ALLEN, Sir George Wigram (1824-1885)

ALLEN, Sir George Wigram (1824-1885)
was born at Sydney on 16 May 1824. His father George Allen (1800-77) came to Sydney in 1816 and was the first attorney and solicitor admitted by the supreme court of New South Wales. He was an alderman of the first Sydney city council and was mayor in 1845. He was nominated to the old legislative council in this year, in 1856 was made a member of the new legislative council, and was elected chairman of committees. He was much interested in education and was a member of the senate of the university to which he bequeathed £1000 for a scholarship in mathematics. He died on 3 November 1877. His son was educated under W. T. Cape (q.v.) at Sydney College, where he showed ability in classics and mathematics, and in 1841 was articled to his father and became a solicitor. He was appointed a commissioner of national education in 1853 and held the position until 1867. He was nominated to the legislative council in 1860, in 1869 was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Glebe, and from December 1873 to February 1875 was minister for justice and public instruction in the first Parkes (q.v.) ministry. In the following March he was elected speaker and remained in that position until January 1883. He retired from politics in the following August, and died after a short illness on 23 July 1885. He married Marian, eldest daughter of the Rev. W. B. Boyce (q.v.), who survived him with four daughters and six sons. He was knighted in 1877 and created K.C.M.G. in 1883.
Allen was a man of the highest character, everywhere held in the highest repute, whether as president of the Bible Society or of the law institute, as a director of well-known companies, as a steadfast friend of education, or in connexion with his many charities. As speaker he showed dignity, courtesy and ability, his only fault being that occasionally he was not sufficiently firm with some of the wilder spirits in the house.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 1885; The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 24 July 1885; P. Mennell, Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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