Skip to main content

Sir William Charles Windeyer
, 1892

by Tom Roberts

oil on canvas (frame: 66.0 cm x 56.2 cm)

Sir William Windeyer (1834–1897) was a politician and judge. One of the first undergraduates to study at the University of Sydney, he developed a particular interest in education and the rights of women – he was responsible for the Married Women’s Property Act of 1879, and was Founding Chairman of the university’s Women’s College. As a young man he worked as a reporter on Henry Parkes’s radical liberal newspaper Empire. Windeyer represented West Sydney in the Legislative Assembly intermittently from 1860; in 1876 and 1878–1879 he was attorney general in the Parkes–Robertson coalition. This portrait is one of a trio that Tom Roberts dubbed ‘Church, State and the Law’ – the others were a portrait of Parkes, and one of Cardinal Moran. Parkes wrote in Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History (1892) that ‘My friend Windeyer was a young man of high spirit, bold and decisive in the common incidents of life, with a strong capacity for public affairs. He would have made as good a soldier as he has made a sound Judge.’

Gift of the family of Sir Victor and Lady Windeyer 2009
Donated through the Australian Governments' Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2009.15