Hearnshaw, Eric

 Eric Hearnshaw (1893-1967) MM, B Ec, Dip Pub Admin, [1] was one of the longest serving State Members of Parliament who has ever represented Beecroft.

 He was born in Sheffield England to Frank Marmaduke Hearnshaw and Flora (nee Diggett). His father was employed as an edgetool manufacturer. In the 1901 census the family was living at 56 Earl Marshall Road Brightside Bierlow and he was the youngest son of 4 boys and 4 girls. He was educated at Central Secondary School, Sheffield. At the age of 21 years he migrated to Australia as an assisted migrant arriving in 1914.

On arrival he trained as a farmer at Scheyville and then at the Cowra Government Experimental Farm. He then enlisted in the 12th Light Horse Regiment and 14th Field Artillery Brigade where he served with distinction between 1915 and 1919. He served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was wounded at Morchies in June 1917 and at Joncourt on 15 October 1918. He rose to become a lieutenant and was awarded the Military Medal.

Upon publication of news that he was injured the military authorities received a letter inquiring as to his wellbeing from a Miss Doris Mulholland of 77 Queen Street Ashfield.

Following the World War he studied accountancy and practiced in Sydney before becoming the Secretary Union Hat Mills and was then manager of Hadfields Limited and W & T Avery (Aust) Ltd. He studied part-time at the University of Sydney to graduate Bachelor of Economics (1934) and a Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (1936). He worked with the Prices Branch, Trade and Customs Department during the Second World War after which he became a Director, Silk and Textile Printers Limited.

He was elected as a Liberal to the State seat of Ryde between 1945 and 1950 and thereafter for Eastwood between 1950 and 1965. He was the first person to be newly elected as a member of Parliament for the new Liberal Party of Australia. [2] He lost pre-selection in 1965 (at the age of 72) to James Clough but unsuccessfully stood as an independent when he was defeated.

Hearnshaw was active in community affairs and was a member of Sydney Legacy 1943-67; on the interim council Macquarie University 1963-67; director Poplars Community Hospital Epping, President of Ryde Eastwood Music Society and a founder of the Hornsby District Pony Club. He was a member of Rotary, a Freemason and attended the Methodist Church.

At the age of 54 years, on 27 October 1947, he married Marion Lillian Johnson the daughter of Rev G E Johnson and they had 3 sons and 3 daughters.

He died at his home in 4 York Street Beecroft in July 1967 aged 74 years. The then Premier Mr Robert Askin said “His old world charm and sincerity made him one of the best liked and respected members of the House” [3].


[1]        most of this information comes from H Radi, P Spearritt & E Hinton Biographical Register of New South Wales Parliament 1901-1970, NSW Parliament

[2]        Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 1967 p18

[3]        Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 1967 p18