Hay, John (1816-1892) (DNB01)

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HAY, Sir JOHN (1816–1892), Australian statesman, born at Little Ythsie, Aberdeenshire, on 23 June 1816, was the elder son of John Hay of Little Ythsie, by his wife Jean Moir. He was educated at the University and King's College of Aberdeen, graduating M.A. in 1834. In the same year he went to Edinburgh, and studied for several years for the Scottish bar. In 1838 he emigrated to New South Wales as a squatter, settling at Welaregang on the upper Murray.

He first took part in colonial politics in 1856, when he was returned to the legislature on 2 April for the Murrumbidgee district. On 24 Sept. he carried a motion of want of confidence in the ministry of (Sir) Charles Cowper [q. v.], and after declining to form an administration became secretary of lands and public works in the government formed by (Sir) Henry Watson Parker [q. v.] This office he resigned in September 1857 on the defeat of the Parker government on a question of electoral reform. In 1858 the electoral district of the Murrumbidgee was subdivided, and Hay was returned for the Murray, one of the new divisions. He represented this constituency until 1864, when he was returned for Central Cumberland. In 1860, when (Sir) John Robertson [q. v.] brought forward the famous Crown Lands Alienation Act, Hay moved an amendment which was carried against the government, but, on an appeal to the country, Robertson was supported by a large majority of the electors.

On 14 Oct. 1862 Hay was elected speaker of the legislative assembly, a post which he resigned on 21 Oct. 1865 on the ground of ill-health. After his resignation he continued a member of the assembly until 26 June 1867, when he was summoned to the legislative council, of which, on the recommendation of Sir Henry Parkes [q. v. Suppl.], he became president on 8 July 1873, succeeding Sir Terence Aubrey Murray [q. v.] This position he filled with remarkable ability until his death. On 25 May 1878 he was nominated K.C.M.G. He was vice-president of the New South Wales Agricultural Society.

Hay died, without issue, at his residence at Rose Bay on 20 Jan. 1892, and was buried in the Waverley cemetery on 22 Jan. A marble bust of Hay, executed in September 1889, is in the hall of the legislative council. He married, on 28 Feb. 1838, Mary (d. 1 Feb. 1892), daughter of James Chalmers.

[Sydney Morning Herald, 21 and 23 Jan. 1892; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891, i. 77-8; Heaton's Australian Dictionary, 1879; Denison's Varieties of Viceregal Life, 1870, i. 369; Parkes's Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History, 1892, i. 118, 120, 299.]

E. I. C.