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Biographical entry Windeyer, Richard (1806 - 1847)

10 August 1806
London, England
2 December 1847
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Barrister, Journalist and Agriculturalist


Richard Windeyer was a prominent figure in New South Wales during the mid 1800s. Prior to arriving in Australia, he worked as journalist on the Morning Chronicle, the Sun, the Mirror of Parliament and the Australian. Once in Sydney however, he turned his attentions to the law, politics and farming. Windeyer set up a very successful legal practice in Sydney and worked on many high-profile cases. He was such a passionate barrister that he and the opposing council almost came to blows during one trial. This resulted in both men spending Christmas of 1846 in Darlinghurst goal for contempt of court. In 1842 Richard Windeyer was elected to the Legislative Council where he was responsible for many new policies and bills: the monetary confidence bill, a jury reform bill which replaced trial by assessors with trial by jury, and the 'Mr Windeyer's Libel Act' of 1847. He also debated the tariff bill of 1843 and the national school system bill (1844), and helped open trade markets between New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and the United Kingdom. In the Hunter valley region, Windeyer established a vineyard, sugar-cane and wheat farm where he also ran cattle, horses and pigs. He spent vast sums of money importing new farming equipment, methods and techniques from Europe and Great Britain to establish one of the most mechanised farms of the time. Windeyer was also president of the local agricultural society and a member of the Aboriginal Protection Society, Sydney Mechanic's School of the Arts and the Australian School Society.



1829 - c. 1834
Education - Student in the Middle Temple, UK
Career position - Called to the Bar
1834 - 1835
Career position - London correspondent for the Australian newspaper
1835 -
Career position - Private legal practice established in Sydney
28 November 1835
Life event - Migrated to Australia (Sydney)
Career position - Purchased land in the Hunter valley to establish a homestead, vineyard and mixed farm
1843 -
Career position - Member for Durham County in the Legislative Council
Career position - Introduced a bill to amend jury laws in New South Wales to allow trial by jury
Career position - Charged with contempt of court and sent to Darlinghurst goal

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Windeyer Family Records, 1829 - 1849, MSS 186; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Published resources

Book Sections


McCarthy, G.J.