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Lamond, Hector (1865–1947)

by Coral Lansbury

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

Hector Lamond (1865-1947), by David Low

Hector Lamond (1865-1947), by David Low

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an6481104

Hector Lamond (1865-1947), journalist, publisher and politician, was born on 31 October 1865 at Broughton Creek, Shoalhaven, New South Wales, son of Scottish-born Allan Lamond, farmer, and his wife Charlotte, née Day, born in London. He was educated at public schools and at 14 was apprenticed as a printer to the Carcoar Chronicle where he learned to publish and write for newspapers. By 25 he was editor of the Chronicle. Lamond was the unsuccessful Free Trade candidate for Cowra at the 1894 elections and next year left Carcoar for Sydney.

In 1895-1916 he was editor and subsequently manager of the Australian Worker, published by the Australian Workers' Union. Its success was attributed largely to Lamond whose terse, lively editorials established a house style and confirmed him as one of the most vigorous and capable journalists of the day. He had been associated with reformist politics since his boyhood, and became a socialist after the William Morris model. He supported the Labor Party as an extension of the trade union movement, and was active in its development in 1895-1900. But he accepted the A.W.U.'s policy of attempted domination of the party. He was a loyal and close friend of the union's president William Guthrie Spence, and on 10 July 1902, at Petersham, he married Spence's daughter Gwynetha. Lamond helped Spence write and publish Australia's Awakening (1909) and the History of the A.W.U. (1911) as well as many articles.

In 1911 Lamond was president of the Homebush Political Labor League and was a leading exponent of increased Federal powers, using the Worker and the A.W.U. to oppose W. A. Holman. He unsuccessfully contested the Federal seat of Lang as a Labor candidate in 1913 and 1914. During World War I he became disturbed by radical labour and such manifestations as the Industrial Workers of the World. In 1916 he became a staunch ally of W. M. Hughes as honorary general secretary in New South Wales for the first conscription campaign. The council of the Worker already opposed conscription and demanded that its staff 'go with the majority'. Lamond, with his own convictions strengthened ('I have been compelled to choose between speaking the Truth as I see it, or losing my job'), resigned from the Worker regretfully ('God alone knows who is right and who is wrong in the great controversy'). His reputation in Labor circles was to be clouded by the bitter charge that he had used his influence also to identify the failing Spence with conscription.

Lamond joined the Nationalists and captured the Federal seat of Illawarra in May 1917. He was joint honorary secretary of the National Federation in 1917 and a member of the New South Wales council of the National Association in 1917-23. He remained loyal to Hughes and was appointed assistant minister for repatriation from 21 December 1921. In parliament, and outside it, he was a forcible speaker, widely read and alert who was perceived as a strong man who could 'balance the Conservative element' in the party. He battled conscientiously and effectively with repatriation and war homes complexities and, as a member of the Federal Capital League, to see a start made on building the national capital at Canberra. He was defeated when he stood for Barton in December 1922 as a balanced alternative to conservatism or communism.

In 1923 Lamond purchased the Southern Mail and three other country newspapers which he edited and published from Bowral. He died on 26 April 1947 at Bowral and was cremated with Anglican rites. His wife, two sons and a daughter survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • B. Nairn, Civilising Capitalism (Canb, 1973)
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 11 July 1894
  • Bulletin, 7 July 1904
  • Australian Worker, 28 Sept 1916
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 9, 16 Oct 1916, 24 Oct, 18 Dec 1922, 28 Apr 1947
  • V. Molesworth papers (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Coral Lansbury, 'Lamond, Hector (1865–1947)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lamond-hector-7019/text12207, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 21 November 2017.

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

View the front pages for Volume 9

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