Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/52

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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.

ing on the navigation of the Rhone and Saone, and making surveys and reports on the navigation of the Magdalena, with connecting canals, roads or railways, in New Grenada. Mr. Bennett was engaged on the International (French, American and English) Ship Canal Survey at Darien, in 1854, having charge of the English survey on the Pacific side in the absence of Mr. Forde, M.I.C.E., on which occasion Mr. Bennett received the thanks of the American Government for having, in conjunction with Lieut. Forsythe and a party from H.M.S. Virago, relieved Lieut. Strain, United States navy, and his missing exploring party, at no small personal risk. At the end of 1854 Mr. Bennett proceeded, viâ New Zealand, to New South Wales, and was for about ten months attached to the Survey Department as an assistant surveyor. In April 1856 he was appointed assistant engineer to the Commission for the Sewerage and Water Supply of Sydney; was engaged in the Railway Department, New South Wales, from Jan. to Sept. 1857, and was then transferred to the Department of Roads, which, as assistant engineer, and ultimately as engineer, he assisted Captain (afterwards Colonel) Martindale, C.B., R.E., in organising. Mr. Bennett left the colony for Europe in Jan. 1861, and on his return he was appointed, in Nov. 1862, commissioner and engineer-in-chief for roads, New South Wales, which office he occupied until a short time before his death, having been in addition occasionally employed on the western goldfields and narrow gauge railways, the water supply of Sydney, and the drainage of the Hunter River. Mr. Bennett died on Sept. 29th, 1889, at the age of sixty-five.

Bent, Hon. Thomas, M.L.A., Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Victoria, was born at Penrith, near Sydney, where his father was a contractor, on Dec. 17th, 1838, and came to Melbourne with his family in 1849. Having joined his father in business as a market gardener at Brighton, Vict., he was elected to the Moorabbin Shire Council in 1862, and was President in 1868. In 1871 he first achieved general notoriety by opposing Mr. (now Chief Justice) Higinbotham for the Brighton seat in the Legislative Assembly. To the amazement of every one, he was successful, and has ever since represented that electorate. Though strongly opposed to the last McCulloch Government, Mr. Bent was not a supporter of the Berry party, being indeed a consistent Freetrader. At the first dissolution in 1880 the Conservatives, under Mr. Service, secured a majority; and Mr. Bent was included in the Cabinet formed by that gentleman in March 1880, with the portfolio of Public Works. The Reform Bill of the Ministry proved distasteful to the country on the appeal to the constituencies made in June 1880, and Mr. Bent retired with his colleagues in the following August. Mr. Bent was a highly potential member of the O'Loghlen Government as Minister of Railways from July 1881 to March 1883. In Oct. 1887, on the retirement of the late Mr. Lalor, Mr. Bent was a candidate for the Speakership of the Legislative Assembly, but was defeated by Sir M. H. Davies by one vote. On the meeting of the present parliament in May 1892 Mr. Bent was again a candidate, and was unanimously elected after the claims of Mr. J. G. Duffy and Sir H. J. Wrixon had been disposed of.

Beor, Hon. Henry Rogers, M.L.A., was the son of Henry Beor, a solicitor at Swansea, in South Wales. He graduated at Oxford, and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1870. In 1875 he went to Queensland, and was admitted to the bar there in the same year. Entering the Legislative Assembly as member for Bowen in 1877, he succeeded the late Mr. Justice Pring as Attorney-General in the first McIlwraith Ministry in June 1880. He in the same year was made Q.C. Shortly afterwards his health failed, and he shot himself on board the steamer Rotorua, whilst on the passage from Sydney to Auckland, in New Zealand. The fatal event, the outcome of nervous depression, took place on Dec. 5th, 1880, and he was buried at sea.

Berkeley, Hon. Henry Spencer Hardtman, third son of Thomas Berkeley Hardtman Berkeley, of St. Kitts, was born on Sept. 3rd, 1851, and called to the bar at the Inner Temple in June 1873. Having been admitted to the bar of the Leeward Islands in the following July, he filled various legal and official posts there until 1885, when he was appointed Attorney-General of Fiji, and in 1889 Chief Justice and Judicial Commissioner for the Western Pacific.

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