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Member Details

Mr William MCCOURT (1851 - 1913)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 01/03/1851
Place of Birth: County Monaghan, Ireland
Date of Death: 22/06/1913
Place of Death: Berrima, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 02 Dec 1882 22 Jun 1913 30 yrs 6 mths 21 days
Member for Camden 02 Dec 1882 07 Oct 1885 2 yrs 10 mths 6 days
Member for Camden 11 Feb 1887 19 Jan 1889 1 yr 11 mths 9 days
Member for Camden 09 Feb 1889 06 Jun 1891 2 yrs 3 mths 29 days
Member for Camden 20 Jun 1891 25 Jun 1894 3 yrs 6 days
Member for Bowral 17 Jul 1894 04 Feb 1895 6 mths 19 days
Member for Bowral 13 Feb 1895 05 Jul 1895 4 mths 23 days
Member for Bowral 19 Jul 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 yrs 11 mths 20 days
Member for Bowral 27 Jul 1898 11 Jun 1901 2 yrs 10 mths 16 days
Member for Bowral 22 Jun 1901 16 Jul 1904 3 yrs 25 days
Member for Wollondilly 06 Aug 1904 19 Aug 1907 3 yrs 14 days
Member for Wollondilly 10 Sep 1907 14 Sep 1910 3 yrs 5 days
Member for Wollondilly 14 Oct 1910 22 Jun 1913 2 yrs 8 mths 9 days
Chairman of Committees 03 Aug 1894 23 Dec 1899 5 yrs 4 mths 21 days
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly 13 Jun 1900 14 Nov 1910 10 yrs 5 mths 2 days
Kiama Tramway Bill Committee No.5 23 Jan 1883 23 Feb 1883 1 mth 1 day
Appraisements of Town Lots of Temora Committee No.13 25 Oct 1883 02 Apr 1884 5 mths 9 days
Victorian Coal Mining Company’s Bill Committee No.38 26 Feb 1884 25 Apr 1884 2 mths
Victorian Coal-mining Company’s Bill (No2) Committee No.45 30 Apr 1884 10 Jun 1884 1 mth 12 days
Claims of Immigrants by ship “Northampton” Committee No.7 16 Oct 1883 01 Nov 1884 1 yr 17 days
Mittagong Coal Mining Company’s Railway Act Amendment Bill Committee No.23 18 May 1887 08 Jun 1887 22 days
Grafton School of Arts Trustees Enabling Bill Committee No.31 25 Nov 1887 14 Dec 1887 20 days
Toronto Tramway Bill Committee No.7 04 Apr 1889 11 Apr 1889 8 days
Illawarra Harbour and Land Corporation Bill Committee No.9 11 Apr 1889 05 Jun 1889 1 mth 26 days
Selections by John Harrison, of Lismore Committee No.25 19 Jul 1889 23 Jul 1889 5 days
Illawarra Harbour and Land Corporation Bill Committee No.6 03 Dec 1889 17 Dec 1889 15 days
St Leonard’s School of Arts Enabling Bill Committee No.10 01 May 1890 06 May 1890 6 days
Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act Amending Bill Committee No.13 13 May 1890 20 May 1890 8 days
Borough of Willoughby Naming Bill Committee No.24 17 Jul 1890 22 Jul 1890 6 days
Wagga Wagga Cattle Sale yards Bill Committee No.19 24 Jun 1890 14 Aug 1890 1 mth 22 days
Calaghan’s Conditional Purchases, Braidwood and Queanbeyan Committee No.32 09 Sep 1890 30 Oct 1890 1 mth 22 days
Forfeiture of Henry Crowe’s Conditional Purchase, county of Harden Committee No.39 04 Nov 1890 12 Dec 1890 1 mth 9 days
Forfeited Selection of J.J Ray Committee No.44 02 Dec 1890 20 Dec 1890 19 days
Conditional Purchase made by Maurice Bush, District Urana Committee No.46 16 Dec 1890 20 Dec 1890 5 days
Broken Hill Water Works Bill Committee No.33 16 Sep 1890 20 Dec 1890 3 mths 5 days
The Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 19 May 1891 19 May 1891 1 day
Forfeiture of J.J Ray’s selection in the Land District of Wagga Wagga Committee No.22 29 Sep 1891 09 Dec 1891 2 mths 11 days
Watkins Wallis Trust Estate Bill Committee No.26 15 Dec 1891 22 Dec 1891 8 days
Broken Hill Water Supply Act Amendment Bill Committee No.32 01 Feb 1892 17 Feb 1892 17 days
Conditional purchase by Zachary Benn, Richmond River District Committee No.34 01 Feb 1892 22 Feb 1892 22 days
Vice Suppression Bill Committee No.11 25 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 11 mths 24 days
Refreshment Committee No.7 05 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 14 days
Hillgrove and Armidale Water-power Electric Bill Committee No.4 05 Oct 1892 01 Nov 1892 28 days
Simpson’s Railway Bill Committee No.12 16 Nov 1892 21 Dec 1892 1 mth 6 days
Calaghan’s Conditional Purchases, Braidwood and Queanbeyan Committee No.22 01 Mar 1893 02 Mar 1893 2 days
Menindie Irrigation Bill Committee No.21 23 Feb 1893 22 Mar 1893 1 mth
Oxford street Improvement Bill Committee No.13 16 Nov 1892 13 Jun 1893 6 mths 29 days
Claim of James Guihen, of Broger’s Creek Committee No.28 07 Jun 1893 13 Jun 1893 7 days
Application of Mr J.F Connelly to Mine in the Parish of Currajong Committee No.12 28 Nov 1893 08 Dec 1893 11 days
Corowa School of Arts Enabling Bill Committee No.9 24 Oct 1893 08 Dec 1893 1 mth 15 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 27 Sep 1893 08 Dec 1893 2 mths 12 days
Oxford street Improvement Bill Committee No.8 25 Jan 1894 13 Feb 1894 20 days
Homestead Protection Bill Committee No.12 03 Apr 1894 18 Apr 1894 16 days
Working of Collieries Committee No.11 13 Mar 1894 19 Apr 1894 1 mth 7 days Chairman
Application of Mr J.F Connelly to Mine in the Parish of Currajong Committee No.10 13 Mar 1894 01 May 1894 1 mth 19 days
Case of Staff Sergeant W.Jiffkins Committee No.13 24 Apr 1891 09 May 1894 3 yrs 16 days
Children’s Protection Act Amendment Bill Committee No.9 20 Feb 1894 05 Jun 1894 3 mths 17 days
Bankruptcy Act Amendment Bill Committee No.7 25 Jan 1894 05 Jun 1894 4 mths 12 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 23 Jan 1894 11 Jun 1894 4 mths 20 days
The Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 28 Aug 1894 28 Aug 1894 1 day
Selection made by James Connolly, at Tamworth. Committee No 6 04 Sep 1894 04 Feb 1895 5 mths 1 day
Refreshment Committee No. 4 29 Aug 1894 04 Feb 1895 5 mths 7 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 14 May 1896 16 Nov 1896 6 mths 3 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 28 Apr 1897 18 Aug 1897 3 mths 22 days
Refreshment. Committee No. 4 20 Aug 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 yrs 10 mths 19 days
Standing Orders. Committee No. 2 20 Aug 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 yrs 10 mths 19 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 2 28 Jun 1898 08 Jul 1898 11 days
Holt’s Wingello Estate Bill. Committee No. 6 12 Sep 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 yrs 9 mths 27 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 3 25 Aug 1898 23 Dec 1898 3 mths 29 days
Standing Orders Committee No.1 21 Feb 1899 30 Mar 1899 1 mth 10 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 13 Apr 1899 21 Apr 1899 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 08 Aug 1899 23 Dec 1899 4 mths 16 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 20 Jun 1900 24 Jul 1900 1 mth 5 days Chairman
Library Committee No.5 20 Jun 1900 28 Nov 1900 5 mths 9 days
Refreshment Committee No.3 20 Jun 1900 05 Dec 1900 5 mths 16 days
Library Committee No.4 08 Aug 1901 20 Dec 1901 4 mths 13 days
Standing Orders Committee No.5 08 Aug 1901 20 Dec 1901 4 mths 13 days Chairman
Refreshment Committee No.6 08 Aug 1901 20 Dec 1901 4 mths 13 days
Library Committee No.3 17 Jun 1902 20 Dec 1902 6 mths 4 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 17 Jun 1902 20 Dec 1902 6 mths 4 days
Library Committee No.5 01 Jul 1903 01 Dec 1903 5 mths 1 day
Standing Orders Committee No.4 01 Jul 1903 01 Dec 1903 5 mths 1 day
Refreshment Committee No.6 01 Jul 1903 01 Dec 1903 5 mths 1 day
Standing Orders Committee No.3 21 Sep 1904 09 Nov 1904 1 mth 20 days Chairman
Library Committee No.4 21 Sep 1904 24 Dec 1904 3 mths 4 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 21 Sep 1904 24 Dec 1904 3 mths 4 days Chairman
Library Committee No.4 28 Jun 1905 09 Dec 1905 5 mths 12 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 23 Jun 1905 09 Dec 1905 5 mths 17 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 28 Jun 1905 09 Dec 1905 5 mths 12 days
Refreshment Committee No.4 10 Jul 1906 18 Dec 1906 5 mths 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 10 Jul 1906 18 Dec 1906 5 mths 9 days
Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 10 Jul 1906 18 Dec 1906 5 mths 9 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 09 Jul 1907 12 Jul 1907 4 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 09 Jul 1907 12 Jul 1907 4 days
Library Committee No.3 09 Jul 1907 12 Jul 1907 4 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 24 Oct 1907 20 Dec 1907 1 mth 27 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 24 Oct 1907 20 Dec 1907 1 mth 27 days
Library Committee No.3 24 Oct 1907 20 Dec 1907 1 mth 27 days
Library Committee No.3 13 Mar 1908 11 Apr 1908 30 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 13 Mar 1908 11 Apr 1908 30 days
Refreshment Committee No.4 13 Mar 1908 11 Apr 1908 30 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 05 Aug 1908 19 Dec 1908 4 mths 15 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 05 Aug 1908 19 Dec 1908 4 mths 15 days
Library Committee No.4 05 Aug 1908 19 Dec 1908 4 mths 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 14 Jul 1909 17 Dec 1909 5 mths 4 days
Library Committee No.4 14 Jul 1909 17 Dec 1909 5 mths 4 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 14 Jul 1909 17 Dec 1909 5 mths 4 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 28 Jun 1910 20 Aug 1910 1 mth 24 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 28 Jun 1910 20 Aug 1910 1 mth 24 days
Library Committee No.4 28 Jun 1910 20 Aug 1910 1 mth 24 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 30 Nov 1910 23 Dec 1910 24 days
Warwick Farm Railway Act Extension Bill Committee No.7 31 May 1911 14 Jun 1911 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 30 May 1911 01 Aug 1911 2 mths 3 days
Operations of the Australian Jockey Club Committee No.8 13 Jun 1911 01 Aug 1911 1 mth 20 days
Operations of the Australian Jockey Club Committee No.22 20 Feb 1912 28 Mar 1912 1 mth 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 12 Sep 1911 28 Mar 1912 6 mths 17 days
Totalisator Bill Committee No.19 31 Oct 1911 28 Mar 1912 4 mths 28 days
City Tattersalls Club Committee No.9 13 Sep 1912 19 Sep 1912 7 days
Parliamentary Accommodation Committee No.14 08 Nov 1912 05 Dec 1912 28 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 07 Aug 1912 05 Dec 1912 3 mths 29 days
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1896.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Newspaper proprieter and land speculator. Arrived in New South Wales with parents in 1852. Educated at Wollongong Public School. Employed in an office and was then apprenticed as a printer. Speculated successfully in land in New South Wales and Western Australia. Chairman of Intercolonial Land and Investment Company from 1887 until 1913. Director of Berrima District Butter Company. Bankrupt in 1895. Commissioner of Chicago Exposition in 1893. Vice President of Berrima District Hospital. Keen sportsman. Freemason. Lived at Berrima and late in life moved to Sydney.
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Alderman at Vaucluse from 1908 until 1911.
Personal
Son of James McCourt, farmer and Bridget Galbraith. Married Emily Elizabeth in 1882 and had issue, 3 daughters and 3 sons. Church of England.
Additional Information
Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: 1. William McCourt - letter received from Edward Lloyd Jones congratulating McCourt on his appointment as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 1900 (MLMSS 6779); photographs in the PICMAN Database. 2. William McCourt - letters received, 1886, 1907 (MLDOC 2934). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10 Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995 William McCourt was born March 1851 in Ireland and emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1852 where they settled at Wollongong. Apprenticed as a printer, he began his own newspaper, the Moss Vale Scrutineer in 1874 but in 1886 he sold his newspaper interests and became heavily involved in land speculation. He married Emily Elizabeth Galbraith in 1882 and they had three sons and three daughters. One son, William Rupert McCourt, was Clerk of the Legislative Assembly from 1930 to 1947. William McCourt was the Member for Camden in the Legislative Assembly from 1882 until 1885 and again from 1887 until 1894, when he was elected as the Member for Bowral. He held that seat until 1904 when he successfully contested the seat of Wollondilly. As Chairman of Committees from 1894 until 1900 he earned a reputation for impartiality that distinguished him as an ideal candidate for the Speakership. Consequently his nomination for the office of Speaker in 1900 went without challenge. As Speaker of the Legislative Assembly between 1900 and 1910, McCourt's impartiality was met with support from all sides of the House. An advocate of free speech, McCourt actively sought to stimulate debate and he refrained from constraining Members through the Standing Orders and points of order. He died on 22 June 1913 in Sydney.