Thomas Cribb

Thomas Cribb (1845 – 1913) businessman, politician
On 23 May 1893 Thomas Cribb was appointed to the Queensland Legislative Council; he resigned three years later and won Ipswich in the Legislative Assembly.  Thomas served in lifelong service to the Ipswich Congregational Church, much of it as a deacon, while brothers James and Henry were for many years teachers and superintendents of the Sunday school.

Thomas B. Cribb was a foundation pupil of the Ipswich Boys’s Grammar School, where his brothers were also educated. Like them he entered his father’s mercantile and banking business, ultimately becoming senior partner and retiring in 1902.

In religion, they continued the family tradition of staunch and devoted Nonconformism; Thomas in lifelong service to the Ipswich Congregational Church, much of it as a deacon, while brothers James and Henry were for many years superintendents and teachers of the Sunday school.

Family support for the grammar school was maintained by Thomas and James, the former as chairman of trustees of the Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School. His love of music was reflected in his presidency of the Blackstone-Ipswich Cambrian Choir.

On 23 May 1893 Thomas was appointed to the Legislative Council; he resigned three years later and won Ipswich in the Legislative Assembly. He served in the assembly during great political instability, including the fall of three ministries, a railway construction scandal and the worst drought on record. The Philp ministry was forced to drastically retrench the civil service and, as colonial treasurer in 1901-03, Cribb compounded the government’s unpopularity with the first income tax in Queensland, causing its fall; he was defeated at the next election in 1904. With others who disliked the political bias of the Brisbane Courier he had launched the Daily Mail in May 1903.

Cribb was reappointed to the Legislative Council in June 1913, but was too ill to serve. He died at his Southport home on 4 September. Of his marriage on 3 June 1874 to Marian Lucy, née Foote, there were five sons and two daughters. His estate was valued for probate at £69,435. Slightly built, gently spoken and with a keen sense of humour, Cribb seemed happiest within his family. Asthmatic from youth, only a strong sense of duty propelled him into public life; deafness from middle age increased his problems.

Complete article :

Benjamin Cribb (the father of Thomas Cribb) and John Clarke Foote were business partners and the owners of the department store Cribb and Foote which was located in Ipswich on the corner of Brisbane and Bell streets.

“Established in 1849, Cribb and Foote’s Department store then became the site of Ipswich’s iconic Reids Department store which was later followed by the Ipswich City Square development which stands on this site today. Mr Foote came to Ipswich in 1852 and took over the management of the general store belonging to Benjamin Cribb. In about 1854, Mr Foote entered into partnership with Mr Cribb and from then on the business was known as Cribb and Foote. Though it started off small, the business later developed into one of the biggest commercial trading firms in the colony. Mr Foote continued to run the business after Mr Cribb’s death in 1874 and in 1891, Mr Foote’s sons took over the day-to-day running of the business.

Source :

Congregational Sunday School Silver Jubilee plaque recognising J. C. Cribb, Ipswich, 1902? (T.C. Cribb – being the brother of Thomas B. Cribb.  Image, with poor resolution available at the source website below.)
Plaque to commemorate Jubilee Anniversary of the opening of the Congregational Church Sunday School Hall. After the 1893 floods, the church had been moved to higher ground to the current location in East Street. (Information taken from: Jubilee History of Ipswich by Geo Harrison).    Plaque reads: ‘This tablet was erected to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the opening of this hall and to recognise the work of J C Cribb Esq MLA, Sunday School Superintendent 1893 – 1900. To his enthusiasm and energy aided by a devoted staff this building under God’s blessing is due. Building Committee – Rev. Joseph Walker, President J C Cribb, Convener J H Foote, Secretary W Tatham, J Hargreaves, T B Cribb, W B Ward, H M Scott, G H Shillito, S Lewis, J F Cribb, H A Young, L Thomas, R H Rogers, J H Ingram, W Haigh, C C Holliday.
Source :

Cribb and Foote London Stores, Bell Street, Ipswich, 1850s-1860s
The original Cribb and Foote building in Bell Street was erected around 1849. The image on the website below is a copy of the original photograph that would have been photographed by an unidentified early Ipswich photographer. This actual glass plate would date after 1883.
Source :
Image above :  Ipswich Congregational Church

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