Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Thomas Hayward (1832–1915)

by A. C. Staples

This article was published:

Thomas Hayward (1832-1915), farmer, merchant and legislator, was born on 1 September 1832 at Honington, Suffolk, England, the eldest son of Thomas Hayward, of Ringshall Hall near Stowmarket, and his wife Maria, née Canler, of Cotton Hall. Educated at Needham Market and Ipswich Grammar Schools he lived as a farmer-landowner's son until attracted to Western Australia by his cousin, Robert Henry Rose, who had invited his mother Elizabeth, née Canler, sister and brother Charles to join him. They arrived at Fremantle in the Devonshire in September 1853.

Hayward soon went to York and Northam to buy sheep for butchering in Perth, but after several other unsatisfactory ventures he and Rose took up land near the road between Mandurah and Bunbury, where they ran cattle. Later they leased the Wedderburn estate founded by Dr John Ferguson. They suffered heavy losses of cattle and the Rose brothers departed to their own farms. Hayward stayed for some years and then moved to Bundidup, twenty miles (32 km) from Bunbury, where he established an estate of 4136 acres (1674 ha). In 1861 he married Catharine, daughter of Joseph Keys Logue and his wife Elizabeth, née Goodwin, settlers in the Swan district. Their wedding present to Catharine was a herd of dairy cattle. This gift and her resolute character persuaded Hayward, who was seriously inclined to return to England, to stay in Western Australia. Of their seven children, four daughters and two sons survived childhood.

In 1862 Hayward began to import farm implements from the manufacturers, Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, whom he had known at Ipswich. He left the farm in his wife's capable hands until their son Thomas was given control. Increasing custom and a growing grocery business induced Hayward in 1874 to live next door to his store near the Bunbury wharf. After surviving the depression of the 1870s and enjoying the prosperity of the gold boom, Hayward retired in 1898 from direct control of his business in favour of his younger son George and son-in-law Arthur Foreman.

Always active in local affairs, Tom Hayward, justice of the peace, held at various times every senior position in the local government of the Wellington district, the Wellington Agricultural Society and the Bunbury Hunt Club. He was an original director of the Bunbury Building Society in 1882 and chairman in 1885-1913. When Sir John Forrest transferred to the Federal parliament, Hayward in 1901 contested the vacant seat of Bunbury as 'the old dog for a hard road', defeating the young mayor, James Newton Moore, probably by drawing votes from the wharfsiders whose political activities were supported by George Hayward. Always opposed to George Leake, Hayward gave early support to George Throssell and Alfred Morgans of the Opposition, but in 1902 publicly announced that he would vote as an independent. He moved to the new country electorate of Wellington in 1904 and in 1911 retired when the electorates were again redistributed. His benevolence and public spirit had won him the respect of many friends and customers throughout the southern districts. He died at Bunbury on 24 September 1915, in the same year as his wife.

Thos Hayward & Son Ltd was then managed by Foreman and F. W. Roberts who became a partner in 1910 after the untimely death of George Hayward. In 1919 an up-to-date department store was built away from the wharf to anticipate the southward extension of Bunbury's business area. Allied to a large Perth retail firm, Thos Hayward Pty Ltd was still a thriving business in 1971, the third oldest commercial establishment and the oldest retail store in Western Australia.

Select Bibliography

  • Bunbury Herald, 2, 25, 28 Sept 1915
  • South Western Times, 9 June 1959, 25 Jan 1962
  • Hayward family notes (State Library of Western Australia)
  • family papers (privately held).

Citation details

A. C. Staples, 'Hayward, Thomas (1832–1915)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 16 July 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]


1 September, 1832
Honington, Suffolk, England


24 September, 1915 (aged 83)
Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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