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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Hotham, Captain Sir Charles

Hotham, Captain Sir Charles, R.N., K.C.B., was the eldest son of Rev. Frederick Hotham, Prebendary of Rochester, and grandson of Lord Hotham, a Baron of the Court of Exchequer. His mother was Anne Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Thomas Hallett Hodges, of Hemsted Place, Kent. He was born at Dennington, Suffolk, of which his father was then rector, in 1806, and entered the navy in Nov. 1818, and saw a great deal of active service, becoming lieutenant in 1825, commander in 1828, post-captain in 1833, and K.C.B. in March 1846, in recognition of his gallant action off the coast of South America in the previous November, when he ascended the Parma River, and, with a very insufficient contingent, defeated the vastly superior forces of General Rosas at Punta Obligado, destroying four batteries and twenty-five ships which barred his passage. In Dec. 1853 Sir Charles married Jane Sarah, daughter of Lord Bridport and widow of Hugh Holbech, of Farnborough, Warwick, who survived him, and married, thirdly, in 1860, Captain Armytage, R.N. He was employed on various diplomatic missions, and ultimately appointed to succeed Mr. Latrobe as Governor of Victoria, arriving in Hobson's Bay on June 21st, 1854. Though well intentioned, Sir Charles Hotham was somewhat imprudent, and thus increased the difficulties of a difficult situation. It is to his credit that he at once recognised the growing force of the popular movement, which just before his death resulted in the concession of full autonomous institutions to the Victorian colonists. His strength was overtaxed in grappling with the enormous difficulties of the financial situation, the opposition to the policy of the Home Government in regard to the influx of convicts, and the troubles over the diggers' licences, culminating in the regrettable bloodshed at Ballarat. Whatever his failings as a proconsul, it must not be forgotten that under his régime responsible government was conceded to Victoria, the extravagance of the finances redressed, and the exclusion of convicts finally accepted as an unalterable principle both by the local and the imperial administrations. During his governorship, too, a great advance was made in material progress, the Hobson's Bay Railway and the Melbourne Gas Works being inaugurated during his tenure of office. Sir Charles died in Melbourne on the last day of the year 1855, from a choleraic affection resulting in epilepsy. The Legislative Council voted £1500 to defray the expenses of his funeral, and for the erection of a monument to his memory.