Thomas Sutcliffe Mort
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort was an English-born, Sydney-based businessman who undertook many notable commercial ventures following his arrival to Australia in 1838.
An entrepreneur, Mort appreciated the potential of refrigeration for the storage and transportation of perishable goods. Working with French engineer Eugene Dominique Nicolle, he financed experiments from 1866–1878 to create refrigeration machinery that could be used in trains, ships and cold-storage depots. The pair would eventually succeed in developing commercially viable systems for the New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Company. The company put these systems in place to store and transport meat and milk in the Blue Mountains, Darling Harbour, the Southern Tablelands, and in refrigerated railway vans.
For his efforts, Mort was celebrated as a benefactor for the working class. He reportedly made negligible returns on his investments, instead viewing them as a community service.
A picture of Mort’s statue – erected in Macquarie Place Park in Sydney in 1883 – was featured on the first-ever cover of AIRAH’s Refrigeration Journal, published in July 1947. Its inscription reads: