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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Haynes, Thomas Watson (1878–1963)

by Sally O'Neill

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Thomas Haynes, n.d.

Thomas Haynes, n.d.

photo supplied by James Goding

Thomas Watson Haynes (1878-1963), chartered accountant and company director, was born on 10 May 1878 at South Melbourne, fifth child of Robert Haynes, warehouseman, from Staffordshire, England, and his Scottish-born wife Margaret, née Watson. He was educated at state schools in Ballarat, then supported his widowed mother by working as a telegraph boy. In 1892 he joined the Broken Hill Proprietary Co., but after an attack of sunstroke at Broken Hill in 1896 returned to Melbourne as assistant accountant to the Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co. Ltd. By 1904 he was listed as an associate of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants of Victoria. On 7 September 1905 at Holy Trinity Church, Balaclava, he married Ethel Constance Timmins, daughter of a civil engineer.

Haynes served with the Mount Lyell Co. until 1910, when he left his position as sales manager of the chemical works department and set up his own company, Paterson, Haynes & Co., in Melbourne. In May 1911 he rejoined Mount Lyell as officer in charge of the chemical works department, with responsibility for the Yarraville plant and development of the chemical works at Fremantle in Western Australia. From 1929 Haynes was general manager of Commonwealth Fertilisers & Chemicals Ltd, a new amalgamation, and of Cuming Smith and Mount Lyell Fertilisers Ltd (W.A.) until October 1930, when he resigned to carry on business as legal manager and accountant in Melbourne. He continued to act as a consultant to his former employers.

In January 1931 Haynes became director in charge of the Melbourne office of Kelly & (E.P.) Lewis Pty Ltd, engineers, and later joined the board of Sydney Cotton Mills. Haynes joined Parbury Henty & Co., merchants, in April 1932 as managing director until 1943 and chairman until 1956. He was chairman of Parbury Henty Holdings Ltd from 1956 to 1960. He was remembered as far-seeing and calm, a businessman of 'absolute integrity'. In 1938-39 he was president of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce and in 1940 junior vice-president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia.

Rejected for active service in World War I, Haynes was a member of several official bodies in connexion with wartime administration. He was effective in work on behalf of soldiers' wives and families and in gaining employer and government support for retraining returned servicemen. He served on the State War Council on employment for returned soldiers from 1915 and on the State Repatriation Board (1917-20). He was also a member of the Federal Prices Commission Advisory Board of Victoria.

In 1922 Haynes visited Nauru and Ocean Island with the British Phosphate Commission. He was inspired to write a novel, Our Daily Bread (London, 1933), an account of political and financial intrigue involving American agents bent on cornering the world's phosphate supply.

A member of the Melbourne, Australian and Royal Melbourne Golf clubs, Haynes was especially fond of golf, and enjoyed a game of bridge. He died on 29 August 1963 at his home in Monomeath Avenue, Canterbury, survived by his wife, two sons and four daughters, and was buried in Box Hill cemetery with Methodist forms.

Select Bibliography

  • Industrial Australian and Mining Standard, 9 Oct 1930
  • Argus (Melbourne), 8 Sept 1915, 3, 12 July 1929, 25, 27 Mar 1939
  • Age (Melbourne), 4 Oct 1930, 12 Sept 1931, 25 May 1938, 4 Sept 1963
  • Times Literary Supplement, 27 Apr 1933
  • private information.

Citation details

Sally O'Neill, 'Haynes, Thomas Watson (1878–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 9 August 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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