Ronald Henry Thomas Hayles

Mayor of Northcote (1957-1959)

Ronald Henry Thomas Hayles (known as Ron) (1914-1979) was the son of Ronald Roy and Ruby Hayles.  The Hayles family began in Melbourne with Thomas and Eliza Gertrude (nee Mallan) living in Richmond.  The couple married in 1888 and had three children; Gertrude Lilian (1889) who later married into the Hutton family, Ronald Roy (1890) who moved to Preston and Northcote and Thomas Leslie (1891) born when the family was living in Collingwood.  Little Thomas however did not survive infancy and died that same year.  Not long after Eliza also died, probably due to birthing complications.  Both deaths were registered in Hawthorn.

Ronald Roy grew up and in 1912 when he was working as a finisher in the boot trade, married Prahan girl Ruby Marlow.  Throughout his childhood the Hayles family had lived in Melbourne’s working class suburbs of Collingwood, Richmond and Fitzroy.  Living close to industry where his trade could find potential work out of the tanneries, was possibly what drew the young man to set up his first home in Preston.  It was in Newcastle Street, Preston (now part of Thornbury) that the young couple started their family with their son Ron, arriving in 1914.  The Hayles remained for 53 years in the Darebin area through boom, Depression and a Second World War.  Sometime in the next decade the family moved from Newcastle to nearby Raleigh Street in Northcote (now Thornbury) and settled at number 22.

By the 1920s there were two well established leather manufacturers in Northcote, Joshua Pitt Pty., Ltd. just a couple of streets away in Gadd Street and the Northcote Shoe Factory further up Ruckers Hill in Eastment Street.  Local tanneries meant that Northcote had a number of bootmakers and Ronald senior was one of them.  He stayed on in the Raleigh Street house after his wife Ruby’s death which is recorded in Heidelberg 1941 probably at the Austin Hospital.  Ronald senior died in 1967 at the age of 77 with his death registered in Fitzroy.

Meanwhile son Ron Hayles also took up a trade becoming a printer.  In 1951 he entered local politics as the Australian Labor Party representative and won a seat on the Northcote Council.  Ron took over the East Ward seat from retiring long standing Councillor Walter Glanfield.  This win was a turning point in the district for the A.L.P. after losing their majority in 1948.  The year following Ronald Hayles’ election two more A.L.P. candidates, Gerald O’Leary and A.J. Spain became councillors won seats on the council.  Ron Hayles became Mayor in 1957/8.

Lemon, Andrew. The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: City of Northcote and Hargreen Publishing Company, 1983.
Australian Births Indexes, 1788-1922.
Australian Deaths Indexes, 1787-1985.
Australian Marriage Indexes, 1788-1950.
Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954.