Hugh Dixson

Hugh Dixson

Sir Hugh Dixson (29 January 184111 May 1926) was an Australian business man and philanthropist.

Dixson was born in George Street, Sydney, the son of Hugh Dixson and his wife Helen, "née" Craig.cite web |url= |title=Dixson, Sir Hugh (1841 - 1926) |accessdate=2008-09-28 |author=B. Cook |work=Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8 |publisher=MUP |year=1981 |pages=pp 308-310] The boy was educated at the Elfred House Private School kept by William Timothy Cape at Paddington. At 14 years of age, Dixson went to work at a timber yard for Phillip McMahon. In 1856 he joined the tobacco business founded by his father, becoming a partner in 1864. The business grew steadily, and after the father's death in 1880 expanded rapidly under the management of Dixson and his brother Robert. It was subsequently merged in the British-Australian Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited, probably the largest business of its kind in Australia at the time.

Dixson then retired, but with his wife continued his interest in the Baptist Church and in various philanthropic institutions. An early substantial gift was £5000 as the beginning of a fund to present a battleship to England. This fund was not successful and his gift was devoted to educating English boys at Australian agricultural colleges. A gift of £10,000 helped the establishment of an aged and infirm ministers' fund in the Baptist Church, and much assistance was given to the building of churches in various parts of the state. A sum of £20,000 was used to build a cancer wing at the Ryde home for incurables. But the gifts of Dixson and his wife were both many and varied. Both worked on committees, and Dixson at various times was president of the Baptist Union, of the Baptist Home Mission Society, and of the Young Men's Christian Association. Dixson was a noted horticulturist, becoming a member of the Linnean Society of New South Wales in 1887 and the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science in 1898. Dixson died at Colombo on 11 May 1926. He was knighted in 1921. He married in 1866 Emma Elizabeth (died 1922) daughter of William Edward Shaw, and was survived by two sons and four daughters.

Dixson's elder son, Sir William Dixson (born 1870) made a remarkable collection of pictures, books, manuscripts, prints, maps and charts, relating to Australia, all destined to become the property of the state of New South Wales. A large collection of pictures was presented in 1929 and housed in the William Dixson gallery at the Mitchell library, Sydney. Dixson was knighted in 1939.


*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=Sir Hugh|Last=Dixson|Link=

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