Mr John Hubert PLUNKETT (1802 - 1869)**

  • Date of Birth: 01/06/1802
  • Place of Birth: Mount Plunkett, County Roscommon, Ireland
  • Date of Death: 09/05/1869
  • Place of Death: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Parliamentary Service

PositionStartEndPeriodNotes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council19 Apr 183621 Mar 18414yr(s) 11mth(s) 3day(s)
An Appointed Member of the first Legislative Council 1824 - 1843
Member of the NSW Legislative Council7 Aug 184329 Feb 185612yr(s) 6mth(s) 23day(s)
A Non-Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 – 1856
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly31 Mar 185610 Nov 18604yr(s) 7mth(s) 11day(s)
Member of the NSW Legislative Council28 Jan 18576 Feb 18581yr(s) 10day(s)
First (Quinquennial) Appointments under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 28 January 1857.
Member of the NSW Legislative Council1 Oct 18619 May 18697yr(s) 7mth(s) 9day(s)
Life Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 24 June 1861
Member for Bathurst (County)31 Mar 185629 May 18561mth(s) 29day(s)
1st (1856 - 1857)
Member for Argyle31 Mar 185627 Jan 18579mths 28days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Member for Cumberland (North Riding)13 Sep 185811 Apr 18596mth(s) 30day(s)
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Member for West Sydney14 Jun 185910 Nov 18601yr(s) 4mth(s) 28day(s)
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Vice President of the Executive Council16 Oct 18632 Feb 18651yr(s) 3mth(s) 18day(s)
Attorney General25 Aug 186521 Jan 18664mth(s) 28day(s)

Solicitor-General14 Jun 183216 Sep 18364yr(s) 3mth(s) 3day(s)
Acting Attorney-General19 Apr 183616 Sep 18364mth(s) 29day(s)
Attorney-General17 Sep 18365 Jun 185619yr(s) 8mth(s) 20day(s)
President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales29 Jan 18576 Feb 18581yr(s) 9day(s)
Vice-President of Executive Council and Representative of Government24 Oct 186521 Jan 18662mth(s) 29day(s)
Standing Order Committee No.33 Jun 185618 Mar 18579mths 16days
1st (1856 - 1857)
City Commissioners’ Department Committee No.712 Aug 185618 Mar 18577mths 7days
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)
Deepening the River Hunter Committee No.164 Nov 185618 Mar 18574mths 15days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Civil Service Superannuation Fund Committee No.1911 Nov 185618 Mar 18574mths 8days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Australian Mutual Provident Society’s Bill Committee No.2612 Dec 185618 Mar 18573mths 7days
1st (1856 - 1857)
Extension of Railway to Windsor Committee No.617 Dec 18589 Apr 18593mths 24days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Vacant Seat – Question of Privilege Committee No.93 Mar 18599 Apr 18591mth 7days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Chairman
Parliamentary Accommodation Committee No.1017 Mar 18599 Apr 185924days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Proposed Vote of Censure on the Attorney General Committee No.1125 Mar 18599 Apr 185916days
2nd (1858 - 1859)
Standing Orders Committee No.21 Sep 18594 Jul 186010mths 4days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.42 Sep 18594 Jul 186010mths 3days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
University of Sydney Committee No.513 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 22days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Sydney Grammar School Committee No.613 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 22days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Working of the Sydney Municipal Council Committee No.1220 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 15days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Case of James Hibburd Committee No.1623 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 12days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Condition of the Working Classes of the Metropolis Committee No.1930 Sep 18594 Jul 18609mths 5days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Seat claimed by James Hoskins, Esquire, Committee No.2313 Oct 18594 Jul 18608mths 22days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Petition of Alexander Berry, Esquire, Committee No.303 Feb 18604 Jul 18605mths 2days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Hawkesbury Benevolent Society’s Act Amendment Bill Committee No.3516 Feb 18604 Jul 18604mths 19days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Dean of St Andrew’s Sydney Committee No.3617 Feb 18604 Jul 18604mths 18days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Standing Orders Committee No.227 Sep 18609 Nov 18601mth 14days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.728 Sep 18609 Nov 18601mth 13days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Petition of Mr Alexander Berry Committee No.912 Oct 18609 Nov 186029days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Present System of Tendering for the Public Service Committee No.1116 Oct 18609 Nov 186025days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Colonial Bank of Australia Incorporation Bill Committee No.1319 Oct 18609 Nov 186022days
3rd (1859 - 1860)
Public Prisons in Sydney and Cumberland Committee No.1423 Oct 18609 Nov 186018days
3rd (1859 - 1860)

Qualifications, occupations and interests

Retired public servant. Educated at non-Catholic schools, then Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1823). Called to Irish Bar 1826, later to England Bar; prominent lawyer on Connaught circuit 1826-1832; active supporter and associate of Daniel O'Connell; Given post of Solicitor-General for New South Wales, through influence of his kinsman, Lord Fingall, and O'Connell; Arrived in Sydney in June Promoted to Attorney-General 1836, retaining position until 1856 when retired on pension. Member Executive Council 1843-1856. Chairman National Schools Board 1848-1858. Original member of the Senate, University of Sydney, 1850-1869; vice chancellor 1865-1867. Prominent in drafting and administration of 1836 Church Act; prosecuted Europeans with determination after Myall Creek massacre 1838; on select committee which drafted a new constitution of 1853. At odds with Roman Catholic authorities over National education system until 1860s, but leading Roman Catholic layman. A founder and treasurer of St Vincent's Hospital; founding fellow St John's College, University of Sydney, 1858; lay secretary of second Provincial Synod, Melbourne, 1869. In later years lived in Melbourne, commuting to Sydney. Author of The Australian Magistrate; a Guide to the Duties of a Justice of the Peace, 1835; The Magistrate's Pocket Book, 1859; On the Evidence of Accomplices, 1863.


Honours Received

Appointed as a Queen's Counsel in 1832


Personal

Son of George, farmer connected with Irish Catholic aristocracy, and Eileen O'Kelly. Married Maria Charlotte McDonougha in London, England c. 1831 and had no issue.


Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2 John N. Moloney, An Architect of Freedom: John Hubert PLunkett in New South Wales 1832 - 1869, 1973 Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995
John Hubert Plunkett was born in June 1802 in County Roscommon, Ireland. He married Maria McDonougha in 1831. They had no children. Champion of the Catholic emancipation movement, Plunkett was called to the Irish Bar in 1826, where he established a successful career as a barrister. Although appointed SolicitorGeneral of New South Wales in 1831 he did not take up the appointment until his arrival in the colony the following year. This marked the first appointment of a Catholic to a high civil office within the colony. By 1833 Plunkett was forced to relieve the deaf Attorney General, John Kinchela, of all court work and in 1836 he was officially appointed to succeed Kinchela. Plunkett led the way in colonial legal reform emphasising the importance of religions and civil equality. His zealous pursuit of equality led the British authorities to confer with Plunkett over the 1842 Act for better government of the colonies. Plunkett was an appointed Member of the old Legislative Council from 1836 until 1841. During that time he was instrumental in creating a draft for the Church Act of 1836 which established equality amongst Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians and later Methodists. He also played an influential role in drafting the Market Commissioners' Act of 1837 which later saw the creation of the first representative body in New South Wales. Plunkett was appointed a nominee member of the reconstituted Legislative Council from 1843 until responsible. government was granted in 1856. Although at that time he successfully contested two Legislative Assembly seats, he resigned as the Member for Bathurst (County) choosing instead to represent Argyle. He held that seat until 1857 when he entered the new upper house. From 1857 until 1858 Plunkett was President of the Legislative Council before returning to the Assembly as the Member for Cumberland in 1858 and Western Sydney in 1859. Although he held the view that the Presidency should be a ministerial office, it failed to become a political appointment and remained an office of the legislature. Plunkett died in Melbourne on 9 May 1869.