Thomas William Hislop

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Thomas William Hislop
Thomas William Hislop, 1908.jpg
Portrait of Thomas Hislop in 1908
New Zealand Legislative Council
In office
2 September 1921 2 October 1925
21st Colonial Secretary of New Zealand
In office
8 October 1887 10 September 1889
Governor William Jervois
James Prendergast (acting)
The Earl of Onslow
8th Minister of Education
In office
9 July 1889 10 September 1889
In office
17 October 1889 24 January 1891
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waitaki
In office
10 January 1876  28 April 1880
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Oamaru
In office
20 May 1885  3 October 1890
16th Mayor of Wellington
In office
Personal details
Born(1850-04-08)8 April 1850
Kirknewton, Scotland
Died2 October 1925(1925-10-02) (aged 75)
Wellington, New Zealand
Resting place Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Spouse(s)Annie Hislop (née Simpson; m. 1873–1909)
Louis Hislop (née Smith; m. 1922–1925)
Children Thomas Hislop
ResidenceSayes Court, Wellington
Alma mater University of Otago
Occupationbarrister and solicitor; politician
Cabinet Atkinson Ministry, 1887–1891

Thomas William Hislop (8 April 1850 – 2 October 1925) was the Mayor of Wellington from 1905 to 1908, and had represented two South Island electorates in the New Zealand Parliament.


Early life

Portrait of Thomas Hislop in 1878 Thomas Hislop Sr, 1878.jpg
Portrait of Thomas Hislop in 1878

He was born in Kirknewton, West Lothian in 1850. His father, John Hislop, [1] was the first secretary for Education in New Zealand. The family left Scotland in 1856 on the Strathmore and landed in Port Chalmers. They settled in East Taieri. He was educated by his father until the age of twelve, and then attended John Shaw's Grammar School (Albany Street, Dunedin), Dunedin High School and University of Otago, where he studied law. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1871, only a few months [2] after his teacher from Shaw's Grammar, Robert Stout (who later became Premier and then Chief Justice). He practised as a lawyer in Oamaru (in a firm where he was a colleague of Stout [2] ), in which town he resided until 1890. [3] [4] After the 1890 election defeat, he moved to Wellington, where he became a partner in the legal firm of Brandon and Hislop (later Brandon, Hislop and Johnston) with Alfred Brandon. [5]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
1876 1879 6th Waitaki Independent
1879 1880 7th Waitaki Independent
1885 1887 9th Oamaru Independent
1887 1889 10th Oamaru Independent
1889 1890 10th Oamaru Independent

He was first elected for the Waitaki electorate in the 1876 general election, and was re-elected in 1879. He resigned on 28 April 1880 "for private reasons". [6] [7] He then represented Oamaru from an 1885 by-election to 1889, when he resigned from his two ministerial portfolios (effective 10 September 1889) and his parliamentary seat (effective 4 September 1889) over the Ward–Hislop Affair. [8] He won the resulting 1889 by-election, but was defeated by Thomas Young Duncan at the next general election in 1890. [6] [7] He contested the 1896 general election in the Wellington Suburbs electorate, but was defeated by Thomas Wilford, with 2194 to 1942 votes. [9] [10] An election petition was filed one month after the election, accusing Wilford of bribery, illegal practices and not being properly registered as a voter himself. Therefore, it was argued, that only Hislop was properly registered, and should thus be returned. [11] Wilford's election was declared invalid, but a by-election was called. Hislop declared that he would not stand in the by-election in favour of the opposition candidate Arthur Atkinson, who had come forth in the three-member Wellington electorate. [12] Charles Wilson from the Liberal Party narrowly defeated Atkinson in the 1897 by-election, though. [13] [14]

He was a member of the Atkinson Ministry from 1887 to 1891, holding posts as Colonial Secretary and Minister of Education. [15] The education portfolio filled Hislop with great pleasure, as he was thus following in his father's footsteps, as he had been the author of the Education Act. [2] Hislop drafted the Fair Rent Bill, which was introduced by the fifth Atkinson Ministry, and passed through the Lower House. He also introduced labour bills, factory and shop hours, and employers’ liability bills, also building liens and the Truck Act, which, however, were not passed. He was successful in passing the Shipping and Seamen's Act. He also affected some useful legal reforms, and introduced the Representation Bill, a measure based on the Hare system, but this was withdrawn. Hislop's political views were on the left of the spectrum. [7]

As a minister, he was involved in the 1889 Paris Exposition. For that, and for his services to education in general, he was honoured by the French Government with a Legion of Honour. [2] [16]

Hislop unsuccessfully contested the three-member Wellington electorate in the 1899 election. [17] He contested the Newtown electorate in both the 1902 and 1905 elections. In 1902, the electorate was contested by William Henry Peter Barber, Hislop, Charles Luke, William Chapple and William George Tustin. [18] [19] They received 1385, 1357, 1100, 1017 and 159 votes, respectively. [18] John Crewes had initially also contested the election, but he withdrew his nomination before polling day. [20] The 1905 election was contested by William Henry Peter Barber, Hislop, William Chapple and Alfred Hindmarsh. They received 3231, 2018, 1795 and 383 votes, respectively. [21]

Hislop was Mayor of Wellington from 1905 to 1908. [22]

He was a Member of the Legislative Council from 1921 until his death. [23]

Family and death

Hislop's last residence was Sayes Court in Aurora Terrace, Wellington. [16] It was once described as the "most valuable residential property in the city of Wellington". [24]

Hislop married Annie Simpson on 18 February 1873 at Knox Church in Dunedin. [7] [25] They had two sons and three daughters. His first wife died in 1909. [16] His son Thomas Hislop was Mayor of Wellington from 1931 to 1944. [26]

On 27 May 1922 at St Johns Church in Willis Street, he married Marguerite Estelle Louis Smith (known as Louis Smith) of Wellington. [27]

Hislop died on 2 October 1925 at his residence. [23] [16] He was buried at Karori Cemetery in Wellington on 5 October of that year. [28] He was survived by his second wife and his children. [16] [29]

List of honours


  1. McKenzie, David. "Hislop, John – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Late Hon. T. W. Hislop". The Evening Post . CX (84). 6 October 1925. p. 7. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  3. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, pp. 82–83.
  4. Hamer, David (1 September 2010). "Stout, Robert – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  5. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, p. 472.
  6. 1 2 Scholefield 1950, p. 114.
  7. 1 2 3 4 The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, p. 83.
  8. "The Ward-Hislop Affair". Ashburton Guardian. VII (2217). 4 September 1889. p. 2. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  9. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, p. 1500.
  10. "Summary of Results". The Star (5739). 5 December 1896. p. 6. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  11. "Election Petitions". The Evening Post . LIII (5). 7 January 1897. p. 6. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  12. "Wellington Suburbs Seat". The Star (5839). 5 April 1897. p. 1. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  13. "Monday, April 26, 1897". West Coast Times (10553). 26 April 1897. p. 2. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  14. Scholefield 1950, p. 148.
  15. Scholefield 1950, p. 39.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 "The Hon. T. W. Hislop, M.L.C." The Evening Post . CX (82). 3 October 1925. p. 8. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  17. "The General Election, 1899". Wellington: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives. 19 June 1900. p. 2. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  18. 1 2 "The General Election, 1902". National Library. 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  19. Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Advances To Settlers Office". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand . Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  20. Chalklen, Mollie. "John Crewes". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  21. "The General Election, 1905". National Library. 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  22. "Past Mayors of Wellington – 1890 – 1921 Print Page". Wellington City Council. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  23. 1 2 Scholefield 1950, p. 78.
  24. "Sayes Court". New Zealand Free Lance. VIII (398). 15 February 1908. p. 18. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  25. "Knox Church Dunedin Marriages 1860 to 1920". Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  26. "Past Mayors of Wellington – 1890 – 1921 Print Page". Wellington City Council. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  27. "Women in Print". The Evening Post . CIII (125). 30 May 1922. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  28. "Cemeteries". Wellington City Council. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  29. "Late Hon. T. W. Hislop, M.L.C." The Evening Post . CX (83). 5 October 1925. p. 6. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  30. M. Brewer, 'New Zealand and the Legion d'honneur: Officiers, Commandeurs and Dignites', The Volunteers: The Journal of the New Zealand Military Historical Society, 35(3), March 2010, pp.131–147.

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Government offices
Preceded by
Patrick Buckley
Colonial Secretary of New Zealand
Succeeded by
William Russell
Political offices
Preceded by
Harry Atkinson
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
William Pember Reeves
Preceded by
John Aitken
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
Alfred Newman
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
William Steward
Member of Parliament for Waitaki
Served alongside: Samuel Shrimski
Succeeded by
George Jones
Preceded by
Samuel Shrimski
Member of Parliament for Oamaru
Succeeded by
Thomas Young Duncan