Henry Hoyle

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Henry "Harry" Clement Hoyle (20 November 1852 – 20 July 1926)[1] was an Australian politician and rugby league football administrator of the 1890s and 1900s. A life member of the New South Wales Rugby League,[2] Hoyle is credited with helping to craft the rhetoric justifying its successful split from the New South Wales Rugby Football Union.[3]

The son of a sea captain, Hoyle was born in Millers Point, New South Wales on 20 November 1852. He was educated at a Balmain convent school and Fort Street Public School. At age 10 he began his working life in Balmain with Booth's sawmills. He was apprenticed as a Blacksmith with P N Russell & Co,. then worked at Mort's Dock in 1868.

Hoyle gained employment for the New South Wales Government Railways in 1876. While there he became a foreman and got married, setting up his house within the St Peter's, Surry Hills parish, of which he became a leading member.[4] Hoyle was active in an 1882 iron trade strike. He was a founding member of the Railway and Tramway Service Association of New South Wales, becoming its first president in 1885. In 1890 he was dismissed by the railways for his union activities. In 1891, as a member of the Protectionist Party, Hoyle was elected as the New South Wales Legislative Assembly's Member for the Electoral district of Redfern. Hoyle also established an auctioneering business in Darling Harbour. After his 1894 electoral defeat he was employed to write for The Freeman's Journal.

On 8 August 1907 at Bateman's Crystal Hotel, George Street, Hoyle chaired a meeting of fifty, comprising several leading rugby players and officials. The New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded and Hoyle was elected its first president.[5] Hoyle then went about making arrangements for a New South Wales representative rugby team to host New Zealand's like-minded All Golds touring side. He then chaired meetings around Sydney at which he gave speeches to help attract players and clubs to the newly created league, ending up with nine. These nine teams signed with the NSWRFL played in Australia's first season of rugby league football, the 1908 NSWRFL season. The 1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was conducted during Hoyle's tenure with the NSWRFL as well. At the begninning of the 1909 NSWRFL season, the League, which was almost broke, had met and kicked out its founders Hoyle, Victor Trumper and J J Giltinan.[6] Harry Hoyle was later awarded Life Membership of the New South Wales Rugby League in 1914. Hoyle joined the Australian Labor Party before the 1910 election and became the MLA for the Electoral district of Surry Hills. He was commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1911. Hoyle left the Labor Party in 1916 over the conscription issue. Hoyle was also a Trustee of Taronga Park from 1912 until 1926.

Hoyle died on 20 July 1926 in Vaucluse, New South Wales. He was buried at South Head Cemetery on 21 July 1926.[7]


  1. ^ parliament.nsw.gov.au. "Mr Henry Clement HOYLE (1852 - 1926)". Former Members. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "2005 New South Wales Rugby League Annul Report" (PDF). australianrugbyleague.com.au. Australian Rugby League. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ nma.gov.au. "The game begins". League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia. National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Garaty, Janice. "Judging a Man by his Deeds: Henry Clement Hoyle MLA and trade unionist". 2009 ACHS Conference. Australian Catholic Historical Society. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Headon, David (2001). The best ever Australian sports writing: a 200 year collection. Australia: Black Inc. p. 316. ISBN 1-86395-266-7. 
  6. ^ Heads, Ian. "Controversy" (PDF). League of Legends. National Museum of Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: Death Notice. 21/07/1926 (page 13)
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Sir James Graham
Member for Surry Hills
Succeeded by
Arthur Buckley