John Ramsay was a Scottish-born Australian businessman, today best remembered as the father of manufacturer William Ramsay, artist Hugh Ramsay, and surgeon Sir John Ramsay.
Ramsay was born in Forth, Lanarkshire.
In his early life he worked as a book-seller, jeweller, and die-sinker and engraver. In 1878 he headed for Melbourne, Victoria, eventually settling in Prahran. After settling in Australia, the Ramsays raised a further five children.
The firm was successful, owing in part to a real estate boom at the time, and in 1888, Ramsay built the family a mansion at Essendon, which he named "Clydebank", after the Scottish town.
After the boom ended, Ramsay worked as a valuer for the City councils of Melbourne and Essendon, and the State Savings Bank of Victoria. When William"s Kiwi shoe polish began to take off in Australia, Ramsay travelled to England to promote the brand in the United Kingdom, establishing a branch of Kiwi Polish Company in London.
Following William"s death in 1914, and the subsequent amalgamation of the British and Australian branches of the company (as "Kiwi Polish Company Pty Limited") in 1916, Ramsay acted as Chairman of Directors until his death on 3 March 1924, at Clydebank. He also taught a Bible class at the Young Men’s Christian Association.