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DOWLING, Sir JAMES (1787–1844), colonial judge, was born in London on 25 Nov. 1787. His father, Vincent Dowling, a native of Queen's County, Ireland, was for many years a reporter to the press in Dublin. After a residence in London he went back to Ireland, but returned to London in 1801, after the union, and was a bookseller and patent medicine vendor at 30 Lincoln's Inn Fields from 1804 to 1807. He was afterwards attached to the London press; became connected with the ‘ Times,’ and resided in Salisbury Square. His son James was partly educated at St. Paul's School, London, where he was admitted 14 April 1802. After leaving school he was associated with the daily press, and reported the debates in both houses of parliament. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, 5 May 1815, and practised for many years on the home circuit and at the Middlesex sessions. He was best known to the public as the editor and establisher, in conjunction with Archer Ryland, Q.C., of the ‘King's Bench Reports,’ 1822–31, in 9 vols. They also published ‘Reports of Cases relating to the Duty and Office of Magistrates,’ 1823–31, in 4 vols. In 1834 he produced ‘The Practice of the Superior Courts of Common Law.’

On 6 Aug. 1827 he was named a puisne judge of the court of New South Wales by the influence of Lord Brougham and Lord Goderich, secretary for the colonies. He arrived in the colony 24 Feb. 1828. Dowling became chief justice on the retirement of Sir James Forbes in July 1837, and was knighted in the following year. He was a painstaking, conscientious judge, a fluent speaker and shorthand writer, and a learned case lawyer. As a member of the legislative council he confined himself to legal topics. He injured his health by overwork; obtained leave of absence for two years, when the legislative assembly voted him the full amount of his salary during his retirement; and died while making preparations to sail for England, at Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, 27 Sept. 1844.

He married, first, in 1814, Maria, daughter of J. L. Sheen of Kentish Town, London; and secondly, in 1835, Harriet Maria, daughter of the Hon. John Blaxland of Newington, New South Wales. She died 31 March 1881, aged 82. The second son by the first marriage, James Sheen Dowling, was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, 24 Nov. 1843, and is a district court judge in New South Wales.

[Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates, p. 57; Gent. Mag. April 1845, pp. 435–6; Therry's Reminiscences of New South Wales and Victoria (2nd ed. 1863), pp. 338–40.]

G. C. B.