Ringwood, Frederick William - I22

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First Class Passenger 
Frederick William Ringwood
1846 – 1906
Nationality  Irish
Born 1846
Died 1906
Genealogy Data
Person ID I22
Voyage Data
Voyage to Adelaide in 1864
Personal role First Class Passenger
Name on list Mr. T.W. Ringwood
Age on voyage abt 18
Joined place London
Left place Adelaide

One of the passengers in the First Class saloon on the City of Adelaide’s maiden voyage in 1864 was an 18 years old Irish emigrant looking to make his mark in the distant colony of South Australia.

Frederick William Ringwood (1846-1906) was born in County Westmeath, Ireland, the son of Rev Henry Taylor Ringwood M.A., warden of Wilson’s Hospital, a large school founded in 1725 at Multyfarnham, Westmeath. Frederick was educated by his father and at the Royal School, Dungannon.

He entered the South Australian Customs Department on 1st February 1865, beginning at the bottom of the ladder as a junior clerk. His first experiences as a boarding officer were on beach service at the Semaphore boarding station. Customs duties were extremely arduous, and boarding work had to be undertaken with open sailing and rowing boats. The hours were long and irregular, and he was often on duty for periods of 24 or 30 hours, without being able to change his clothes that were saturated with salt water.

He valued this as experience, and did his work so diligently that, before he was 21, he was transferred to the Tide Surveyor’s Department, where he was tide and measuring surveyor of ships. He then served in the landing department, where he learned the administrative details of that branch, and in 1877 he was promoted to a position of sub-collector.

In June 1888, at the age of 43, Frederick Ringwood married 27 years old Jane Stewart at All Saints Church, Hindmarsh. Living in Jeffcott Street, North Adelaide they had children Stewart 1889, Francis 1890 and Winifred in 1893.

As a dedicated public servant who devoted his life to the Colonial Service, he worked his way up, filling almost every position in the Customs Department. On 1st July 1892, he was appointed Sub-Collector, Warehouse Keeper, and Inspector of Railway & Postal Customs, Adelaide.

He was appointed Collector of Customs, South Australia on 1st January 1902, when his predecessor was transferred to a position in Melbourne within the newly established Commonwealth Public Service. As always, he carried out his duties conscientiously, bringing credit on himself. He was a strict disciplinarian, but was always ready to assist his subordinates with kindly advice. He was respected by all members of his staff, and by the general public with whom he came in contact.

After a few years in the position, his health started to deteriorate, and he was granted leave of absence to take a voyage to New Zealand to recover his vitality. He remained unwell, but continued at his post until early in 1906 when he was no longer able to work. He was operated on successfully for an internal complaint in North Adelaide Private Hospital in April, and he was seen to improve, but complications developed and his condition declined steadily. He died at his home on 9 June 1906 at the age of 60, leaving his widow and the three teen-aged children.


Researched by Ron Roberts, Adelaide, South Australia