The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Windeyer, His Honour Sir William Charles

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Windeyer, His Honour Sir William Charles, LL.D., Puisne Judge, New South Wales, is the only son of the late Richard Windeyer, barrister-at-law, and was born in Westminster on Sept. 29th, 1834. He came to New South Wales with his parents in 1835, and was educated at Cape's School, Sydney, and at the King's School, Parramatta. He entered the University of Sydney on its opening in 1852, and took a general and classical scholarship. He carried off the English essay prize, instituted by Dr. Woolley, during several successive years, and graduated with distinction in classics at the head of his year in 1856, taking also a first class in Mental Philosophy, being the senior of all Australian graduates. He was admitted to the Bar of New South Wales in March 1857, and became a contributor and subsequently law reporter to the Empire newspaper, published in Sydney. In Jan. 1859 he was appointed sole Crown Prosecutor for the Country Districts of New South Wales. After resigning this post, and unsuccessfully contesting Paddington against Sir Daniel Cooper, he was elected to the Assembly in August 1859, for the Lower Hunter, and subsequently represented West Sydney from 1860 to 1862 and from 1866 to 1872. He was Solicitor-General under Sir James Martin from Dec. 1870 to May 1872, and having been defeated for West Sydney in the latter year, he was elected the first member for the University of Sydney in Sept. 1876, and sat for that constituency till his retirement from politics. He held office as Attorney-General in the Parkes Administration from March to August 1877, and again in the Parkes-Robertson Ministry, from Dec. 1878 to August 1879, when he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Mr. Justice Windeyer was elected a member of the Senate of Sydney University at the first convocation in 1865, and is a Fellow of the University, and was Vice-Chancellor from 1884 to 1887. As a member of the Senate, he proposed the resolution resulting in the establishing of the Senior and Junior Public Examinations of the University. In 1878 he carried resolutions in the Assembly for the establishment of Grammar Schools at Bathurst, Maitland and Goulburn, and the founding of Public Exhibitions enabling poor but clever boys to go to the Grammar Schools from the Public Schools and thence to the University. He was elected President of the Sydney Mechanics* School of Arts in 1874, and in 1876 he was temporarily appointed Acting Judge of the Supreme Court. He was President of the Public Charities Commission in 1873, and in 1874 originated the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society. He was married on Dec. 31st, 1857, to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. R. T. Bolton, vicar of Padbury, Bucks, and sometime of Hexham, N.S.W. Besides being senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court, he is judge of Matrimonial and Divorce Causes, and deputy judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court. He is an honorary LL.D. of Cambridge and a Trustee of the Sydney Grammar School and of the Sydney Public Library, and chairman of the council of the College for Women in the Sydney University. He carried a measure through the New South Wales Parliament which rendered colonial barristers eligible for judicial appointments, also the Married Women's Property Act of 1879 and the Copyright Act of 1879.