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Harry Baynes (1858–1920)

by Betty Crouchley and H. J. Gibbney

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BAYNES BROTHERS: Harry (1858-1920), George (1862-1907) and Ernest (1864-1930), butchers and meat exporters, were sons of William Henry Baynes (1833-1898), butcher, and his wife Sarah, née Robinson. Harry was born on 16 December 1858 at Hawthorn, Victoria. His father moved to Brisbane in 1859, joined Isaac and Hugh Moore on Barambah station in the Burnett district and on Condamine Plains on the Darling Downs, established a butchering business in South Brisbane, and represented the Burnett in the Legislative Assembly in 1878-83. Harry was educated at Brisbane and Sydney Grammar schools, then worked on Condamine Plains and Barambah. In 1881 he joined his father and uncles in Brisbane in the Graziers' Butchering Co. and the Graziers' Meat Export Co., established in 1880. On 12 June 1883 in the Baptist Church, South Brisbane, he married Annie Brookes; they had five children.

The companies were sold in 1885 to a new partnership of the three Baynes sons and George Hooper, who was replaced in 1888 by John V. Francis. The firm undertook meat preserving in leased premises at Queensport, and had nearly thirty suburban shops as well as a plant at Belmont for fellmongering, wool-scouring and soap-making; it also operated a factory at South Brisbane to supply cooperage, saddlery and vehicles. The business seemed prosperous, but the four inexperienced partners were soon in trouble from incompetent accounting and excessive personal drawings. In 1894 they registered the Graziers' Butchering and Meat Export Co. Ltd with power to take over the assets of the two older companies, which in 1897 they allowed to become insolvent. The Baynes brothers were bankrupt for a time but were discharged in March 1898 and immediately registered a new firm, Baynes Bros. George left the firm in 1899 and Ernest in 1912. With a new partner John Stitt, Harry, who was primarily a cattleman, again reorganized the firm in 1918 as Baynes Ltd.

Harry served for many years on the Woolloongabba Divisional Board and Stephens and Belmont shire councils. On 27 August 1920 he died of a heart attack and was buried in the Congregational section of South Brisbane cemetery. His estate, valued for probate at £39,107, was left to trustees charged to carry on the business for his family; managed by Stitt and two of Baynes's sons, the firm closed down in 1937.

George was born on 3 April 1862 in South Brisbane and was educated at Toowoomba Grammar School. He specialized in sheep and managed the Belmont plant until his retirement after suffering a stroke in 1899. He had married Agnes Petrie at Brisbane on 22 September 1886, and after her death married Florence Emma Eyres at Ballarat, Victoria, on 3 July 1895; they had four children. He lived at Narrabeen, New South Wales, from 1899 and died there on 20 September 1907. He was buried with Church of England rites in Waverley cemetery and his estate was sworn for probate at £3968.

Ernest was born on 1 February 1864 at South Brisbane. He began his education privately under W. A. J. Boyd, then attended Horton College in Tasmania and Toowoomba Grammar School from 1878. After several years as a jackeroo and drover, he went to Western Australia, spent some years on the Kimberley goldfield, made a friend of M. P. Durack, and was employed by Sir Thomas McIlwraith to seek potential sugar-lands in the west. On his return he joined the family firm as superintendent of the retail outlets, and married Annie Celia Jones at St Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane, on 5 April 1889. He retired in 1912, was widowed in 1929 and died on 22 September 1930 of cerebro-vascular disease at St Martin's Hospital. He was buried in South Brisbane cemetery, survived by two daughters; he left an estate valued for probate at £11,796.

Enthusiastic sportsmen, the Baynes brothers shared special interests in water sports and the turf. George and Ernest were prominent at school in football and cricket; both later held debentures in the South Brisbane Cricket Ground. Harry and George raced Koala in the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron; Harry was vice-president of the Queensland Rowing Association in 1900 while Ernest, an active oarsman in the 1880s, became president in 1902. All three were on the committee of the Queensland Turf Club, Ernest in 1894-95, George in 1893-95 and Harry in 1895-1919; Harry was a steward, Ernest a judge and George an owner.

In his retirement Ernest devoted most of his time to the breeding and judging of quality stock. A council-member of the National Association from 1892, he was its chairman in 1920-23 and president in 1924-30. Until 1920 he was ringmaster of the association's annual Brisbane exhibition; a grandstand at its grounds was named for him in 1923. He had a national reputation as a judge of horses and in 1911 selected Akbar, a Durbar charger, for the Prince of Wales; he was a member of the Southern District Stallion Board, and frequently adjudicated horse-classes at shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. His own horses included the champion buggy-horse, Comet, and the high-jumper, Spondulix.

Select Bibliography

  • W. F. Morrison, The Aldine History of Queensland, vol 2 (Syd, 1888)
  • W. B. Carmichael and H. C. Perry, Athletic Queensland (Brisb, 1900)
  • S. Stephenson, Annals of the Brisbane Grammar School 1869-1922 (Brisb, 1923)
  • M. Durack, Kings in Grass Castles (Lond, 1959)
  • Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, Report of Council, 1920, and Review, 1931
  • P. Fynes-Clinton, ‘The beef industry in Queensland’, JRHSQ, 6 (1959-62) no 4
  • Commercial Publishing Co. of Sydney, Ltd, Annual Review of Queensland, vol 1 (1902) no 1
  • Pastoral Review (Melbourne), Oct 1907, Sept 1920, Oct 1930
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 28, 31 Aug 1920
  • Graziers' Review, Oct 1930
  • company file no 231, book 7 (Queensland State Archives)
  • liquidation files, 1639/1897 (Supreme Court, Brisbane)
  • private information.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Betty Crouchley and H. J. Gibbney, 'Baynes, Harry (1858–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 20 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (Melbourne University Press), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


16 December, 1858
Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


27 August, 1920 (aged 61)
South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations