Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Charles Simeon Hare (1808–1882)

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Charles Simeon Hare (1808-1882), merchant and parliamentarian, was born in London, son of a carpenter. After schooling in London he joined a bank. While young he visited America and later claimed experience in the working of agricultural colleges in various States and knowledge of the education system of Boston. On 5 October 1836 he arrived with his wife Anna Maria in the Emma at Kangaroo Island. There he became book-keeper and accountant for the South Australian Co. but was no longer required when the company moved to Adelaide. He settled at Port Adelaide and did contract work, including pile-driving for the government wharf. He later bought land at Plympton but maintained a strong interest in the port area.

In 1851 Hare was elected to the Legislative Council for West Torrens, winning the seat by two votes on a platform of state aid to education, universal suffrage, vote by ballot, two-year parliaments, no nominees and no taxation; he also supported property qualifications and unpaid members. He resigned in 1854 over disagreements on the framing of the new Constitution and became comptroller of convicts. With (Sir) Arthur Freeling and Charles Bonney Hare was a commissioner of the Adelaide-Gawler railway. He represented Yatala in the House of Assembly from March to May 1857 but resigned to superintend the Yatala stockade, a post he held for less than two years. He had been commissioner of the city and Port Adelaide railway and in July 1860 became manager of railways. In May 1865 he was dismissed, with compensation, for upsetting the governor's express train on a visit to Port Adelaide. He left to work a plantation in Fiji but after many losses returned to Adelaide 'more like a shirt hung on a handspike' than an able-bodied man.

In 1874 Hare became manager of a small mine near Moonta and took part against the miners in the Moonta strike in April. In 1878-80 he represented Wallaroo in the House of Assembly, speaking most often on the subject of education, particularly in support of free schools. Another interest was the use of the Murray River for irrigation on which he published a pamphlet. He was an advocate of total abstinence and the originator of such charities as the Indian Relief Fund. He visited England in 1880-81 but suffered from a kidney disease and on 22 July 1882 he died aged 74 at his home in Adelaide. Survived by his wife, he was buried in the West Terrace cemetery. His estate was valued at less than £1200.

Former colleagues in the House of Assembly acknowledged his 'racy intelligence and independent character'. Eccentric, much travelled and almost patriarchal, he was always 'an antagonist in conflict of opinion and a champion of weak causes'.

Select Bibliography

  • D. Pike, Paradise of Dissent (Melb, 1967)
  • Parliamentary Debates (South Australia), 25 July 1882
  • Observer (Adelaide), 29 July 1882
  • Pearsons Monthly Illustrated News, Aug 1882.

Citation details

'Hare, Charles Simeon (1808–1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 29 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


London, Middlesex, England


22 July, 1882 (aged ~ 74)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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