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Stephen, Sidney James (1821–1875)

from Argus (Melbourne)

We regret to announce the death of Mr Sidney James Stephen, registrar of the County Court, Melbourne, who expired at his residence, Murphy-street, South Yarra, early yesterday morning. Mr Stephen had been ailing for several months past from what appeared to be debility, but what he termed a general breaking-up of the system, though few who saw him regularly attending to his duties thought so despondingly of his state of health as he did when questioned on the subject. About two or three months ago he was away from his office ill, but he returned to it apparently improved in health. After the Christmas holidays he was, however, unable to recommence his duties, and about three or four days ago became so seriously ill that fears were entertained for his life, which proved to be well founded, as he died at the time stated. Mr S. J. Stephen was a native of Jamaica though he may almost be called an Australian as he was brought to Australia by his parents when quite an infant, and remained in it ever since. He was a nephew of Sir Alfred Stephen, the late chief justice of New South Wales, and his father was Mr. Sidney Stephen, a judge of New Zealand. In early life Mr S. J. Stephen was judge's associate to his father, and in virtue of being associate became entitled to rank as a solicitor. At the time of his death he was one of the oldest solicitors in Victoria, the date of his admission to the roll here being 4th September, 1851. He, however, never practised his profession, but was in the Government service, in various positions since September, 1846 and at the time of his death held the highest rank in his branch of the service, being clerk of the peace of the Melbourne General Sessions Court. At one time he was in the prothonotary's office, and for a number of years was clerk of courts at Geelong. In 1861 he was removed to Melbourne to be clerk of the General Sessions and County Court, and continued to hold that office up to the date of his death, his title of "clerk of the county court" having been altered to "registrar of the county court.'' In the positions which he occupied in Melbourne he became universally known to legal gentlemen of every degree, and was universally respected by them, as well as by the suitors of the court and all who had official dealings with him, for his urbanity, integrity, and attention to business. His long experience had rendered him familiar with all the phases of county court and sessions law and whenever he was applied to by members of the legal profession or by the public for information on doubtful modes of procedure he gave the required information with readiness and cheerfulness. Mr Stephen has left a wife and three very young children. There are several of his brothers living in these colonies, one of them being Mr Frank Stephen, solicitor, of Melbourne. He was also a relative of Sir George Stephen and His Honour Mr Justice Stephen. At the time of his death he was 53 years of age.

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Citation details

'Stephen, Sidney James (1821–1875)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/stephen-sidney-james-28375/text36018, accessed 17 October 2019.

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