Sir Charles [1] COWPER (1807 - 1875)**

  • Date of Birth: 26/04/1807
  • Place of Birth: Dryford, Lancashire, England
  • Date of Death: 19/10/1875
  • Place of Death: London, England

Parliamentary Service

PositionStartEndPeriodNotes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council1 Jul 184320 Jun 18484yr(s) 11mth(s) 20day(s)
An Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856 for the County of Cumberland
Member of the NSW Legislative Council1 Aug 18481 Feb 18501yr(s) 6mth(s) 1day(s)
An Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856 for the County of Cumberland
Member of the NSW Legislative Council1 Sep 185129 Feb 18564yr(s) 5mth(s) 29day(s)
An Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856 for the County of Durham
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly13 Mar 18567 Dec 187014yr(s) 8mth(s) 25day(s)
Member of the NSW Legislative Council9 Mar 186029 Nov 18608mth(s) 21day(s)
First (Quinquennial) Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 9 March 1860
Member for Sydney (City)13 Mar 185626 Aug 18565mth(s) 14day(s)
1st (1856 - 1857)
Member for Sydney (City)3 Sep 18567 Sep 18571yr(s) 5day(s)
1st (1856 - 1857)
Member for Sydney 15 Jan 185811 Apr 18591yr(s) 2mth(s) 28day(s)
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Member for East Sydney 9 Jun 185927 Oct 18594mth(s) 19day(s)
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Member for East Sydney 10 Nov 185917 Nov 18598day(s)
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Member for East Sydney 7 Dec 186010 Nov 18643yr(s) 11mth(s) 4day(s)
4th (1860 - 1864)
Member for East Sydney 22 Nov 18643 Feb 18652mth(s) 13day(s)
5th (1865 - 1869)
Member for East Sydney 17 Feb 186523 Feb 18672yr(s) 7day(s)
5th (1865 - 1869)
Member for Liverpool Plains23 Dec 186911 Jan 187020day(s)
6th (1870 - 1872)
Member for Liverpool Plains29 Jan 18707 Dec 187010mth(s) 9day(s)
6th (1870 - 1872)
Premier 26 Aug 18562 Oct 18561mth(s) 7day(s)
Premier 7 Sep 185726 Oct 18592yr(s) 1mth(s) 20day(s)
Colonial Secretary9 Mar 186015 Oct 18611yr(s) 7mth(s) 7day(s)
Colonial Secretary10 Jan 186115 Oct 18632yr(s) 9mth(s) 6day(s)
Premier 3 Feb 186521 Jan 186611mth(s) 19day(s)
Premier 13 Jan 187015 Dec 187011mth(s) 3day(s)
Colonial Secretary26 Aug 18562 Oct 18561mth(s) 7day(s)
Colonial Secretary7 Sep 185726 Oct 18592yr(s) 1mth(s) 20day(s)
Representative of Government in the Legislative Council9 Mar 186029 Nov 18608mth(s) 21day(s)
Premier10 Jan 186115 Oct 18632yr(s) 9mth(s) 6day(s)
Library Committee No.43 Jun 185618 Mar 18579mths 16days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Standing Order Committee No.33 Jun 185618 Mar 18579mths 16days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Church and School Lands Committee No.1119 Aug 185618 Mar 18576mths 28days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Additional Ministerial Department Committee No.1220 Aug 185618 Mar 18576mths 27days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Electric Telegraph Committee No.1431 Oct 185618 Mar 18574mths 16days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Civil Service Superannuation Fund Committee No.1911 Nov 185618 Mar 18574mths 8days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Liverpool and London Fire and Life Assurance Company’s Bill Committee No.2118 Nov 185618 Mar 18574mths 1day
1st (1856 - 1857)
Sole Commissioner of Railways Incorporation Bill Committee No.2219 Nov 185618 Mar 18573mths 28days
1st (1856 - 1857)
The Library Committee12 Aug 185718 Dec 18574mths 7days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Standing Order Committee12 Aug 185718 Dec 18574mths 7days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Reclaiming Land, Woolloomooloo Bay Committee25 Aug 185718 Dec 18573mths 24days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Secondary Punishment Committee No.827 Aug 185718 Dec 18573mths 22days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Burwood Tramroad Continuation Act Amendment Bill Committee No.143 Nov 185718 Dec 18571mth 16days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Pyrmont Bridge Company’s Bill Committee No.1513 Nov 185718 Dec 18571mth 6days
1st (1856 - 1857)
The Library Committee No.325 Mar 185826 Nov 18588mths 2days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Standing Orders Committee No.225 Mar 185826 Nov 18588mths 2days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Question of Privilege – Governor General’s Answer to Address on proposed dispatch of Artillery to Indi16 Apr 185826 Nov 18587mths 11days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Retrenchment in the Public Expenditure Committee No.1120 Apr 185826 Nov 18587mths 7days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Chairman
Pyrmont Bridge Company’s Bill Committee No.1918 May 185826 Nov 18586mths 9days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Australian Gas Light Company’s Bill Committee No.1818 May 185826 Nov 18586mths 9days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Murders by the Aborigines on the Dawson River Committee No.2215 Jun 185826 Nov 18585mths 12days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Standing Orders Committee No.210 Dec 18589 Apr 18594mths
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Library Committee No.310 Dec 18589 Apr 18594mths
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Parliamentary Accommodation Committee No.1017 Mar 18599 Apr 185924days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Standing Orders Committee No.21 Sep 18594 Jul 186010mths 4days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Library Committee No.31 Sep 18594 Jul 186010mths 4days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Retrenchment in the Public Expenditure Committee No.714 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 21days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Chairman, 21 September 1859
Secondary Punishment Committee No.814 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 21days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Chairman
Library Committee No.315 Jan 186111 May 18613mths 27days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Departure of the Governor General Committee No.415 Jan 186111 May 18613mths 27days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Chairman
Standing Orders Committee No.215 Jan 186111 May 18613mths 27days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Public Prisons in Sydney and Cumberland Committee No.823 Jan 186111 May 18613mths 19days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Claims of the Reverend W.B Clarke Committee No.2612 Mar 186111 May 18611mth 30days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Mr Francis Flanagan Committee No.2110 Dec 186120 Jan 18621mth 11days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Commercial Banking Company’s Act Amendment Bill No.1411 Aug 186314 Aug 18634days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Claims of Tenants of the Crown Committee No.3515 Mar 186420 Apr 18641mth 6days
4th (1860 - 1864)
Reserve, Lavender Bay Committee No.631 Jul 186623 Oct 18662mths 23days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Church of England Property Management Bill Committee No.816 Aug 186630 Aug 186615days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Chairman
Railway from Echuca to Deniliquin Committee No.1021 Sep 186620 Dec 18662mths 30days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Lawson’s Trust Bill Committee No.1325 Sep 186613 Dec 18662mths 19days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Proposed Electoral Alterations Committee No.1225 Sep 186613 Dec 18662mths 19days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Exchange of Land Scots Church Sydney Legalizing Bill Committee No.1510 Oct 186631 Oct 186622days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Chairman
Bishopric of Goulburn Lands Investment Bill Committee No.1611 Oct 186617 Oct 18667days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Chairman
Alleged Irregularity in Registration of a Deed Committee No.1731 Oct 18668 Nov 18669days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Shoalhaven Municipality Committee No.2227 Nov 186621 Dec 186625days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Chairman
Sydney Common Improvement Bill Committee No.236 Dec 186613 Dec 18668days
5th (1865 - 1869)
Standing Orders Committee No.32 Feb 187022 Feb 187021days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Refreshment Room Committee No.42 Feb 18707 May 18703mths 6days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Immigration Committee No.1022 Feb 187013 Apr 18701mth 23days
6th (1870 - 1872)
George Swinnerton Yarnton Committee No.131 Mar 187023 Mar 187023days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Sydney Infirmary Committee No.141 Mar 187022 Apr 18701mth 22days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Mrs Mary Fogg Committee No.1822 Mar 187029 Apr 18701mth 8days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Sale of Liquors Licensing Act Amendment Bill Committee No.211 Apr 18703 May 18701mth 3days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Water Supply – Sydney and Suburbs Committee No.238 Apr 18703 May 187026days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Standing Orders Committee No.312 Aug 187022 Mar 18717mths 11days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Standing Orders Committee No.312 Aug 187022 Mar 18717mths 11days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Refreshment Room Committee No.412 Aug 187022 Jun 187110mths 11days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Library Committee No.212 Aug 187022 Jun 187110mths 11days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Petition of Hugh Maguire Committee No.618 Aug 18707 Oct 18701mth 20days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Government Printing Office Committee No.913 Sep 18704 May 18717mths 22days
6th (1870 - 1872)
Colonial Secretary13 Jan 187015 Dec 187011mth(s) 3day(s)


Community Activity

Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace. Chairman of the New South Wales Association for Preventing the Revival of Transportation in 1850. President of the Australasian League for the Abolition of Transportation in 1851.


Qualifications, occupations and interests

Pastoralist. Educated privately. Joined the Commissariat Department at 17. Between the ages of 19 and 26, he was the Secretary of the Church and School Lands Corporation. Acquired extensive areas of land by grant or purchase from 1827 and was a pastoralist from 1833. Was a large rural freeholder in County Argyle and owned town allotment in Goulburn. In 1857, as a tenant of the Crown, he held 19,720 acres in County Argyle (settled districts) and 47,000 acres in County Lachlan (unsettled districts). By 1859, he had sold his squatting interests in unsettled districts. Was first Chairman of the Sydney Tramway and Railway Company and its manager in 1849 - 1853. Was in financial difficulties in the 1860s and joined R. Towns & Company in 1867, investing heavily and unsuccessfully in Queensland pastoral property. (Robert Towns was a member of the Legislative Council from 1856 - 1861 and 1863 - 1873, much the same period that Cowper was a Member of the Legislative Assembly). Agent-General for New South Wales in London, 1871 - 1875.


Honours Received

Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1869. Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1871.


Personal

Son of William Cowper, clergyman, and his wife Hannah Horner. Arrived in Sydney with his parents when his father was appointed assistant chaplain of the colony in 1809. Married Eliza Sutton, daughter of Daniel Sutton of Wivenhoe, Essex, England in 1831 and they had 2 sons (one of whom, Charles Cowper junior (1834 - 1911) was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly) and 4 daughters. Church of England.


Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3 Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: 1. Sir Charles Cowper - correspondence, ca.1850 - 1874 (A676, A677, A678); photographs in the PICMAN Database. 2. Cowper family - papers, 1831 - 1892 (MLMSS786). The silver salver presented to Cowper by the shareholders of the Sydney Railway Company in 1855 was presented to the Parliament of New South Wales by Sir Norman Cowper, Sir Charles Cowper's great-grandson, on 30 July 1985. The matching candelabrum was purchased by the Powerhouse Museum in 2003 (registration number 2003/195/1). David Clune and Ken Turner (Editors), The Premiers of New South Wales: Volume 1 - 1856 - 1901, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2006 [Chapter 2: "Cowper, Charles", by Allan Powell, p. 35]