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Lienhop, Sir John Herman (Henry) (1886–1967)

by Charles Fahey

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Sir John Herman (Henry) Lienhop (1886-1967), stock-and-station agent, pastoralist and politician, was born on 3 February 1886 at Kangaroo Flat, Victoria, seventh child of Albert Lienhop, a licensed victualler from Germany, and his Irish-born wife Bridget, née Nash. When her husband died in 1896, Bridget took over the running of their hotel. Educated at Kangaroo Flat State School, John worked as a clerk before establishing himself as a stock-and-station agent at Bendigo. On 23 June 1910 at All Saints Pro-Cathedral, Bendigo, he married with Anglican rites 28-year-old Rosetta Wirth (d.1928).

About 1912 Lienhop bought an 8000-acre (3238 ha) grazing property, The Springs, at Womboota near Deniliquin, where he specialized in raising lambs for export and became a successful stock-breeder. He later acquired extensive properties throughout Victoria. An active supporter of the woollen industry, he helped to found the State Wool Committee and served on the Australian Wool Council.

Lienhop was a foundation member of the United Country Party. He was president of the Bendigo branch, a member (1932-38) of the central council and a director of the party's journal, the Countryman. In 1937 he was elected to the Legislative Council for Bendigo Province. As a member of parliament he maintained a long-standing interest in rural industry and local development.

Appointed minister without portfolio in (Sir) Albert Dunstan's government in April 1942, Lienhop was promoted in September 1943 to commissioner of public works, a position he was to hold until the defeat of the Dunstan-Hollway coalition in October 1945. During World War II he was chairman of the Location of Industries Committee and was elected (1943) to the council of the University of Melbourne. In the Hollway-McDonald government he served (November 1947-December 1948) as minister in charge of electrical undertakings and minister of mines. For two years he was government leader in the Legislative Council.

With other members, including fellow Bendigonian (Sir) George Lansell, Lienhop resigned from the United Country Party in February 1949, following its decision to sit in opposition against Hollway's Liberal and Country Party government. After condemning Dunstan's actions, he joined a committee to oversee the formation of the L.C.P. in the Bendigo district. In the June elections for the Legislative Council the contest was seen to be between Lienhop and Dunstan, rather than between Lienhop and his Country Party opponent, Allan Brownbill, whom he defeated. At the declaration of the poll Lienhop announced: 'Today in his old erstwhile stronghold and throughout the State he [Dunstan] is a spent force'.

In December 1950 Lienhop resigned from parliament to become Victorian agent-general in London. At St John's Church, Toorak, on 18 January 1951 he married Catherine Mary Dalton, a 33-year-old nursing sister; they sailed for England soon after. Lienhop was knighted in 1952 and retired to Melbourne in 1956. Throughout his life he owned racehorses. President of the Bendigo Jockey Club and of the Northern Districts Racing Association, he was also an active member of the Victoria Racing, the Victorian Amateur Turf and the Moonee Valley Racing clubs. Sir John died on 27 April 1967 in East Melbourne and was buried in Bendigo cemetery; his wife survived him, as did the two sons of his first marriage.

Select Bibliography

  • Mining and Geological Journal, Mar 1948
  • Annals of Bendigo, 5, 1921-35, 6, 1936-50, 7, 1951-70
  • Bendigo Advertiser, 18 Sept, 1 Oct 1928, 6 July 1937, 1 Feb 1949
  • Age (Melbourne), 22 Feb 1944, 20 June 1949, 28 Apr 1967.

Citation details

Charles Fahey, 'Lienhop, Sir John Herman (Henry) (1886–1967)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lienhop-sir-john-herman-henry-10828/text19211, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 22 November 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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