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Henry William Thompson (2 March 1839 – 21 September 1906) was a sailor, ship's chandler and politician in the State of South Australia.


Thompson was born at Rotherhithe, England, the second son of John Thompson, a London shipbuilder,[1] and was educated at Wick Hall College, Hackney, where he won the silver medal in 1852. He went to sea at an early age, for some time with the West Indies mail service, and in the transport service. In 1854 he joined the Royal Navy, and was signed to the Black Sea fleet, on board H.M.S. Queen, in the Bosphorus for the duration of the Crimean War. He then returned to the mercantile service and served as first mate on the New Margaret until arriving in South Australia in 1860, when he joined the interstate coastal service.[2]

He left the sea, finding employment with Clarke, McKenzie, & Co., ship's chandlers at Port Adelaide, and remained with that firm until 1871, when the business was sold. He married in 1863.

He was for many years a member of the Port Adelaide Council, and was mayor from 1881 to 1882. In the early eighties he was involved in the formation of the Naval Reserve, and held the first commission granted in South Australia, serving 8½ years under Captain Walcot. R.N. He retired with the rank of commander.

In 1880 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and was the second president of the State Children's Council. He was a member St. Bede's Anglican Church in Semaphore.

He was a candidate for the seat of Port Adelaide in the House of Assembly, but was unsuccessful, but on 3 May 1902 won a seat in the Legislative Council for the Central district. He died after a long and painful struggle with throat cancer, which had necessitated frequent absences from Parliament. He was buried at the Woodville cemetery.


He married Mary Maguire on 16 May 1863; they had two sons (H. W. and J. T. Thompson) and four daughters (one of whom, Mary Louise, married Archibald J. McClemens on 23 December 1896, lived in Sydney). They lived at Hall street, Semaphore.


  1. ^ "Family Notices". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 19 May 1863. p. 2. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Obituary". The Chronicle. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 29 September 1906. p. 45. Retrieved 26 October 2014.