William Dixson

Australian businessman and philanthropist William Dixson

Sir William Dixson was an Australian businessman, collector and benefactor who bequeathed his collection of over 20,000 items of Australiana to the State Library of New South Wales, forming the Dixson Library. In recognition of his public benefactions, Dixson was knighted in the New Year Honours of 1939.
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  • 1952
    Age 81
    Dixson's map collection, which became part of the 1952 bequest, "includes examples from the 16th through to the 20th century including hand coloured maps by Dutch mapmakers, Ortelius, Blaeu, de Wit, and Janssonius.
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  • 1929
    Age 58
    Opening the William Dixson gallery on 21 October 1929, the then Governor, Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair said: "It is a fine thing that Mr. Dixson has done, and his deeds are enhanced by his modest speech... he has bought pictures because of their historical and topographical interest, and among them are pictures that would grace any art gallery in the world."
  • 1919
    Age 48
    In 1919, Dixson offered a collection of pictures to the Library on the condition that a suitable gallery was built to accommodate them.
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  • 1898
    Age 27
    Among the rare and interesting manuscripts in the Dixson collection are soldiers' diaries from the First Fleet, and the invitation cards and menus from the opening in 1898 of Sydney's Queen Victoria Market Building (now known as the Queen Victoria Building) are also part of the collection.
  • 1893
    Age 22
    Australian artist Lionel Lindsay made some etchings of Dixson based on "quick sketches" by local artist Walter Syer after a visit to the Mitchell library in June 1893.
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  • 1889
    Age 18
    Dixson was the eldest surviving son of tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist Sir Hugh Dixson. He was educated at All Saints' College in Bathurst, New South Wales and gained engineering qualifications in Scotland in 1889-96.
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  • 1870
    Born on April 18, 1870.
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