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Hope, Louis (1817–1894)

by A. A. Morrison

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Louis Hope (1817-1894), grazier, sugar planter and miller, was born on 29 October 1817, the seventh son of John Hope, fourth Earl of Hopetoun, and his second wife Louisa Dorothea, née Wedderburn. He became a captain in the Coldstream Guards and in 1843 went to New South Wales, moving north to Moreton Bay in 1848. In 1853 at Ormiston he took up land surveyed by James Burnett and with Robert Ramsay as partner bought Kilcoy station which became entirely his in 1863. He served in the Queensland Legislative Council in 1862-82.

At Ormiston and Kilcoy Hope lived as a landed aristocrat, building on each station a comfortable colonial house, though with every precaution against marauding Aboriginals. Reputedly he was once invited to attend Governor Sir George Bowen, then visiting Cleveland, but refused, declaring that a mere knight should attend on him as the son of an earl. However, at Ormiston he became a major figure in establishing the colony's sugar industry. Some twenty acres (8 ha) were put under sugar cultivation with Kanaka labour from 1865 onwards. He had a mill built and in 1864 produced three tons (3.04 tonnes) of sugar and fifteen cwt (762kg) of molasses. He supplied plants for the several experiments of John Buhôt and cuttings for plantations in the Oxley district. He also advised another sugar pioneer Claudius Whish. In August 1865 the Queensland parliament refused his petition for a grant of at least 2000 acres (809 ha), but in 1867 he was given the right to take up 2560 acres (1036 ha). Of these 1800 (728 ha) were taken up near the mouth of the Coomera River (Hope Island) and 760 acres (308 ha) at Kilcoy.

As early as 1862 suggestions had been made that Whish should buy the Ormiston property but the price was too high. In 1870 Hope negotiated with Pruche Aubry, a French sugar planter from the island of Bourbon, but the price of £20,000 was still too high. However, Aubry was installed as manager and sublet thirty acres (12 ha) to his son-in-law, Victor Noaques. Hope retained the mill and, after a dispute over the milling of Noaques's cane, a court awarded £1207 damages against Hope in May 1874. Swearing he would never again crush a stick of cane, Hope dismantled the mill and sold it in 1875, some of the machinery going to (Sir) Joshua Bell at Jimbour. Hope retained his Kilcoy lands. In 1882 he sold the Coomera property and returned to England where he lived at the Knowle, Hazlewood, Derbyshire. He died on 15 August 1894 at Geneva, Switzerland.

On 12 October 1859 he had married Susan Frances Sophia, daughter of William Dumaresq. He was survived by his wife (d.4 December 1901), three sons and five daughters. When St John's Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane was opened in 1910 the family donated a grey granite pulpit as a memorial to their parents. Ormiston House is now owned by Carmelite Sisters and on the front lawn is a memorial to Hope, erected by the sugar interests in Queensland.

Select Bibliography

  • C. T. Wood, Sugar Country (Brisb, 1965)
  • F. W. S. Cumbrae-Stewart, ‘Notes on Registers and Memorials at St. John's Cathedral, Brisbane’, Journal (Historical Society of Queensland), vol 1, no 1, 1914, pp 25-42
  • Whish diaries (State Library of Queensland).

Citation details

A. A. Morrison, 'Hope, Louis (1817–1894)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hope-louis-3791/text5997, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 27 May 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

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