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James Martin (Australian politician)


Sir James Martin

Justice James Martin.jpg
6th Premier of New South Wales
In office
16 October 1863 – 2 February 1865
Preceded byCharles Cowper
Succeeded byCharles Cowper
ConstituencyTumut (until 1864)
Monaro
In office
22 January 1866 – 26 October 1868
Preceded byCharles Cowper
Succeeded byJohn Robertson
ConstituencyLachlan
In office
16 December 1870 – 13 May 1872
Preceded byCharles Cowper
Succeeded byHenry Parkes
Chief Justice of New South Wales
In office
19 November 1873 – 4 November 1886
Preceded bySir Alfred Stephen
Succeeded bySir Julian Salomons
Personal details
Born(1820-05-14)14 May 1820
Midleton, Co. Cork, Ireland, UK
Died4 November 1886(1886-11-04) (aged 66)
Potts Point, New South Wales
Resting placeWaverley Cemetery
NationalityBritish

Sir James Martin, KCB, QC (14 May 1820 – 4 November 1886)[1] was three times Premier of New South Wales, and Chief Justice of New South Wales from 1873 to 1886.

Early career

Martin was born in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland but emigrated with his parents to Sydney, Australia at the age of one.[1] He was educated at Dame's School, Parramatta and, despite his family's poverty,[2] the Sydney Academy and Sydney College under the tutelage of William Timothy Cape, and left school at the age of 16 to become a reporter.

In 1838, Martin published the Australian Sketch Book, a series of character sketches he dedicated to Sydney barrister George Robert Nichols,[3] for whom he was then working as an articled clerk in 1840.

Martin qualified as a solicitor in 1845, and combined his legal career with employment as a newspaper editor and publisher. He married Isabella Long on 20 January 1853 and together they produced 15 children.[2]

Early political career

In February 1848 Martin nominated as a candidate for a by-election for the electorate of Durham in the New South Wales Legislative Council, but withdrew before polling day. In the general election held later in the same year he was a candidate for the electorate of Counties of Cook and Westmoreland, which he won with a margin of 16%.[2] His election however was declared void on the grounds that he did not meet the property qualifications to stand,[4][5] however he was re-elected unopposed.[6] Martin subsequently sued the Speaker of the Legislative Council, Charles Nicholson and the Sergeant at Arms, William Christie, for trespass for having him removed when there had been no decision of the Electoral Court in accordance with the Electoral Act 1843.[7] The Full Court of the Supreme Court held that under the Electoral Act 1843 it was only the Electoral Court that could determine there was a vacancy and not the Governor.[8]

Martin was an effective legislator but his sharp tongue and intemperate speeches to the House made him few friends among his parliamentary colleagues. His most notable political achievement in his first eight years in office was to initiate the Parliamentary debate that led to the establishment of a branch of the royal mint in Sydney.

In 1856 the partly elected unicameral Legislative Council was abolished and replaced with a new parliament with elected members of the Legislative Assembly and appointed members of the Legislative Council. Martin was elected as one of two members for Cook and Westmoreland. When that electorate was largely replaced by the single member electorate of Hartley, Martin successfully stood for the new four member electorate of East Sydney. He was subsequently the member for Orange, Tumut, Monaro, Lachlan and East Macquarie.[2] In August 1856 he was made Attorney-General of New South Wales in the first ministry of Charles Cowper. The appointment was controversial, as Martin was the first holder of the office who had not been admitted as a barrister.[9] He had to resign his seat as a result of accepting the office, however he was re-elected unopposed.[10] The appointment was brief, as the government was defeated in a no-confidence motion in October 1856 and Martin returned to the backbench.

Martin was admitted to the bar in 1856 and was made a Queen's Counsel in 1857.[11] He returned as Attorney General in the second Cowper Ministry in September 1857, and was again re-elected unopposed.[12] As Attorney General however, his reputation for intemperate language continued and after a series of conflicts with fellow Ministers he resigned the office in November 1858.

Premier of New South Wales

In October 1863, Martin was asked by the Governor of New South Wales to form a government with a mandate to address rising State deficits and rural unemployment. As Premier and Colonial Secretary Martin promptly introduced measures to reduce immigration and increase tariffs, but was unable to secure Parliamentary support for many of his reforms. With limited achievements to its credit, the government suffered a substantial swing at the 1865 election and Martin stepped down to make way for the return of Charles Cowper.

Cowper was once again defeated in a no-confidence motion in December 1865, and in January 1866 Martin became Premier for the second time as leader of a coalition government with former rival Henry Parkes. His government resigned in October 1868, but he returned to the Premiership for a third and final time between December 1870 and May 1872.

After politics

Martin retired from Parliament in November 1873 and was immediately named to the vacant position of Chief Justice of New South Wales. He held the post for 13 years, despite considerable ill health in later life.

James Martin died at home in Potts Point, Sydney on 4 November 1886 and buried in St Judes churchyard in Randwick, NSW. in 1909 his remains were moved to a new underground vault in the impressive Waverley Cemetery.

Honours

Martin was made a Queen's Counsel in 1857 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1869.[2] Martin Place, a pedestrian mall in the central business district of Sydney was named after him in 1892. 'Lady Martin Beach' a small beach accessible to the public from Wolseley Road, Point Piper, New South Wales is named after his wife, Isabella who resided at nearby Woollahra House.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Mennell, Philip (1892). "Martin, His Honour the Hon. Sir James" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sir James Martin [1] (1820–1886)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  3. ^ Nairn, Bede. "Martin, Sir James (1820–1886)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Writ of election". New South Wales Government Gazette (89). 21 June 1849. p. 939. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Legislative Council: Mr James Martin". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 June 1849. p. 2. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
    "Legislative Council: message from the Governor:- Mr James Martin". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 June 1849. p. 2. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Cook and Westmoreland election". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 July 1849. p. 3. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "An Act to provide for the division of the Colony of New South Wales into Electoral Districts and for the Election of Members to serve in the Legislative Council.". Act No. 16 of 23 February 1843 (PDF). Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  8. ^ Martin v Nicholson (1850) 1 Legge 618 (PDF) Supreme Court (Full Court) (NSW), per Stephen CJ, Dickinson and Therry JJ.
  9. ^ "Law Officers of the Crown". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 September 1856. p. 4. Retrieved 30 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Representation of Cook and Westmoreland: return of Mr Martin". The Empire. 8 September 1856. p. 2. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "NSW silk appointments". NSW Bar Association. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Cook and Westmoreland election: re-election of Mr Martin". The Sydney Morning Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 22 September 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.

References

 

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Cowper
Premier of New South Wales
1863–1865
Succeeded by
Charles Cowper
Preceded by
Charles Cowper
Premier of New South Wales
1866–1868
Succeeded by
John Robertson
Preceded by
Charles Cowper
Premier of New South Wales
1870–1872
Succeeded by
Henry Parkes
New South Wales Legislative Council
Preceded by
John Panton
Member for Counties of
Cook & Westmoreland

1848–1856
Council replaced by
new Parliament
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
New assembly Member for Cook and Westmoreland
1856–1859
Served alongside: Jamison
District largely replaced
by Hartley
New district Member for East Sydney
1859–1860
Served alongside: Black, Cowper/Faucett, Parkes
Succeeded by
John Caldwell
Preceded by
John Peisley
Member for Orange
1862–1863
Succeeded by
Charles Cowper, Jr.
Preceded by
Charles Cowper, Jr.
Member for Tumut
1863–1864
Succeeded by
Charles Cowper, Jr.
Preceded by
Thomas Garrett
Member for Monaro
1864–1865
Succeeded by
William Grahame
Preceded by
John Ryan
Member for Lachlan
1864–1869
Succeeded by
James Watson
Preceded by
Robert Stewart
Member for East Sydney
1869–1872
Served alongside: Buchanan, King, Parkes/Wilson
Succeeded by
John MacIntosh
Preceded by
John Suttor
Member for East Macquarie
1872–1873
Succeeded by
Walter Cooper
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Alfred Stephen
Chief Justice of New South Wales
1873–1886
Succeeded by
Sir Julian Salomons