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Hogue, James Alexander (1846–1920)

by Martha Rutledge

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

James Alexander Hogue (1846-1920), by unknown photographer

James Alexander Hogue (1846-1920), by unknown photographer

State Library of New South Wales, GPO 1 - 11268

James Alexander Hogue (1846-1920), journalist and politician, was born on 2 September 1846 at Clarence Town, New South Wales, son of Fitzarthur Hogue (d.1878), a Scottish-born innkeeper and later a miller and farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Mackay. Educated at local schools and Newcastle Grammar School, Jimmy was briefly a pupil-teacher. He trained as a compositor with the Newcastle Chronicle and in 1873 joined the literary staff of the Maitland Mercury.

Two years later Hogue moved to Sydney to become parliamentary reporter for the Empire, Evening News and Australian Town and Country Journal. In 1880 he became a sub-editor on the Evening News and was its editor in 1884-95; to some extent he made it a working man's paper. The governor, Lord Carrington, remarked in 1889 that Hogue was 'a most remarkably quick, clever, intelligent man with a great knowledge of Australia: and an extraordinary grasp of what is really going on in the political & social world'.

The Evening News on 26 January 1894 accused members of parliament of drunkenness and gambling in the parliamentary refreshment rooms. Hogue was summoned to the Bar of the Legislative Assembly on a charge of contempt and reprimanded. Instead of apologizing, he refused to name the writer of the offending article and vigorously 'took exception to the judicial position which the Assembly had taken up'. After nearly seven hours the House, on finding it had no power to imprison him for contempt, dismissed him 'as quickly as possible, lest worse befell'.

Standing as a free trader, Hogue was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Glebe in July that year; he held the seat until 1910. He resigned as editor in 1895 but continued to contribute to the Evening News until he served as minister of public instruction and for labour and industry under his old friend (Sir) George Reid in 1898-99. As colonial secretary in the Carruthers ministry in 1904-07, he introduced little legislation, but made important changes to the administration of hospitals and charities. He held his former portfolios from May 1907. When (Sir) Charles Gregory Wade took over in October, Hogue continued as minister of public instruction in 1907-10 and for labour and industry from January 1908. As minister, he took a 'keen and judicious' interest in the Public Library of New South Wales and watched over the construction of the Mitchell Library.

A firm supporter of Federation, Hogue was president of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Natives' Association in 1904-05. From 1901 he had succeeded Andrew Garran as author of the weekly column 'Sydney Topics' in the Australasian. He was a director of the Yorkshire Fire and Life Insurance Co. from 1904 and a trustee of the (Royal) National Park from 1906.

A good cricketer, rifle-shot and athlete in his youth, Hogue was a vice-president of the New South Wales Rowing Association for many years, and was State bowls champion in 1900-01 and pairs winner in 1902-03. Widely read and a student of English, he was a member of the (Royal) Australian Historical Society and also a good flautist. Known as 'Dismal Jimmy', perhaps because, according to Sir Joseph Carruthers, he was 'always cheerful', he had a high-domed forehead, large slightly hooded eyes and a trim beard and moustache.

At Clarence Town Presbyterian Church, Hogue had married Jessie Robards (d.1932) on 17 April 1878. Accompanied by her husband, she was reported to be the first woman to ride the summit of Mt Kosciusko. Three of their sons saw active service in World War I, including Oliver, who died in London in 1919. Their daughter Amy had died in 1918. James Hogue died at his home at Mosman on 2 August 1920 and was buried in the Presbyterian section of Waverley cemetery. He was survived by his wife, five sons and three daughters. To Carruthers, he was 'my dear old friend and colleague', always 'incorruptible, steadfast and loyal'. Reid recalled that Hogue was 'one of the best editors of a leading daily newspaper' that he had known.

Select Bibliography

  • G. H. Reid, My Reminiscences (Lond, 1917)
  • Parliamentary Debate (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1894, p 339
  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1894, 1, p 34
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Feb 1894, 3 Aug 1920, 23 July 1932
  • Bulletin, 10 Feb 1894
  • Evening News (Sydney), 26 Jan 1894
  • Town and Country Journal, 24 July 1907
  • Australasian (Melbourne), 14 Aug 1920
  • Fighting Line, 26 Aug 1920
  • James Hogue papers (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Martha Rutledge, 'Hogue, James Alexander (1846–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hogue-james-alexander-6699/text11559, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 25 September 2016.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

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