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Frederick Cato
, 1932

by W B McInnes

oil on canvas (frame: 128.2 cm x 108.2 cm, support: 102.0 cm x 82.0 cm)

Frederick Cato (1858–1935), grocer and philanthropist, was born in a tent at Pleasant Creek (Stawell), to the Scottish wife of an English gold miner. After finishing school, he trained to become a teacher, working at the Stawell State School before spending some years in New Zealand. In mid-1881 he went into partnership with his cousin Thomas Moran, who had established two grocery shops in Melbourne. By 1890 there were thirty-five outlets, this number increasing when, as Moran & Cato Ltd, the company later expanded to Tasmania and New South Wales. During the same period, Cato had helped found the Rosella Preserving Co (in 1895) and had also founded Austral Grain and Produce Pty Ltd (in 1911). In addition, Cato was involved in community and church organisations. He was president of Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne; a generous donor to schools, particularly the Methodist Ladies’ College; and funded missions in Arnhem Land and abroad. Cato died of bronchitis, leaving a handsome estate; he is commemorated in parks in Hawthorn and in Stawell, where he endowed the hospital.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program in memory of Frederick John Cato Kumm 2011
Accession number: 2011.26