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Frank Biddles


Captain Frank Biddles (1851-1932) was a pearler from Broome, Western Australia. As captain of the Alto in 1901, he was involved in rescuing 121 people following the wrecking of the SS Karrakatta in King Sound. He retired to Fremantle in 1902 (aged 51), and became a developer. In 1909 he married Blanche Isobel Brodrick (youngest daughter of G. W. Brodrick, a solicitor from New Zealand). They would go on to have two sons and a daughter.

In 1897 he had Edwin Summerhayes design the three-storey Princess Chambers for him. In 1912 he had John McNeece design and C. Moore build the two-story section added next door, on the corner with Leake Street, and the Princess Theatre, a large brick building extending halfway along the street. It had its entrance through an arcade in the middle of the two-storey section. The arcade is now the Kakulas Sister grocery store, in which some of the original masonry - and even wallpaper - can still be seen.

In 1913 or 1914 he moved to Ivanhoe, a large residence on the corner of Ord and High Streets, formerly James Lilly's residence, where his family lived until 1948. Biddles also served as a JP in the Fremantle police courts. He also in 1914 bought Ocean View (formerly Elias Solomon's residence) at 134 Solomon Street, allowing the Solomon Street property to be used as a hospital for returned soldiers. Various properties around Fremantle are still owned by the Biddles Estate including Princess Chambers (built for him in 1897) and Biddles Building in Market Street. [mostly from] Wikipedia. Update: Princess Chambers is the property of Michael Finn of the Kakulas family.

Fremantle Library photo #3610, c1920, caption: Captain Frank Biddles (1851-1934) was born 12.12.1851 at Mt Barker, South Australia. He worked in Adelaide for three years after leaving school at 16 and then spent time in Queensland before pearling in King Sound in 1886, when he bought the lugger, The Fly. In 1888 he obtained a Master Mariner's Certificate. In 1902 he was semi retired in Fremantle. In 1913/1914, he bought Ivanhoe, on the corner of Ord and High Streets. When he died in 1934, he left a widow, Blanche, and three children.

Biddles Lane, White Gum Valley, is named after him.

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Garry Gillard | New: 10 May, 2016 | Now: 4 August, 2020