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Roberts, William (1822–1900)

Mr. William Roberts, who died on Sunday at Bowral, at the age of 79 years, was one of the best known, and, at the same time, one of the oldest solicitors in Sydney, and, in fact, with the single exception of Mr A. H. McCulloch, he was the senior solicitor on the rolls. Born in Sydney, he was educated at Cape's School, amongst his contemporaries there being Sir James Martin and the Right Hon. W. B. Dalley. He was admitted to the legal profession in November, 1845, nearly 55 years ago, and he remained actively in harness up to almost the time of his death, which occurred as the result of an attack of apoplexy. Mr. Roberts was known as a most successful criminal lawyer, and his practice was probably one of the largest in Sydney, amongst the cases with which his name was identified being the trial of Frank Gardiner, the bushranger. He also appeared at the trial of Bertrand, the North Shore murderer. In the first Legislative Assembly elected under the Electoral Act of 1858 he was returned as member for Goulburn, and he hold the seat for many years.

Mr. Roberts leaves a widow, one daughter, and four sons. The sons are Messrs. George Roberts, Horace Roberts (police magistrate at Murwillumbah), Arthur Roberts (Central Police Court), and Percy Roberts (paymaster's branch, Department of Railways).

At the Parramatta Police Court yesterday, before the ordinary business commenced, Mr. H. A. Richardson referred to the death of Mr. Roberts, The well-known solicitor, who might, he said, be called the father of the profession in New South Wales. He referred in the highest terms to the ability and high character of the deceased gentleman. Mr. MacNiven, chairman of the Bench, said he had known Mr. Roberts for many years, and recognised the fact that he belonged to a school now fast dying out, but to which all the best traditions of the profession belonged. Inspector Latimer added that he had personally known Mr. Roberts for over 20 years, and realised that he was a man whose like they would not see again.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Goulburn Herald (NSW), 6 July 1900, p 3

Citation details

'Roberts, William (1822–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/roberts-william-28337/text36003, accessed 26 August 2019.

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