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Member Details

Mr Richard Denis MEAGHER (1866 - 1931)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 11/01/1866
Place of Birth: Bathurst, New South Wales , Australia
Date of Death: 17/09/1931
Place of Death: Lewisham, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 24 Jul 1895 21 Feb 1917 21 yrs 6 mths 29 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 17 Jul 1917 23 Feb 1920 2 yrs 7 mths 7 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 6 May 1917. Granted retention of title of 'Honourable' for life.
Member for Sydney-Phillip 24 Jul 1895 08 Oct 1895 2 mths 15 days
Member for Tweed 27 Jul 1898 11 Jun 1901 2 yrs 10 mths 16 days
Member for Tweed 03 Jul 1901 16 Jul 1904 3 yrs 14 days
Member for Phillip 10 Sep 1907 14 Sep 1910 3 yrs 5 days
Member for Phillip 14 Oct 1910 06 Nov 1913 3 yrs 24 days
Member for Phillip 06 Dec 1913 21 Feb 1917 3 yrs 2 mths 16 days
Chairman of Committees 01 Dec 1910 06 Nov 1913 2 yrs 11 mths 7 days
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly 23 Dec 1913 16 Apr 1917 3 yrs 3 mths 25 days
Refreshment Committee No.6 02 Aug 1899 10 Oct 1899 2 mths 9 days
Lismore Municipal Boundaries Bill Committee No.12 19 Oct 1899 24 Oct 1899 6 days
Mine at Brindebella, owned by the Bank of North Queensland Committee No. 21 21 Nov 1899 30 Nov 1899 10 days
Case of William Creswell Committee No.18 07 Nov 1899 21 Dec 1899 1 mth 15 days
Stanford Coal-mine Railway Bill Committee No.14 25 Oct 1899 23 Dec 1899 1 mth 29 days
Brodie’s Enabling Bill Committee No.19 04 Sep 1900 11 Sep 1900 8 days
Claim of Mr. J. L. Davidson, Paddington Committee No. 12 03 Jul 1900 13 Sep 1900 2 mths 11 days
Claim by Messrs Maddison and Ewing Contractors Committee No.15 02 Aug 1900 27 Sep 1900 1 mth 26 days
Accident to Albert Burbank on Railway Premises, Tamworth Committee No. 11 03 Jul 1900 25 Oct 1900 3 mths 23 days
Administration of the Military Department Committee No.14 26 Jul 1900 01 Nov 1900 3 mths 7 days
Case of William Reid Committee No.18 28 Aug 1900 20 Nov 1900 2 mths 24 days
Working of the Free Public Library Committee No.16 16 Aug 1900 28 Nov 1900 3 mths 13 days
Dismissal of Mrs. Abraham, Shaftesbury Girls Asylum Committee No. 8 03 Jul 1900 01 Dec 1900 4 mths 29 days
Refreshment Committee No.3 20 Jun 1900 05 Dec 1900 5 mths 16 days
Tied Houses Committee No.8 22 Aug 1901 18 Sep 1901 28 days
Claims of Contractors, Mosman and Middle Harbour Sewerage Committee No.11 11 Sep 1901 23 Oct 1901 1 mth 13 days
Wagga Wagga Cattle driving Bill Committee No.13 22 Oct 1901 17 Dec 1901 1 mth 26 days
Claims of Robert Roberts, late bookbinder in the Registrar-General’s Office Committee No.14 20 Nov 1901 19 Dec 1901 1 mth
Standing Orders Committee No.5 08 Aug 1901 20 Dec 1901 4 mths 13 days
Lease of the Kensington Racecourse Committee No.7 17 Jun 1902 31 Jul 1902 1 mth 15 days
Commonwealth Portland Cement Company Railway Bill Committee No.14 26 Aug 1902 24 Sep 1902 30 days
Claim of Robert Roberts, late bookbinder in the Registrar General’s Office Committee No.12 19 Aug 1902 14 Nov 1902 2 mths 27 days
Claim of William Richard Gainford against the Department of Navigation Committee No.11 22 Jul 1902 19 Dec 1902 4 mths 28 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 17 Jun 1902 20 Dec 1902 6 mths 4 days
System of Municipal Government for Greater Sydney Committee No.9 20 Jun 1902 20 Dec 1902 6 mths 1 day
Use of Preservative and Colouring Matters in Food Committee No.11 20 Aug 1903 25 Nov 1903 3 mths 6 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 01 Jul 1903 01 Dec 1903 5 mths 1 day
Prevalence of the Gambling Evil Committee No.10 20 Aug 1903 01 Dec 1903 3 mths 12 days
The Coupon System Committee No.9 29 Sep 1908 17 Dec 1908 2 mths 19 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.2 24 Nov 1910 23 Dec 1910 1 mth
Warwick Farm Railway Act Extension Bill Committee No.7 31 May 1911 14 Jun 1911 15 days
Retirement of Mr James McKay from the Railway Department Committee No.9 15 Jun 1911 01 Aug 1911 1 mth 18 days
Claims of Samuel Alfred Hutchinson Committee No.14 05 Jul 1911 01 Aug 1911 28 days
Claims of Madame Bell against the Education Department Commitment No.10 27 Jun 1911 01 Aug 1911 1 mth 6 days
Conduct of the Rabbit Industry in New South Wales Committee No.13 04 Jul 1911 01 Aug 1911 29 days
Claims of Samuel Alfred Hutchinson Committee No.12 10 Oct 1911 18 Oct 1911 9 days
Conduct of the Rabbit Industry in New South Wales Committee No.10 04 Oct 1911 18 Oct 1911 15 days
Retirement of James McKay from the Railway Department Committee No.11 04 Oct 1911 18 Oct 1911 15 days
Claims of Madame Bell against the Education Department Commitment No.8 04 Oct 1911 27 Mar 1912 5 mths 24 days
Totalisator Bill Committee No.19 31 Oct 1911 28 Mar 1912 4 mths 28 days
Australian Gaslight Company’s Bill Committee No.23 21 Mar 1912 28 Mar 1912 8 days
System of Discrimination in Freight Charges on the Railways Committee No.21 14 Nov 1911 28 Mar 1912 4 mths 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 12 Sep 1911 28 Mar 1912 6 mths 17 days
The Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 23 Jul 1912 23 Jul 1912 1 day
Claims of Samuel Alfred Hutchinson Committee No.10 08 Oct 1912 06 Nov 1912 30 days
Application of Mr Charles Lancelot Garland for Special Gold Leases Committee No.12 15 Oct 1912 04 Dec 1912 1 mth 20 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 07 Aug 1912 05 Dec 1912 3 mths 29 days
Parliamentary Accommodation Committee No.14 08 Nov 1912 05 Dec 1912 28 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 06 Aug 1913 15 Oct 1913 2 mths 10 days
Library Committee No. 3 11 Mar 1914 18 Apr 1914 1 mth 8 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 11 Mar 1914 18 Apr 1914 1 mth 8 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 22 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 mths 2 days
Library Committee No. 3 22 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 mths 2 days
Refreshment Committee No. 5 22 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 mths 2 days
Library Committee No. 6 02 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 mths 12 days
The King's Message Committee No. 10 10 Aug 1915 13 Apr 1916 8 mths 4 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 3 02 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 mths 12 days
Refreshment Committee No. 4 02 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 mths 12 days
Library Committee No. 5 28 Jul 1916 21 Dec 1916 4 mths 24 days
Refreshment Committee No. 6 21 Jul 1916 21 Dec 1916 5 mths 1 day
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 28 Jul 1916 21 Dec 1916 4 mths 24 days
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Darlinghurst Literary and Debating Society.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Lawyer (solicitor). Educated at St Stanislaus College at Bathurst and St Aloysius College at Sydney and University of Sydney. Articled to J.A.B Cahill in 1883. Assigned to W.P Crick in 1887; Admitted as a solicitor in 1889; in partnership with Crick from 1892; became a land agent and was readmitted to practise as a solicitor after being struck off. Trustee of Public Library of New South Wales from 1916 until 1931; Director of Prince Alfred Hospital from 1916 until 1918; Member of Metropolitan Water Board from 1906 until 1910; active in charitable and war work. Assistant Secretary to the Paddington Protection League and delegate to National Protection Convention in Sydney, 1897. Member of Universal Service League 1915. Visited United States of America in 1924.
Military Service
Honours Received
Knight Commander of St Gregory (Papal Knight).
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Alderman of the Sydney City Council for Phillip Ward, 14 October 1901 - 1 December 1918; and for Flinders Ward 2 December 1918 - 30 November 1921. Member of the Parliamentary and By-Laws Committee 1903; the Health and By-Laws Committee 1902, 1904 - 1905, 1907 - 1912 and 1919 - 1921; the Electric Lighting Committee 1902, 1905 - 1906, 1909 - 1915 and 1918 - 1920; the Staff and Labour Committee 1902 - 1903; the Finance Committee 1902 - 1903, 1903 - 1912 and 1914 - 1915; the Works Committee 1902, 1904 - 1912 and 1919 - 1921; the Fruit and Vegetable Markets Committee 1907; the Street Signs Committee 1908; the Queen Victoria Market Building Committee 1910 - 1911; and the Electricity Supply Committee 1921. Lord Mayor 1916 - 1917 (first Labor Lord Mayor).
Personal
Son of Denis Meagher, police constable and Irish immigrant, and Jane Keleher. Married Alice Maud Osmonde on 26 January 1891. Roman Catholic.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), Volume 10 Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995 Richard Meagher was born on 11 January 1866 at Bathurst in New South Wales. He married Alice Osmond on 28 January 1891; they had no children. Elected to the Legislative Assembly as the Member for Sydney-Phillip in July 1895, he resigned in October when he was charged with conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice for the manner in which he handled the murder trial of George Dean. His conviction was quashed but he was struck off the Roll of Solicitors in 1896. In the 1898 General Elections he stood for and won the seat of the Tweed, holding it until it was abolished in 1904. He then became the Member for Phillip between 1907 until his defeat in 1917. He was Chairman of Committees between 1910 and 1913 and was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 1913. He took an avid interest in the local community, fulfilling his civic duties as an alderman on the Sydney City Council between 1901 and 1920. In 1916 he became the first Labor Lord Mayor of Sydney. As an alderman, Meagher campaigned for the demolition of the inner city slum areas and was responsible for the construction of better housing for workers. An academically accomplished man, Meagher possessed a flamboyant manner of speaking, using classical references to colour his speech. Considered an authority on procedural traditions and the Standing Orders, his decisions were regarded highly and later Speakers quoted from them frequently. He was appointed a Member of the Legislative Council in 1917, but resigned in 1920 to contest Sydney at the General Election. He lost but polled well. After being re-admitted as a solicitor by a special Act of Parliament in 1920 he established the law firm of Meagher, Sproule and Co. He died on 17 September 1931 at Lewisham, Sydney.