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Barnes, Walter Henry

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Birth Date: 7 September 1858 (Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia)

Death Date: 19 February 1933 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Parents: Hiram Barnes and Catherine (nee Dawes)

Family: Katherine E. Edmonds on 5 June 1888, 1 son

Education: Ipswich and Brisbane Normal schools; Rev. C Ogg, Divinity Hall

Religion: Methodist

Relationship to Politician: His brother, George was the member for Warwick from 1908 to 1935


Joined firm of Barnes & Co., produce merchants, with his brother, George, 1884; Postal Clerk in the Postal Department; Apprenticed to L Uhr, Brisbane saddler; Employee of Cobb & Co.

Local Government Service: Alderman, Coorparoo Shire Council for 25 years, 5 times elected chairman

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly MIN Bulimba 16 Feb 1901 27 Aug 1904 By-election
Assembly OPP Bulimba 27 Aug 1904 5 Feb 1908
Assembly MIN Bulimba 5 Feb 1908 22 May 1915
Assembly NAT Bulimba 16 Mar 1918 12 May 1923
Assembly QUP Wynnum 12 May 1923 8 May 1926
Assembly CPNP Wynnum 8 May 1926 19 Feb 1933 Died in Office

Parliamentary Service

Description From To
Treasurer 21 May 1929 17 Jun 1932
Treasurer and Secretary for Public Works 7 Feb 1911 1 Jun 1915
Secretary for Public Instruction and for Public Works 22 Oct 1909 7 Feb 1911
Secretary for Public Instruction 29 Jun 1909 22 Oct 1909
Secretary for Public Lands 19 Nov 1907 18 Feb 1908

Additional Information

Notes: Walter Barnes' father, Hiram, was a senior driver for Cobb & Co. and established the company in Queensland. In 1865 he took 16 coaches from Bathurst to Brisbane and in 1868 he commenced the Brisbane-Gympie-Maryborough run. Hiram Barnes made a fortune on his first day on the Castlemaine goldfields. As Secretary for Public Instruction Walter's most controverisal action was his passing of the Industrial Peace Act in 1912 in wake of the general strike. Despite his assurance that its 'liberal provisions' would render all future strikes unnecessary, the then opposition leader, David Bowman, described it as 'the worst, the most tyrannical, and most coercive bill that had ever existed in any part of Australia'. President, RSPCA, the YMCA and the Brisbane City Mission. Walter Barnes was accorded a state funeral on 20 Feb 1933 at the Albert Street Methodist Church

Sources: Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland; Brisbane Courier, 'Links with the long ago', p. 9, 23 Feb 1933; Brisbane Courier, 'Dense throngs pay homage', 21 Feb 1933; Brisbane Courier, 'A notable career. Death of Mr W.H. Barnes', 20 Feb 1933; Letter from Claire Wagner, great-niece to George and Walter Barnes, 11 March 2004; Lack, Clem, Three Decades of Queensland Political History, 1929-1960 (Brisbane: Government Printer, 1962); Waterson, DB and John Arnold, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1930-1980, (Canberra: ANU Press, 1982); Waterson, DB, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001); Costar, BJ, 'Barnes, Walter Henry (1858–1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/barnes-walter-henry-5603

[Last Modified: Monday, 27 February 2017]