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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Morphett, Sir John

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Morphett, Sir John, son of Nathaniel Morphett, of London, solicitor, was born in the Metropolis on May 4th, 1809. He emigrated to South Australia in one of the South Australian Company's pioneer ships, the Cygnet, arriving at Kangaroo Island in Sept. 1836. The next year when the Company removed their headquarters to Port Adelaide, Mr. Morphett also took up his residence on the mainland. In June 1843 he was appointed one of the seven members of the first Legislative Council of South Australia, and in 1851 he was nominated to the mixed council established under the new Constitution Act. He was also chosen Speaker. In 1857, at the first election held under responsible government, he was returned to the existing Legislative Council, and in March 1865 succeeded Sir J. H. Fisher as President of that body, a post which, having been thrice re-elected, he held till Feb. 1875, when his seat becoming vacant by effluxion of time, he did not seek re-election. He was knighted in 1870. Sir John was Chief Secretary in the two succeeding Reynolds Ministries, from Feb. to Oct. 1861. He married, in 1838, Elizabeth, daughter of the late Sir James Hurtle Fisher.