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Claude Charlick

active 1923 – 1966

Claude Charlick (life dates unknown), businessman, was managing director of the Adelaide firm Charlick Ltd for nearly forty years. Claude was the grandson of Richard Charlick, who after arriving in Adelaide from England in 1849 established a retail fruit business in the city in the 1850s. Richard’s sons William (Claude’s father) and Frederick Charlick in 1881 founded the firm of Charlick Brothers, which conducted a large fruit, vegetable and grocery business at the East End Market, with branches in Mount Gambier and Melbourne. In 1902 the pair split the business; William concentrated on the produce trade. William was hotly active in the affairs of the Church of Christ, as were other family members; in recognition of their assistance to Kings College, that institution named one of their Flinders Street properties Charlick House. In 1902 William became involved in the produce and potato trades; a year later he succeeded in having a Private Bill introduced into Parliament seeking authorisation to establish the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange. The Bill was passed; the gateway to the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Co, bearing the inscription ‘The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof’, can still be seen on Grenfell Street (with the exception of its elaborate façade, the market has now made way for apartments). William Charlick founded the South Australian Cold Stores in 1904 and in the same year established William Charlick Limited, with a total capital of $4 000. When he died in 1926, at the age of 68, the task of building the business fell to Claude Charlick, who was managed Charlick Ltd from 1923 to 1966. With Claude Charlick at the helm, the Charlick empire grew exponentially, though at one stage Charlick had to sell his home to raise funds and call upon the loyalty of employees in order for the company to survive. By 1978 the original capital net worth of the company had increased 2 500 times. Several other Charlicks were involved in the business; Maggie Beer’s second Adelaide restaurant was named in the family’s honour. Claude Charlick’s uncle Henry Charlick was Chess Champion of Australasia, won the annual South Australian Championship thirty consecutive times, invented the Charlick Centre Gambit, and wrote a chess column in the Adelaide Observer for many years.

Updated 2018