Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/359

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Nic]
[Nic
DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.

of Convicts, and subsequently the first Postmaster in New South Wales, was born in Sydney on Sept. 27th, 1809. He was educated in England, but returned to New South Wales in 1822, when he qualified as a solicitor, and obtained a large practice. In 1848 he was elected to the old Legislative Council for the Northumberland Boroughs; and when responsible government was conceded he represented his old constituents in the Legislative Assembly. He was Auditor-General in the Donaldson Government—the first formed under the new régime—from June to August 1856. Later in the same year failing health compelled him to decline a portfolio in the Parker Ministry. Amongst the pupils articled to him were Sir James Martin (afterwards Premier and Chief Justice of New South Wales) and Sir Richard Dry (afterwards Premier of Tasmania). He was conceded the privilege, enjoyed by no other practitioner of his grade, of appearing professionally in both the superior and inferior courts of the colony. He died on Sept. 12th, 1857.

Nicholson, Sir Charles, Bart., M.D., D.C.L., LL.D., first Chancellor of Sydney University, is the only son of the late Charles Nicholson, of London, by his marriage with Barbara, daughter of J. Ascough, of Bedale, Yorkshire, and was born on Nov. 23rd, 1808. He graduated M.D. at Edinburgh University in 1833, and in the next year emigrated to Sydney, N.S.W., where he arrived in May, and practised as a physician. In 1843 he was returned to the first Legislative Council of New South Wales as one of the five members for the Port Phillip district (now Victoria). He continued to sit in the Council till 1856, being elected Speaker of that body, in succession to Mr. Macleay, in 1846, and twice subsequently re-elected. He was knighted by patent in March 1852, and took great interest in the advancement of education. He was appointed first Vice-Provost of Sydney University, and delivered an inaugural address at its opening in Oct. 1852. In 1854 he was chosen first Chancellor of the University, and has been one of its most liberal benefactors. In 1857 he was made an honorary D.C.L. of the University of Oxford, and was created first baronet of Luddenham, N.S.W., in April 1859, In the following year Queensland was constituted a separate colony, and Sir Charles Nicholson having been nominated to the Legislative Council, acted as its first President from May to August, when he resigned, and returned to reside permanently in England in 1862. In 1865 he married Sarah Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Archibald Keightley, of the Charterhouse, London; and in 1868 had the honorary degree of LL.D. conferred on him by the University of Cambridge. In 1890 he was appointed to represent the interests of the Central Queensland Separation League in London, and headed deputations to Lord Knutsford on the subject. The heir to the baronetcy is his eldest son, Archibald Keightley, born in 1867.

Nicholson, Hon. William, the "father of the Australian ballot," was a native of Cumberland, and arrived in Melbourne in 1842, where he went into business, and was Mayor in 1850. He entered the old partially elective Legislative Council of Victoria as member for North Bourke very shortly after the separation of the colony from New South Wales. In 1852 he supported Mr. J. S. Johnston's motion of want of confidence in Governor Latrobe, and in Sept. 1853 he was appointed one of the Select Committee to whom was entrusted the task of drafting an autonomous constitution for Victoria. Mr. Nicholson's name will be best remembered in connection with the introduction of the ballot into the electoral system of Victoria, whence it spread to the other colonies, and has since been widely adopted elsewhere. It was in 1855 that the subject cropped up, when the Legislative Council was considering the bill by which the electoral system under the fully elected bicameral Legislature inaugurated in the next year was to be regulated. On the Electoral Bill being set down for a second reading, Mr. Nicholson moved as an amendment "That, in the opinion of this House, any new electoral act should provide for electors recording their votes by secret ballot." On Dec. 19th his amendment was carried by 33 votes to 23, Mr. Childers, Sir John O'Shanassy, Mr. J. P. Fawkner, and Dr. Greeves being in the minority, with Mr. Haines, the Premier, and the other members of the Government. The next day the Ministry resigned, and the Council was adjourned

343