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Ephraim Zox

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Name  Ephraim Zox

Role  Financier
Ephraim Zox
Born  22 October 1837 (1837-10-22) Liverpool
Occupation  Financier and Politician
Died  October 23, 1899, St Kilda, Australia

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Ephraim Laman (Lamen) Zox (22 October 1837 – 23 October 1899) was an Australian financier and politician.

Zox was born in Liverpool, England, son of Eliazer Laman Zox (d.1882), proprietor of a large cap-making business. He arrived in Melbourne in December 1852 and worked as an assistant to his cousin Lewis Myer Myers in a softgoods firm. From 1863 he partnered Myers in a warehouse business and for about five years from 1866 his brother Joseph joined him in Melbourne. On 15 May 1879 his partnership with Myers was dissolved and next year he set up on his own as 'financial agent and arbitrator', Collins Street West.

Zox represented the Legislative Assembly seat of East Melbourne from 1877 until 1899. A conservative, he opposed payment of members and protection amid the bitter party strife which accompanied Sir Graham Berry's second government, and such measures as income tax and female suffrage in the 1890s. A supporter of the coalitions of the 1880s and of Sir James Patterson's ministry, he was more consistent and predictable than many of his contemporaries. Good natured, genial and popular, he spoke in parliament in a typically bantering style, and his puns were a byword, but he was less at ease on serious subjects. He was a 'useful and painstaking' chairman of the royal commissions on asylums for the insane and inebriate (reported 1884-86), on banking laws (1887) and on charitable institutions (1890, 1891, 1895); he was also a member of the commissions on the working of the Friendly Societies Statute (1875–77) and the tariff (1881–83).

Zox was president of the Melbourne Hebrew congregation in 1883-85, treasurer of the Melbourne Hebrew School in 1883 and president of the Melbourne Jewish Club in 1885. In 1890 he chaired a meeting of the Melbourne branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association of London which protested against Jewish persecution in Russia. He was vice-president of the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society from 1885 and chairman in 1898-99, a director of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia and a board member of several hospitals. Prominent in the Manchester Unity Order of Oddfellows, he was a justice of the peace from May 1874.

Zox suffered financial reverses in the early 1890s, but was still known for his earnest devotion to charitable movements and for his ready assistance to 'forlorn wayfarers'. He was a keen student of Shakespeare and stories were told of his remarkable aptitude for arithmetic.

Aged 62, he died in a private hospital at St Kilda of pneumonia brought on by influenza. He was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery. His estate, valued for probate at £4400, was left to his two brothers and two sisters in London and a sister in Cape Town, South Africa.


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