John Huxham (politician)

The Hon
John Huxham
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Brisbane South
In office
5 February 1908  2 October 1909
Preceded by Thomas Bouchard
Succeeded by James Allan
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Buranda
In office
27 April 1912  31 July 1924
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Ted Hanson
Personal details
Born Samuel John Chapman Huxham
(1861-05-14)14 May 1861
Ivybridge, Devon, England
Died 4 August 1949(1949-08-04) (aged 88)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Resting place South Brisbane Cemetery
Nationality English Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Eliza Jane Bubb (m.1884 d.1896), Helen Julia Meiklejohn (née Dougherty) (m.1897 d.1924)
Occupation Accountant
Religion Baptist

John Saunders Huxham (14 May 1861 – 4 August 1949) was an accountant and a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.[1]

Early life

Huxham was born in Ivybridge, Devon,[1] to parents Simon Huxham, labourer, and his wife Agnes (née Chapman).[2] He was born Samuel John Chapman Huxham but changed his name to John Saunders Huxham later in life. Educated in London and beforehand at Ivybridge Dame School which he later described as "harsh and desolate" where punishment consisted of "confinement in a dark cellar", he left school at age 12 to become a merchant seaman which on occasions took him to Australia.[2]

John Huxham & Co. at the intersection of Edward and Adelaide Streets, Brisbane, ca. 1905

In 1879 he settled in Sydney, and found work as a bookseller's accountant before heading to Townsville in 1889 to work for the general merchants, Alfred Shaw & Co.. In April 1893, he transferred to Brisbane to work in Shaw's Brisbane office.[2] Huxham left Alfred Shaw & Co. to begin work with music and instrument retailers, Pollard & Co. When the firm closed he went into partnership with Alex McKenzie to form John Huxham Co., importers, and retailers of sporting and musical goods.[2]

Political career

Representing the Labour Party,[1] Huxham was a candidate for the seat of Brisbane South at the 1907 Queensland state election but was defeated by Opposition candidates William Stephens and Thomas Bouchard.[3]

1908 saw the people of Queensland back at the polls. Huxham once again contested Brisbane South, this time successfully.[4] He held the seat until 1909 when he was defeated at that year's state elections.[5]

At the 1912 state election, Huxham contested the newly created seat of Buranda where he once again found himself opposed by William Stephens. Huxham defeated him by 2,210 votes to 1,747 to win the seat,[6] holding it until 1924 when he retired from politics.[1]

During his time in parliament he was Minister without Office in 1915-1916, Home Secretary in 1916-1919, and Secretary for Public Instruction in 1919-1924.[1] Having taught at Sydney's "ragged schools" in the 1880s made Huxham a strong advocate for the underprivileged or handicapped. His daughter was blind from the age of seven due to meningitis and Huxham took an active interest in the Queensland Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institute where she was a teacher and he was made a life member of the institute in 1915.[2]

In parliament, Huxham would sit quietly for long periods, "legs crossed, head bent slightly forward, arms folded". He was a moderate and urged cooperation between the political parties for "the good of the people". Though this may have been seen as a sign of weakness, he stood side by side with the unionists in the Brisbane general strike in 1912 and as a consequence, he claimed his actions lost him friends and business.[2]

In 1924, Huxham was appointed Agent-General for Queensland in London, holding the role until 1929.[1]

Personal life

In 1884, Huxham married Eliza Jane Bubb (died 1896)[2] in Sydney and together had five children.[1] The next year he married Helen Julia Meiklejohn (née Dougherty) and they had one daughter. Helen died soon after arriving in London for her husband to take up the role of Agent-General for Queensland.[2]

Huxham died in August 1949.[7] His funeral proceeded from the Vulture Street Baptist church at South Brisbane to the South Brisbane Cemetery.[8][9] His estate, valued for probate at £22,372, was used to establish the Helen Huxham Hostel for blind girls in memory of his second wife.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Huxham, John Saunders (1861–1949) Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  3. "SUMMARY OF RESULTS.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 23 May 1907. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  4. "SYNOPSIS OF THE POLLING.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 7 February 1908. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  5. "[No heading].". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 4 October 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  6. "BURANDA.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 29 April 1912. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  7. "Ex-State Agent dies in Brisbane.". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 5 August 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  8. "Advertising.". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 6 August 1949. p. 12. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  9. Huxham John Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Thomas Bouchard
Member for Brisbane South
Succeeded by
James Allan
New seat Member for Buranda
Succeeded by
Ted Hanson
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