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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Forster, Hon. William

Forster, Hon. William, was born at Madras in 1818, and came to Australia at eleven years of age. He was educated at Cape's School, in Sydney, and became a squatter early in life. Mr. Forster soon attained prominence as a politician, but in his early career was better known as a satirical versifier and an incisive contributor to the press. He was elected at different times to the Lower House for East Sydney, St. Leonards, the Hastings, Queanbeyan, Illawarra, and Murrumbidgee. In his place in parliament he was a severe critic of the education policy of the Cowper Administration formed in 1857, and on their defeat on this question in Oct. 1859 he himself formed an administration, which, however, only lasted till the following March. Mr. Forster was Colonial Secretary in Mr. (afterwards Sir) James Martin's first Ministry from Oct. 1863 to Feb. 1865, and Secretary for Lands in Mr. (now Sir) John Robertson's second Ministry and the succeeding Cowper Ministry from Oct. 1868 to April 1870. In Feb. 1875 he again took office under Sir John Robertson, this time as Colonial Treasurer—a post which he held till the following February, when he resigned to become Agent-General of the Colony of New South Wales in London. This post he held for three years, when he was recalled by the Parkes Ministry, and returned to New South Wales, where he died on Oct. 30th, 1882. Mr. Forster whilst resident in London, published The Weir-Wolf, a Tragedy. He also published "Political Presentments" in 1879, and was the author of two other poetical works, "The Brothers" and "Midas"— the latter issued posthumously.