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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Weedon, Sir Henry (1859–1921)

by David Dunstan

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

Sir Henry Weedon (1859-1921), businessman and lord mayor, was born on 26 March 1859 in Melbourne, son of Henry Weedon, grocer, and his wife Emily, née Emery, both London born. At the age of 21 he was employed as a decorating contractor and undertook work on Parliament House and its library, the Melbourne Town Hall, Government House and the Victorian court at the Hobart exhibition. An able businessman with a talent for financial organization, Weedon was a managing partner of the successful Talma Photographic Studios of Sydney and Melbourne. He was also involved in gold-dredging in the Bright, Castlemaine and Gippsland districts of Victoria, chairman of investment companies in Melbourne and Sydney, and managing director of the Globe Motor Co. in South Melbourne.

Elected in 1899 to the Melbourne City Council for Albert Ward which he continued to represent until his death, Weedon was lord mayor in 1905-08 and an alderman in 1913. He was chairman of the council's parks and gardens committee and of the Alexandra Gardens committee. In 1906 he had represented Victoria at the Christchurch exhibition in New Zealand. While acting as commissioner for Victoria at the Franco-British Exhibition, London, he was knighted in 1908.

An Oddfellow and a Freemason, Weedon assisted a wide variety of community organizations and charities. He was a chairman of the Tramways Trust, a trustee and treasurer of the Public Library, museums and National Gallery, a member of the Fire Brigades' Board, a trustee of the Exhibition Building, a manager of the Fawkner cemetery and founding chairman of the Macedon Water Trust. A governor of the Melbourne, Alfred, Homoeopathic, Women's and Children's hospitals, the Sutherland Home, the Carlton Refuge, and the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, he was also a member of the faculty of veterinary science at the University of Melbourne.

Following the resignation of Sir Samuel Gillott, in 1907 Weedon was returned to the Legislative Assembly for the seat of East Melbourne; as a Ministerialist, he supported Sir Thomas Bent and served on the royal commission into tramway fares in 1910-11. Defeated in the 1911 election, he unsuccessfully contested his former seat in 1912 and 1914 before representing Melbourne Province in the Legislative Council in 1919-21.

Noted for his courtesy and genial nature, Weedon was a philanthropic urban liberal of the old school who was remembered for his frock-coat and bell-topper, and for his somewhat erratic grammar. He was thrice married with Anglican rites: to Emily Ellard (d.1896) on 26 December 1880 at St Jude's Church, Carlton; to Fanny Dudley Cohen (d.1913) on 5 August 1896 at All Saints Church, St Kilda; and to Florence Maud Mary McCarron on 17 April 1915 at St Mary's Cathedral, Auckland, New Zealand. Survived by his wife, and by a son of his first marriage, Weedon died of cerebro-vascular disease on 26 March 1921 at Darlinghurst while holidaying in Sydney and was buried in Melbourne general cemetery. His estate was sworn for probate at £9349.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Smith (ed), Cyclopedia of Victoria, vol 1 (Melb, 1903)
  • Parliamentary Debates (Victoria), 6 July 1921
  • Table Talk, 17 Nov 1899, Annual 1905
  • Argus (Melbourne), 10 Oct 1905, 28, 31 Mar 1921
  • Leader (Melbourne), 14 Oct 1905
  • Age (Melbourne), 28, 31 Mar 1921
  • Bulletin, 7 Apr 1921.

Citation details

David Dunstan, 'Weedon, Sir Henry (1859–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 23 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

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