AS a preamble to a forthcoming series on the Mittagong Maltings, this article presents an overview of the Tooth family.
This prominent English family of brewers was established in Australia with the arrival of John Tooth in 1828. He was grand-uncle to two Tooth cousins who expanded the family business and lived for a time in the Southern Highlands.
John Tooth, who laid the foundations of this significant family, was born in England in 1803 at Cranbrook, Kent. Once settled in Sydney he acquired numerous cattle runs and set up as merchant and commission agent.
In September 1835, with his brother-in-law Charles Newnham, an experienced English brewer, he opened the Kent Brewery on Parramatta Road. Newnham, however, withdrew from the partnership in 1843 and soon afterwards John over-extended his pastoral ventures. Declared bankrupt in 1848, he died in 1857.
His older brother Robert had prospered in England as a hop merchant and brewer. Three of his sons - Robert, Edwin and Frederick - decided to join their uncle in Australia.
Robert and Edwin arrived in 1843 and immediately their uncle John leased his brewery to them, and thus the merchant and brewing firm of R & E Tooth commenced. Their younger brother Frederick joined the partnership in 1853.
Edwin returned to England in 1855 where he died in 1858. The business became R & F Tooth & Co in 1860 with the addition of J S Mitchell as partner.
Robert also served as a director of the Bank of NSW and the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. He built a fine residence, Cranbrook, at Rose Bay in 1859.
During the 1860s Edwin's eldest son joined the business. This was Robert Lucas Tooth who went on to become a passionate supporter of Empire and was granted a Baronetcy in 1906.
Robert Lucas was born in 1844 in Sydney and educated in England at Eton. Upon return in 1863 he joined the firm, became manager of the Kent Brewery and was made a partner in 1868. In 1873 he married his first cousin, Helen Tooth, the second daughter of Frederick, and they built a mansion at Darling Point.
After his uncles retired and returned to England - Robert in 1872 and Frederick in 1873 - the partnership was dissolved and Robert Lucas assumed directorship of the business which was renamed Tooth & Co.
By this time the family had already made connections with the Southern Highlands and become involved in the district. Frederick is recorded in the 1860s as donating a significant sum towards the building of St Stephen's Anglican Church in Mittagong .
Robert Lucas bought land at Bowral in the early 1870s where he established a magnificent country homestead named Eridge Park. More about this will be related in a future article.
In 1888 the Sydney brewery business became a public company, Tooth & Co Ltd. Until then most of the profit had come from importing wines, spirits and beer but, in the 1880s, locally brewed beer grew in popularity and by the 1890s Tooth's brews were in great demand.
Two of Frederick's sons joined the business. Alfred was Company Secretary for a time and Arthur William became a brewer. The last serving members of the founding family, they were younger cousins and also brothers-in-law to Robert Lucas, who had married their sister.
It was Arthur William who also forged significant connections with the Southern Highlands. Born at Cranbrook, Rose Bay and educated at Eton, he came back and joined the firm as clerk. After returning to England to study the technicalities of brewing at leading Kent breweries he became assistant brewer at Tooth & Co and head brewer in 1889.
He was one of the directors of The Malting Company of NSW (Ltd) that formed in 1898 and established a works at Mittagong where the cool climatic conditions were ideal and the rail line provided easy access to Sydney.
Arthur played an active role in the development of Mittagong and established Y-Berth as the family home in Range Road. It is now part of the property of Frensham School. His wife Isabel was a prolific party giver and her charity garden parties held at their home were popular events.
Land purchased at the corner of Bowral Road and Main Street was handed over by Arthur to the School of Arts for a building that opened in 1899 and it was he who, on 6 June 1908, turned the first sod for Mittagong's water supply.
This local Tooth connection will be continued in future articles.
This article compiled by PHILIP MORTON is sourced from the archives of Berrima District Historical & Family History Society, Bowral Rd, Mittagong. Phone 4872 2169. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: berrimadistricthistoricalsociety.org.au