HAY, Sir John (1816-1892)


HAY, Sir John (1816-1892)
politician
son of John Hay, was born at Little Ythsie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 23 June 1816. He graduated with honours at the university of Aberdeen in 1834, and then studied law at Edinburgh. Coming to Sydney in 1838 he took up land in the Murrumbidgee district and became a successful squatter. Early in 1856 he was elected member for Murrumbidgee in the legislative assembly, and in the following September moved a vote of no-confidence in the Cowper (q.v.) ministry, which was carried. Hay recommended to governor Denison (q.v.) that H. W. Parker should be asked to form a coalition ministry in which Hay was secretary for lands and works. This ministry was defeated in September 1857 and Hay did not again hold office. In June 1860 he moved that negotiations should be opened up with Victoria for the purpose of establishing a uniformity of customs duties. This would have been a valuable step towards a federation system, but his motion was defeated. On 14 October 1862 Hay was unanimously elected speaker of the legislative assembly, but three years later, finding his health had been affected, he resigned this position. In June 1867 he was nominated a member of the legislative council and in July 1873 was appointed its president. He held this position until his death on 20 January 1892. He married in 1838 Mary, daughter of James Chalmers, who survived him for only a few days. He had no children. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1878.
Hay was not a party man but he had knowledge and wisdom, and though he originated little he was a good speaker and debater who had no little influence on the legislation of his time. He had a strong sense of justice, much kindliness and courtesy, and carried out his duties as speaker of the assembly and president of the council with great ability.
J. H. Heaton, The Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1892; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; Official History of New South Wales; Sir Henry Parkes, Fifty Years of Australian History.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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