Charles Hains

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Port Adelaide Library:

Charles Hains

East Side

Name added to memorial 1918

He was nominated by the Working Men’s Association

Contemporary press clippings:


By the death of Mr. Charles Hains, which occurred at his residence, Portland Ward, at one o'clock on Tuesday morning last, Port Adelaide has lost a most valuable and highly respected citizen. Mr. Hains was perhaps the best-known identity in the town, and the expressions of regret at his demise have been universal. As soon as the news of his death was made known flags were half-masted throughout the Port, and shutters were put up at the windows of all the business places out of respect for the deceased. Mr. Hains death was not unexpected, he having been confined to his bed for eleven weeks, during which time endured much pain and suffering. For a quarter of a century past the deceased gentleman has carried on business as an auctioneer at Port Adelaide, but his first connection with the town extends as far back as 1853.

He was born at Friarstreet, Borough-road, London, in 1821, and was seventy-two years of age at the time of his death. His first visit to the colony was in 1839, he being then only eighteen years old. At this time he arrived at Holdfast Bay as steward in the ship Buckinghamshire, it being his first voyage at sea. He went away again with the ship, and for the next fourteen years travelled all over the world in different vessels. He married his first wife in England, and in 1853 he sailed from London to Melbourne in the ship Eliza, being accompanied by his wife and eldest son (Mr. J. Hains, of the Dock Hotel, who was then six years old). From Melbourne they set out in the ship Candahar for Port Adelaide where they arrived after an eventful voyage which occupied six weeks, the vessel having to put back several times for provisions. There were also amongst the passengers Mr. J. Ottaway of Dale-street, Mr. J. Woods of Lipson-street, and Mr. Cruickshank of Birkenhead, Captain Goss being in command.

Soon after his arrival at Port Adelaide Mr. Hains commenced work, as a stevedore in partnership with his brother, and in 1859 the two brothers went to the Snowy River diggings, where however, they were not very fortunate. Mr. C. Hains returned to Port Adelaide and commenced business as a grocer, after which he opened a pawnbroker's shop and finally took to auctioneering. During his travels he succeeded in acquainting himself with a number of Eastern languages, and his knowledge in this respect was frequently brought into requisition when an interpreter was needed at the Port Adelaide Court.

He was one of the founders of trades unionism in Port Adelaide, and took a very active part in the formation of the Port Adelaide Working Men's Association. When the Association was first formed Mr. Hains generously offered the use of a store, free of charge for twelve months, in which to hold the meetings, and also provided lights and writing materials during that period.

He also interested himself in the formation of the Coasting Seamen's Union, and presided over the first meeting of that body, which afterwards became amalgamated with the Federated Seamen's Union, of which he was also one of the founders, and a life size portrait of him is painted on the banner of that institution.

The late Mr. Hains was always recognised as a friend and staunch supporter of trades unionism, and he was always a prominent figure at the annual demonstrations of the Adelaide Labor Unions on Eight Hours Day.

He was also associated with the various friendly societies in Port Adelaide, being a member of the Victoria Lodge. M.U., the Duke of York Lodge, G.U.O.O.F. and the Court Australia's Pride, A.O.F. In municipal matters to, the deceased gentleman always took an active interest, and for seven years he was a most jealous and enthusiastic representative of the ratepayers in the Port Corporation. He was ultimately compelled to retire from municipal life on account of being hard of hearing, an affliction which caused him considerable discomfort in his later years. It may also be mentioned that during the greater part of the time the late Mr. C. Hains sat as a Councillor for East Ward, his son, Mr. Joseph Hains was also the representative ot Portland Ward.

In 1884 the deceased attended as a delegate from Port Adelaide the Intercolonial Seamen's Conference which met in Sydney for the purpose of federating the Seamen's Unions of the various colonies and obtaining a uniform rate of wages and working hours, and on several occasions he was presented with medals and other mementoes in recognition of the services rendered by him in the interests of trades unionism.

The deceased leaves a widow (his second wife), two sons (Mr J Hains of the Dock Hotel, and Mr. L. Hains of Commercial-road), three daughters (Mrs A. Saunders of Port Adelaide, Mrs. R. Saunders of Adelaide, and Mrs. S. Berliner of Brisbane), and twenty five grand-children.

The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, the remains being interred in the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. Nearly eighty vehicles joined in the procession and about 2,000 people assembled round the grave. Besides the relatives of the decaasd there were present the members and officers of the Port Adelaide Corporation, members of the three Lodges with which the late gentleman was connected, representatives of the various labor organisations at Port Adelaide, including over 100 members of the Working Men’s Association.

February 17 1893 Port Adelaide News and Lefevre Peninsula Advertiser.