Street family

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Street
Lion Rampant.svg
Place of origin United Kingdom
Members
Connected members
Connected families
Motto "Fideli cum fidelis"
(Faithful among the faithless)

The Street family is a prominent Australian legal, political and military family. The Streets are the only dynasty in Australian history with three consecutive vice-regal appointments to their name. Sir Philip Whistler Street, KCMG, KC, his son Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Kenneth Whistler Street, KCMG, KStJ, QC and grandson Commander Sir Laurence Whistler Street, AC, KCMG, KStJ, QC each attained the offices of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales.

The Streets have British heritage, descending from the Earls of Grey, the Earls of Berkeley, and the Earls of Airlie.[1] The first to enter Australian politics was New South Wales politician and businessman John Street, MLC, who was the successor of Australia's first Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC in his seat of East Sydney. John's son Sir Philip was the first wholly Australian-trained lawyer to be appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the nation's first Supreme Court. The appointment of Sir Kenneth as a judge of the Supreme Court on 7 October 1931 also made Australian history for the first and only time a father and son have sat on the same bench as judges together, his father Sir Philip having been Chief Justice at the time.[2]

Sir Laurence's two eldest children are currently federal Australian judges and members of the Australian naval high-command, namely Justice Alexander Street, SC and Justice Sylvia Emmett, the latter also being the wife of Justice Arthur Emmett, AO, QC, a federal Australian judge and Challis Lecturer in Roman Law at Sydney Law School. The ABC Dynasties series notes: "Among the great and powerful of the law, no family sits higher than the Streets. They've been at the forefront of the legal establishment for over a century."[3]

Ancestors[edit]

A line engraving from the 17th Century by Robert White of Sir Thomas Street, English Chief Justice, Baron of the Exchequer, and patriarch of the Street family juridical tradition

Worcester Streets[edit]

Sir Thomas Street, MP, KB, JP is the patriarch of the family’s juridical tradition. Sir Thomas' ancestors belonged to the establishment of Worcester, his father George Streete having been Mayor of Worcester. Like his father, he read law at Oxford University and became Mayor of Worcester himself in 1667, before becoming Chief Justice for Brecknock, Glamorgan and Radnor in 1677, and Baron of the Exchequer in April 1681. Sir Thomas had his children by Lady Penelope Berkeley, of the Berkeley family, by whom the successive generations of the Streets descend from William the Conqueror.[4]

When came Monmouth's Rebellion, the Catholic King James II dispensed with the Test Act without a parliamentary mandate and began filling the military high-command with Catholics. This led to a confrontation with Parliament. The issue took shape as the case of Godden v. Hales (1686), which was to be settled by the King's Bench, of which Sir Thomas was by then a member. Of the 10 judges who composed the King's Bench, Sir Thomas was the only one to decide against the King's power to contravene the Test Act, thus conceiving his reputation and family motto. In reference to Sir Thomas, the 1769 Biographical History of England notes: "The singularity of his being - faithful among the faithless † - is recorded on his tomb. To say any more of his integrity in his public character would be superfluous. To say anything greater is impossible."[5]

Sydney Streets[edit]

Commandant William Lawson, MLC (2 June 1774 – 16 June 1850) was an English-born explorer, military officer and politician who migrated to Sydney, New South Wales in 1800. His granddaughter Susanna Caroline Lawson married into the first Australian generation of the Street dynasty by wedding New South Wales politician John Rendell Street, MLC.[6] With Gregory Blaxland and William Charles Wentworth, Lawson pioneered the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains by European settlers. Their exploration led to the establishment of a new inland town, Bathurst, and the construction of a road connecting the town to Sydney. In turn, for the first time in history, pastoral activity was developed on an industrial scale in the inlands of Australia's first state, New South Wales. This saw the dawn of a pastoral age that would dominate Australia's export market for more than a century, arguably up to the 1960s.[7]

After the crossing, Lawson, like Blaxland and Wentworth, was rewarded with a grant of 1,000 acres (4 km²) of land by Governor Macquarie.[8] He selected his land along the Campbells River, part of the Bathurst settlement for which he was appointed Commandant until his retirement in 1824. As Commandant, he continued to undertake expeditions, and in 1821, with Constable Blackman, discovered the Cudgegong River and further explored Mudgee and its outlying regions.[9] Upon retiring from the Australian Army, Lawson entered politics and became a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council for County of Cumberland from 1843 to 1848. He died at his estate, Veteran Hall in Prospect, on 16 June 1850. The town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains is named after him.[10] Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth have been honoured on several postage stamps issued by Australia Post depicting the Blue Mountains crossing.[11]

A portrait of Sir Philip Whistler Street, KCMG, first Australian Chief Justice of the Street family

1st generation[edit]

John Rendell Street, MLC, was an Australian politician and businessman. He was the first Australian generation of the Streets to enter Australian politics. He served as the successor of Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC, 1st Prime Minister of Australia, in his New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of East Sydney. John Street held this office until his death on the 23rd of March, 1891.[12]

John Street had seven children by Susanna Caroline (née Lawson), a granddaughter of the politician and explorer Commandant William Lawson, MLC (2 June 1774 – 16 June 1850). The second son of John and Susanna was (Sir) Philip Whistler Street.[13]

A portrait of Lieutenant Laurence Whistler Street, an ANZAC officer who fought and died in the Battle of Gallipoli, age 21

2nd generation[edit]

Sir Philip Whistler Street, KCMG, KC (1863–1938) was the eighth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. On 24 July 1906 he was appointed as an acting judge of the Supreme Court and on 11 February 1907 he was made a full judge. He became Chief Justice on 28 January 1925 and held that office until his seventieth birthday in 1933. He is the second longest serving judge in New South Wales history. He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales in 1930, and administered the state in the absence of the Governor of New South Wales from May to October 1934, January to February 1935, and January to August 1936.

He died in 1938 and was buried with a state funeral at St Andrew's Cathedral. The second son of Sir Philip and Belinda Maud (née) Poolman was Lieutenant Laurence Whistler Street, and the eldest was (Sir) Kenneth Whistler Street.[14]

3rd generation[edit]

Sir Kenneth Whistler Street, KCMG, KStJ, second Australian Chief Justice of the Street family

Lieutenant Laurence Whistler Street (1894-1915), namesake of his great-nephew Sir Laurence Whistler Street, AC, KCMG, KStJ, QC, was 21 years of age when he was killed in action May 1915 at Gallipoli fighting for the Allied forces in World War I. A student of Sydney Law School, he was an officer of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade. He volunteered for active wartime service in August 1914, making him one of the first of his generation to do so.[15]

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Kenneth Whistler Street, KCMG, KStJ, QC (1890–1972) was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court on 7 October 1931. He thus joined the bench of which his father, Sir Philip Whistler Street, was then Chief Justice. According to Percival Serle, this is the only known case in Australian history of a father and a son sitting as judges together on the same bench. In 1949, as senior puisne judge, Street acted as Chief Justice when Sir Frederick Richard Jordan, KCMG died. He was confirmed in that office from 6 January 1950 and was sworn in on 7 February. Street was Lieutenant-Governor from 1950-1972. Prior to his career as a judge, he served the Allied forces in World War I, having been commissioned on 29 September 1914 in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and sent to France. He ultimately rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Australian Army.

Like his father before him, he was buried with a state funeral at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. Street House at Cranbrook School, Sydney is named in his honour.[16] Sir Kenneth's wife Lady "Red Jessie" Street was a prominent human rights activist. His eldest son (Sir) Laurence Street was named in honour of his brother's sacrifice at Gallipoli.

Lady Street as Australia's only female delegate at the post-war establishment of the United Nations conference at San Francisco in 1945

Lady "Red Jessie" Street (born Jessie Mary Grey Lillingston; 18 April 1889 – 2 July 1970) was an Australian suffragette who campaigned extensively for peace and human rights. Dubbed "Red Jessie" by her detractors in the right-wing media for her efforts to promote diplomacy with the USSR and to ease tensions during the Cold War, Jessie was a champion of the progressive cause.[17]

Jessie's father Charles was the son of Mary Grey Mason, daughter of Mary Grey (1796—1863), who was in turn the first child of Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet. The son of General Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, KB, PC and brother of Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC, Sir George was a scion of the House of Grey, a British noble family.[18] Jessie's mother was Mabel Harriet, daughter of Edward David Stewart Ogilvie, MLC, a New South Wales politician and businessman descendent of Clan Ogilvie, another British noble family. And by marriage, she was a member of the Street dynasty, making Lady Street a maverick among the historically conservative establishment. She was a key figure in Australian and international political life for over 50 years, from the women's suffrage struggle in England to the removal of Australia's constitutional discrimination against Aboriginal people in 1967.

Jessie was Australia's only female delegate to the establishment of the United Nations conference in San Francisco in 1945, where she played a key role alongside the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt in ensuring that gender was included as a non-discrimination clause, in addition to race and religion, in the United Nations Charter. She is recognised both in Australia and internationally for her activism. The Jessie Street Centre, the Jessie Street Trust, the Jessie Street National Women's Library and Jessie Street Gardens exist in her honour. [19]

A portrait of Major Geoffrey Austin Street, MP, MC, an ANZAC officer who fought in the Battle of Gallipoli and who would die as Australia's Minister of Defence in the 1940 Canberra Air Disaster of World War II

Major Geoffrey Austin Street, MP, MC (21 January 1894 – 13 August 1940) was a cousin of Sir Kenneth's who served as Australia's Minister of Defence in the First Menzies Government during World War II. He was recognised with a Military Cross for his courage in serving the First Australian Imperial Force at the Battle of Gallipoli, where he was wounded before returning to active service in France during World War I. At the request of his close friend Sir Robert Menzies, KT, AK, CH, PC, QC, FAA, FRS, Australia's longest serving Prime Minister, Street stood for and won the seat of Corangamite in 1934.

Street was made Minister of Defence in November 1938 and played a major role in the expansion of the military and munitions production prior to the outbreak of World War II and pushed the National Registration Act (1939) through parliament despite strong opposition. Following the outbreak of war, he worked tirelessly to put Australia on a war footing. In November 1939, Menzies abolished the position of Minister of Defence and appointed Street Minister for the Army and Minister for Repatriation. Street died while holding these offices in the 1940 Canberra air disaster, along with two other Cabinet ministers.[20]

4th generation[edit]

Sir Laurence Whistler Street, AC, KCMG, KStJ, QC, third Australian Chief Justice of the Street family

Commander Sir Laurence Whistler Street, AC, KCMG, KStJ, QC (born 3 July 1926) was the fourteenth and second youngest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. He was first appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in the Equity Division. He was appointed Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor in 1974. Prior to his juridicial career, he served the Allied forces in World War II.

Sir Laurence first joined the Royal Australian Navy at age 17 and ultimately attained the rank of Commander of the Royal Australian Navy Reserve. After his juridicial career, he pioneered the practice of mediation and took up a range of offices, foremost as Chairman of Fairfax Media and Director of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world.[21] Sir Laurence’s sister Philippa “Pip” Street married the Australian Test cricketer and journalist John "Jack" Henry Webb Fingleton, OBE in 1942.[22]

The Honourable Anthony "Tony" Austin Street, MP, OM, Australian federal politician and a former Foreign Minister in the Fourth Fraser Ministry

Anthony Austin Street, MP, OM, the son of Geoffrey Austin Street, also represented the seat of Corangamite, from 1966 to 1983. His career culminated as Australia's Foreign Minister in the Fourth Fraser Ministry, from 1980 until 1983. In the Second Fraser Ministry he served as Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Public Service Matters. During the Third Fraser Ministry he served as minister in several posts, including Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and Minister for Industrial Relations. Prior to his career, he served in the Royal Australian Navy in World War I.[23][24]

The Watt family[edit]

Susan Gai Watt, AM was the first wife of Sir Laurence Street and the first female chair of the Eastern Sydney Health Service (now amalgamated with Illawarra). She is the daughter of Ernest Alexander Stuart Watt (1874-1954), a Cambridge-educated shipowner, pastoralist and patron of the arts. Ernest was born on 8 December 1874 in Sydney, the third son of Scottish-born Australian John Brown Watt, MLC, a politician and businessman, and his native-born wife Mary Jane, the daughter of another Australian politician and businessman, George Holden, MLC. [25]

Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Oswald Watt, OBE (11 February 1878 – 21 May 1921), the brother of Ernest, was an Australian flying ace in World War I, and later a businessman. A recipient of France's Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre, and twice mentioned in despatches during the war, Watt was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1919. He left the military to pursue business interests in Australia. He is commemorated by the Oswald Watt Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in Australian aviation, and the Oswald Watt Fund at the University of Sydney.[26]

John Brown Watt, MLC (1826–1897), the father of Ernest and Oswald, was an Australian politician and businessman, born on 16 May 1826 in Edinburgh, the eldest son of Alexander Hamilton Watt and his wife Margaret (née Gilchrist). Between 1874–90, Watt was a member of the NSW Legislative Council. In 1881 he sat on the Royal Commission on Military Defences. He was a Commissioner for New South Wales at the International Exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876), Paris (1878), Sydney (1879), Amsterdam (1883) and Calcutta (1883-84).[27]

Alexander Hamilton Watt belonged to the Watt family of Scotland to which also belonged James Watt, FRS, FRSE, inventor of the steam-engine.[28]

Recent generations[edit]

By his first wife Susan Gai, Sir Laurence had four children: Kenneth, Sylvia, Alexander and Sarah.[29]

Kenneth Street is a NSW-based businessman. Kenneth has three children: Hamish Street, Isabella Street, a solicitor, and Matilda Street.

Justice Sylvia Emmett (née Street), a Sydney Law School graduate, is a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and a Lieutenant-Commander of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.

Justice Arthur Emmett, AO, QC, the husband of Sylvia, was also a federal Australian judge and Challis Lecturer in Roman Law at Sydney Law School. Justice Arthur Emmett was appointed to the New South Wales Court of Appeal at a formal ceremony on Thursday, 7 March 2013 after serving as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia.

Justice Alexander "Sandy" Whistler Street, SC, is also a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and a Commander of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve. He has four children: Charles Street, a maritime lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia; Jack Street, also a law graduate; Lucy Street, and Heidi Street.

Sarah Whistler Farley (née Street), a Sydney Law School graduate, has four children: Tatiana Farley, Thomas Farley, Venetia Farley and Felix Farley.

Jessie Street, a Sydney Law School graduate, is Sir Laurence's only child by his second wife Penelope.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annals of the Street Family History
  2. ^ Karen Fox, Australian Legal Dynasties: The Stephens and the Streets, http://adb.anu.edu.au/essay/10
  3. ^ "Dynasties: Street". Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Granger, James (5 May 2018). "A Biographical History of England: From Egbert the Great to the Revolution: Consisting of Characters Disposed in Different Classes, and Adapted to a Methodical Catalogue of Engraved British Heads: Intended as an Essay Towards Reducing Our Biography to System, and a Help to the Knowledge of Portraits: Interspersed with a Variety of Anecdotes, and Memoirs of a Great Number of Persons ... With a Preface ..." W. Baynes and Son. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ Granger, James (5 May 2018). "A Biographical History of England: From Egbert the Great to the Revolution: Consisting of Characters Disposed in Different Classes, and Adapted to a Methodical Catalogue of Engraved British Heads: Intended as an Essay Towards Reducing Our Biography to System, and a Help to the Knowledge of Portraits: Interspersed with a Variety of Anecdotes, and Memoirs of a Great Number of Persons ... With a Preface ..." W. Baynes and Son. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ Dunlop, E. W. "Lawson, William (1774–1850)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Who was W. C. Wentworth and why was the Blue Mountains crossing so important?". 18 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  8. ^ Jensen, Jo; Peta Barrett (1997). Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth. Slacks Creek, Qld: Future Horizon Publishing. ISBN 0958762295.
  9. ^ "Lawson's journal". Discover Collections. State Library of NSW. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  10. ^ Percival Serle. "Lawson, William (1774–1850)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus and Robertson (1949). Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  11. ^ Australian 5d postage stamp showing Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth's mountain crossing. australianstamp.com
  12. ^ Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: Street family - further papers, 1861 - 1972
  13. ^ "Mr John Rendell Street (1832 - 1891)". Former Members. Parliament of New South Wales. 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  14. ^ Bennett, J. M. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  15. ^ "Obituary - Lawrence Whistler (Larry) Street - Obituaries Australia". oa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  16. ^ Bennett, J. M. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  17. ^ Coltheart, Lenore, '"Red Jessie": Jessie Street', in Uncommon Lives, National Archives of Australia, 2004, http://uncommonlives.naa.gov.au/jessie-street/.
  18. ^ The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia
  19. ^ Radi, Heather. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  20. ^ "Obituary - Geoffrey Austin Street - Obituaries Australia". oa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  21. ^ "The Honourable Sir Laurence Whistler Street". www.supremecourt.justice.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  22. ^ Wisden 1982 – Obituary – Jack Fingleton". Wisden. 1982. Retrieved 21 May 2007.
  23. ^ "Ministries and Cabinets". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  24. ^ Appendix 3: Fourth Fraser Ministry, 3 November 1980 to 7 May 1982, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 25 July 2016
  25. ^ Irving, T. H. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  26. ^ "Obituary - Walter Oswald (Toby) Watt - Obituaries Australia". oa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  27. ^ "Obituary - John Brown Watt - Obituaries Australia". oa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  28. ^ Carnegie, Andrew. James Watt. The Minerva Group, Inc. p. 215. ISBN 9780898755787.
  29. ^ "Dynasties The Street Family ABC2 Television Guide". www.abc.net.au. 
  30. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/a-home-for-rest-where-societys-giants-mingle-after-life-of-service/news-story/6fc2f56ad8081536f1e2aa44ce051ce9?sv=3bd9038611f1dfbee1a9bca6d94cc440