Alfred H. Hindmarsh

Alfred Humphrey Hindmarsh (18 April 1860 – 13 November 1918) was a New Zealand politician, lawyer and unionist. He died in the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Early lifeEdit

Hindmarsh was born in Port Elliot, Australia, and was the grandson of John Hindmarsh, the first Governor of South Australia. His grandfather was recalled to England in 1938, but his father, also John Hindmarsh, returned to South Australia and worked as a lawyer. Alfred Hindmarsh lost his mother when he was age ten and his father remarried. He was educated at St Peter's College in Adelaide.[1]

The family moved to Napier, New Zealand, in 1878. Hindmarsh trained as a lawyer in Dunedin, and was admitted to the bar in 1891, when he briefly worked in Christchurch at the Supreme Court (since renamed as High Court). He settled in Wellington, where he married Winifred Taylor on 3 October 1892.[1]

Early careerEdit

Politically, Hindmarsh was left-wing, and held a number of positions in the local labour movement. Most notably, he headed the Wellington branch of the Seamen's Union during the internal disputes of the 1890s. In this role, he argued against the traditional alignment of unions with the governing Liberal Party, instead advocating an independent labour voice in Parliament.

In 1901, Hindmarsh himself stood for the Wellington City Council, but was unsuccessful, but in 1905, backed by the new Independent Political Labour League which he had helped found, he was elected. He remained a city councillor until 1915. He also sat on the Wellington Harbour Board.

Member of ParliamentEdit

In the 1905 general election, Hindmarsh stood as an IPLL candidate for Parliament in the Newtown electorate. Of the four candidates, he came a distant last.[2] In the 1911 general election, he was elected in Wellington South as a candidate for the original Labour Party in the second ballot.

In the following year, 1912, the party was relaunched as the United Labour Party, with Hindmarsh still a member. In 1913, the United Labour Party itself agreed to merge with the Socialist Party to form the Social Democratic Party, but Hindmarsh believed that the resulting party would be too extreme. Hindmarsh chose became one of a group of United Labour loyalists who remained outside the Social Democrats, forming a loosely organised "remnant" faction.

In 1915, when the Social Democrats and the United Labour remnant agreed to form a united caucus, Hindmarsh was selected as chairman. The following year, most of this caucus agreed to establish the modern Labour Party — Hindmarsh was the acting parliamentary leader of the party during its period of establishment, although he did not take any executive office. While acting as the chairman, Hindmarsh was noted to be a man of great personal attraction and was easily able to establish friendships, even when differing opinions were concerned. This was of great benefit in his position as the recently formed Labour Party had many individuals with both differing personalities and clashing ideas.


Winifred Hindmarsh died in 1916.[1] Alfred Hindmarsh died in Wellington in office on 13 November 1918 in the influenza epidemic of 1918. He was survived by four children.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hindmarsh, Alfred Humphrey. Te Ara. Retrieved on 15 August 2015.
  2. The General Election, 1905. National Library (1906). Retrieved on 8 February 2012.
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