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second Viscount Hampden (1841–1906)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

second Viscount Hampden (1841-1906), by Percy F. Spence

second Viscount Hampden (1841-1906), by Percy F. Spence

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an24041505

Sir Henry Robert Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden (1841-1906), governor, was born on 2 May 1841 at Government House, Devonport, Devon, England, eldest son of Henry Bouverie William Brand, army officer, later Speaker of the House of Commons and 1st Viscount Hampden, and his wife Elizabeth Georgina, née Ellice. Educated at Rugby, he entered the army in December 1858, serving, as had his father and grandfather, in the Coldstream Guards. In 1862 he was aide-de-camp to Viscount Monck, governor-general of Canada. On 21 January 1864 at Bray in Berkshire he married Victoria Alexandrina Leopoldina Van de Weyer (d.1865); he retired from the army in October 1865. At Pimlico, London, on 14 April 1868, he married Susan Henrietta Cavendish, niece of the 7th Duke of Devonshire; they had six sons and three daughters.

A Liberal, Hampden possessed 'the serious introspective air which marks the Whig when under forty', with 'a deliberatedness in his movement and a gravity in his manner', emphasized by his domed forehead and a drooping moustache, partly concealing rather full lips. He sat for Hertfordshire in the House of Commons in 1868-74, and for Stroud in 1874 (until unseated by petition) and in 1880-86. In 1883-85 he was surveyor-general of ordnance. Joining the Liberal Unionists over Irish Home Rule, he was defeated for Cardiff in 1886. He succeeded to the viscountcy and as 24th Baron Dacre in 1892.

In June 1895, refusing a K.C.M.G., Hampden was appointed governor of New South Wales, succeeding Sir Robert Duff. With his wife, a son and three daughters, he arrived in Sydney on 21 November. His term was remarkable as one of political calm, as the colony was led adroitly for the whole time by (Sir) George Reid. The governor faced no political or constitutional crises, but was an interested observer of the emerging Labor Party, of the constitutional conventions leading to Federation and of colonial restrictive immigration legislation. In November 1896 he visited Norfolk Island on instructions from the British government and next year government of the island was vested in him under advice from his ministry. He had hoped to see Federation accomplished but resigned office prematurely due to his eldest son's contemplated marriage. The Hampdens' departure from Sydney on 5 March 1899 was a quiet affair, shadowed by the recent death in England of their youngest son. He was appointed G.C.M.G. in June and retired into private life.

A member of Brooks' and the Travellers Club and a keen sportsman, he had observed that, lacking good hunting, shooting and fishing, 'New South Wales cannot be called a sporting country', though he noted that Australians were 'passionately attached to horse-racing' and superior to England in the cricket field. Hampden died of chronic Bright's disease on 22 November 1906 in London. His portrait by Tom Roberts is at Government House, Sydney.

Select Bibliography

  • Anthony Hampden, Henry and Eliza (priv print, Haywards Heath, England, no date)
  • Referee, 7 Dec 1898
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Feb 1899
  • Times (London), 23 Nov 1906
  • Edmund Barton papers (National Library of Australia)
  • Carruthers papers (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Hampden, second Viscount (1841–1906)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

second Viscount Hampden (1841-1906), by Percy F. Spence

second Viscount Hampden (1841-1906), by Percy F. Spence

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an24041505

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Brand, Henry Robert

2 May, 1841
Plymouth, Devon, England


22 November, 1906 (aged 65)
London, Middlesex, England

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