Frederick Moore Clements

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Frederick Moore Clements was a pharmacist and successful businessman, was born on 14 March 1859 at Witton Erdington, Warwickshire, England. The suburb of Clemton Park NSW was named after him, from a suggestion either by Len Loxley or E.A. Moncur.[1]

Clements produced the well known Clements Tonic from 1886, beginning in Newtown.[2] Mr Clements had owned 42 acres (17 hectares) of land at the corner of William Street and Bexley Road, up to Northcote Street and Cup and Saucer Creek. He owned this land from 1895 to 1911. Clements disposed of the land to Robert Woods Thurlow and John Robb Baxter Bruce in December, 1911, (Certificate of Title Vol.1178 Fol. 169). Although a house was built on his land, Mr Clements may not have lived there himself, as records show him living in Stanmore, next door to his factory which manufactured Clements Tonic.

It is not known when the house was built on the property, although descriptions of well-established trees behind the high fence suggest a reasonable age. The only evidence to suggest that Clements may have lived on the property is that is name is listed in Sands Directory for Sydney in Northcote Street, Canterbury, and William Street, Canterbury, between 1908 and 1911. However, his name also appears at 40 Cambridge Street, Stanmore, at the same time. The Stanmore address continued in 1913 and 1914 after the Canterbury addresses had ceased. His name does not appear in the Electoral Rolls or the Sub-division of Belmore in the Lang Electorate (which was the appropriate sub-division) in 1908 or 1909, but it does appear for 40 Cambridge Street, Stanmore, in the Sub -division of Petersham, Division of Parkes. There were no further rolls until 1914. Clements was unmarried and he could have had tenants in the house in Bexley Road, and, after he sold the property, the occupants of the house could have been tenants or the new owners. [3]

Clements' property from Marana Road to the creeks and which was advertised for sale at auction on Saturday, 19 October, 1918, shows "Glenore House and Gardens" as being between Marana Road and Bexley Road in line with Baringa Road. The area bounded by William Street, Bexley Road, Northcote Street and Marana Road was sub-divided in 1921, after being surveyed in December, 1919, so that the house was probably demolished around this time.

Clements was a pharmacist, manufacturing chemist and an amateur naturalist. He was born in England in 1859 and was apprenticed in a Birmingham pharmacy and worked there and in London before going to Africa in 1880. In 1881, while working in a Port Elizabeth pharmacy, he "discovered" "Clements Tonic". Also there at this time was another English pharmacist, T. B. Melhuish. In Sydney, Melhuish was to manufacture a range of concentrated galenicals and basic tonics.

Clements followed Melhuish to Sydney where he worked in his pharmacy. In October, 1884, Clements passed the Board of Pharmacy's Qualifying Examination and two years later he opened the shop in Newtown where he began the manufacture of his tonic. In its original form, it was similar to Melhuish's tonics. "Clements Tonic" enjoyed a far greater commercial success because it was widely advertised to the rapidly growing, medicine-taking public.

Michael Cannon, in a chapter on unqualified medical "quacks" and makers of patent medicines in his book "Life in the Cities", quotes (P. 135) from an advertisement in the Melbourne "Age" of 24 February, 1894, that Clements Tonic would "permanently restore manly virility" while removing the symptoms of yellow jaundice (i.e. hepatitis). Dr D. Haines, who has kindly supplied the biographical details given here, says that, according to a 1910 testimonial, Clements Tonic was a splendid cure for many ailments, "nervous breakdown in particular" - a veritable "twin brother of health and strength". A well-known jingle was; "Clements Tonic for nerve and brain helps to make you well again".

In 1894, despite the depression, Clements sold his pharmacy and opened a factory next door to his Stanmore residence, for the production of his tonic, "Fletchers Pills" and "Clements Certain Cure". In 1905, he sold most of his interests in these nostrums to Elliott Bros.

Retirement left Clements free to travel and to indulge his many scientific interests. A catalogue of the plants in his Stanmore garden contained some 800 names, and he maintained aviaries with hundreds of native and foreign birds. During the 1914-18 war, he gave generously to patriotic funds in Australia and overseas.

He died at Brahea at Stanmore on 17 August 1920 of Bright's disease and diabetes and was buried in the Anglican section of the Waverley cemetery.[4]

Frederick Moore Clements is still remembered in Clements Tonic and in the name bestowed after his death on the district where he owned property for fifteen years, although, if he lived on the property, it was only for about three years.

References

  1. LARCOMBE, Frederick A. Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury. [Canterbury, NSW]: Canterbury Municipal Council, 1979. p. 212
  2. Gregory Haines, 'Clements, Frederick Moore (1859–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/clements-frederick-moore-5682/text9601, accessed 25 April 2013.
  3. Canterbury & District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, No. 11. [Canterbury, NSW]: 1981. pp. 20-22
  4. Gregory Haines, 'Clements, Frederick Moore (1859–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/clements-frederick-moore-5682/text9601, accessed 25 April 2013.