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Former Member Details

Mr Alexander BERRY (1781 - 1873)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 30/11/1781
Place of Birth: Fife, Scotland
Date of Death: 17/09/1873
Place of Death: Crow's Nest, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 12 Apr 1828 05 Jan 1843 14 years 8 months 25 days An Appointed Member of the first Legislative Council 1824 - 1843.
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 17 Jul 1843 29 Feb 1856 12 years 7 months 13 days A Non-Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 - 1856
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 22 May 1856 10 May 1861 4 years 11 months 19 days First (Quinquennial) Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 13 May 1856.
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1822. Berry was a member of the Philosophical Society in 1821. He was also a councillor on the Australian Philosophical Society, established in 1850.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Medical practitioner (surgeon); businessman. Educated at Cupar Grammar School and studied medicine at the St Andrews University and Edinburgh University. After qualifying in medicine, he joined ships trading with India and China as a surgeon's mate but soon decided to pursue the commercial side of shipping. In 1806 chartered and later bought a ship in partnership with Francis Short, speculating in goods. From 1808 made several voyages to New South Wales with cargos of goods. Travelled to South America and returned to London in 1812, after losing his ship. In 1819 returned to Sydney establishing a mercantile business in partnership with Edward Wollstonecraft. In 1822, Berry and Wollstonecraft applied for a grant of 10,000 acres on the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales. In 1823 they exported coal to Rio de Janiero. Closed their mercantile business in 1828. In 1830 a grant of land of 10, 000 acres applied for on the Shoalhaven in 1822 was approved. Between 1830 and 1840 he purchased an additional 22,000 acres which produced maize, tobacco, wheat, barley, potatoes, pigs and cattle. Wollstonecraft died in 1832 and from 1836, Berry rarely visited the Shoalhaven estate, leaving its management to his brother David. In the 1850's Berry began to let farms on the estate on clearing leases. By 1863 the estate comprised 40,000 acres. Interests included aboriginal culture and geology.
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Personal
Son of James Berrie and Isabel Todd. Married Elizabeth Wollstoncraft, sister of his business partner, Edward Wollstonecraft, on 21 September 1827 and had no issue. Church of England.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1 Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: 1. Berry family - papers of the Berry, Wollonstonecraft and Hay families, 1741 - 1941 (MLMSS 315) 2. David Berry papers, 1808 - 1946, including papers of Alexander and John Berry, and of the trustees of the estates of David Berry and Sir John Hay (A5373) 3. David Berry - papers of the trustees of the Berry and Hay Estates, 1875-1951 (A5374). 4. Berry and Hay Estates - records, 1884-1950 (MLMSS 676); photographs in the PICMAN Database. Ian Macdonald, 'Unsung Hero - Alexander Berry 1781 - 1873', 2004 A biography is on the 'Electric Scotland' Website: http://www.electricscotland.com/history/australia/berry_alexander.htm