Henry Teesdale Smith

Last updated

Henry Teesdale Smith
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
24 April 1901 24 June 1904
Preceded by Harry Venn
Succeeded by Thomas Hayward
Constituency Wellington
Personal details
Born(1858-12-22)22 December 1858
Merino, Victoria, Australia
Died25 February 1921(1921-02-25) (aged 62)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Henry Teesdale Smith (22 December 1858 – 25 February 1921) was an Australian businessman and politician who was prominent at various times as a timber merchant, railway builder, and pastoralist. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1901 to 1904.

Smith was born in Merino, Victoria, to Ellen (née Teesdale) and George Smith. [1] He attended Hamilton College, and after leaving school began working for a local railway contracting firm. Smith set up his own railway contracting business in 1888, and in 1893 moved to Western Australia to build the BunburyBusselton line. The following year, he became manager of an Albany timber firm, which he eventually expanded into a "sawmilling empire with leases and concessions along the length of the Darling Range". In 1902, his firm and seven others merged to form Millars Karri and Jarrah Forests Limited (known as Millars), which had a virtual monopoly over the market in Western Australia. [2]

At the 1901 state election, Smith was elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of Wellington, standing as an independent. However, he did not recontest his seat at the 1904 election, [3] instead choosing to concentrate on his business interests. As manager of Millars, Smith faced several challenges, including a royal commission into price-fixing, a declining market, and several industrial disputes. He resigned in 1908, reputedly over a pay dispute, and left for Adelaide, where he returned to railway contracting. Outside of the timber industry, he had acquired a number of pastoral leases in Western Australia, including properties near Northam, Mount Barker, Harvey, and Wokalup. In South Australia, Smith was responsible for constructing the GawlerAngaston, NuriooptaTruro, BalhannahMount Pleasant, and PalmerSedan railway lines, as well as an electric tramway in Adelaide. In 1911, Smith also returned to Western Australia to build the Marble Bar Railway. [2]

In 1914, the federal government granted Smith the right to build a small section of the Trans-Australian Railway, running west from Port Augusta. In 1918, the state government of New South Wales contracted Smith to build a wheat silo and grain elevator at White Bay. The contract was later claimed to have been signed without appropriate safeguards, and the resulting controversy was said to have contributed to the defeat of William Holman's government at the 1920 state election. Smith lived in Adelaide in retirement, although he also had houses in Melbourne and Sydney. He died in Melbourne in February 1921 (aged 62), of a cerebral haemorrhage. [2] He had married Lydia Kate Johnson in 1885, with whom he had five sons and a daughter. [1]

Related Research Articles

Alf Morgans

Alfred Edward Morgans was the fourth Premier of Western Australia, serving for just over a month, from 21 November to 23 December 1901.

Hector Rason

Sir Cornthwaite Hector William James Rason, better known as Hector Rason, was the seventh Premier of Western Australia.

Frank Wilson (politician)

Frank Wilson, was the ninth Premier of Western Australia, serving on two separate occasions – from 1910 to 1911 and then again from 1916 to 1917.

Maurice Coleman Davies was an Australian timber merchant and pastoralist. Born in London, he emigrated to Tasmania with his family as a child, and later moved to Blackwood in the Victorian goldfields, then to Melbourne and Adelaide. He then relocated to Western Australia, where he created the M.C.Davies Company, later the M.C.Davies Karri and Jarrah Timber Company, a timber empire that employed hundreds of men, laid over a hundred kilometres of private railway, including the Flinders Bay Branch Railway, and even built its own private ports for exporting of timber. He also formed the Kimberley Pastoral Company and was its managing director.

Henry Yelverton (Australian politician) politician

Henry John Yelverton was a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in the Electoral district of Sussex from 1901 to 1904.

Josiah Symon

Sir Josiah Henry Symon was an Australian lawyer and politician. He was a Senator for South Australia from 1901 to 1913 and Attorney-General of Australia from 1904 to 1905.

John Holman (politician) politician

John Barkell Holman was a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1901 to 1921 and 1923 to 1925.

John Gunn (Australian politician) Australian politician

John Gunn was the 29th Premier of South Australia, leading the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party to government at the 1924 election.

James Gardiner (Australian politician) Australian politician

James Gardiner was an Australian politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1901 to 1904 and from 1914 to 1921. He served as colonial treasurer under two premiers, Walter James and Henry Lefroy. Gardiner was also the inaugural state leader of the Country Party from 1914 to 1915, and briefly served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from March to June 1917.

Henry Gregory (politician) Australian politician

Henry Gregory was an Australian politician. He was a Ministerialist member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1897 to 1911, representing the electorates of North Coolgardie (1897-1901) and Menzies (1901-1911). He was state Minister for Mines from 1901 to 1904 under George Leake and Walter James and Minister for Mines and Railways from 1905 to 1911 under Hector Rason, Newton Moore and Frank Wilson. He rose to become Treasurer from 1910 to 1911, a role that also entailed him acting as Premier if Wilson was absent, but lost his seat at the 1911 state election.

Albert Gould Australian politician

Sir Albert John Gould, VD was an Australian politician and solicitor who served as the second president of the Australian Senate.

John Neild Australian politician

John Cash Neild was an Australian politician who served as a Senator from New South Wales from 1901 to 1910.

James OLoghlin (politician) Australian politician

James Vincent O'Loghlin was an Australian politician.

William Dartnell Johnson

William Dartnell Johnson was an Australian politician who was prominent in state politics in Western Australia for most of the first half of the 20th century. A member of the Labor Party, he served in the Legislative Assembly on three occasions – from 1901 to 1905, then again from 1906 to 1917, and finally from 1924 until his death. Johnson was elected leader of the Labor Party in October 1905, but three weeks later lost his own seat at the 1905 state election. He had previously been a minister in the government of Henry Daglish, and later returned to the ministry under John Scaddan. Towards the end of his career, Johnson also served just under a year as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, from 1938 to 1939.

Mathieson Jacoby Australian politician and winemaker

Mathieson Harry Jacoby was an Australian politician who twice represented the seat of Swan in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, from 1901 to 1905 and then again from 1908 to 1911. He was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1904 to 1905. Outside politics Jacoby was a noted viticulturist, one of the pioneers of the West Australian wine industry.

John Henry Church was an Australian pastoralist and politician who was a Nationalist member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1932 to 1933, representing the seat of Roebourne.

William James George CMG was an Australian engineer and politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1895 to 1902 and from 1909 to 1930. He was a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.

William Atkins was an Australian politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1902 to 1904, representing the seat of Murray.

Albert James Wilson was an Australian politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1904 to 1908, representing the seat of Forrest.

A by-election for the seat of Claremont in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia was held on 11 June 1902. It was triggered by the resignation of William Sayer on 26 May. John Foulkes, a prominent local lawyer, won the election with 40.4 percent of the vote. Of the other four candidates, three entered parliament themselves at later dates.


  1. 1 2 Henry Teesdale Smith – Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Bolton, G. C.; Mills, Jenny (1988). "Smith, Henry Teesdale (1858–1921)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . 11. Melbourne University Press. ISSN   1833-7538 via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  3. Black, David; Prescott, Valerie (1997). Election statistics : Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, 1890-1996. Perth, [W.A.]: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project and Western Australian Electoral Commission. ISBN   0730984095.
Parliament of Western Australia
Preceded by
Harry Venn
Member for Wellington
Succeeded by
Thomas Hayward