Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Richard Septimus Haynes (1857–1922)

by Tom Stannage

This article was published:

Richard Septimus Haynes (1857-1922), lawyer and politician, was born at Picton, New South Wales, youngest son of John Joseph Haynes, civil servant, and his wife Margaret, née Daly. At Morpeth Haynes senior taught Richard before sending him to Sydney Grammar School. In 1873 Haynes was articled, first in Sydney and then at Armidale, and in 1880 was admitted to the New South Wales Bar. On 27 December next year in Sydney he married Marion Adelaide Goodwin; they had six daughters and five sons.

In 1885 Haynes moved to Perth to represent the interest of Anthony Hordern in the Great Southern Land Co. Next year he formed with John Horgan the Eight Hours Association, was elected to the Perth City Council and became chairman of the Local Board of Health. After three years he resigned from the council and board because the city's police magistrate, G. W. Leake, was not enforcing the health regulations. Haynes rejoined the council in 1891-94. He formed and chaired the Municipal Association in 1894 and in 1901 was mayor of North Perth.

'Dickie' Haynes's radicalism had been obvious in the late 1880s when he supported Chief Justice Onslow in his dispute with Governor Broome and convened public meetings to protest over Broome's failure to relieve unemployment. He backed Horgan in his successful battle with Septimus Burt for the seat of Perth in 1888 and, as organizer and chairman of the Central Reform League, he led the democratic movement. At the first election under responsible government, in December 1890, Haynes stood for, but lost, the Legislative Assembly seat of West Perth on a radical platform. He won Central Province in the Legislative Council in 1896; his seat embraced the Murchison goldfields and he kept it until 1902. An uncompromising critic of (Sir) John Forrest's government, he was a powerful advocate for reforms such as manhood suffrage, payment of members, and the abolition of property qualifications and plural voting. He remained an independent, a natural oppositionist and individualist. In 1905 his wife died and on 6 October 1908 he married Anastasia D'Arcy in Sydney.

Haynes's large legal firm was at 66 St George's Terrace. In the late 1880s he had ably defended the bushranger Edward Hughes, Another important case in that period was that of Rev. J. B. Gribble versus the West Australian, in which Haynes defended the West from a libel charge. He fought an extradition order against the murderer, F. B. Deeming, in 1892. In 1902 he was appointed K.C. Legally, he was regarded as a 'last ditcher', possessing a caustic, witty tongue.

Haynes was vice-president of several football and cricket clubs and in the 1880s appeared frequently in amateur theatricals. He was small and solid, clean-shaven, with a perky demeanour and pugnacious jaw: bewigged he looked formidable.

In 1921 he contracted diabetes and part of his right leg was amputated. While recuperating he fell, weakened further, and died on 20 February 1922. He was buried in the Roman Catholic section of Karrakatta cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • W. B. Kimberly (ed), History of West Australia (Melb, 1897)
  • P. W. H. Thiel & Co., Twentieth Century Impressions of Western Australia (Perth, 1901)
  • Truthful Thomas, Through the Spy-Glass (Perth, 1905)
  • J. S. Battye (ed), Cyclopedia of Western Australia, vol 1 (Adel, 1912)
  • J. G. Wilson (ed), Western Australia's Centenary, 1829-1929 (Perth, 1929)
  • Magistrate (Perth), 1916, 1922
  • West Australian, 21 Feb 1922
  • Call (Perth), 24 Feb 1922
  • C. T. Stannage, Electoral Politics in Western Australia 1884-1897 (M.A. thesis, University of Western Australia, 1967).

Citation details

Tom Stannage, 'Haynes, Richard Septimus (1857–1922)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 14 April 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

Life Summary [details]


Picton, New South Wales, Australia


20 February, 1922 (aged ~ 65)
Western Australia, Australia

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