Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

WILSON, Edward 
1814 -10 January 1878
Australian Newspaper Proprietor and Philanthropist

Edward Wilson emigrated to Australia in 1842 and in 1847 bought the Melbourne Argus.  When his eyesight started to fade he returned to England and leased Hayes Place and about 300 acres of land.

He was always keen to try out new ideas and in 1870 bought two steam engines for use on his farm for ploughing.

The 1871 Census reported that he employed 33 men, 6 boys and a woman and also had 11 resident servants.

Edward was in frequent contact with Charles Darwin and was one of the founders of the Colonial Institute. In 1868 he received many visitors at Hayes Place. He played an important part in the community of Hayes.

Edward was one of the first Common Conservators after a scheme for the Management of Hayes Common was approved in 1868.  He was generous with donations. In 1872, at Christmas for example, he provided warm scarlet waterproof coats and a new shilling to every girl at the Village School.

In 1873, he chaired a Parochial Committee set up to consider the sanitary arrangements in Hayes. It showed that the wells, cesspools and privy arrangements in the village were far from satisfactory.  The Local Government Board, however, thought their proposals were inadequate and nothing was done.  

Edward died in Hayes but his body was later interred in Melbourne.