Frederic Holmes was born in Ashburton, Devon, England, on 4 Dec 1849, the second child and only son of John and Jane Holmes. When he was two years old the family emigrated to Australia and settled in Victoria. At age fifteen he was apprenticed to his pharmacist brother-in-law, Sam Angior. He completed his qualifications in 1869. In 1875 he was offered the managership of a pharmacy in Brisbane Street, Launceston, owned by Mr F B Spicer.
On 4 Feb 1875 Frederic Holmes married Emma Letitia Robinson at the Wesleyan Church, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne. The couple moved to Launceston in Nov 1875. They had five children and Emma died on 5 Jul 1882, soon after the last child was born. The children were: Frederic, born 13 Nov 1875; Horace, 9 Aug 1877; Alice, 22 Feb 1879; Edgar, 17 Sep 1880, died 19 Jul 1881 and Mervyn, 1 Jul 1882.
Emma Holmes' sister, Alice Eliza Robinson, came from Melbourne to keep house for her brother-in-law and on 26 Apr 1886 Frederic and Alice were married at the Wesleyan Church, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. They had six children: Nellie, born 18 Feb 1887; Myra, 19 Feb 1888; Charles, 1889; Louis, 17 Jan 1891; Rupert, 11 Jul 1893 and John Durant, 29 Jan 1901.
On 14 Aug 1876 Hatton and Laws purchased F G Spicer's pharmacy and Frederic Holmes remained as the manager. In Jan 1886 J W C Laws retired and Frederic Holmes took over his share and also the freehold on the pharmacy on the corner of Charles and Brisbane Streets. Frederic's brother-in-law Thomas Carr, who is in the Family Album, was a partner from 1887 until 1896. After this partnership was dissolved Frederic remained as sole proprietor until his sons Frederic Thomas, Charles and Louis joined him.
Frederic Holmes was a foundation member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Tasmania, a member of the Launceston Marine Board, one of the originators of the East Launceston Bowling Club and one of the guarantors for the Tasmanian Exhibition. Lake Holmes near Barn Bluff in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is named after him because of his involvement in the Mole Creek and Zeehan Mineral Prospecting and Exploration Company, which had claims in this region. He died of chronic nephritis on 12 Sep 1916 at his home 'Ashburton', 21 Adelaide Street, Launceston, and was buried at Carr Villa.