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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Davies, Hon. Sir Matthew Henry

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Davies, Hon. Sir Matthew Henry, M.L.A., ex-Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Victoria, is the son of Ebenezer Davies and Ruth his wife, daughter of Mark Bartlett, of Bracknell, Berks, England, and grandson of the Rev. John Davies, of Trevecca College, South Wales. He was born at Geelong in 1850, and educated at the Geelong College, and matriculated at the Melbourne University in 1869. He was admitted a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1875, and married Elizabeth Locke, eldest daughter of the Rev. Peter Mercer, D.D., of Melbourne, Presbyterian minister. For five years he was hon. secretary to the Council of the Law Institute of Victoria, and is a J.P. for the central bailiwick. He was mayor of the city of Prahran in 1881–2; represented the electoral district of St. Kilda in the Legislative Assembly from 1883 to 1888; was a member of the Royal Commission on Transfer of Land and Titles to Land in 1885; was sworn of the Executive Council in Feb. 1886, and held a portfolio in the Gillies-Deakin Government as a Minister without responsible office from that date till Oct. 1887. Sir Matthew visited England in connection with the Colonial and Indian Exhibition while a member of the Victorian Government, 1886–7. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Banking in 1887, and was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in Oct. 1887. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Electric Lighting and Ventilation of the Parliament Houses in 1888; Executive Commissioner and a Vice-President of the Centennial International Exhibition, held in Melbourne in 1888; was returned unopposed for the electoral district of Toorak in 1889, and unanimously re-elected Speaker in the same year. He was knighted in 1890, and he gave the munificent sum of £10,000 to the Imperial Institute and other public objects in the Jubilee year of the Queen's reign. Sir Matthew Davies held the Speakership up to the General Election in April 1892, when he retired from Parliament.