Arthur Hirschman

Cigar Manufacturer

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Redfern 1904 1905
  • Redfern Council seal (Civic Collection 2006.032.7)

Family background

Arthur Hirschman was the ninth son of P.H. Hirschman, Esq., of Hamburg Germany. He was probably born in Germany. To date, no records of his birth or migration to Australia have been located. In 1889, he married Ada Clara Hill (BDM ref 875/1889). They had three sons and three daughters. Arthur Hirschman died in 1920 at the age of 54, at his home in Trafalgar Street Annandale and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery (BDM Ref 6140/1920).

Occupation & interests

Hirschman was a cigar-manufacturer, travelling on occasion to Europe to learn about manufacturing techniques there. He was granted a Tobacco Manufacturer’s license in 1895, when his factory was listed at 473 Kent Street. In 1899 Hirschman’s factory, now located in Redfern, was completely destroyed by fire when an adjacent box factory caught alight and burned down. In 1900, Hirschman was declared bankrupt after selling his business and failing to pay all creditors. Following this however, Hirschman once again started in the cigar business and in 1904 his factory was broken into and thieves stole some 40 000 cigars, half of which were recovered a short time later in bags dropped near Redfern railway station.

Hirschman was clearly considered expert in the area of cigars and their manufacture. In 1903, for example, he appeared before the Customs Court to give expert evidence in favour of a firm charged with falsely describing cigars as cigarettes in order to evade payment of duties. In 1904, a number of Hirschman’s employees took industrial action, supported by their union the Cigar Makers Union of Australia and taking action in regards to labour, overtime and wages. Hirschman had brought a group of cigar-makers out from Germany, and the dispute related to their payment and conditions. The matter was successfully resolved.

Community activity

Hirschman was a keen member of the Redfern Bowling Club, and played often in inter-suburban tournaments.

Local government service

Hirschman first decided in 1901 to stand as Liberal candidate for Redfern, but withdrew his nomination in favour of Mr. P. McNaught, the party’s elected candidate. In April 1903, Hirschman was elected as an alderman for Redfern Council, filling an extraordinary vacancy caused by the resignation of John MacNamara, and was elected unopposed to represent the Golden Grove Ward. In office, Hirschman tackled ongoing issues with water service to residences, and stormwater drainage in areas inundated during times of heavy rainfall. He also worked to improve roads in the local area, and served on the Finance Committee as well as other committees dealing with issues relating to public works, parks, public health and hall hire and use. In 1905, Hirschman tendered with regret his resignation from the Golden Grove Ward.


Biography researched and written by Marian Lorrison, November 2015.

Redfern Minute Books 13 January 1903- 21 March 1906.

‘Tobacco Industry: Government Monopoly. Cigar-makers peculiar advantage.’ The Sydney Morning Herald, January 15, 1906, p.8

‘Serious fire at Redfern: Several Buildings Destroyed’, The Advocate, April 6, 1899, p.2

‘What is a cigar? Case before the Customs Court’, Evening News, Dec 10, 1903, p.3

‘Bankruptcy Court, Certificate Applications’, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 1901, p.4,

‘The Tariff Commission: Carriages and Motor Cars. The Tobacco Industry’, The Advertiser, April 7, 1906, p.7,

‘Robbery at Redfern. 40 000 cigars stolen’, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 30, 1904, p.6

‘Redfern Club’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 October 1903, p.14

‘Bankruptcy Court. Certificate Applications’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 November 1900, p. 4

‘Election Notes’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1901, p. 8

‘New South Wales’, Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 4 August 1904, p. 5

‘Deaths’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 1920, p. 10.

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages: 875/1889, Arthur Hirschman and Ada Clara Hill Marriage; Arthur Hirschman Death Certificate, 6140/1920, Annandale; Birth certificates for children: 30960/1893, 36169/1895, 25365/1897, 15354/1899, 6943/1901, 38856/1891


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