HOLROYD, Sir Edward Dundas (1828-1916)

HOLROYD, Sir Edward Dundas (1828-1916)
was the son of Edward Holroyd, senior commissioner of the London bankruptcy court, and grandson of Sir George Sowley Holroyd, an English judge, of whom there is an account in the Dictionary of National Biography. Holroyd was born on 25 January 1828. He was educated at Winchester College, where he won the medals for Latin and English essays, and in 1846 went to Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1851, M.A. in 1854, and was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in June 1855. He practised in London and also contributed to the press, but decided to go to Australia, and arrived in Melbourne in 1859. He made a great reputation as a barrister in equity and mining suits, and in 1872 was offered a seat on the bench of the supreme court. He refused this, became a Q.C. in 1879, and in 1881 became a puisne judge of the supreme court of Victoria. He at first took only equity cases, but later proved to be also an excellent judge in the criminal court. He would not allow himself to be ruffled, and it is related that once when he had sentenced a prisoner named Butler for highway robbery, the man, almost foaming at the mouth, heaped curses on the judge. Holroyd calmly said, "Nothing that you can say prisoner can induce me to add one day more to your sentence. I cannot tell you how I despise you." He became the senior judge, and in the absence of Sir John Madden sometimes acted as chief justice. He retired in 1906 and died at Melbourne on 5 January 1916. He married in 1862 Anna Maria Hoyles, daughter of Henry Compton, and was survived by two sons and three daughters. He took little part in public discussions, except on the question of federation. He was for some time president of the Imperial Federation League of Victoria, and also of the Athenaeum and Savage Clubs. He was knighted in 1903.
Holroyd was below medium height and slender, a good boxer in his youth, a good tennis player, and even when over 60 thought little of a 20-mile walk. He had a great sense of humour, was a good after-dinner speaker, and could enliven the dreariest argument on some point of law with a humorous interjection. He was an eminently fair judge, particularly patient with a man conducting his own defence, or a barrister struggling with a poor case. On the other hand his patient noting of witnesses' answers rather cramped the style of barristers who would have preferred to deliver volleys of questions at the witness—but probably this made for justice too. His judgments, usually written, were models of clear English, and they were seldom appealed against.
Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; The Age and The Argus, Melbourne, 6 January 1916; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1916.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • Edward Dundas Holroyd — Sir Edward Dundas Holroyd, QC (25 January 1828 – 5 January 1916) was a judge, active in Australia.Edward Dundas Holyroyd was the son of Edward Holroyd, senior commissioner of the London bankruptcy court, and grandson of Sir George Sowley Holroyd …   Wikipedia

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