The Forsyth Family

The Forsyth Family



JAMES FORSYTH (1818 – 1907)

James Forsyth came to Australia in 1852, during the gold rush and struck gold at the Sofala diggings. He used his newfound wealth to bring his wife Margaret and family from England in 1862 and moved to Sydney. A tanner by trade, James established the first tannery in the Municipality of Willoughby, the "Rosewall Tannery" with his sons Robert and Thomas. In 1870, he built his first weatherboard house in High Street. He was Mayor of Willoughby from 1875 to 1877 and an Alderman until 1881.



When Thomas Todd Forsyth arrived in Sydney in 1862, aged 23, he was already an experienced leather worker and went into business with his father at the Rosewall Tannery. Thomas Todd, Ann and their four sons moved to Willoughby in the early 1870s and built "Rosewall" in 1883/84 on five and a half acres in High Street. He was an Alderman on Willoughby Council from 1877 to 1904 and Mayor of Willoughby in 1882, 1887 & 1888. In the 1880s, he was elected President of the Master Tanner's Association.



Born at "Rosewall", the seventh son of Thomas Todd and Ann Forsyth, Robert Todd Forsyth was the first member of the family to not continue in the tannery business. In 1898, at the age of 21, he opened the first real estate agency in Willoughby, RT Forsyth on Penshurst Street. Robert Todd was an Alderman on Willoughby Council from 1904 to 1932, and was elected Mayor 11 times. In 1904, he married Annie Bennett and lived at "Kamaina" with their three children Joan, Phyllis and James.


JAMES FORSYTH (1908 – 1991)

The third child of Robert (RT) and Annie Forsyth, James joined RT Forsyth in 1926, aged 18 and became Managing Director in 1939. He married Mary Elva Moran in 1933 and built "Sythmor" in Clanwilliam Street. James retired in 1981, after 55 years in the business. During that time, the country, the suburb and the real estate profession underwent unprecedented change. Willoughby had grown from an isolated bushland community to a soughtafter residential suburb and Chatswood had become a major commercial centre.


MICHAEL FORSYTH (1936 - Present)

The first child of James and Elva, Michael Forsyth joined the business in 1953 aged 17, straight after leaving school. He worked with his father for almost 30 years, building the company's reputation for integrity and credibility, and took over as Managing Director in 1981.



James and Elva's second child, Margaret joined Forsyths in 1980 after studying at the National Art school and working in the legal department of the Bank of NSW. A Director of the business for more than 40 years, Margaret has played a key role in building and maintaining relationships with clients and has worked tirelessly for the local community. She has been President of the Inner Wheel Club of Chatswood and been involved with local Girl Guides, Pre-Schooler groups, hospitals and Willoughby District Historical Society.


JAMES SNODGRASS (1969 - Present)

James Snodgrass, the great grandson of Robert Todd Forsyth, has been a Director of Forsyth Real Estate since ???. Before returning to take over the helm of Forsyth Real Estate, James was a Member of Army Special Forces, Commando Battalion and was also the youngest Australian Associate Director of one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world.