HEATON, Sir John Henniker (1848-1914)


HEATON, Sir John Henniker (1848-1914)
postal reformer
only son of Lieut.colonel John Heaton and his wife, originally Elizabeth Anne Henniker, was born at Rochester, Kent, England, on 18 May 1848. He was educated at Kent House School, Rochester, and King's College, London, and at 16 years of age went to Australia. He found employment at first as a station hand and then joined the staff of the Mercury, Parramatta. He had further experience as editor of the Penny Post, Goulburn, and the Times, Parramatta, before joining the Australian Town and Country Journal at Sydney about the year 1871. On this paper he came under the influence of the proprietor Samuel Bennett, "the best friend I ever had" Heaton called him, and on 16 July 1873 married his daughter Rose. In 1879 he published The Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time, the first Australian book of reference of real importance, and a conscientious and generally sound piece of work. In 1882 he stood for parliament for the electorate of Young, and was defeated by a few votes. In the following year he went to England and represented New South Wales as a commissioner at the Amsterdam exhibition. He also represented Tasmania at the international telegraphic conference held at Berlin, and made his first mark as a reformer by obtaining a reduction in the cost of cable messages to Australia. He settled in London in 1884 and at the general election held in 1885 was returned as conservative member for Canterbury. He held this seat for 25 years, and became well-known in the house of commons for the special interest he showed in postal questions. In 1886 he moved a resolution inviting the government to negotiate with other governments with a view to the establishment of universal penny postage. It was defeated, but he succeeded in 1890 in obtaining a reduction in the rate between Great Britain and Australia to twopence halfpenny. In 1898 Imperial penny postage came in except for Australia and New Zealand, who would not agree to it until 1905. It was extended to America in 1908 but still Heaton was not content, and to the end of his days continued to advocate its extension to other countries. His interest, however, did not only lie in the obtaining of reductions in the cost of postage. He was able to point out to the postmaster-general various methods of saving costs, and as a result of his efforts considerable savings were made. Heaton made several visits to Australia where he had land and newspaper interests, and began to be recognized as its unofficial member in the house of commons. He several times refused a knighthood, but valued very much the bestowal of the freedom of the cities of London and of Canterbury in 1899. In 1912 while on a visit to Australia he was made a baronet, and on his return he was publicly welcomed at the Guildhall and given an illuminated album containing over a thousand signatures of well-known men. The postmaster-general, who could not be present, mentioned that in 1910 Heaton on his sixty-second birthday had sent him a list of 62 desirable postal reforms, several of which had already been carried into effect. In August 1914 he became seriously ill while travelling on the continent and died at Geneva on 8 September 1914. Lady Heaton survived him and his son John became 2nd baronet. His Life and Letters by his daughter, Mrs Adrian Porter, was published in 1916.
Heaton was an amiable man with the gift of persistency. He had no special ability as a speaker but, specializing in everything relating to the postal department, he became a formidable critic, and brought about many reforms not only by reducing postage rates but in connexion with parcels post, telegrams, the telephone, and money orders. Underlying all his work was the feeling that the removal of obstacles to communications between different parts of the world would lead to better knowledge and better feeling between nations.
Mrs Adrian Porter, The Life and Letters of Sir John Henniker Heaton Bt.; The Times, 9 September 1914.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sir John Henniker Heaton, 1st Baronet — (18 May 1848 – 8 September 1914) was a United Kingdom Member of Parliament and a postal reformer and journalist in Australia. Early lifeHeaton was the only son of Lieut.colonel John Heaton and his wife, originally Elizabeth Anne Henniker, and was …   Wikipedia

  • Heaton — /ˈhitn/ (say heetn) noun Sir John Henniker, 1848–1914, English politician and postal reformer with newspaper and land interests in Australia …   Australian English dictionary

  • Henniker-Heaton Baronets — The Heaton, later Henniker Heaton Baronetcy, of Mundarrah Towers in Sydney in Australia, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 31 January 1912 for the Conservative politician and postal reformer John Henniker… …   Wikipedia

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  • Roll of distinguished philatelists — Le Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP, pour « Rôle des philatélistes distingués ») est une récompense philatélique britannique d importance internationale. Sommaire 1 Sélection 2 Historique 3 « Pères de la philatélie » …   Wikipédia en Français


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