Guide to the Records of Foster & Braithwaite (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Records of Foster and Braithwaite (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1896 - 1898
Collection Number
2 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Papers concerning the raising of capital on the London market for two businesses in Sydney. Farmer and Company were seeking additional capital in 1896 and 1897, and the papers relating to this matter include a statement of assets at 31 July 1896 and a list of people who applied for shares in response to the advertisements placed in English newspapers. The raising of capital for W. and A. McArthur Limited was negotiated in 1898. W. and A. McArthur was a warehouse firm with property in the centre of Sydney. Copies of the prospectus and auditor's statement are included among the papers.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed at Foster and Braithwaite, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1976 (AJCP Reel:M975). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Foster and Braithwaite, London, England.

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding Aid Note

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Business records; Farmer & Company; Foster and Braithwaite, stockbrokers; Investment in Australia; McArthur, W. and A. Ltd; Mercantile firms; Stockbrokers; Stockbroker; Sydney, New South Wales


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 176, p. 64

Biographical / Historical

The London stockbroking firm of Foster and Janson was founded in 1825 by James Foster (d. 1861) and Richard Janson (d. 1830). Following Janson's death, Foster was joined by Isaac Braithwaite and the firm was renamed Foster and Braithwaite in 1833. The firm was based in Austin Friars in the City of London from 1863 to 1970. In 1867, a new deed of partnership established the dominance of members of the Braithwaite Family, which continued for the next century.

Joseph Farmer (1814-1890) established a draper's shop in Pitt Street in Sydney in 1840. His nephew William Farmer (1832-1908) joined him in 1848 and took control of the firm in 1854. In the following years William Farmer had several partners and the firm had various names, but from 1869 onwards it was Farmer & Co. The firm branched out from drapery and became one of the largest departmental stores in Sydney. It became a public company in 1897, with Sir William Farmer as chairman. Farmer & Co. was taken over by Myer in 1961.

The softgoods merchants A. McArthur & Co. were established in Sydney in 1841 by the Irish-born Alexander McArthur (1814-1909) and his brother William McArthur (1809-1887). In 1848 the firm of W. & A. McArthur was established in London. The Australian firm expanded rapidly and soon had branches in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland. In the 1860s the firm moved into banking and finance. Following the death of Sir William McArthur and the retirement of two old members of the firm, it was decided to combine the management of the English and Australian firms. W. & A. McArthur became a limited liability company in 1898, with Alexander McArthur as the chairman. The firm was reconstituted in 1908 after liquidation.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Farmer & Co, 1896 - 1897

1 item

Records of Foster and Braithwaite concerning the formation of Farmer & Co. as a public company and the raising of capital on the London market, 1896 - 1897 (File)

The records comprise correspondence, mainly with the solicitor Alfred Shepheard who acted for Sir William Farmer, financial papers, a list of assets and liabilities of the company, and an alphabetical list of people who had applied for shares. There is also a draft agreement between (1) Sir William Farmer and John Pope, and (2) Farmer & Co.

Series 2. W. & A. McArthur, Ltd, 1898

1 item

Records of Foster and Braithwaite concerning the formation of W. & A. McArthur as a public company, George Braithwaite was trustee for the debenture stock holders, 1898 (File)

The records comprise correspondence between George Braithwaite, Alexander Ormrod and the solicitor E.T. Hargraves dealing with the articles of association, the auditing of the books of the English and Australian companies, and the issuing of a prospectus. There are also draft agreements between W. & A. McArthur and Thomas Lowthian (Manchester) and between Thomas Lowthian, Foster and Braithwaite and Lawson & Ormrod.