evans later established the first paint manufacturing business in Western Australia. The building is currently privately owned and used as a residence.

This paper is abstracted from the Heritage Council of Western Australia website.

Categories: Business