Ambrose Foss

Chemist, Grocer, Landowner

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1842 1843

Family background

Ambrose Foss was born about 1803. He married Louise and they had at least two sons and five daughters. Their first son Thomas Ambrose was born in Sydney in 1829. Louise died on 30 December 1852 and in 1854, Foss married Jane McCurdy at Pitt St Independent (Congregational) church. He died at Balmain on 4 May 1862, aged 59, and was buried with his first wife in the Independent Old Ground at Rookwood.

Occupation & interests

Ambrose Foss bought a chemist shop in Sydney from John Tawell, former convict and apothecary, in 1828. In the 1830s he was in business at 18 Pitt Street. By November 1842, Foss had druggist and grocery shops on the corner of Park and George Streets and at Pitt Street, selling such Christmas fare as muscats, raisins and walnuts. Foss joined a group of Sydney pharmacists to form the first Pharmaceutical Society of New South Wales in 1844. By 1859, his son Thomas Ambrose (d.1871) had joined him to form Foss Son and Company, wholesale druggists, of 217 Pitt Street. In 1828 Foss had bought 31 acres of the Glebe estate. In 1833 he and his wife Louise purchased Hereford House in Glebe. In 1836, also at Glebe, he built Forest Lodge, which gave its name to the suburb Forest Lodge. This was demolished in 1912, and later became the home of David Jones. In 1838, Ambrose Foss bought land in Hunters Hill from John Tawell and built Carey Cottage at 18 Ferry Street. By 1861, he owned the central part of the Hunters Hill peninsula and was known as a wealthy absentee landlord. He had moved to Balmain at the time of his death.

Community activity

Together with the draper David Jones, Foss was a member of the Forest Lodge Church in 1847. He was a staunch Congregationalist and was Deacon of the Congregational Church.

Local government service

Foss became a Foundation Councillor for Bourke Ward on 1 November 1842. He became insolvent and was removed from his position as City Councillor on 14 July 1843.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files

Golder, Hilary 2004, Sacked: removing and remaking the Sydney City Council 1853-1988, City of Sydney

Leichhardt Historical Journal Volumes 1, 3, 5, 9

Sherry, Beverley & Baglin, Douglas 1989, Hunter’s Hill: Australia’s First Garden Suburb, David Ell Press

Society of Australian Genealogists: Rookwood Index


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