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Henry Clement (Harry) Hoyle (1852–1926)

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Harry Hoyle, n.d.

Harry Hoyle, n.d.

Henry Clement (Harry) Hoyle (1852-1926) blacksmith, railway engineer, journalist and politician

Birth: 20 November 1852 at Millers Point, son of English-born parents John Hoyle (1815-1897), a mariner from Yorkshire, England, and Caroline, née Balson (1820-1872), from Plymouth, Devon [this information is from his marriage certificate; details on death certificate, and therefore in Connolly, Radi et al - in Sources -, are incorrect]. Marriage: 28 August 1877 at St Francis’s Church, Sydney, to Queensland-born Maria Dillon (1851-1926), a housekeeper. They had four daughters and three sons. Death: 20 July 1926 in his home at Vaucluse. Religion: Catholic.

  • Father died young and left his mother to raise a young family with slender resources. Educated at Balmain convent and Fort Street Public School.
  • Left school about 1861 to work in a newsagency to assist with family resources. Had an accident which temporarily crippled him.
  • Worked with a lumber merchant, Booth’s sawmills, Balmain, in 1862. Apprenticed as blacksmith with P. N. Russell and Co. for five years, and Mort’s Dock and Engineering Co. in 1868. Later employed at Bubb and Co. and R. Mitchell’s.
  • Joined Railways Department in 1876; became foreman of the interlocking branch.
  • Always a prominent trade unionist, he was active in iron trade strikes in 1873 and 1882. Helped found Railway and Tramway Association(s) and was first president in 1885. Dismissed for union activities 1890.
  • Established auctioneering business at Darling Harbour. Was also an indent agent. President of the Ironworkers’ Eight Hours Conference in 1882.
  • Elected as Protectionist for seat of Redfern on 17 June 1891. Defeated on 25 June 1894, he wrote for Freeman’s Journal. Recontested Redfern in 1895. Stood for State seat of Sydney-Belmore in 1898 and the Federal seat of South Sydney in 1901.
  • Joined the Australian Labor Party and was elected for the seat of Surry Hills on 14 October 1910. Honorary minister assisting Colonial Treasurer from 29 January 1914 to 31 October 1916. Was Secretary for Mines and Minister for Labour and Industry 31 October to 15 November 1916.
  • Expelled from the ALP over his support for conscription in 1916. Two of his sons had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force: Clifford Michael Hoyle (1885-1953), a clerk, wounded at Gallipoli, and Leo Dillon Hoyle (1892-1955)], a clerk, who served in France.
  • Travelled on government funding in the United States of America from August to November 1917 and retired from parliament on 21 December 1917. Later occupation “indent agent (steel)”.
  • Member of the Trades and Labor Council Sydney. First president of the NSW Rugby League in 1909. Appointed justice of the peace in 1911. Trustee of Taronga Park from 1912 to 1926.
  • Cause of death: aortic aneurism and broncho pneumonia.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton (eds), Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); C. N. Connolly (ed), Biographical Register of the New South Wales Parliament 1856-1901 (ANU Press, Canberra, 1983); Australian Worker, 28 July 1926 p 1; NSW Railway and Tramway Review p 187; Greg Patmore, A history of industrial relations in the NSW Government Railways (PhD thesis University of Sydney, 1985); Chris Cunneen ‘The Rugby War: the early history of Rugby League in New South Wales, 1907-1915’, in Richard Cashman and Michael McKernan, Sport in History (St Lucia, 1979), pp 296-297, 299.

Additional Resources

  • profile, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 5 July 1894, p 5

Citation details

'Hoyle, Henry Clement (Harry) (1852–1926)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Harry Hoyle, n.d.

Harry Hoyle, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


20 November, 1852
Millers Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


20 July, 1926 (aged 73)
Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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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.

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