<< Previous - Next >>

DAVIS - HYAM - ERNEST - AUCKLAND - NZ - 1912 --- 1923

Journal by edmondsallan

edmondsallan - hello - I met this business gentleman when I was about Nine ( 9 ) while working in my Father's office getting ready labels that eventually would be placed on the Kegs of Beer . My father
worked for and at the " Captain Cook Brewery " for 46 years . He went from office boy to a very high position on the staff . Of interest to you my father never drank ( what a shame, showed he was very strong willed ) He also was into just about any queer religion that came along .He never drove a car all his life . He was retained by the company till he was over seventy ( 70 ) years of age . The firm " Chauffered him to his work place in a " Bently " every day he worked , in his later working life . Although he didn't drink , he other faults which caused him to marry three ( 3 ) times, ( was not stronged willed at all ) the last wife , successfully / legally / taking all he had accumulated in his life time ) Enough of this personnal yaker > Lets get back on track
Brewer, anti-prohibitionist, local politician, company director, philanthropist -- A brewery baron for half a century, and the liquor trade's master tactician against the prohibition movement, Ernest Hyam Davis exerted enormous influence at the highest political levels. He combined this with a complex business career and an unbounded enthusiasm for yachting, racing and philanthropy.

He was born in Nelson on 17 February 1872 (registered simply as Hyam), the son of Moss Davis, an immigrant Jewish merchant, and his wife, Leah Jacobs. He attended Bishop's School in Nelson, but completed his education at Auckland Grammar School after his father joined, then acquired, the Auckland liquor firm of Hancock and Company. Ernest disliked academic study and his final report described him as 'utterly incorrigible',( Alwys did wonder about some of this well educated business people ) although he subsequently attended evening classes at Auckland University College. His first position was with the ironware merchants William McArthur and Company, but he soon quit this for a brief stint working in Brisbane and a walking tour of Fiji.

In 1892 Davis joined his father's firm as a director along with his brother Eliot, and three years later added the directorship of another family acquisition, the Captain Cook Brewery, then the largest in New Zealand. When Moss Davis retired in 1910 to England, the two brothers took charge of Hancock and Company. With his portfolio of controlling shares, Ernest was appointed managing director, a position he retained until his death. On 2 August 1899, at Auckland, he married Marion Mitchell. They were to have a son and a daughter. At the same time, Davis evidently found ample opportunity for extra-marital affairs.( now isn't that a funny thing . I always wondered what my dad & his boss had in common and why they were very
high entertainers , away a lot together at night ( trying to think of another word for it ) .
As well as managing his brewery interests, Davis was prominent in the liquor trade's efforts to counter the flourishing prohibition movement. Between 1894 and 1910 the number of licensed premises slumped from 1,719 to 1,257, and in 1908 Hancock and Company lost 14 Auckland hotels without compensation. The 1911 triennial liquor poll, at which prohibition was almost carried, induced the brewery interests to intensify lobbying, and funds were channelled to political supporters.

Davis adeptly orchestrated this flow, and capitalised on the fact that among his brewery's employees for a decade after 1908 was a rising labour activist, Michael Joseph Savage. Davis materially assisted the New Zealand Labour Party over a lengthy period, and probably foresaw that it would ultimately emerge as a governing force. He lodged securities for gaoled agitators during the 1912 Waihi miners' strike, provided a hotel for John A. Lee to manage when he lost his parliamentary seat in 1928, and made standing donations to Labour candidates' election funds until his death. His support was not based solely on cynical commercial motives.

From his 30s Davis showed an enormous capacity for a multitude of interests. He was prominent among the early members of the Auckland Rowing Club, and was a foundation member of the Auckland Orphans' Club. In 1909 Davis became mayor of the small borough of Newmarket, and was re-elected in 1910. Moving on to Auckland City, he was elected as an independent councillor in 1915 and served until 1920, when he resigned, only to regain office in 1921. Later it was estimated that he held significant positions in at least 94 sporting and social bodies, 11 of them at the national level, including the presidency of the New Zealand Football Association. He also served on the board of management of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation.
No wonder my father left so many notes behind on this gentleman . He was one of his bosses as well as sharing particular other personal
matters - Till we meet again - Regards -edmondsallan

Surnames: DAVIS
Viewed: 488 times
by edmondsallan Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2010-12-08 18:11:16

edmondsallan , from auckland .nz , has been a Family Tree Circles member since Aug 2010. is researching the following names: CLAYTON, EDMONDS.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:

Comments

by ngairedith on 2010-12-08 18:36:53

the above journal was copied & pasted (in 2 parts from a complete biography) from the site Davis, Ernest Hyam 18721962
Brewer, anti-prohibitionist, local politician, company director, philanthropist
- written by Graham William Arthur Bush -

this should have been cited as: Graham W. A. Bush. 'Davis, Ernest Hyam - Biography', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Sep-10
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/4d7/1

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.