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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Ebden, Hon. Charles Hotson

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Ebden, Hon. Charles Hotson, sometime Auditor-General and Treasurer of Victoria, was born in London in 1811, and when little more than twenty emigrated to New South Wales, where he took up pastoral country on the Murray and invested a large sum of money in stock and improvements. In 1836 he decided to explore the Port Phillip district in search of suitable sheep country. In the result he formed a station south of the Goulburn, in what is now Victoria, and later on at Carlsruhe. He formed the first crossing-place over the Murray at Albury, and the nine thousand sheep which he sent to Carlsruhe from his New South Wales station in March 1837 were the first sheep which came into Victoria overland. In July 1843 Mr. Ebden was returned at the head of the poll as one of the first four members sent by Port Phillip to the New South Wales Legislative Council, which was then the sole chamber, this election being the first for members of Parliament which ever took place in Australia. Mr. Ebden sat in the New South Wales Legislative Council for the full term of five years, but declined to offer himself for re-election in 1848, on the ground that the representation of Port Phillip at Sydney was a farce. Mr. Ebden was an active worker for separation from New South Wales, and having been in the meantime re-elected to the Legislative Council of New South Wales, he seconded the address in reply to the Governor's speech when, in March 1851, the Council was convened to arrange the preliminaries for conferring a distinct constitution on Victoria. After that was achieved later in the year, he was appointed Auditor-General of Victoria by Governor Latrobe in July. This post he held, together with a seat in the Legislative and Executive Councils, till Oct. 1852, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. Childers, afterward Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom. Mr. Ebden then revisited England, but returned to Victoria in 1855; and entering the Assembly, was Treasurer in the second Haines Ministry from April 1857 to March 1858. Mr. Ebden was chairman of the St. Kilda and Brighton Railway, but went back to England in 1860. There he resided for six years, when he again visited Victoria, and died at the Melbourne Club in Oct 1867.