Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Leonard Henry Pike (1885–1961)

by Jennifer Harrison

This article was published:

Leonard Henry Pike (1885-1961), public servant and agent-general, was born on 8 August 1885 at Streatham, London, one of eight children of Thomas Pike, bricklayer, and his wife Jane, née Sims. Educated at Emanuel School and Birbeck College, Len acquired some elementary legal training with Peters & Bolton, solicitors. In 1901-02 he served with the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders) in the South African war. He held a post with another law firm in London before working as a clerk (from 1907) for Stag Brewery. On 31 March 1910 he married Lucy Raymond at Holy Trinity parish church, Wimbledon. They migrated to Queensland next day.

Joining the Queensland Public Service in June 1910, Pike worked in the Department of Justice and served (from 1914) as an officer in the Militia. On 1 April 1916 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. While serving on the Western Front with the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column, he was promoted lieutenant in March 1917. A dislocated elbow forced him to return to Brisbane where his A.I.F. appointment terminated in December. Back in the public service, he was official secretary to three successive premiers, E. G. Theodore, W. N. Gillies and William McCormack. He organized official visits to Queensland, including the 1927 tour of the Duke and Duchess of York. His wife and only child had died in 1919. At the Holy Cross Church, Wooloowin, on 10 February 1923 he married with Catholic rites Margaret Hutton, a 29-year-old nurse.

In June 1927 Pike was appointed official secretary to the Queensland agent-general's office, London. He acted as agent-general in 1929 and again from 1931. In July 1936 he was authorized to use the designation of agent-general in his correspondence, but he was not formally appointed to the position until 19 August 1943.

Commended for his negotiating skills, Pike had been involved (from 1928) with international conferences on sugar. As an adviser to the Australian sugar delegation, he attended the Imperial Economic Conference, held in Ottawa in 1932, and the Monetary and Economic Conference, held in London in 1933. He visited Natal in 1938 as a guest of the South African government and the local sugar industry, and represented (1937-52) Australia on the International Sugar Council, of which he was vice-chairman. Convinced of the importance of the sugar agreement negotiated between Britain and Australia during World War II, he continued to reject British proposals to pay higher prices for colonial sugar than Australian.

Pike represented the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' (and Airmen's) Imperial League of Australia on the British Empire Service League from 1927. In 1931-51 he was the Australian Soccer Football Association's delegate to the council of the Football Association, London. He resigned as agent-general in 1951 because of ill health. Mrs Pike thought that successive Queensland Labor governments undervalued the position of agent-general and wryly observed that knighthoods were conferred on eleven other agents-general during her husband's term.

A proficient horseman, Pike was also a chorister, organist and newspaper columnist. He died on 24 March 1961 at Bexhill, Sussex, and was buried in the cemetery at Bexley Hill; his wife and their son and daughter survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 12 Apr 1938, 29 Aug 1951, 25 Mar 1961
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 18 Aug 1950, 9 Jan 1953
  • A/54046, Public Service Board, file 2153 (Queensland State Archives)
  • file 39, Queensland Women's Historical Association, Brisbane.

Citation details

Jennifer Harrison, 'Pike, Leonard Henry (1885–1961)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (Melbourne University Press), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


8 August, 1885
London, Middlesex, England


24 March, 1961 (aged 75)
Bexhill, Sussex, England

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.