The History of Devitt

January 28th, 2014 | In: , , , , ,

1836: The founding of Devitt and Moore

Australian paper: The Age, March 25, 1939. An article discussing the founding of Devitt & Moore in 1936.


Thomas Henry Devitt, a junior clerk for shipping firm Buckle, Baxter & Co., near Fenchurch station, was 36 years old and earned £120.00 a year. Devitt and his co-worker Joseph Moore were both unhappy with their positions and earnings and as a result decided to begin their own business within the shipping industry. With this professional shipping and insurance brokers Devitt & Moore were born, establishing the name Devitt in the business industry.

1840: Growing Success

Devitt & Moore were fast appointed as the main loading brokers for London’s leading ship-owner Duncan Dunbar. They were given responsibility for eleven of their ships whose course was set for Australia, this responsibility quickly expanded to the company being in charge of brokering 39 ships out of London in 1840.

An article discussing the publication of a book about Devitt & Moore; “Sea Trading and Sea Training” by Clement Jones, C.B. Illustrated.
Australian paper: The West Australian, Septermber 4, 1937



1860: Thomas Henry Devitt dies

Thomas Henry Devitt dies in 1860 and as a result his son, Thomas Lane Devitt, then aged just 21 years old and Joseph Moore Jnr. became partners of the firm.


1866: First ship built to order

The Parramatta was kept as a passenger ship between London and Sydney for the next twenty two years.


1866 – Onwards: Thomas Lane Devitt

Business quickly grew and Devitt & Moore soon became owners of a vast fleet of ships that became key traders between London and Australia. Devitt soon expanded his involvement within the shipping industry and built a name for himself as a key player in the shipping business. Particularly of note, Devitt contributed to the development and management of the famous Orient Line.

P&O Heritage Fact Sheet: 1902, Miss Devitt, daughter of Sir Thomas Devitt an Orience Line Manager, launches the ship, ORONTES.

1899: Devitt became Insurance Brokers

Whilst Sir Thomas Devitt continued his work within the shipping industry and explored the concept of cadet training for the Navy and Marines, his second son, Howson Foulger Devitt, began a partnership in insurance broking at Lloyd’s in London.


1916: Thomas Lane Devitt becomes a Baronet

In 1916 Thomas Lane Devitt became the first Baronet with the surname Devitt, for his services to shipping, thanks to his involvement in Devitt & Moore, The Orient Line, F. Green & Co., Lloyd’s Register and an abundance of nautical charities, associations and institutes.

1930: Howson expands

The brokerage firm expands to an office of 15 people including his two sons Howson Charles and Peter Kenneth. 

Seventh Edition of the Sherborne Register,


1936: Devitt “DU” motorcycle scheme was launched

The Devitt “DU” motorcycle scheme was launched, an innovative idea to sell motorcycle insurance through motorcycle dealers at the request of the Motor Agents Association, specialised in schemes for the dealer. This allowed customers to ride their bike away from the dealer the very same day they bought the bike!  This scheme was launched in conjunction with “H.P.” Motor Policies at Lloyd’s. 

1939: The partnership was incorporated

The partnership of Devitt “DU” and “H.P.” Motor Policies was incorporated as Howson F Devitt & Sons LTD. 

1955: An example of an Insurance Certificate and Additional Benefits on the 50’s

1955: Devitt “DU” became Devitt “DA”

After years of doing business under the name Devitt “DU” the scheme was changed to Devitt “DA” (Dealers Association)