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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Copley, Hon. William

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Copley, Hon. William, M.L.C., ex-Minister of Agriculture, South Australia, was born in 1845, at the village of Highgreen, near Sheffield, and left Yorkshire for South Australia with his parents when four years of age. For two years his parents lived in the neighbourhood of the Burra Burra mines, and in 1851 they made a brief visit to the Victorian goldfields. On their return they settled at York, in the West Torrens district, and Mr. Copley was educated at the Hindmarsh Public School and Mr. Bath's school at North Adelaide. At an early age he entered upon agricultural pursuits. For some years he was engaged on the Murray Flats, but for the last fifteen years he has held a farm on the Black Rock Plains, near Orroroo. In 1883-4 he was President of the Farmers Association; and in April 1884 he was returned with Mr. E. Ward as member for the newly constituted district of Frome. He sat for this constituency for three years, but was defeated at the general election in 1887. He was returned for the northern district of the Legislative Council in July 1887. When Mr. Playford came into office in August 1890 Mr. Copley consented to serve as Commissioner of Crown Lands, a post which in January 1892 he exchanged for that of Minister of Agriculture and Education. Mr. Copley was a member of the South Australian Commission in Adelaide for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886.