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Windeyer, Charles (1780–1855)

Charles Windeyer, by Charles Rodius, 1847

Charles Windeyer, by Charles Rodius, 1847

National Gallery of Australia, NGA 87.1628 NGA IRN: 69458

Amongst those whom death has stricken within the last few days it is our painful duty to record the death of Mr. Charles Windeyer. Nearly attaining his seventy-fifth year, and in better health and spirits than his immediate relatives and friends had observed for some months previously, Mr. Windeyer sank under the oppressive heat of the last few days, and died in his residence at Newtown on Wednesday last. Mr. Windeyer, in early life, made the law his study and, without entering at one of the Inns of Court he was engaged by several of the leading law journals of London as their accredited reporter. Whilst engaged upon the Law Chronicle, and taking notes in the reporters' gallery in the House of Lords, Mr. Windeyer accidentally dropped his notes from his desk upon the floor of the House. Lord Eldon, then Chancellor was, at the moment, proceeding towards the bar to receive a deputation from the Commons, and perceiving Mr. Windeyer's perplexity, he picked up the notes which strewed the floor of the passage, and returned them to him. Lord Eldon, we must observe had been one of the most vehement opponents of the rules which tacitly allowed the reporting and publication of parliamentary proceedings. In 1828, Mr. Windeyer arrived in this colony, and for some time acted as Clerk of Petty Sessions for the Police District of Sydney. He was shortly afterwards appointed Second Police Magistrate of Sydney. This was, in fact, appointing him to the first seat on that bench, seeing that from glaring irregularities (to use no mild term), Colonel Wilson was compelled to vacate his seat as first police magistrate. As a justice of the peace, administering justice in his summary jurisdiction, the memory of Charles Windeyer will be reverently treasured. The suitors in his court - the most impracticable suitors that one be well imagined - left the bar, whether acquitted, or fined, or imprisoned, or committed - quite assured that justice had been done.

And in those very many cases which do not appear before the public, and in the arrangement of which the tact and kind offices of the magistrate are evoked, how many family discords have been appeased by Charles Windeyer? We believe that it was about six years ago, the local government reluctantly accepted his resignation of his office; which was followed by a vote in the Legislative Council, recommending for him a superannuation allowance, and adverting in the highest terms to his long and useful career - The distinguished career of Mr. Windeyer's son Richard, must not be forgotten in this brief and necessarily imperfect memoir of the father. Foremost in the ranks of progress, when the first Representative Council of the colony of New South Wales assembled, stood Richard Windeyer. Threatening, indeed, were our financial difficulties in 1844, but they were boldly and, on the whole, successfully met. The report of the "Monetary Confusion Committee" will long be a text book with our financiers, however they may disagree with some of the axioms laid down by the learned chairman, to whose memory many earnest and eloquent tributes have been paid by his successors.

Original publication

Citation details

'Windeyer, Charles (1780–1855)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/windeyer-charles-1057/text1058, accessed 21 November 2017.

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