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Biographical entry Hayter, Henry Heylyn (1821 - 1895)


28 October 1821
Eden vale, Wiltshire, England
23 March 1895
Armadale, Victoria, Australia


Henry Hayter was a world renowned statistician, whose system of statistical recording was adopted by all Australian colonies in 1875. He also advised the New Zealand government and the British House of Commons on how to improve their statistical recording and was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). The French and Italian governments also bestowed Hayter with their top awards for his contribution to the field of statistics.


After migrating to Australia in 1952, Hayter was given temporary employment by the Registrar-General's Office. Because of Hayter's impressive work and 1859 report, he was soon promoted to assistant registrar-general. In 1874 the statistics branch of the Registrar-General's Office became a separate department with Hayter in charge. He remained with the statistics department until 1895 and carried out the 1861, 1871 and 1891 Victorian censuses. Hayter fought hard for uniformity in census taking throughout the Australasia colonies, Great Britain and Ireland and in 1881 the Colonial Office finally agreed and asked all colonies to take their census on the same day.

One of Hayter's most noted implementations as head of the statistics department was to replace the method of reporting based on the Statistics of Victoria with the methods described in his Statistical Registrar (1859). Over the next ten years, the register was expanded and developed and eventually evolved into the inaugural Victorian Year Book (1873). This book was updated and published annually and became a popular resource book which even received praise from England and America.

Henry Heylyn Hayter was bestowed many honours for his contribution to statistics and census taking. He was also appointed an honorary member of the Royal Statistical Society of London, the Statistical and Social Enquiry Society of Ireland, the Statistical Association of Tokyo and the Royal Societies of South Australia and Tasmania.


Life event - Migrated to Australia (Melbourne)
1857? - 1858?
Career position - Statistics collector in Victoria (Ripon, Dundas, Folletee, Normanby, and Wimmera regions)
Career position - Statistical Register written and implemented
1859 - 1874
Career position - Assistant Registrar-General in Victoria
1870 - 1872
Career position - Secretary to the royal commission into the working of the Victorian Public Service
1874 - 1895
Career position - Head and Government Statist at the Statistics Department of the Registrar-General's Office
Career position - Member of the Social Science Congress in Melbourne
Award - Officer of the Order of Public Instruction, France
c. 1882
Award - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
Award - Chevalier of the Order of the Italian Crown
1887 - 1891
Career position - Director of the Metropolitan Bank and the Metropolitan Building Society

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Heyde, C. C., 'Official statistics in the late colonial period leading on to the work of the first Commonwealth Statistician, G. H. Knibbs', Australian Journal of Statistics, 30 (B) (1988), 23-43. Details


See also

McCarthy, G.J.