The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Sladen, Hon. Sir Charles

Sladen, Hon. Sir Charles, K.C.M.G. LL.D., sometime Premier of Victoria second son of John Baker Sladen, of Ripple Park, co. Kent, by Ethelred eldest daughter of Kingsman Baskett St. Barbe, of London, was born in 1816 and educated at Shrewsbury and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated S.C.L. in 1837, LL.B. in 1840, and LL.D. in 1867. He emigrated to Port Phillip in 1842, and practised as a solicitor at Geelong till 1854. In December of that year he was acting Treasurer during the absence of Captain Lonsdale, and held the same post as member for Geelong under Mr. Haines, in the first Ministry formed after the inauguration of responsible government, from Nov. 1855 to March 1857. At the first general election for the Assembly held under the new constitution, in 1856, he unsuccessfully contested Geelong, and remained out of Parliament till 1864, when he was elected to the Legislative Council for the Western province. He became the acknowledged leader of the Conservative Party in the Upper House during the struggle between the MᶜCulloch Government, representing the majority in the Assembly, with the Council over the backing, firstly of the Tariff, and afterwards of the Darling grant, to the annual Appropriation Bill. During the heat of the crisis caused by the resignation of Sir James MᶜCulloch, in May 1868, he came to the aid of the Governor, and though in a hopeless minority in the popular House, formed a ministry, of which he was Premier and Chief Secretary, and which, in the teeth of adverse votes in the Assembly, held office for two months, when the crisis was terminated by the expudiation of the grant to his wife by ex-Governor Darling. Sir Charles did not seek re-election for the Western province, when, in August of the same year, his seat became vacant by effluxion of time. In 1876, however, he was again returned by his old constituents, and took a strong Conservative stand in defence of the privileges of the Council during the struggle with the Berry Government and the Assembly over payment of members, the Land Tax, and Reform of the Upper House. Sir Charles was created K.C.M.G. in 1875. He married in 1840 Harriet Amelia, daughter of William Orton, who survived him, and died at Sandhurst, Victoria, on June 12th, 1887. Sir Charles died in 1884.