Edward Heitmann

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Edward Heitmann
Edward Heitmann2.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Kalgoorlie
In office
5 May 1917 – 13 December 1919
Preceded by Hugh Mahon
Succeeded by Hugh Mahon
Personal details
Born (1878-06-03)3 June 1878
Bendigo, Victoria
Died 30 January 1934(1934-01-30) (aged 55)
Bendigo, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor (1904–17)
Nationalist (1917–19)
Spouse(s) Ada Maude Cooke
Children Jack Heitmann
Occupation Miner, unionist

Edward Ernest Heitmann (3 June 1878 – 30 January 1934), was an Australian politician and member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1904 to 1917, then a member of the Australian House of Representatives until 1919.

Edward Heitmann was born in California Gully, Bendigo, Victoria on 3 June 1878. The son of carpenter and blacksmith Herman Heitmann and Katherine née Roberts, he was educated locally. He became a miner at an early age, eventually graduating to shaftsman before qualifying as a mine engine driver. In 1895 he moved to Western Australia but by the following year he had returned to Victoria, where took courses at the Bendigo School of Mines and Industries. On 29 June 1896 he married Emma Jane Johns; they would have a son and two daughters before her death in 1905. In 1909 he married Ada Maude Cooke, with whom he would have two sons and a daughter.

In 1899, Heitmann returned to Western Australia to work on the Murchison goldfields. He became increasingly involved in the Labor movement, becoming president of the Day Dawn Engine Drivers' Association, and organising secretary of the Australian Workers' Union. On 24 June 1904 he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Cue on a Labor ticket. He held the seat until 4 November 1913, resigning it to contest the seat of Geraldton in a by-election. Although he did not win the seat of Geraldton on this occasion, he had only eleven months to wait before winning the seat in the general election of 21 October 1914.

During his time as Member for Geraldton, Heitman was a member of the Western Australian Health Commission inquiring into Miners Phthisis, and he contributed to the establishment of a tuberculosis sanitorium at Wooroloo. Until 1917 he was one of the Scaddan government's main backbench critics, especially with regards to the 1916 Nevanas affair. In January 1917, he and Rufus Underwood attended a conference in Melbourne which aimed to merge Billy Hughes' National Labor Party with Joseph Cook's liberals. On 20 March, he resigned his Legislative Assembly seat in order to contest an Australian House of Representatives seat as a Nationalist. Shortly afterwards, the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party followed its federal counterpart's lead in expelling its pro-conscription members, including Heitmann.

On 5 May 1917, Heitmann was elected to the Australian House of Representatives seat of Kalgoorlie. During the next two years he was in charge of transport arrangements for the demobilisation of the Australian Imperial Force. He was defeated in the federal election of 13 December 1919, and thereafter spent some time in Adelaide working in advertising. By 1921 he was farming at Laanecoorie, Victoria, and the following year contested the Victorian seat of Eaglehawk without success. In 1927 he returned to Bendigo, spending eighteen months as organisation secretary for the Advance Bendigo and the North League. In later life he suffered often from poor health, spending some time in the military hospital at Caulfield. He died at Bendigo on 30 January 1934, and was buried at Bendigo Cemetery. One of his nephews, Jack Heitmann, also became a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly.

References[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Hugh Mahon
Member for Kalgoorlie
1917–1919
Succeeded by
Hugh Mahon