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Thomas Langley Webb (1859–1923)

from Sydney Morning Herald



Leader of Industry.

The death occurred suddenly at a private hospital in North Sydney yesterday morning of Captain T. Langley Webb, a prominent figure in Australian shipping and the coal trade, at the age of 65 years. Although Captain Webb had recently undergone an operation, he had been reported to be convalescent, and appeared to be rapidly regaining his health.

Starting his career as an apprentice at sea, the late Captain Webb became a leader of industry and one of the most prominent and respected men in interstate shipping and the coal trade. He was also a liberal supporter of philanthropic movements. He was a keen patron of sport.

Captain Webb went to sea at an early age as an apprentice to the late Captain Ogilvie, of the Victorian Stevedoring Company on the square-rigged ship Ellenshaw, trading between Australia and England. On the completion of his apprenticeship he joined the firm of Huddart, Parker, and Company, of which his father was one of the founders, and served as a master mariner for some 15 years. Retiring from active seafaring life, Captain Webb became assistant harbour master in Melbourne, and about 23 years ago came to Sydney. As Sydney director of Huddart, Parker, Limited, he has been the guiding hand in the operations of the company in this State, while his younger brother, Mr. John Langley Webb, is another member of the board of directors in Melbourne.

The shipping enterprise has grown and has extended its interests in other directions, the chief of which are in the coal trade and in more recent years in the development of the wireless industry in Australia. In connection with the coal trade, the company is largely interested in Hebburn, Ltd., which has two large collieries on the Maitland coal field, and of this company, Captain Webb was a director. He was also a director of South Maitland Railways, Ltd. During recent years, Huddart, Parker, Ltd., purchased the Metropolitan coal mine at Helensburgh, on the South Coast, and he became a director of the Metropolitan Coal Company, Ltd. By virtue of his large personal as well as financial interest in the northern coal trade, Captain Webb was in 1918 elected president of the Northern Coal Owners' Association in succession to Mr. John Brown, and each year he has been re-elected to the position. He was also chairman of the Mine Owners' Insurance Fund. In the Southern Coal Owners' Association Captain Webb was also interested as the representative of the Metropolitan Coal Company, Ltd.

The far-sighted qualities which Captain Webb displayed in the shipping enterprise he also applied to wireless. Realising the possibilities of wireless telegraphy in Australia, Captain Webb interested himself in the Amalgamated Wireless Company, which has developed into the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Ltd. Captain Webb expected tremendous development in wireless during the next few years in Australia. Captain Webb was connected also with a number of large companies, in one of which, Toohey's, Ltd., he was a director.

The late Captain Webb is of an old family of Brighton, Victoria, and his mother is still living. He has three sisters living also, and his younger brother, Mr. John Langley Webb, is a director of Huddart, Parker, Ltd. Mr. J. Langley Webb left Melbourne yesterday to attend the funeral of his brother in Sydney to-day. The late Captain Webb married the daughter of Mr. Alexander Wilson, engineer of ports and harbours, Williamstown. Mrs. T. Langley Webb died in September last, and three married daughters remain—Mrs. Elder, of Melbourne, and Mrs. Blair and Mrs. Fowle, both of Cremorne, Sydney.

The funeral of the late Captain Webb will leave his residence at Cremorne this afternoon for South Head Cemetery. A Masonic ceremony will be held.  

Original publication

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Citation details

'Webb, Thomas Langley (1859–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

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