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Sir John Hay
, 1887

by Freeman Brothers

albumen silver photograph on cabinet card (mount: 16.4 cm x 10.5 cm, image: 14.9 cm x 10.0 cm)

Sir John Hay (1816-1892), pastoralist and politician, graduated in law in his native Scotland before emigrating to New South Wales with his new wife, Mary, in 1838 and settling at Welaregang on the Murray in the Albury district. Successful at squatting, in 1856 Hay was elected for the Murrumbidgee to the first Legislative Assembly. Quickly he carried a motion of no confidence against Charles Cowper, and questioned the legitimacy of Sir James Martin’s appointment as attorney-general. From 1856 to 1857 he was secretary of lands and works; he became the member for Murray in 1859. An impartial and effective speaker of the House of Assembly from 1862, he was appointed to the Legislative Council (upper house) in 1867 and became its president in 1873. One of his early actions in this position was to increase the size of the council so as to get laws passed in the best possible form. He was chairman of the Mercantile Bank of Sydney and a director of both the Australian Mutual Provident Society and the European Assurance Society. He was president of the Highland Society; vice-president of the Agricultural Society and the Australian Club; and a founder of the Union Club. Lang’s Crossing Place on the Murrumbidgee was re-named Hay in 1859.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2015
Accession number: 2015.53