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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Nicholson, Sir Charles

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Nicholson, Sir Charles, Bart., M.D., D.C.L., LL.D., first Chancellor of Sydney University, is the only son of the late Charles Nicholson, of London, by his marriage with Barbara, daughter of J. Ascough, of Bedale, Yorkshire, and was born on Nov. 23rd, 1808. He graduated M.D. at Edinburgh University in 1833, and in the next year emigrated to Sydney, N.S.W., where he arrived in May, and practised as a physician. In 1843 he was returned to the first Legislative Council of New South Wales as one of the five members for the Port Phillip district (now Victoria). He continued to sit in the Council till 1856, being elected Speaker of that body, in succession to Mr. Macleay, in 1846, and twice subsequently re-elected. He was knighted by patent in March 1852, and took great interest in the advancement of education. He was appointed first Vice-Provost of Sydney University, and delivered an inaugural address at its opening in Oct. 1852. In 1854 he was chosen first Chancellor of the University, and has been one of its most liberal benefactors. In 1857 he was made an honorary D.C.L. of the University of Oxford, and was created first baronet of Luddenham, N.S.W., in April 1859, In the following year Queensland was constituted a separate colony, and Sir Charles Nicholson having been nominated to the Legislative Council, acted as its first President from May to August, when he resigned, and returned to reside permanently in England in 1862. In 1865 he married Sarah Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Archibald Keightley, of the Charterhouse, London; and in 1868 had the honorary degree of LL.D. conferred on him by the University of Cambridge. In 1890 he was appointed to represent the interests of the Central Queensland Separation League in London, and headed deputations to Lord Knutsford on the subject. The heir to the baronetcy is his eldest son, Archibald Keightley, born in 1867.