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Francis Harold Hawkins (1897–1971)

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Francis Hawkins, n.d.

Francis Hawkins, n.d.

Francis Harold Hawkins (1897-1971) railway worker and politician 

Birth: 1 June 1897 at Tenterfield, New South Wales, son of native-born parents Patrick Hawkins (1862-1942), a blacksmith later coachbuilder, of Irish heritage, and his first wife Ellen M., née Toohey (1866-1906). Marriage: 28 January 1925 at Murrurundi, NSW, to Dorothy Mary Murphy (1898-1997), born at Murrurundi. They had one daughter. Death: 20 December 1971 at Newcastle, NSW. Religion: Catholic. 

  • His father was an alderman of the municipality of Tenterfield for many years.
  • Educated at St Joseph's Convent, Tenterfield, and De La Salle College, Armidale. Worked as a telephone boy then worked on telephone exchange at Tenterfield.
  • Joined railways in 1914: junior porter at Murrurundi; clerk at Inverell 1915-1918; traffic branch official at Werris Creek, Aberdeen and Murrurundi 1918-1924.
  • Grade footballer, also cyclist and cricketer. Worked at Junee with railways from 1924 to 1933.
  • Australian Labor Party member. Contested State seat of Temora in 1930. Went To Newcastle with railways in 1933.
  • Elected member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for Newcastle on 11 May 1935, retaining seat until his retirement. Lobbied for re-establishment of shipbuilding industry at Newcastle in 1941.
  • Minister without portfolio 1950-52 (assisting Premier in Treasury). Minister for Lands, 1952 to 1956. Minister for Child Welfare and for Social Services 1956 to 1965.
  • As Minister for Lands dedicated land at Shortland for a university in 1954. Member advisory committee of Newcastle University College from 1959 to 1962.
  • Helped establish International Sports Centre at Newcastle, was its foundation president and trustee from 1964 to 1967.
  • Retired from parliament on 23 January 1968, having served thirty-two years, eight months and thirteen days.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton (eds), Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Newcastle Morning Herald, 13 June 1966, 21 December 1971.

Citation details

'Hawkins, Francis Harold (1897–1971)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Francis Hawkins, n.d.

Francis Hawkins, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


1 June, 1897
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia


20 December, 1971 (aged 74)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Political Activism