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Birth Date
10 Oct 1838 (Whittlesey, Cambridge, England)

Death Date
20 Sep 1916 (Sevenoaks, Kent, England)

William and Elizabeth (nee Burdock)

Married - Lucy Elizabeth Ground in Coates, Cambridgeshire on 20 September 1866, 10 children.



1. Worked as a draper in London.
2. Became a miner during the gold rush in Ballarat, 1859.
3. Established a draper's shop in partnership with Alexander Stewart, 1860.
4. Represented East Moreton in Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 4 November 1871 to 24 November 1873.
5. Represented Bulimba in the Legislative Aseembly of Queensland, 25 November 1873 to 26 June 1876.
6. Appointed Colonial Treasurer, 8 January 1874 to 5 June 1876.
7. Established a clothing manufacturing business, 1892.

Party and Political Activities
None (NONE)

Party Positions
1. None

Parliamentary Representation
HousePartyElectorateFromToDeparture Reason
AssemblyNONEEAST MORETON04 Nov 187124 Nov 1873 
AssemblyNONEBULIMBA 25 Nov 187326 Jun 1876 

Colonial Treasurer08 Jan 1874 05 Jun 1876


1. Hemmant worked as a draper in London before leaving for the gold rush in Ballarat in 1859. The following year he settled in Brisbane and established a draper's shop in partnership with Alexander Stewart. Hemmant returned to England in 1865 and married Lucy Ground on 20 September 1866. He returned to Brisbane in early 1867.
2. The Great Fire in Brisbane on 1 December 1964 which destroyed much of the commercial heart of Brisbane is said to have started in the cellar of the Stewart and Hemmant drapery store. Their stock worth £10,000 was destroyed. The partners gave evidence at a coronial inquiry. Despite this the partners established one of the largest department stores and a clothing manufacturing business in Brisbane.
3. In 1869, Hemmant built a beautiful sandstone residence called Eldernell House on Hamilton Hill overlooking the Brisbane River. In 1890, he subdivided the land around Eldernell House and sold the blocks at auction. Eldernell House is now the residence of the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane.
4. Hemmant was a director of the Australian Bank of Commerce. He served as an alderman on the Brisbane City Council and then as a member of the Legislative Assembly. Hemmant served as the Colonial Treasurer in the Macalister government. He is credited for producing four possible designs for the new badge on the Queensland flag from which the current Maltese Cross was adopted in 1876.
5. The suburb of Hemmant in Brisbane is named in William's honour. After retiring from parliament, Hemmant returned to England with his family. There he established a British base for the export of drapery products to Brisbane.
6. It is said that Hemmant's most famous political legacy is the steel rails petition which was presented to the Queensland parliament on his behalf by Samuel Griffith on 6 July 1880. He alleged that Premier McIlwraith had engaged in fraudulent acitivities related to steel rails used to expand the rail network. A committee of inquiry and a royal commission exonerated McIlwraith.
7. Hemmant built a large English house called Bulimba near Sevenoaks in Kent. He died at Bulimba on his 50th wedding anniversary on 20 September 1916.


1. Gibbney, HJ, 'Hemmant, William (1837 - 1916)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, pp 375-376
2. Waterson, DB, A Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001)

[Last Modified: 01 May 2013 13:57]

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