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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Sir Edward Eyre Williams

1872
Thomas Foster Chuck

hand-coloured albumen silver photograph (frame: 74.5 cm x 64.3 cm, image/sheet: 60.6 cm x 50.5 cm)

Sir Edward Eyre Williams (1813–1880), judge and barrister, arrived in Port Phillip in 1842 having been admitted to the Bar in London nine years earlier. The son of a sugar plantation owner resident in Trinidad, Williams is said to have intended to become a colonial landowner himself, but within a few weeks of his arrival in Melbourne was persuaded by fellow lawyer Andrew McCrae to return to practising his profession. With his wife Jessie, whom he had married in London in March 1841, and their eldest two children, he settled initially in Fitzroy before moving to Como, a riverside property at South Yarra, in 1847. He thereafter became active in various charitable and community affairs: helping to found the Diocesan Society, for instance; serving on the committees of the Mechanics’ Institute and the Melbourne Hospital; and as a member of the Bourke District Council. In 1852, after a period during which he had been commissioner of the Court of Requests, chief commissioner of Insolvent Estates, chairman of Quarter Sessions and Solicitor-General, Williams was appointed to the bench of the Victorian Supreme Court, formed following Victoria’s formal separation from New South Wales the previous year. Serving alongside Redmond Barry and William Stawell, Williams was heavily occupied with circuit court hearings, occasionally attracting criticism for the haste with which he attended to matters in one regional courthouse so as to be on time to preside over hearings in another. Eventually, his workload began to compound his already poor health, and he retired from the bench on doctor’s orders in April 1874. In May that year, he and Jessie returned to England, settling eventually in Bath. Williams was knighted in 1878 ‘in recognition of the services he had rendered to the colony in the various public positions that he had filled’, and died in Bath, aged 67, in May 1880.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Ross and Judy O'Connell 2016

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Thomas Foster Chuck (age 46 in 1872)

Sir Edward E. Williams (age 59 in 1872)

Subject professions

Law and justice

Donated by

Ross O'Connell (3 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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