George Wigram Allen

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The Honourable
Sir George Wigram Allen
KCMG
George Wigram Allen.jpg
Allen c.1880
5th Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
In office
23 March 1875 – 23 November 1882
Preceded by William Arnold
Succeeded by Edmund Barton
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Glebe
In office
1864–1883
Preceded by Thomas Smart
Succeeded by Michael Chapman
Personal details
Born (1824-05-16)16 May 1824
Surry Hills, Colony of New South Wales
Died 23 June 1885(1885-06-23) (aged 60)
Glebe, New South Wales
Spouse(s) Marian (née Boyce)
Lady Allen

Sir George Wigram Allen KCMG (16 May 1824 – 23 July 1885)[1] was an Australian politician and philanthropist. He was Speaker in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1875–1883. Allen was held in high esteem. As speaker he showed dignity, courtesy and ability; it was said of him: 'A man of calm judgment and much practical wisdom'.[1]

Early life[edit]

Allen was born in Surry Hills, New South Wales, the eldest son of George Allen (attorney and solicitor) and his wife Jane, née Bowden. He was educated under William Cape and at Sydney College, where he showed ability in classics and mathematics. In 1841, Allen was articled to his father and he became a solicitor in 1846.[1]

Legal career[edit]

The following year Allen entered a partnership with his father as a solicitor and today that firm is known as Allens and is the oldest in Australia.[2] He was also a director of many public companies including the Bank of New South Wales.[1]

Public office[edit]

In 1859 Allen became the first mayor of Glebe, New South Wales, a position he held until 1877.[1] He was appointed a commissioner of national education in 1853 and held the position until 1867 and was nominated to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1860 and remained there until May 1861.[1] In 1869 Allen was elected a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Glebe, and from December 1873 to February 1875 was minister for justice and public instruction in the first Henry Parkes ministry. In the following March he was elected speaker and remained in that position until January 1883. Allen retired from politics in August 1883 and died suddenly on 23 July 1885.[3]

Marriage[edit]

Lady Allen as a widow c.1900

Allen married Marian Boyce (1835–1914),[4] eldest daughter of the Rev. William Boyce, in July 1851 and they lived at Strathmore, opposite his father's home Toxteth Park. In 1881 they moved to Toxteth Park having added a third storey, a tower and various embellishments such as a ballroom. The Allens entertained there on a grand scale. Lady Allen was an active charitable worker. She was involved with the boarding out of orphan children from the Benevolent Asylum and was a co-founder of the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children. The marriage produced six sons and fours daughters.[1]

Honours[edit]

He was knighted K.C.M.G. in 1877.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Norman Cowper, Ruth Teale, 'Allen, Sir George Wigram (1824 - 1885)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, MUP, 1969, pp 24-25. Retrieved 2009-09-20
  2. ^ "OLDEST LEGAL FIRM.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 27 July 1932. p. 10. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Late Sir GEORGE WIGRAM ALLEN.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 27 July 1885. p. 5. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "DEATH OF LADY ALLEN.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 22 January 1914. p. 8. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "HONOUR OF KNIGHTHOOD.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 10 September 1877. p. 5. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Thomas Smart
Member for Glebe
1864 – 1883
Succeeded by
Michael Chapman
Preceded by
William Arnold
Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
1875 – 1882
Succeeded by
Edmund Barton