famous members

The Royal Exchange of Sydney is one of Sydney’s oldest and most historic business clubs. Established in 1851, it’s boasted some of Australia’s most prominent and respected business figures as members throughout its history.


 

JOHN FAIRFAX

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John Fairfax (1804-1877), newspaper proprietor, was born on 25 October 1804 in Warwick, England, the second son of William Fairfax and his wife Elizabeth, née Jesson, of Birmingham. In 1817 he was apprenticed to William Perry, printer, bookbinder and bookseller of Warwick, and in 1825 joined the London Morning Chronicle. He soon returned to Warwickshire and started a printery at Leamington. On 31 July 1827 he married Sarah, daughter of James Reading of Warwick. In 1828 he founded the Leamington Spa Courier with James Sharp but the partnership broke up in four months. Fairfax carried on as a printer, bookseller and newsagent. In 1835 he became part-owner of the Leamington Chronicle and Warwickshire Reporter. Next year he successfully defended a libel suit but, unable to meet costs, had to apply to the Insolvency Court. With his wife, mother and three children, Fairfax arrived at Sydney on 26 September 1838 in the Lady Fitzherbert with £5 in his pocket.

Fairfax worked as a journalist and on 1 April 1839 became librarian of the Australian Subscription Library. On 8 February 1841 with Charles Kemp he bought on long-term credit the daily Sydney Herald from Frederick Stokes. On 1 August 1842 the title was changed to the Sydney Morning Herald. In the first few years the partners had to do almost everything themselves: reporting, editing, leader writing as well as all the mechanical work of producing the paper. In the 1850s the competition of Henry Parkes's Empire led to reorganization of the Herald. In 1851 Fairfax returned to Leamington and paid his creditors in full, despite an honourable discharge. By request he lectured at the Leamington Music Hall on the Australian colonies and goldfields. In England he also bought the first steam press to be used for printing a newspaper in Australia; it was installed in 1853. On 30 September Fairfax bought Kemp's interest and admitted his eldest son Charles as a partner. Fairfax was in close contact with Parkes, a lifelong friend: information was exchanged and agreement often reached on wages to compositors, the size and price of their papers and no Sunday editions. After Parkes lost the Empire he contributed literary and political articles as well as parliamentary summaries to the Herald. In 1856 the Herald was moved to Hunter Street, the firm became known as John Fairfax & Sons and his second son James became a partner.

While the Herald was developing as the major newspaper in New South Wales, Fairfax widened his activities. By 1851 he was a foundation director of the Australian Mutual Provident Society, and in the 1860s a director of the Sydney Insurance Co. (fire only), the New South Wales Marine Insurance Co., the Australian Joint Stock Bank and the Australian Gaslight Co. and a trustee of the Savings Bank of New South Wales. For some years president of the Young Men's Christian Association, he was appointed in 1871 to the Council of Education. He helped to establish the Pitt Street Congregational Church where he was senior deacon. Deeply religious and fair-minded, he was well known for his tolerance at a time when sectarian feeling ran high. In August 1856 he was nominated for the South Riding of Cumberland as a Liberal who 'would encourage the formation of Railways' and direct steam communication between Sydney and England. He lost and in 1869 refused Parkes's request to stand for East Sydney but in 1874 accepted nomination to the Legislative Council.

Fairfax built up the Herald from a small journal to one of the most influential and respected newspapers in the empire. In 1858 he had built Ginahgulla on Bellevue Hill. He died on 16 June 1877 and was buried in the Congregational section of Rockwood cemetery. He was predeceased by his wife, eldest son and only daughter, and survived by two sons who carried on the Herald.

 

 

David jones

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David Jones (1793-1873), merchant, was born on 8 March 1793, the son of Thomas Jones, a farmer near Llandeilo, Wales, and his wife Nancy. His parents hoped that he would enter the church but at 15, showing little interest in farming or the ministry, he left home and was apprenticed to a grocer in Carmarthen. At 18 he was offered and accepted the management of a general store in Eglwyswrw, Pembrokeshire, where in 1813 he married Catherine Hughes, daughter of the local pastor. A year later in childbirth she and the baby died. On 10 September 1822 he married Elizabeth Williams (d.1826).

Jones then went to London and at once found work with a retailer in Oxford Street. He made several changes of employment before accepting appointment with the firm of R. N. Nicholls, Wood Street, Cheapside, where he soon rose to be a confidential assistant. In London in 1828 he married Jane Mander, the daughter of John Mander of East Smithfield. The Mander family were zealous Independents and much interested in the work of the London Missionary Society, and through them David Jones made many friends among his fellow Independents. Through William Wemyss, a friend of the Manders, he met Charles Appleton, a Hobart Town businessman who had opened a store in Sydney in 1825 and was visiting London. Jones resigned from Nicholls's firm and entered into partnership with Appleton which included the Australian branches under the style of Appleton & Co.

In October 1834 Jones sailed with his family in the Thomas Harrison for Hobart, whence with plans for expanding business, he travelled overland to Launceston to gauge the needs of the settlers. He arrived in the Medway at Sydney in September 1835. Appleton had left his Sydney business under the control of a partner, Robert Bourne, a former missionary, and when Bourne's partnership expired on 31 December 1835 the firm became Appleton & Jones and the latter embarked on the ambitious plan of establishing in Sydney 'a house on the principles of the respectable wholesale London Firms'. When Appleton arrived a rift developed between him and Jones and the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in 1838. Both Appleton and Jones published their versions of the quarrel in the press; Appleton was uneasy over what he considered a reckless credit policy pursued by Jones, who claimed in defence that since he had taken over the Sydney business in 1836 the turnover had increased tenfold to £80,000 a year, netting in the colony alone a profit of more than £7000 a year. Jones had certainly instituted a policy of liberal credit, for when the partnership ended the credit figure was over £30,000. Jones moved his business to premises on the corner of George Street and Barrack Lane, where David Jones Ltd still has a branch. To trade with London he formed a mutually protective association with his business friends and fellow Independents, Robert Bourne, Ambrose Foss, G. A. Lloyd and their consulting accountants, Thompson & Giles, with William Wemyss as their chief agent. Jones and his associates regularly secured the whole cargo space of ships bringing out bounty migrants, guaranteeing such profitable backloading as wool or tallow.

Jones survived the depression of the 1840s, business prospered and with his wife he visited England and Wales in 1849. He retired from active management of the business in 1856, taking in partners and leaving in it a capital of £30,000. A few years later the firm failed; faced with bankruptcy, he bought out his partners, returned to manage its affairs and in a few years had fully discharged all obligations to his creditors. He was seriously ill in 1866 but, under the treatment of his son Philip, he made a remarkable recovery. He finally retired in 1868 and died at his home in Lyons Terrace, Liverpool Street, Sydney, on 29 March 1873. His wife died three weeks later, aged 71.

David Jones had a noble and prepossessing presence and a kind and engaging personality; according to his friend Rev. W. Slatyer, 'he suffered from an unsuspicious and charitable judgment in giving others with whom he dealt credit for the integrity with which he himself was activated'. Apart from his family his main interests were business, religion and civic affairs. He had many investments in banks, steamship, insurance, building and other companies; he was a director of the Mutual Fire Insurance Co. formed in 1840, a foundation director of the Australian Mutual Provident Society in 1848, and a trustee and chairman of the Metropolitan and Counties Permanent Investment and Building Society in 1851. He was a deacon of the Congregational Church in Sydney for some thirty-five years, one of the founders and first council members of Camden College and a committee member of the local auxiliaries of the Bible and Religious Tract Societies. He was a generous benefactor to his own and other churches and was one of the Sydney merchants who each gave 1000 guineas to the Crimean war victims' fund. He was a member of the first Sydney City Council in 1842 and of the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1856-60.

He had four sons and four daughters by his third marriage. The eldest son David Mander (d.1864) married a cousin, Emily Ann Jones, and he with his brother George took up the 300-sq.-mile (777 km²) property, Boonara, on the Darling Downs. The second son, Philip Sydney (1836-1918), achieved eminence as a physician and was knighted. The youngest son, Edward Lloyd (1844-1894), married Helen Ann, daughter of Richard Jones and succeeded his father in the business. In September 1848 the eldest daughter, Eliza, married Robert, son of Dr Robert Ross.

 

 

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort

 
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Thomas Sutcliffe Mort (1816-1878), businessman, was born on 23 December 1816 at Bolton, Lancashire, England, second son of Jonathan Mort and his wife Mary, née Sutcliffe. Brought up in a close family circle in Manchester in aspiring middle class ideals and comfort, he received a sound and practical education. However, his father did not succeed in Manchester and when he died in 1834 his estate was not sufficient to give his sons the start in life that they expected. For many years the eldest son William met outstanding demands on the estate from his clerk's salary. Thomas too had become a clerk with no prospects when he was offered a position in Sydney which he saw as a way to restore the family fortunes. In February 1838 he arrived at Sydney in the Superb and was later followed by his younger brothers Henry (1818-1900) and James (d.1879).

Mort became a clerk in Aspinall, Browne & Co., later Gosling, Browne & Co., and gained extensive experience in local and international commerce with an eventual salary of £500. At Christ Church St Laurence on 27 October 1841 he married Theresa Shepheard, daughter of James Laidley. In September 1843 he set up as an auctioneer and soon prospered in general and wool sales. He was not the first to auction wool in Sydney but innovated regular sales where wool alone was offered, drawing specialized sellers and buyers together in an orderly manner. In the late 1840s he auctioned livestock and pastoral property at specialized sales, gave credit to selected purchasers and later provided finance for running expenses. In the 1850s he provided facilities for growers to consign wool through him for sale in London. These additions completed an integrated set of services to pastoralists that formed the pattern for later wool-broking firms.

Meanwhile in 1848 Mort was associated with the Australian Mutual Provident Society and in 1849 he joined a committee to found a company to promote sugar growing at Moreton Bay and next year was a member of the Sydney Exchange Co., a director of the Sydney Railway Co. in 1851, floated the Great Nugget Vein Mining Co. in 1852, helped to finance Henry Parkes's Empire, and subscribed to the Sydney Gold Escort Co. By 1850 Mort had become the premier auctioneer in Sydney and was already wealthy enough to satisfy his early ambition. He experimented with partnership arrangements hoping eventually to retire from active business. In 1850-51 he was in partnership with Alexander Campbell Brown as Mort & Brown. In 1855 Mort & Co. was formed to run the wool sales and consignments which were handled in London by his brother William; its partners originally included his brother Henry and J. V. Gorman and in 1860 Benjamin Buchanan. Mort & Co. was reformed in 1867 with Mort, his son Laidley, Henry and Buchanan as partners. In 1856-67 pastoral financing was undertaken by T. S. Mort & Co. in which his partner was Ewan W. Cameron. Mort's wealth was multiplied many times in the 1850s as a result of inflation and successful speculation in pastoral properties.

In March 1855 Mort's dry dock at Waterview Bay (Balmain) opened for business; by 1856 he had sunk some £80,000 into it. Built to accommodate the largest vessels then expected to enter the port, it provided facilities sufficient to induce the companies operating the regular overseas mail services to put steamers on the Australian run and make Sydney their terminus. However, for many years profits were disappointing. The dock was grossly over-capitalized; its scale reflected Mort's misplaced faith in the future demand promised by the pressure on ship-repairing services by the peak gold rush traffic. Owned until 1861 by a partnership that included Captain T. S. Rowntree, the dock was leased to various shipping companies, ship-repairers and engineers.

In 1860 Mort somewhat unwillingly had acquired the Bodalla, originally Boat Alley, estate near the mouth of the Tuross River. Still recovering from long ill health and debilitating hypochondria started by a riding accident in 1855 and intensified on his visit to England in 1857-59, he saw in Bodalla both a potential country estate for his retirement and a challenge to his concept of the productive purposes of capital. He planned to make it into a model of land utilization and rural settlement: a tenanted dairy estate run as an integrated whole. He had the beef cattle on Bodalla removed, land cleared, river swamps drained, fences erected, farms laid out, imported grasses sown, provided milking sheds and cheese- and butter-making equipment and selected tenants. Butter and cheese of steadily improving quality were produced for the Sydney market. Within a decade tenants were not prospering as share-farmers and Mort chafed under their right to make production decisions. In the early 1870s the whole estate was back in Mort's hands, run as three farms with hired labour. Specialized labour, first-class facilities, efficient stock control, careful stock-breeding programmes and controlled blending of milk from different breeds and farms all paid off in higher quality products.

In 1862 Mort was a founding director of the Peak Downs Copper Mining Co. in Queensland and the Waratah Coal Mining Co. at Newcastle. In 1866 he decided to make direct use of the dock himself partly for reasons of profit, partly to generate more business for William his agent in London and partly to develop an operating business that he could leave to one of his sons. He put in even more capital, added iron and brassfoundries, a patent slip and new facilities for boiler-making, blacksmithing and engineering. He brought in Thomas Macarthur, a marine engineer, as working partner and renamed the firm Macarthur & Co. The emphasis on marine engineering was still misplaced and when Macarthur died in 1869 Mort developed the general engineering side. His dock manager was James Peter Franki whose experience in railway and mining engineering drew orders to build bridges, crushing machinery and retorts. They assembled imported railway locomotives and in 1870 put into service the first wholly locally produced locomotive. As sole owner of the dock, Mort offered his employees in 1870 a half-share in it to improve labour relations. Some agreed to buy shares and for two years the dock's affairs were managed by a committee of Mort, Buchanan, Franki and four leading hands. The arrangement was made formal in 1872 by the creation of Mort's Dock and Engineering Co. with those men as shareholders and in 1875 the company was incorporated with limited liability. In 1874 he had become a director of the new Sydney Exchange Co. and built a tin-smelting works at Balmain.

In the mid-1860s Mort began to look to refrigeration as a possible solution to three main problems: as a pastoral financier he was vulnerable to falling wool prices on the value of pastoral assets; as owner of a large engineering plant, he was anxious for manufacturing orders; and as a milk and butter producer he wanted better access to the Sydney market. From 1866 until 1878 he financed experiments by E. D. Nicolle to design and produce refrigeration machinery suitable for use in ships, trains and cold-storage depots. Successful land trials prompted a premature public subscription to finance a trial shipment of frozen meat to London in 1868; another subscription was opened in 1875 for a shipment that was loaded in the Northam in 1877 but removed before sailing because of a mechanical defect. Although their machinery was never used in the frozen meat trade, Mort and Nicolle developed commercially viable systems for domestic trade which were brought together in the New South Wales Fresh Food & Ice Co. formed in 1875. They included a slaughtering and chilling works at Bowenfels in the Blue Mountains, a cold store at Darling Harbour, milk depots in the Southern Tablelands, and refrigerated railway vans for meat and milk. The refrigeration venture, on which Mort spent over £100,000 and from which his return was negligible, points up more sharply than any other the business judgments and character of the mature Mort. Like the dock and Bodalla, the investment was a community service that could not be justified after the event by normal economic criteria.

Mort enjoyed his wealth and it gave rein to a natural flamboyance which, often hidden in his personal dealings, was epitomized in his house Greenoaks, Darling Point, where it flowered in Gothic extravagances. In 1846 he had bought the land and built the house. In his 1857-59 visit to England Mort attended a sale at the earl of Shrewsbury's Alton Towers. Among other acquisitions were Elizabethan armour, old English coats of mail, a cabinet that had belonged to Marie Antoinette, antique oak furniture and about 120 pictures. On his return he engaged Edmund Blacket to make additions to the house including an art gallery which with his gardens were open to the public. A keen gardener, he won many prizes at the flower shows in the 1840s and 1850s. In 1851 he served on the committee of management of the Australasian Botanical and Horticultural Society and in the 1870s became president of the Horticultural Society of New South Wales. He was also a vice-president of the Agricultural Society in 1861-78. He was a commissioner for the 1873 London International Exhibition and in 1876 for the Philadelphia and Melbourne Exhibitions.

A strong High Churchman, Mort was one of the most prominent Anglican laymen in Sydney. He gave the land for St Mark's Church, Darling Point, commissioned Blacket to design it and contributed generously to its building and upkeep as well as to the building of St Andrew's Cathedral and St Paul's College, University of Sydney. He was a founding fellow of the college and a warden of St Mark's. He was also the founder of Christ Church School in Pitt Street and a friend of Bishop Patteson.

Mort died on 9 May 1878 from pleuro-pneumonia at Bodalla where he was buried; he was survived by five sons and two daughters of his first wife and by his second wife Marianne Elizabeth Macauley, whom he had married at St Mark's on 30 January 1874, and by their two sons. His goods were valued for probate at £200,000 but the income and capital realizations distributed to his beneficiaries totalled some £600,000. On 14 May a meeting of working men in Sydney resolved to show the esteem and respect in which they held his memory; as a result his statue, sculpted by Pierce Connolly, stands in Macquarie Place.

 

 

robert tooth

 
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TOOTH BROTHERS: Robert (1821-1893), Edwin (1822-1858), and Frederick (1827-1893), merchants, pastoralists and brewers, were born on 28 May 1821, 28 August 1822 and 14 February 1827, the first, second and fourth sons of Robert Tooth (b.1799), hop merchant of Swifts Park, Cranbrook, Kent, England, and his wife Mary Ann (d.1845), née Reader; they were nephews of John Tooth, merchant and brewer, born in 1803 at Cranbrook, who had arrived in Sydney in the Bencoolen in 1828 and received a 2560-acre (1036 ha) grant in County Durham. John acquired numerous cattle runs and set up as a general merchant and commission agent in Spring Street, Sydney. In September 1835 with Charles Newnham, an experienced brewer from Kent, he opened the Kent Brewery on a 4½-acre (1.8 ha) site on the Parramatta Road; Newnham withdrew from the partnership in 1843. John over-extended his pastoral ventures and became bankrupt in 1848, paying 9d. in the pound; the brewery was mortgaged for £30,200. He died of dropsy at Irrawang near Raymond Terrace on 1 October 1857, survived by his wife Elizabeth (d.1858), daughter of John Newnham, brewer and timber merchant, whom he had married at Cranbrook on 22 March 1830, and by four sons and five daughters.

The merchant and brewing firm of R. and E. Tooth began on 1 September 1843 when John leased the brewery to Robert and Edwin who had arrived in the Euphrates on 5 August 1843. On 15 April 1844 he agreed to lease it to the brothers for nine years for £4000 a year. Frederick joined the partnership about 1853 and R., E. and F. Tooth became R. and F. Tooth & Co. on 2 January 1860 when J. S. Mitchell became a partner. In 1850 Robert with Thomas Mort and F. Mitchell, financed Charles Ledger to bring alpacas from Peru. In 1852 with John EdyeJames Alexander and (Sir) William Montagu Manning, Mort, J. Croft and Edwin, Robert formed the Twofold Bay Pastoral Association which acquired some 400,000 acres (161,876 ha) on the south coast and Monaro; Kameruka was the head station. Threatened by (Sir) John Robertson's land bills they bought as much land as possible in their own names and disbanded in 1860. Robertwas in London in 1853-55; in the 1850s with Mort, Thomas Holt and others he speculated in buying pastoral properties. With Edwin and Mort he was a shareholder in the unsuccessful Great Nugget Vein Gold Mining Co. of Australia. In August 1857 he chaired a meeting of publicans in Sydney which raised the retail price of spirits, wines and beers; colonial ale was fixed at 4d. a pint.

In 1850 Robert was active in the anti-transportation movement. From May 1856 to February 1857 he was a member of the Legislative Council. A large squatter with about 600 employees, in January 1858 he stood for the seat of Sydney Hamlets in the Legislative Assembly, advocating free selection of land at £1 an acre without auction, tramways instead of expensive railways to bring produce to market and an elective Upper House. He lost, but represented Sydney in the assembly in 1858-59. Questionably claiming to have disposed of all his runs except one on the Queensland border and opposing Robertson's land bill, Robert stood for West Sydney in December 1860 but again was defeated.

Tooth then concentrated on his business interests in the colony and in England. Their London house, R. & F. Tooth & Mort, 155 Fenchurch Street, acted also as agents for Smyth's Sydney Marine Assurance Office and the Peak Downs Copper Mining Co. He became a committee-man of the Society for the Suppression of Cattle Stealing in 1861 and of the Agricultural Society of New South Wales. He was a partner of Robert Cran, F. F. Nixon, (Sir) Robert Lucas Toothand Frederick under the style of Tooth and Cran until March 1872 at Yengarie near Maryborough, Queensland, and in the Wide Bay and Burnett districts. From 1865 they experimented with meat preserving at Yengarie and in 1870 won a prize at the Intercolonial Exhibition, Sydney. In the mid-1860s Robert still nominally held the Lachlan and Wide Bay runs he had leased in the 1850s; he had added Jondaryan and Irvingdale, almost 300 sq. miles (777 km²) on the Darling Downs and some twenty-eight runs, amounting to 700 sq. miles (1813 km²), in the Maranoa District of Queensland.

Tooth was a director of the Bank of New South Wales in the 1850s and 1860s (president in 1862-63) and a director of the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. in 1855-63; R., E. & F. Tooth were the second largest share-holders when the company was established in 1855. A prominent Anglican layman, he was a director of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children, a fellow of St Paul's College within the University of Sydney and an original committee-man of the Union Club. He began building his fine residence, Cranbrook, at Rose Bay in 1859 but sold it to RobertTowns in 1864. Robert retired from R. and F. Tooth & Co. in April 1872 and Frederick and R. L. Tooth carried on as F. Tooth & Co. This partnership was dissolved on 31 March 1873 when Frederick retired, Mitchell and R. L. Tooth carrying on as Tooth & Co. Most of the profit from this successful business came from importing wines, spirits and beer, as colonial beer was not widely drunk until the 1880s. Leaving issue, Robert died at Bedford, England on 19 September 1893. On 1 May 1849 he had married at St Mark's Church, Pontville, Van Diemen's Land, Maria Lisle, daughter of Captain G. B. Forster, R.N.; on 24 June 1871 he married Elizabeth Mansfield.

Edwin had pastoral interests outside his partnership with Robert until 1855; he had bought J. C. Lloyd's stations and also runs in Gippsland. He was in pastoral partnership with his father, brother Robert, Holt and Thomas de Lacy Moffatt, and was a director in 1855 as well as shareholder in the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Edwin lived in Tasmania for many years, settled in Sydney in 1852 and left the colony in December 1855. In London he lived at 29 Cleveland Square, Hyde Park, and was on the London board of the Bank of New South Wales. He died at Tutbury, Staffordshire, on 29 August 1858 and was buried in St Dunstan's churchyard, Cranbrook, Kent. In February 1844 he had married Sarah, daughter of Francis Lucas of Blackheath, Kent; they had three sons and three daughters.

Frederick was a director of the Southern Insurance Co. Ltd, the Bank of New South Wales in 1857-61, 1863-69 and 1871-74 (president 1867-68), and of the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. in 1863-64. In England he was on the London board of the bank with Edwin and lived at Park Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent. He died of apoplexy in his London residence, 4 Orme Square, Bayswater, on 20 December 1893, survived by his wife, son and three daughters. Probate of his estate was sworn in London at £343,000; he bequeathed £1800 to Sydney charities, including £500 to Sydney Hospital, and smaller amounts to charities in England. He married three times: first on 22 August 1848 to Jane Jackson of Southsea, Hampshire, England; second to Susan Frances Gosling; third to Fanny Peach on 12 June 1889 at Notting Hill, London.

The enduring legacy of this enterprising pioneer family is the Kent Brewery on its original site on the Parramatta Road, Sydney, and the famous 'Tooth's K.B.' beer. Tooth & Co. Ltd became a public company in 1888 with a capital of £900,000; in 1929 the firm took over Edmund Resch's Waverley Brewery.

 

 

william charles wentworth

 
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William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872), explorer, author, barrister, landowner, and statesman, was the son of Catherine Crowley, who was convicted at the Staffordshire Assizes in July 1788 of feloniously stealing 'wearing apparell', was sentenced to transportation for seven years, reached Sydney in the transport Neptune in June 1790, and in the Surprize arrived at Norfolk Island with the infant William on 7 August. Dr D'Arcy Wentworth, who also sailed in the Neptune and Surprize, acknowledged William as his son. He accompanied his parents to Sydney in 1796 and then to Parramatta, where his mother died in 1800. In 1803 he was sent with his brother D'Arcy to England. Writing home from their first school at Bletchley in 1804, he told of a visit to his father's patron and kinsman: 'We waited, one day, on Lord Fitzwilliam, at his request, he seemed glad to see us, and presented each of us with a guinea … We are going on in our Latin studies &c., to the satisfaction of our Master, and hope that we shall continue to do so, well knowing how essentially necessary a good education is to our future welfare in life'. In the holidays they stayed with their father's agent, Charles Cookney. In 1805 Mrs Cookney wrote of William to Dr Wentworth that 'a Surgeon is a very improper profession for Him as from the Cast in the Eye it leads Him differently to the object he intends'. They went on to the Greenwich school of Dr Alexander Crombie, a liberal scholar whose published works ranged over philology, politics, economics, agriculture, science, and theology.

Failing to win a place in the military academy at Woolwich or in the East India Co., Wentworthreturned to Sydney in 1810 somewhat at a loose end. He was soon riding Gig, his father's grey gelding, to victory in the Hyde Park races. In October 1811 Lachlan Macquarie appointed him acting provost-marshal. He was granted 1750 acres (708 ha) on the Nepean, where his estate, Vermont, is still a Wentworth property.

He rapidly became a familiar figure around Sydney, with his tall frame, thick shoulders, Roman head, and auburn hair, his rugged and untidy person. He tended to speak in magniloquent abstractions, his harsh voice resounding with rhetoric and sarcasms and classical allusions; yet he showed a keen eye for detail. He seemed already something of a Gulliver in Lilliput. He knew that his father was slighted by the exclusives, that 'aristocratic body' who, he later wrote, 'would monopolize all situations of power, dignity, and emolument … and raise an eternal barrier of separation between their offspring and the offspring of the unfortunate convict': and the knowledge bred in him a determination to destroy their power.

Yet he was no leveller, no democrat. Men must be free, but free to rise—and his own family especially. Like his father he was a monopolist at heart. His adventurous spirit, drought, and the desire to discover new pastures led him in May 1813, in company with William LawsonGregory Blaxland, four servants, four horses, and five dogs, to take part in the first great feat of inland exploration, the crossing of the Blue Mountains. At the end of their twenty-one-day passage, as he later wrote,

The boundless champaign burst upon our sight
Till nearer seen the beauteous landscape grew,
Op'ning like Canaan on rapt Israel's view.

Uncertain that they had really crossed the mountains, he wrote in his journal: 'we have at all events proved that they are traversable, and that, too, by cattle'. The discovery gave impetus to great pastoral expansion in which Wentworth amply shared. He was rewarded with another 1000 acres (405 ha) . On the mountain journey, according to his father, he had developed a severe cough; to recover his health and to help his father secure valuable sandalwood from a Pacific island he joined a schooner as supercargo in 1814. He was nearly killed by natives at Rarotonga while courageously attempting to save a sailor whom they clubbed to death. The captain died, and Wentworth, with knowledge gained on his earlier voyage from England and no mean mathematical skill, brought the ship safely to Sydney.

The Sydney Gazette was then subject to official censorship. The nearest approach to a free press in Governor Macquarie's régime were the anonymous 'pipes', of which the most celebrated was the one directed, in 1816, against Colonel George Molle, the lieutenant-governor, for his hypocrisy towards Macquarie. The furore resulting from it lasted for more than a year, till Dr Wentworth revealed that William, on his way to England, had written from Cape Town admitting authorship. Other 'pipes' are in his hand. Their political importance was greater than their literary merit, though it is not fanciful to see Wentworth as a key figure in early Australian literature. The alliance between literature and politics was close, each needing freedom in which to breathe. He helped to keep satire alive in the time of Macquarie and was later to lead it from darkness into light.

In 1816 Wentworth arrived in London and enlisted Fitzwilliam's aid in persuading his father that the army was no longer a feasible career for him now that the Napoleonic wars were over. In February 1817 he entered the Middle Temple to prepare himself to be 'the instrument of procuring a free constitution for my country'. He wrote to Fitzwilliam of 'the more remote objects' of his ambition: 'It is … by no means my intention in becoming a member of the Law to abandon the Country that gave me birth … In withdrawing myself … for a time from that country I am actuated by a desire of better qualifying myself for the performance of those duties, that my Birth has imposed—and, in selecting the profession of the Law, I calculate upon acquainting myself with all the excellence of the British Constitution, and hope at some future period, to advocate successfully the right of my country to a participation in its advantages'.

This remained the master-plan, but for a time he was characteristically restless. He unsuccessfully petitioned the Colonial Office to allow him to explore Australia from east to west. He spent more than a year in Europe, chiefly in Paris, to the benefit of his French but the annoyance of Fitzwilliam. His health improved but he was very short of funds. He saw much of the Macarthurs. In 1819 he published A Statistical, Historical, and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and Its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land, With a Particular Enumeration of the Advantages Which These Colonies Offer for Emigration and Their Superiority in Many Respects Over Those Possessed by the United States of America. Young John Macarthur had suggested that he write it, and it owed much to conversations with old John, who with little sympathy with Wentworth's constitutional ideas later denounced the book, but whose faith in Australian wool was infectious. Wentworth hoped ardently to marry Elizabeth Macarthur. He envisaged a great Wentworth-Macarthur connexion at the head of the pastoral aristocracy dominating the New South Wales of his dreams, and he seemed about to achieve 'a union' which he described to his father as 'so essential to the happiness of your son and to the accomplishment of those projects for the future respectability and grandeur of our family, with the realisation of which I have no doubt you consider me in a great measure identified'. But his hopes were dashed by a quarrel with her father over a loan of money.

A new blow fell. In 1819 H. G. Bennet declared in his Letter to Lord Sidmouth that D'Arcy Wentworth had been sent to Sydney as a convict. Mortified by this slander, William rushed to his father's defence, ready to spill the last drop of his heart's blood in reparation. His own investigations proved disquieting. They revealed that his father was never a convict but had indeed been tried four times in England for highway robbery, though finally acquitted. Wentworth rebuked Bennet and later Commissioner John Thomas Bigge, who repeated the slander in his report, but his pride had suffered a rude shock, though not a shattering one. The greatness of his family and the glory of his country were the two almost synonymous preoccupations of his mind: and the two now became one as Wentworth, wounded in heart and pride, resolutely identified himself with the interests of the Australian-born.

His book did much to stimulate emigration and was reissued in revised and enlarged editions in 1820 and 1824. The various strands in his education are clearly seen in it: the classical, in its rhetorical style and arguments from ancient history; the mathematical, in its calculations about wool as 'the most profitable channel of investment offered in the world'; the scientific, in descriptions of the natural scene; and the legal, in the reforms proposed for New South Wales. After the 'description', he attacks the existing autocracy and presses for a nominated legislative council and an assembly elected on a small property franchise: ex-convicts are not to be denied either membership or the vote. No taxation should be imposed without parliamentary sanction. There should be trial by jury, a proper process of appeal, and free migration. Such reforms will realize the emancipists' dream: to raise Australasia 'from the abject state of poverty, slavery, and degradation, to which she is so fast sinking, and to present her with a constitution, which may gradually conduct her to freedom, prosperity, and happiness'; its future will then be theirs, and Wentworth's. Yet the book is no tract for democracy. Landed property is 'the only standard' he conceives 'by which the right either of electing, or being elected, can in any country be properly regulated'. The council 'bears many resemblances to the House of Lords': 'It forms that just equipoise between the democratic and supreme powers of the state, which has been found necessary not less to repress the licentiousness of the one, than to curb the tyranny of the other'.

He was called to the Bar in February 1822, and decided then to 'keep a few terms' at Cambridge. Soon after entering Peterhouse, he competed for the chancellor's gold medal for a poem on Australasia. His poem, placed second to W. M. Praed's, was speedily published, with a dedication to Macquarie. Rhetorical and realistic, it ends with a bold prophecy of the day when Britain is vanquished and her spirit rises again in the antipodes:

May all thy glories in another sphere
Relume, and shine more brightly still than here;
May this, thy last born infant, then arise,
To glad thy heart and greet thy parent eyes;
And Australasia float, with flag unfurl'd,
A new Britannia in another world.

He returned to Sydney in 1824, determined 'to hold no situation under government': 'As a mere private person I might lead the colony, but as a servant of the Governor I could only conform to his whims, which would neither suit my tastes nor principles'. In the third edition of the Description he had attacked the report of Commissioner Bigge as 'nauseous trash': it was hostile to Macquarie and it played into the hands of the exclusives. He had some influence on the New South Wales Act of 1823, which instituted a nominated Legislative Council and permitted trial by jury in civil actions only when demanded by both parties. With him came Dr Robert Wardell, a lawyer who had edited the Statesman. Their plan was that each in his sphere, Wardell in journalism and Wentworth at the Bar, should champion the emancipists and smaller free settlers and campaign for a free press, trial by jury, and self-government.

On 14 October 1824 the first issue of the Australian, the plant for which they had brought from London, boldly declared: 'Independent, yet consistent—free, yet not licentious—equally unmoved by favours and by fear—we shall pursue our labours without either a sycophantic approval of, or a systematic opposition to, acts of authority, merely because they emanate from government'. Audacity triumphed. They had not sought permission to publish the paper, but Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane thought it 'most expedient to try the experiment of full latitude of freedom of the Press'; despite Colonial Office objections approval continued well into the reign of his successor. The exclusives bitterly prophesied 'a nation of freebooters and pirates', but they could do nothing while the Australian retained Government House favour.

Meanwhile Wentworth seized every opportunity to attack the exclusives, and awaited a pretext for attacking autocratic government. In October 1825 he arranged a meeting for free inhabitants to consider a farewell address to Brisbane, acknowledging his emancipist sympathies. He called the first draft a 'milk and water production', and in the revised document the 'two fundamental principles of the British constitution' were demanded: trial by jury and representative government. He spoke passionately against the exclusives, the 'yellow snakes of the Colony'.

The wind turned in November 1826 with the death of Private Sudds in circumstances partly arising from the commutation by Governor (Sir) Ralph Darling of the sentence on him and Private Thompson. Wentworth seized on the alleged illegality of Darling's act and with violent invective demanded his recall. The affair rapidly developed into a bitter feud.

At a crowded meeting on Anniversary Day in 1827, which resulted in a petition calling for an elective assembly of at least a hundred members, Wentworth also called for trial by jury and taxation by consent. The newspapers inflamed public opinion against Darling, whose alleged treatment of Sudds Wentworth described as 'murder, or at least a high misdemeanour'. Convinced that Wentworth, a 'vulgar, ill-bred fellow' and a 'demagogue', was 'anxious to become the man of the people' by insulting the government, and that 'nothing short of positive coercion' would curb the licentiousness of the press, Darling submitted to the Legislative Council two bills, to regulate newspapers and to impose a stamp duty. Chief Justice (Sir) Francis Forbesrefused to certify the licence clauses of one as 'not repugnant to the laws of England'. Wentworth attacked the other because blanks had been left for rates of duty to be inserted later; when they were filled in Forbes would not certify it and the Act though passed by council was suspended and later disallowed. Darling saw no alternative but to prosecute for seditious libel.

The resulting cases occupied the Supreme Court through 1828 and 1829. Wentworthsurrendered his shares in the Australian and acted as defending counsel. He overwhelmed the lamentably weak Crown prosecutors with torrents of invective and brilliant marshalling of his facts. Darling wrote that he and Wardell kept 'the Court and the Bar by their effrontery and talent equally in subjection'. When Wardell was tried, he challenged the jury as nominees of the governor, who could deprive them of their commissions if they failed to convict. Finally in 1829, as a result of Wentworth's insistent demands, civilian juries were allowed in civil cases on the application of both parties and the approval of the Supreme Court.

A draft of 'impeachment' prepared by Wentworth against Darling did little damage to the governor's reputation at the Colonial Office, but it certainly undermined Wentworth's, so intemperate was its language. Darling served his six-year term, and departed in 1831 to the accompaniment of a riotous celebration at Wentworth's estate overlooking the harbour. The Australian reported: 'upward of 4,000 persons assembled at Vaucluse to partake of Mr Wentworth's hospitality and to evince joy at the approaching departure. The scene of the fête was on the lawn in front of Mr Wentworth's villa, which was thrown open for the reception of all respectable visitants, while a marquee filled with piles of loaves and casks of Cooper's gin and Wright's strong beer, was pitched a short way off. On an immense spit a bullock was roasted entire. Twelve sheep were also roasted in succession; and 4,000 loaves completed the enormous banquet. By 7 p.m. two immense bonfires were lighted on the highest hill … Rustic sports, speeches, etc., etc., whiled away the night; and morning dawned before the hospitable mansion was quitted by all its guests'.

By taking up the fight against autocracy and by his imperious courage and oratory in the defence of emancipists at the Bar Wentworth had awakened a political instinct among the smaller people of Sydney and become their hero. He had touched both journalism and the Bar with the fire of his brilliance and given them definition, direction, and the vision of greatness: he may justly be called their prophet in the Australian nation, if not the prophet of that nation itself. The larger fight remained: for the great goal of self-government. But, even as the people of Sydney were flocking out to Vaucluse to join with the popular hero in celebration of the tyrant's departure, changes in Wentworth's own life and activities were beginning to cause disillusion among many who only partially understood his aims. With the swelling tide of immigration into New South Wales, the exclusive-emancipist issue was receding into the background of politics. So fast were events moving that in 1835, when Darling was cleared of Wentworth's charges and knighted, there were few in Sydney who showed concern.

By his father's death in 1827 Wentworth added greatly to his landholdings. In that year he bought Vaucluse, about six miles (9.6 km) from Sydney on the south side of the harbour, and later enlarged it to 500 acres (202 ha) . The cottage there was rebuilt into a stately mansion which, in the years after Wentworth's marriage in 1829, provided the setting for both his family life and his activities as statesman. It was adorned with riches from the old world and became a sign of the new time, spacious and leisured, that was coming to the rich in New South Wales. With his large legal earnings, Vaucluse, his father's estate at Homebush, and one sheep station after another (he acknowledged fifteen at one time) Wentworth more and more felt himself the prototype of a new nobility, a governing class which would adapt to Australian conditions the way of life of the Whig aristocracy of eighteenth-century England. His own way of life became spacious even to the point of lapses from his marriage vows.

With Darling's successor, Governor (Sir) Richard Bourke, a kinsman of Edmund Burke, whose patron Fitzwilliam had been, Wentworth had much in common, though not even Bourke could persuade him to accept nomination to the Legislative Council, in which the governor's own liberal measures were frequently frustrated by the exclusives. In London there was growing support for Wentworth's policies: the Reform Act and events in Canada were fostering a climate of opinion favourable to constitutional change. After the murder of Wardell in 1834, William Bland stepped into his place as Wentworth's chief supporter. At the foundation-day meeting in 1833 another petition for self-government was drafted, which was presented to the Commons by Lytton Bulwer.

In 1835 the Australian Patriotic Association was formed to agitate for an amended constitution. Sir John Jamison was president, Wentworth vice-president, and Charles Buller its agent in London. With Bland's assistance Wentworth drafted two alternative bills for the consideration of the British government: one providing for a nominated council and an elected assembly on the model of Canada; the other for a single house of fifty members, one-fifth nominated and the rest elected on a property franchise similar to that of the 1832 Reform Act in Britain. With support in Sydney from Bourke and his successor, Sir George Gipps, and in London from Buller, Wentworth's second bill was adopted, with modifications, in an Act granting a degree of representative government in 1842. In an enlarged Legislative Council the proportion of nominees became one-third, and the property qualification for electors of the remaining twenty-four members was high enough to exclude two-thirds of the adult male population. Though the governor retained control of colonial revenue, he ceased to preside over the Legislative Council and was replaced by an elected Speaker.

In his book Wentworth had commended simultaneously a wide franchise and a property qualification for electors. The 1827 petition had demanded suffrage for 'the entire of the free population'. Now the eighteenth-century Whig in him was running stronger and he was more apt to equate political capacity with property and poverty with ignorance. He had given up his legal practice and was concentrating on his landed interests. Though he was still far less wealthy than James Macarthur, who had gone to England on behalf of the exclusives to oppose the demands of the Australian Patriotic Association, Wentworth's riches were increasing rapidly, and the onset of middle age, his experience of the crowd, and the shift in the balance of population caused by assisted migration all tended to strengthen his conservatism. The intention of the British government to abolish convict transportation and to raise the price of crown land drew the exclusives and Wentworth into a common opposition to any change in the condition allowing them cheap land and labour.

The leading emancipists now found themselves together with the exclusives on the side of the rich. Wentworth now belonged to the pastoral aristocracy he had envisaged in 1819 and it was faced with stern threats. When he expressed approval of the idea of importing coolie labour from Asia, he alienated many former supporters together with the radicals among the recent immigrants. In January 1842 the Australian summed up the popular feeling: 'Mr Wentworth… was an influential man. His day is gone by. His opinion is worth nothing … Certainly he first taught the natives of this colony what liberty was, but he has betrayed them since and they have withdrawn their confidence from him'.

In 1839 Wentworth was recommended for appointment to the Legislative Council by Gipps, but was soon at enmity with the new governor. In 1840, in direct opposition to declared British policy, humanely conceived, Wentworth and some associates bought from seven Maori chieftains, for a song, nearly a third of New Zealand, urging them, moreover, not to acknowledge Queen Victoria without proper safeguard. Gipps, aghast at such a 'job', blocked the scheme in the Legislative Council. But he misunderstood Wentworth. This bid was no jobbery, but Elizabethan in spirit and characteristically splendid and defiant. It would have made him the greatest landowner on earth; frustrated, he swore 'eternal vengeance'. The enmity between Wentworth and Gipps bedevilled almost every issue until the governor's departure in 1846. It was comparatively easy for Wentworth to lead others against Gipps. As with Darling, he set out to wreck his opponent's policies, but although he was frequently depicted as an unscrupulous politician his powers were bent passionately on ends that seemed to him greater than person or reputation, his own or anybody else's.

Wentworth entered the Legislative Council in 1843 at the head of the poll for Sydney. He wished to be Speaker but was passed over in favour of his enemy, Alexander McLeay. However, with his unrivalled knowledge of parliamentary procedure and colonial affairs, he immediately assumed practical leadership of the council. His achievement was already remarkable. He was an orator of immense power, whether bludgeoning an opponent, or fumbling and growling and calling for his 'extracts', or rising, with harsh and rasping voice, to a broken sublimity of language which moved and enlightened even his enemies. All were affected by the impact of his personality. Robert Lowe, mellifluously, dartingly, could mock what he had said, but the twain never really met, for they were of two different orders of being. Though he could marshal arguments brilliantly Wentworth relied little on subtlety or logic. He created a mood and stormed rather than seduced the mind. Careless and even slovenly in manners and dress (he now wore corduroys with his badly-fitting morning-coat), he had, while knowing his power, an unconscious arrogance and was in all things the observed of all observers.

He led the squatters in their demand for new land regulations and, since imperial control over crown land was an obstacle to their interest, for a surrender of that control to the Legislative Council. The squatters wanted security of tenure so that they could improve their runs without fear of displacement. Through a Pastoralists' Association, a select committee of the Legislative Council, a paid agent in the House of Commons, and in other ways they waged unceasing war against Gipps's policies. They won most of their demands in the Imperial Act of 1846, which gave them security, for varying periods in the 'settled', 'intermediate', and 'unsettled' districts, unless someone would pay £1 an acre for the land they leased, and this they could thwart by purchasing key-points on their runs, such as around the waterholes. In a sense the squatting age was now over. Henceforward the graziers could build spacious homesteads and develop the way of life of a landed, governing class, whatever political power Wentworth and his followers might win for them.

Because pastoral interests were strong in the part-elective Legislative Council Wentworth was able after 1843 to establish again a leadership of the colony as a whole. He was never again popular as he had been in 1831. At times he was distinctly unpopular but the power of his personality continued to sway even the crowd. In the 1848 election, after a public outcry over the renewal of transportation, he again headed the Sydney poll, though Bland was defeated altogether. In 1851, when his unpopularity stood at its height through his insistence on a preponderance of squatter-controlled rural representation over that of Sydney and his opposition to a wide franchise and to the 'spirit of democracy abroad', he came in third, but was still returned.

Though frequently accused of inconsistency, Wentworth followed unswervingly the same ideals throughout his career. He believed profoundly in intellect, and his fury at unintelligent officialdom, military autocracy, and the social pretensions of the unimaginative exclusives (the imaginative, such as John Macarthur, he admired) sprang from the same source as his distrust of mob rule: a hatred of anything which would prevent the human mind and spirit from developing their latent powers. He at no time denied the right of the intelligent poor to aspire to the seats of government, but they must first become 'men of substance', participating in one of the great interests on which the welfare of the community depended. Pre-eminent among these was the landed interest which, because of his realistic appraisal of the Australian economy no less than his inherited or acquired Whiggism, he believed was the one to which, as he told them in 1851, the inhabitants of Sydney 'were indebted for all their greatness, all the comforts, all the luxuries, that they possessed'. He told them, too, with no little courage, that he 'agreed with that ancient and venerable constitution that treated those who had no property as infants, or idiots, unfit to have any voice in the management of the State'. The way out of infancy, or idiocy, was through intellect and property: but essential to these, and to the management of the state, was education — and Wentworth's pioneering of both primary and university education in Australia is among the noblest of his achievements.

He played a leading part with Lowe, his erstwhile opponent, in establishing in 1848-49 the first real system of state primary education in New South Wales. Hitherto primary teaching—and most of the children of the colony had none—had been conducted predominantly by the various religious denominations, with much sectarian bitterness. New South Wales was on the brink of gaining responsible government; but this, he argued, would be workable only through national education. Should they fail to give the youth of the colony 'the education which would furnish them with the knowledge of the responsibilities they undertook, the achievement of responsible government will be not to achieve a blessing, but to achieve the greatest curse it is possible to conceive'. He went on in 1849-50 to lead the movement that resulted in the founding of the first full colonial university in the British empire, the University of Sydney. He saw this as serving two ends: 'to enlighten the mind, to refine the understanding, to elevate the soul of our fellow men'; and to train men to fill 'the high offices of state'. He deplored the religious bigotry which had obstructed education: the university should be 'open to all, though influenced by none'. But he denied vigorously that his university would promote infidelity: he believed that 'the best mode of proving the divinity of the great Christian Code was to advance the intellect of those who trusted and relied upon it … It was not by stinting the intellect that Christianity was to be promoted'. The university would leave religious education to constituent colleges which he envisaged 'in every part of the colony'. Wentworth also helped to endow the university and was a member of its first senate.

In 1844, after a collision between Gipps and the Legislative Council, Wentworth had advocated 'that control of the Ministers and the Administrators of the Colony … which can only exist where the decision of the majority can occasion the choice—as well as the removal—of the functionaries who are entrusted with the chief executive departments'. He lost enthusiasm for this kind of responsible government after Governor Sir Charles FitzRoy eased the friction between executive and legislature, and turned instead to demands for self-government with full control of crown lands and colonial revenue. These demands, expressed in the Remonstrances of 1850 and 1851, remained urgent when gold was discovered, but the pastoral ascendancy seemed likely to be seriously threatened by 'pure democracy'. Although in 1852 the Colonial Office finally agreed that New South Wales should have responsible government, only a limited form of individual responsibility of some members of the executive was provided by the select committee which drafted the constitution in 1853. With Wentworth as chairman it recommended a lower house of fifty members elected on a £10 property franchise, and a nominated upper house consisting of members of a hereditary colonial peerage. The rural bias of the proposed lower house and the idea of a peerage were vociferously opposed in Sydney, by the press and by orators representing nearly every shade of political and social opinion. Wentworth vigorously defended his peerage scheme—which was a logical outgrowth of his basic ideas and assumptions and by no means the ridiculous proposal it has been represented as, then and since—but public opinion was so strongly against it that the bill, as eventually passed, contained in its stead provisions for a legislative council shorn of the hereditary principle altogether. Wentworth, with Edward Deas Thomson, colonial secretary for New South Wales, with whom he had been much associated through the lack of interest shown by Governor FitzRoy in colonial politics, sailed for England in 1854. In July 1855 he had the satisfaction of seeing the new Constitution made law, despite the deletion of his favoured safeguard against rash amendments to it, and the early death of the General Association of the Australian Colonies which he conceived as the forerunner of a 'Federal Assembly with power to legislate on all internal subjects'.

His life's work triumphantly achieved, he spent his remaining days in England except for a brief return to Sydney in 1861-62, when he was prevailed on to accept the presidency of the Legislative Council during a crisis, and stood out for the nominative as against the elective principle. He had consolidated his fame more by staying away, and being remembered for his great achievements, than if he had returned and been drawn—as he must have been—into the political fray and tried—as he would have done—to stem the democratic tide. In England he became a member of the Conservative Club, and lived at Merly House, near Wimborne, Dorset. There he died on 20 March 1872, survived by his wife Sarah, second daughter of Francis Cox, an emancipist blacksmith, whom he had married in 1829, and by five of their seven daughters and two of their three sons. His probate was sworn at £96,000 in Sydney and £70,000 in London. As he had wished, his body was brought to Sydney, and after a state funeral on 6 May 1873 was laid to rest in a vault excavated in a rock on his estate at Vaucluse. A chapel erected over his tomb, portraits by Richard Buckner in the chamber of the Legislative Assembly in Sydney and by James Anderson in the Mitchell Library, and a statue in Carrara marble by Tenerani in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney are his tangible memorials.

His intangible, and truer, memorial is much more than can easily be estimated in present-day Australia. With all his apparent contradictions, more than any other man he secured our fundamental liberties and nationhood. He looked backward in many things to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; yet he built, with the strength that his sense of history gave him, for the future. He was a child both of the English past and of his own time. He was an heir to the Whig tradition, with its faith in aristocratic and classical values and in British political institutions as established, more or less, by the Glorious Revolution and the politicians of the eighteenth century, and at the same time a child of the romantic movement. The chief intellectual influence upon him was Burke's oratory, with all its rhetoric and splendour and its evocation of the greatness of Augustan Rome and England. Emotionally, however, he was more Byronic, a force of nature of the kind which blazed in the sky of his boyhood in the person of Napoleon. He had breathed the air of Liberal Toryism abroad in England in the early 1820s. The subjection of his proud and romantic nature to the classical restraints of law and politics, though sometimes imperfectly achieved, increased rather than diminished his achievement. In his determination to secure in his own country those free institutions which in eighteenth-century England bore an aristocratic form, he may have regretted that their very freedom would allow them to become democratic; but their freedom was more important to him than their form. His love of Australia was, he confessed, the 'master passion' of his life. He felt a natural kinship with the founding fathers of the United States. It is his chief claim to greatness that, more than any other, he secured in Australia, in one lifetime, the fruit of centuries—what he, in common with other men of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, revered as the fundamental liberties of the British Constitution.