Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Huddart, James

HUDDART, JAMES (1847–1901), Australian shipowner, born at Whitehaven on 22 Feb. 1847, was the son of William Huddart, ship-builder, of Whitehaven, Cumberland, by his wife Frances Lindow. He was educated at St. Bees College. He left school at the age of sixteen, and went to Australia, where he joined the shipping firm of his uncle. Captain Peter Huddart of Geelong, Victoria. In 1866 his uncle left Australia, and James Huddart took charge of the firm, then engaged in bay traffic between Geelong and Newcastle (New South Wales). In 1870 he founded Huddart, Parker & Co., an intercolonial steamship line. In 1887 he came to England, where he organised a new and improved passenger service between Australia and Now Zealand. He was chairman of the Employers' Union during the Australian maritime strike in 1890.

Huddart's main object in life was to establish the 'All Red Route' — a series of fast steamship lines which, with the help of the Canadian Pacific railway, should link New Zealand, Australia, and Canada to Great Britain, and keep within the empire a large amount of trade which is now carried across foreign countries. He began work to this end in 1893 by starting a fast line of steamers, the Canadian-Australian Royal Mail Steamship line, which ran between Sydney and Vancouver. The next step was a fast line between Canada and this country. At Huddart's instigation a conference among all the colonies concerned was held at Ottawa in 1894. The Canadian government subsequently voted a subsidy of 150,000l. a year for the first ten years, and 100,000l. for the years following, and the co-operation of the Canadian Pacific railway was secured. It was determined that Great Britain should be asked to contribute 75,000l. for the Canadian service, for which Huddart completed his preparations. Mr. Chamberlain, the colonial secretary, welcomed the scheme, but called for tenders, which were sent in 1896 by Huddart and by the Allan line. Nothing was done with them. Meanwhile some of the subsidies for which Huddart had hoped were not forthcoming to help the Sydney-Vancouver line, and in 1897 he was forced to give up the project after sinking his private fortune in order to maintain it. On 27 Feb. 1901 he died at his house in Chatsworth Gardens, Eastbourne. He was buried in Ocklynge cemetery, Eastbourne. On 1 Sept. 1869 he married Lois, daughter of James Ingham of Ballarat, consulting engineer. He had issue three sons and a daughter. The youngest. Midshipman Cymbeline A. E. Huddart of H.M.S. Doris, was killed in the battle of Graspan in the South African war (25 Nov. 1899), and after death was awarded the conspicuous service cross.

[The Times, 1 and 4 March 1901, 8 Jan. 1910; Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March 1901; Australian, and Sydney Mail, 2 March 1901; information suppUed by Mrs. James Huddart.]

A. B. W.