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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Manning, Hon. Sir William Montagu

Manning, Hon. Sir William Montagu, M.L.C., LL.D., second son of John Edye Manning, of Clifton, Bristol, was born in June 1811 at Alphington, near Exeter, and educated at private schools and at University College, London. He entered at Lincoln's Inn in Nov. 1827, and was called to the bar in Nov. 1832. He practised on the Western Circuit until 1837, when he went out to Australia. He was appointed Chairman of Quarter Sessions in Sydney in Oct. 1837, Solicitor-General of New South Wales in Oct. 1844, and undertook the duties of Acting Judge of the Supreme Court, in the absence of Justice Therry, from Jan. 1848 to Nov. 1849, when he returned to the Solicitor-Generalship, and held that post till the inauguration of responsible government in 1856. Sir William, who was appointed a nominee member of the mixed Legislative Council in 1851, was returned to the first Legislative Assembly for South Cumberland in 1856, and in April of that year was sworn of the Executive Council, taking office as Attorney-General in June following in the Donaldson Ministry, the first formed under responsible government in New South Wales. The Cowper Ministry came in in August for two months, and in October Mr. Manning resumed office as Attorney-General in the Parkes Ministry, but retired through ill-health in May 1857, when he was presented with his portrait (by Sir Watson Gordon, R.A.), a piece of plate, and a purse of £1000. In March 1858 he visited England, and was knighted. Returning to the colony in 1859, he again became Attorney-General in February of the next year in the Forster Ministry, but retired with his colleagues a fortnight later. He was called to the Legislative Council in 1861. In Oct. 1868 Sir William, who had become Q.C., was reappointed Attorney-General in the Robertson Ministry without a seat in the Cabinet, and retained the position under Mr. (afterwards Sir) Charles Cowper till Dec 1870, when he resigned with the rest of the Government In 1876 Sir William Manning was made a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and quitted the Legislative Council. In 1887 Sir William retired from the bench, where he acted as Equity Judge, and was again called to the Legislative Council. In 1861 he became a Fellow of Sydney University, and was elected Chancellor in 1878. He has been President of the New South Wales Rifle Association since its initiation in 1860. Sir William, prior to emigrating to Australia, published "Notes of Proceedings in Electoral Revision Courts" (1832), and was joint author of Neville and Manning's "Reports in Court of King's Bench" (6 vols., 1832). Sir William married, in 1836, Emily Anne, eldest daughter of Edward Wise, of Hill Grove, Isle of Wight; and, secondly, in 1849, Eliza Anne, daughter of the Very Rev. William Sowerby, Dean of Goulburn, N.S.W.