William Patrick Crick, known as Paddy Crick or W.P.Crick (10 February 1862 – 23 August 1908) was an Australian politician, solicitor and newspaper proprietor. He was described by author Cyril Pearl as an irresistible demagogue, who "looked like a prize fighter, dressed like a tramp, talked like a bullocky, and to complete the pattern of popular virtues, owned champion horses which he backed heavily and recklessly."
Crick was born at Truro, South Australia and in about 1868 the family moved into western New South Wales, settling at Spicer's Creek near Wellington. He attended St Stanislaus' College, Bathurst. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1886 and developed a successful practice in the criminal courts. In 1890 he married Mary Catherine Kelly, but they separated in 1892.
In 1885 Crick and Edward O'Sullivan founded the Land and Industrial Alliance, a protectionist party aimed at country selectors and city workers and ran unsuccessfully for election to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1887. As an independent protectionist he was elected in 1889 as the member for West Macquarie. He was notable for his verbal aggression in the house, especially when drunk, and in October 1889 he called several parliamentarians "bloody Orange hounds and thieves" and was subsequently found guilty of a contempt. In November 1890, Crick was ordered out of the House, but had to be physically removed. He was then expelled, but he won the ensuing by-election.
In August 1890 Crick was involved with William Nicholas Willis in founding the Truth newspaper, which was intended to promote their political and social views, but instead became largely a scandal sheet. He succeeded in having enacted a first offenders' probation bill in 1894. He was charged with conspiracy in 1895 in relation to the George Dean case, but escaped conviction. By the mid-1890s he was said to be one of the biggest betters on Sydney horse racing and lived in hotels near Randwick Racecourse. Nevertheless, as a master parliamentary tactician, he had become a leading member of the Protectionist Party and having helped defeat the Free Trade government in 1899, was rewarded with the position of Postmaster-General in the Lyne government from 14 September 1899, a position he held until 28 February 1901.
Crick was Secretary for Lands from April 1901 to June 1904. He was elected as member for Blayney on the abolition of West Macquarie in 1904. He expected to become Premier when John See resigned and See recommended him for the position but Governor Sir Harry Rawson refused to appoint Crick because of his excessive drinking in Executive Council meetings and in due course asked Thomas Waddell to be Premier.
From 1905 to 1907, Royal Commissioner William Owen investigated the administration of the Lands Department and found that Crick had overruled departmental advice on 35 occasions when granting leases to pastoralists in the Western Division. Owen found these actions to be corrupt and Crick was charged but not convicted of corruption. He resigned from Parliament in December 1906, but it insisted on formally expelling him. In August 1907 he was struck off as a solicitor. In 1907 he ran unsuccessfully for Surry Hills.
Although he had reportedly been going to quit smoking and drinking in 1903, Crick suffered increasingly from cirrhosis of the liver and died of hematemesis at the Sydney suburb of Randwick. Crick was buried at Waverley Cemetery on 25 August 1908.
- Pearl, Cyril (1958). Wild Men of Sydney. London: W.H. Allen. p. 39. ISBN 0-207-13539-8.
- Nairn, Bede; Martha Rutledge. "Crick, William Patrick (1862 - 1908)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- "Mr William Patrick Crick (1862 - 1908)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Buck, A. R. "Waddell, Thomas (1854? - 1940)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
- Sydney Morning Herald. 25 August 1908. William Patrick Crick Funeral Notice, page 12,
|Parliament of New South Wales|
|Member for West Macquarie
|Member for Blayney