THE LATE SIR. W. WINDEYER
Our English telegrams this morning inti- mate that Sir William Windeyer, who was for manyyears a Judge of tho Supreme Court of New South Wales: died suddenlv at Bolozna:
in Italy, on Saturday last from paralysis ot the heart. The announcement of his death will, greatly surprise Australians and shock the deceased jurist's friends both bere and in England, where he had been residing almost ever since his retirement from the Bench in the mother colony.. Quite recently our London cor- respondent telegraphed that Sir William had consented to temporarily act as Judge in Newfoundland 'during October owing to a judicial deadlock in that colony; and it seems but as yesterday when, the question of appointing an Australian Judge to a seat on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was raised, and when the name of Sir William was freely mentioned as likely to receive the distinction bsfore it was conferred on the Chief Justice of South Australia, now the Right Hon. S. J. Way. The Hon. Sir William Charles Windeyer, M.A.; LL.D., was the only son of tbe late Mr. Richard Windeyer, barrister-at-law and member of the.Lagislativo Council of New South Wales. He was born at Westminster on Ssptember 29. 1834. He arrived in New South Wales with his parents in 1833, and was educated at Cope's School, Sydney, and at the King's School, Parramatta. Entering the University of Sydney on its opening in 1832, he soon distinguished himself by taking a general and classical scholarship.. He also carried off during several successive years the English essay prize instituted by Dr. Woolley, and graduated with distinction iu classics in 1856 at the head of his year. He gained in additiou a first class in Mental Philosophy, and he was thoe senior of all Aus- tralian graduates. Altogether his academic career was one of exceptional brilliancy. He was admitted to the Bar of New South Wales in 1857, and became a contributor and subse- quently law reporter to , the Empire, a news- papcr with which the late Sir Honry Parkcs was closely associated. His exclusively jour- nalistic career was, however, short, for in January. 1859, he accepted the position of Crown Prosecutor for the country districts of his colony. This office also he filled for a very brief period. In the same year he sought election to the Lsgislativo Assembly for Pad- dington against Sir Daniel Cooper, but was unsuccessful; in August, however, hoe was chosen by the electors of the Lower Hunter. In 1860 he was returned for West Sydney, and he represented that constituency thenceforward until 1872, and again from 1866 to 1872. From December, 1870. to May, 1872, he was Solisitor-General in Sir James Martin's. Ministry; but he was defeated as a candidate for West Sydney in 1872. He was, however, elected in September. 1S76, as the first member for the University of Sydney, and sat for that constituency until his retirement from politics in 1879. Sir Henry Parkcs had the benefit of his valuable service as Attorney General from March to August, 1877; and from Docomber, 1878, to August, 1879, he held the same portfolio in the Parkes Robertson Administration. Whiloe occupyiug this position he was elevated to the Bench. Among the measures which he was in- strumental in carrying through the Legislature was one rendering colonial barristers eligible for judicial appointments, as well as the Married Women's Property Act of 1879, and the Copy- right Act of the same year. The judicial career of Sir William Windeyer was most eventful. He sat on the Bench in New South Wales for about seventeen years, from 1879 to 1896, and was almost constantly the subject of strong comment, some critics expressing unbounded admiration and others as unstinted condemnation. This was greatly due to the fact that he possessed singularly striking individuality and absolute fearless- ness, allied to no little impatience and impul- siveness. Besides being senior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court he was Judge of the Matrimonial and Divorce Courts and Deputy. Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court. During recent, years he attracted far more notice than is usually accorded to colonial Judges. His name was kept prominently before the public by a section of the Sydney Press, which continually hectored him over the memorable "Mount Renhie outrage" trial, at which he presided, and in connection with which: his detractors delighted in styling him "the hanging Judge." He was also subjected just before his resignation to a great deal of criticism owing to the peculiar and sen- sational developments of the Dean case: while the sequel to the Butler divorce suit, in which he committed a witness for perjury— together with other incidents caused him to be the subject of protracted and bitter controversy. Tbe criticisms showered upon him he bore with the same restiveness as he had displayed during his fit of pique in consequence of an outsider having been appointed to the position of Chief Justice, on which he considered that he had a reversionary claim: and his caustic denuncia- tion of Sir Julian Salomons, who was one of those preferred before him, so deeply rankled in the mind of that eminent Queen's Counsel as to lead him to alter his decision to accept the honourable post. The public revelation of this episode was revived about two years ago in asaociation with the denouement of the Dean case. At the trial which ended in the defendant being acquitted on the charge of having poisoned his wife, Sir William Win- deyer, with characteristic bluntness, told the Jury that he felt as certain that Dean had attempted to kill the woman as though he had seen him administer the poison to her. In relation to this and other incidents in the case, and before Dean confessed his guilt, a motion was tabled in the Legislative Assembly .questioning the propriety of his continuing in the judicial office, but the con- troversy dropped. At about the same time Sir Julian Salomons made a sensational speech in the Legislative Council with referenoce to the matter, and his allusions to his former strong controversial antagonist were of the most deli- cate and interesting kind. Sir William Wiadeyer may have been occasionally merciless in his administration of justice, but he was undoubtedly a terror to evildoers, and his great force of will and independence enabled him to act fearlessly and honestly regardless of any dread of raising public opinion against
him. His main defects were probably, those of temper and of tact. Apart from other matters he. engaged in various public movements of a benevolent and educational charactor. His interest in higher education and public charities was; very great. He was elected a membsr of the Senate of the Sydney University at the first convocation in 1865. and was a Fellow of the University , Vice-Chancellor from 1884 to 1887, and Chancellor in 1893. As a member of the Senate he proposed the resolution which resulted in the establishment of the Senior and Junior Public Examinations at the .University. While in the lesgialature he submitted and was sucessful in carrying resolutions for the establishment o£ grammar schools at Bathurst, Maitlad, and Goulbourn, and the founding of publiq Exhibitions, enabling poor but clever boys to proceed from the public school to the grammar schools and thence to the Univorsity. In 1874 he was chosen Pre- ident of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts. He was a Trustee of the Sydney Grammar School and of the Sydney Public Library, as well as Chairman of the Council of the College for Women in the Sydney Uni- versity. In 1879 he was a member of the Commission appointed to revise the criminal law of the colony, and in 1873 became Presi- dent of the Public Charities Commission. In 1874 he originated tho Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society, thus showing that, though an unsparing Judge, he still regarded the welfare of men who had undergone the punishment which the law awarded. Sir William was knighted in 1891. Lady Windeyer is a daughter of the Rev. R. T. Bolton, Vicar of Padbury, Bucks, and some- time of Hexham, New South Wales, and was married to Sir William Windeyer on Decem- ber 31, 1857. She is well known in Adelaide, which she recently visited on her way to join her husband in England. She takes a very practical interest4 in the movement for. the higher education,of: woman, and a few weeks ago delivered an address in England on the subject.
fHE LATE SIR WILLIAM CHARLES WINDEYEB.
fHE LATE SIR WILLIAM CHARLES WINDEYEB.