Joseph Palmer Abbott

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Joseph Palmer Abbott
Sir Joseph Palmer Abbott.jpg
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly
In office
29 November 1880 – 11 June 1901
Personal details
Born(1842-09-29)29 September 1842
Muswellbrook, New South Wales
Died15 September 1901(1901-09-15) (aged 59)
Turramurra, New South Wales
Spouse(s)Matilda Elizabeth Macartney (married 1873-1880)
Edith Solomon (married 1883-1901)
ParentsJohn Kingsmill Abbott
Frances Amanda Brady
Tarella, Abbott's home after 1886

Sir Joseph Palmer Abbott, KCMG (29 September 1842 – 15 September 1901) was an Australian politician and solicitor.

Early life[edit]

Joseph Palmer Abbott was born on 29 September 1842 at Muswellbrook, New South Wales, to John Kingsmill Abbott, a squatter, and his wife Frances Amanda, née Brady. Abbott was educated at the Church of England school at Muswellbrook, moving to John Armstrong's school at Redfern at 9 years of age, then to J. R. Huston's Surry Hills Academy and finally to The King's School, Parramatta.[1]

Upon completion of his education in 1857, he returned to the family station "Glengarry", near Wingen in the upper Hunter Region, where his mother had gone from Muswellbrook in 1847 upon the death of his father.[1]


Abbott was admitted as a solicitor in 1865, and practiced law in Murrurundi, specialising in land cases. He was appointed a commissioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, for the district of Maitland.

Founding a firm, Abbott & Allan in Sydney, Abbott established himself as an expert in property and land law.

He was a director, and later chairman, of the Australian Mutual Provident Society.[1][2]


Abbott was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Gunnedah on 29 November 1880, and later for Wentworth on 26 February 1887 which he served until he retired from parliament on 11 June 1901.[2]

He was briefly the leader of the Opposition for the Free Trade Party, but resigned soon afterwards, after a disagreement about the party's merge with the Protectionist Party.[1][2]

Abbott was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 1890 and has a reputation as an authority on parliamentary procedure. He also imposed dignified control over the formerly unruly Assembly. He resigned the Speakership in 1900.

He was known for his work involving property laws of Australia, and as a New South Wales delegate for the Federation Conventions of 1891, 1897, and 1898 where he was Chairman of Committees. He created the 1881 Hospital Acts Amendment Act, which led to him becoming an honorary governor of several medical facilities. In January 1883, Abbott became the Secretary of Mines for Premier Sir Alexander Stuart's ministry. After a ministry reconstruction by Sir George Dibbs in 1885, Abbott became the Secretary of Lands.

Family and social life[edit]

Abbott was born in Muswellbrook in New South Wales, and was the son of John Abbott and Frances Amanda (née Brady). Attending the Church of England school in Muswellbrook, he later became a devout member for the church.

He was initiated as a Freemason in 1864, and served as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales from 1895 to 1899.[2] Abbott, along with many other politicians, was a member of the Australian Club and Union Club.

He was knighted in 1892. For his services towards Australian law and politics, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1895.

In 1873, at West Maitland, Abbott married Matilda Elizabeth (née Macartney) with whom he had two sons and a daughter. She died in 1880. In 1883, at East Maitland, he married Edith (née Solomon); they had one son and three daughters. One son, Mac Abbott (1877–1960), also a solicitor, was also a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Upper Hunter (1913–1918).[3] Another son, Joe Abbott (1891–1965) was member for New England in the Australian House of Representatives from 1940 to 1949.[4]

Abbott lived for a time in Tarella, an Italianate mansion in Amherst Street, Cammeray, which he built c. 1886. Palmer Street in Cammeray is named after him.[5] He died on 15 September 1901, and was buried in Waverley Cemetery.[1][2]

See also[edit]

  • Mennell, Philip (1892). "Abbott, Hon. Sir Joseph Palmer" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.


  1. ^ a b c d e Nairn, Bede (1969). "Abbott, Sir Joseph Palmer (1842-1901)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sir Joseph Palmer Abbott (1842-1901)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Mr Macartney Abbott (1877-1960)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  4. ^ Tsokhas, Kosmas (1993). "Abbott, Joseph Palmer (Joe) (1891–1965)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Tarella". Heritage Council of New South Wales.


New South Wales Legislative Assembly
New title Member for Gunnedah
Succeeded by
Thomas Goodwin
Preceded by
Edward Quin
Member for Wentworth
Served alongside: Macgregor, Browne
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member for Wentworth
Succeeded by
Robert Scobie
Preceded by
James Young
Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
William McCourt