The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Murphy, Sir Francis

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Murphy, Sir Francis, first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Victoria, was the son of Francis D. Murphy, who was for upwards of thirty years head of the South of Ireland Transport of Convicts Department. He was born at Cork in 1809, and after being educated in his native city, entered at Trinity College, Dublin, as a medical student, ultimately being admitted M.R.C.S. of London. In June 1836 Dr. Murphy emigrated to Sydney, N.S.W., and was immediately nominated by the Governor (Sir R. Bourke) to a position on the staff of colonial surgeons. On appointment he proceeded to take charge of a portion of the southern district in the county of Argyle, but soon afterwards being led into agricultural pursuits, he resigned his official position, and finally discontinued practice as a medical man. After leaving the Government service, Dr. Murphy purchased a considerable quantity of land at Argyle, and soon became the largest grain-grower in the district. He married in 1840 Agnes, eldest daughter of Lieutenant David Reid, R.N., of Inverary Park, N.S.W., and in 1847 went to Victoria, where he purchased a station on the Ovens river, in the Beechworth district. Dr. Murphy was returned to the partially elective Legislative Council for the Murray district at the first election which took place after the separation of Victoria from New South Wales. He was for some time Chairman of Committees, and in 1852 he sold his pastoral property and went to reside permanently in Melbourne. In 1853 he was re-elected for the Murray, and resigned the chairmanship of committees to become President of the Central Road Board, which latter position he relinquished in Nov. 1856. He was acting Speaker in the Assembly daring the absence, on account of illness, of Dr. (afterwards Sir J. F.) Palmer in March 1855. When responsible government was conceded, he was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of Victoria for the Murray, and appointed the first Speaker of the House in Oct. 1856. To this post he was re-elected in 1859, 1861, 1864, 1866, and 1868, and held it continuously till the dissolution of Parliament on Jan. 24th, 1871, when he resigned, having in the meantime been knighted in 1860. In 1866 Sir Francis Murphy left the Murray and was returned for the Grenville electorate till 1871, when he was defeated, and was out of Parliament till the next year, when he entered the Upper House as member for the Eastern Province. He resigned his seat in council in 1876, and resided for some time in England. He died on March 30th, 1890.