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General Articles

Wolseley Machinery Background (PDF)
Wolseley Over the Years (timeline outlining important dates) (PDF)
Wolseley’s still running today (Historic Wolseley Cars) (PDF)



History of Frederick Wolseley

Frederick York Wolseley (1837 – 1899)

Wolseley Cars 1895 – 1975

Every legend has a beginning and this legend began on 16th, March, 1837 when Frederick York Wolseley was born at Golden Bridge House, County Dublin, Ireland. He left the family home at 17 years of age to travel to the continent of Australia.

Frederick York Wolseley

He arrived in Melbourne in 1854 and worked as a Jackeroo on a sheep station named “Warbreccan” near Deniliquin, NSW and later became the manager. It was in 1868 that Wolseley commenced squatting on his own account. He became a Justice of the Peace in 1870, and began experimenting with his idea of a mechanical sheep shearing machine. In 1876 he purchased ‘Euroka’ a property near Walgett, on the Barwon River where in 1886 he gave the first exhibition and demonstration of his sheep shearing machine in the presence of a number of squatters and proved that the mechanical shearing machine was a success.

In 1887 the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company was formed in Sydney with a capital of 20.000 pounds. By 1906, 3000 sets were sold to a total of 300 sheds countrywide and by the 20th anniversary of the invention of the sheep shearing machine in 1907, 20,800 sets had been sold. The new equipment was so successful that it won every competition at the Melbourne Show. In 1889 the activities of the company were transferred to England and Frederick York Wolseley left for England to take up his position as Managing Director. After a short period in this position he returned to Australia. In 1894 he resigned from the company and only direct action by his foreman Herbert Austin, benefiting from his experience in Australia saved the company.

Late in 1898 and seriously ill Wolseley returned to Surrey, England where the final chapter would be written about the man who had done so much for the pastoral industry in Australia. Frederick York Wolseley J.P. passed away on 8th, Jan, 1899 and is buried at Elmers End Cemetery London.

The Wolseley Company were the employers of Herbert Austin who later rose to become the General Manager of the company and by 1896 under Austin’s direction produced the first Wolseley Motor Car. The first car had to be built in ‘secret’ and in the designers own time. The partners and directors of the company had no faith in these new vehicles, nor would they agree to spend money on useless experiments. Against this background and covered in a shroud of secrecy the first Wolseley experimental car was in fact designed and built by Herbert Austin in 1895.

And so, over one hundred years ago the first Wolseley Motor Car was made. The early Wolseleys were amongst the “Pioneers” in British Motoring History, but it was not until February, 1901 that the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company was established and began manufacturing what is commonly known as ‘Production Models’ to enter upon a career of continuous and unbroken progress until the cessation of production of motor cars in 1975.

Year after year WOLSELEY Cars maintained themselves in the forefront of motor design and year by year their fame spread and their demand increased. The original factory of 3 3/4 acres constituted but a small portion of the works 21 years later, when it covered 110 acres and employed 5,800 workmen – a striking commentary on the demand for the modern Wolseley Motor Cars right up to 1975 when the last Wolseley Car was made.



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