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Sir Matthew Henry Stephen (1828–1920)

Sir Matthew Henry Stephen died, at his home, "Honiton," Bellevue Hill, on Thursday afternoon after a short illness. He was in his 92nd year. His illness was only of a few weeks' duration, and so serious did his condition become early this week that no one except Lady Stephen was allowed to see him. He retained his faculties until the end, and the only change in this direction induced by the illness was a marked increase of deafness. Besides Lady Stephen there is one daughter [Mrs. Villeneuve Smith), now in England. Sir Matthew Stephen was a Tasmanian, and was born in Hobart in 1828. He was the third son of the late Right Hon. Sir Alfred Stephen, a former Chief Justice of New South Wales, whose occupancy of the bench extended to a period of 32 years. He was a nephew of Mr. George Milner Stephen, once Acting Governor of South Australia. Sir Alfred’s father, Mr. Justice John Stephen, was a puisne judge of New South Wales. He died when the future judge (Sir Matthew Henry Stephen) was a child of five years old. His grandfather, his father, and brother were all members of the New South Wales judiciary.

Sir Matthew Henry Stephen was admitted to the bar in 1840 and he was the first barrister under the Australian law. He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1879, and in 1869-71 he was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He was appointed a Supreme Court judge in 1887 and was created a knight bachelor in 1904.

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Citation details

'Stephen, Sir Matthew Henry (1828–1920)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 December, 1828
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


1 April, 1920 (aged 91)
Bellevue Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

Cultural Heritage

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