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Former Member Details

Mr Benjamin BACKHOUSE (1829 - 1904)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 01/01/1829
Place of Birth: Ipswich, Suffolk, England
Date of Death: 29/07/1904
Place of Death: Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 08 Aug 1895 29 Jul 1904 8 years 11 months 22 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act: Date of Writ of Summons 8 August 1895
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Architect; builder. Established his own business as a builder in Ipswich, England, after working with his father as a stone and marble mason. Emigrated to Victoria in 1853. Initially established a business as a mason, but soon became an architect and surveyor in Geelong. Secretary of the Geelong Society of Architects, Civil Engineers and Surveyors in 1855. In the same year, he became a partner in an architectural business and established a branch at Ballarat. Returned to England in 1860 to pursue business interests. Returned to Australia in 1861, and practised as an architect in Brisbane where he designed some of the key buildings. Moved to Sydney in 1868, opening a branch at Newcastle from 1870 until 1872 and then Bathurst. Secretary of the New South Wales Institute of Architects from 1871 to 1873. Retired in 1884. Also a sanitary reformer who was appointed to the Sydney Improvement Board in 1879. Subsequently became Chairman, Founder and Secretary of the New South Wales Sanitary Reform League from 1880 to 1881. Member of the Water and Sewerage Board in 1895.Christian Socialist and supporter of the Labor Party. Assisted to establish Pitt Town Labour Settlement becoming its Chairman from 1893 to 1895. However, did not become an official member of the Labor Party.
Military Service
Honours Received
Honorary Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1886.
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Alderman of Brisbane in the 1860's.
Son of Benjamin Backhouse, a stonemason and builder. Married (1) Lydia Warne, on 20 August 1849 and had issue, 4 daughters and 7 sons. Married (2) Emma Sanday in 1903. New Jerusalem Church faith (Swedenborgian).
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7. Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Benjamin Backhouse diaries, 1850-1874, 1903 (MLMSS 861).