He was the son of Ignatius and Mary Hindley, a Moravian family who owned a cotton mill. He was active in social reform. One of the first streets in South Australia's capital, Adelaide, was named after him. The first newspaper in South Australia was printed in premises on Hindley Street. As well as housing the first meeting of Adelaide City Council, the oldest municipal body in Australia, Hindley Street was home to the first stone church in South Australia. In 1898 the first moving picture show in South Australia was held at the Theatre Royal on Hindley Street.
In late November 1857 he fell ill and his doctor: Robert Bentley Todd, prescribed "Six pints of Brandy to be drunk in 72 hours" as a cure. He did not survive. A similar fate befell Dr Todd some three years later when he died through an excess of alcohol also.