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Former Member Details

Mr William LAWSON (1774 - 1860)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 02/06/1774
Place of Birth: Finchley, Middlesex, England
Date of Death: 16/06/1860
Place of Death: 'Veteran Hall' near Prospect, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 01 Jul 1843 20 Jun 1848 4 years 11 months 21 days An Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856 for the County of Cumberland
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Established Scots Church, Sydney in 1824 and Scots Church, Parramatta in 1838.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Explorer and pastoralist. Educated in London, trained as a surveyor and acquired agricultural interests. Journeyed to England in 1810 as a witness at Johnston's court martial. However, he returned to Sydney before the trial took place. In 1813 became part of the Lawson, Wentworth, Blaxland expedition as the first successful attempt to find a route across the Blue Mountains. His journal, with his accurate record of times and distances, enables the route to be precisely retraced. Governor Macquarie rewarded each explorer with a grant of 1000 acres on the west of the ranges. In 1819 he was appointed as commandant of the new settlement of Bathurst, occupying this post until retirment to 'Veteran's Hall' at Prospect. In the interim he held extensive pastoral interests and estates. Commissioned as a magistrate who entered freely into public life and on 10 October 1825 signed a letter approving trial by jury.
Military Service
In June 1799 purchased a Commission in the New South Wales Corps for 300 pounds. As an ensign he arrived in Sydney in November 1800 in the 'Royal Admiral' and was soon posted to the Garrison at Norfolk Island. Returned to Sydney in 1806, was promoted lieutenant and served for a time as commandant at Newcastle, a position he again occupied in 1809. Was appointed aide-de-camp to Major Johnston and received a grant of land of 500 acres at Prospect.
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Son of Scottish parents who had lived at Kirkpatrick. Married Sarah Leadbetter and had issue, 2 sons. Died on 14 July 1830 at age 47. Buried in the churchyardof St Bartholomew. His property at Prospect eventually passed into the hands of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, and is now largely covered by the Prospect reservoir.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2