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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Onslow, Alexander Campbell

Onslow, Alexander Campbell, B.A., Chief Justice of Western Australia, is the fourth son of Arthur Pooley Onslow, of Send Grove, Ripley, Surrey, by his wife, Rosa Roberta, daughter of Alexander Macleay, F.R.S., Speaker of the first Legislative Council of New South Wales. He was born on July 17th, 1842, and was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1864. He entered at the Inner Temple on Jan. 15th, 1862, was called to the bar on Nov. 17th, 1868, and went the Home Circuit. He married, on Feb. 4th, 1878, Madeline Emma, daughter of Rev. Robert Loftus Tottenham, of Florence, and granddaughter of the Bishop of Clogher. He was Attorney-General of British Honduras from 1878 to 1880, and Attorney-General of Western Australia from 1880 to 1883. In July of the latter year he was appointed Chief Justice, in which capacity he administered the government during the absence of Sir F. Napier Broome in England in 1884-5. His relations with that Governor having subsequently become strained, the latter "interdicted" him from his functions as Chief Justice, for the alleged premature and improper publication of certain correspondence then pending between them and with the Colonial Office. The Executive Council unanimously confirmed the interdict, and placed Mr. Onslow on half-pay pending the decision of the Colonial Office. In the result, Lord Knutsford reinstated Mr. Onslow, but censured him. Ultimately, in view of the attitude assumed by the Chief Justice in adjudicating on certain cases of newspaper libel, the Legislative Council passed a resolution requesting the Home Government, in the interests of tranquillity, to transfer him to some other location. He was accordingly given, a year's leave of absence; and this having been again extended, Sir H. T. Wrensfordsley was sent out to the colony in 1890 as Acting Chief Justice. Mr. Onslow returned to Western Australia and resumed his occupancy of the office of Chief Justice in July 1891.