Redmond Barry

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Sir Redmond Barry was born on 7 June 1813 at Ballyclough, County Cork, Ireland. Barry studied law at Trinity College, Dublin, and was admitted to the Irish Bar in 1838. Barry arrived in Australia in 1839, arriving in Sydney. However Redmond Barry relocated to Melbourne, where he found his home in Australia.

Redmond Barry is noted as a barrister becoming the "standing council" for the Aboriginal people in Port Phillip, as it is purported he witnessed injustices occurring between the Indigenous people and the new "white law" due to colonisation. As opposed to the majority of his counterparts, Barry is reported to have seen Aboriginal people as equals, and his open-minded and unbiased attitude was seen as unequaled in the colony.

As a consequence of the Eureka Stockade, Sir Redmund Barry was the Judge that presided over of the court that tried the eleven Eureka Stockade rebels in 1855, what is known as the Eureka Treason Trial. Judge Redmund Barry also presided over the case in the supreme court of another notable figure in Ballarat history, James Scobie who was murdered in 1854, attributed as another factor that led to the ensuing rebellion.[1]

Sir Redmond Barry was one of the founding members and trustees of the establishment of the Ballarat School of Mines, in 1871. He was President of the Ballarat School of Mines Council from 1870 to 1876. Barry assisted with the founding of the University of Melbourne and acted as the first Chancellor of the University. Barry also was a founding member in establishing the the State Library of Victoria.

During his judicious career, Sir Redmond Barry was most famous trial was that of Ned Kelly in 1880, resulting in Kelly being hanged. After a very short illness he died in East Melbourne on 23 November 1880, only twelve days after the execution of Ned Kelly.



THE LATE MR. JUSTICE BARRY. The death of Mr. Justice Barry, referred to elsewhere, leaves a blank in tho list of old and useful colonists which will not be easily filled. His Honor was one of the oldest civil servants in the Australian colonies. In addition to the discharge of his judicial functions he had sought earnestly and disinterestedly to aid in all philanthropic enterprises, and to promote the establishment and maintenance of such institutions as the Melbourne University, the Public Library and the National Gallery and' Museum, with which his name must ever be associated. His Honor was born in 1813 at Ballyclough, in the county of Cork, Ireland. His father was Major-General Henry Green Barry, the representative of a distinguished Irish family, claiming to be descended from Wilham de Berry, whose antecedents date back to the mythical period of Irish history. Without particularising upon the point of ancient line age, it seems indisputable that the Barrys from whom the late judge descended are intimately connected with' the family of which Lord Barrymore was tho head, and that they were lineally and by intermarriage connected with some of the best houses of tho old country. Sir Redmond, it is said, was intended in the first instance for the military profession, but being disappointed in this respect his friends suggested that he should study for tho bar. In 1833 he became a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, the Alma Mater of thou sands of Irishmen, who either finding their country too small or too warm to hold them, have been scattered over the face of the globe to wield their swords, their tongues or their pens for the livelihood unattainable at home. His Honor appears to have gone through his academical course with credit, and we find that in 1838 he was called to the bar in Ireland. Shortly afterwards he emigrated, and in 1839 arrived in Sydney, where he qualified himself to act as a barrister, and immediately sailed for Melbourne. At this period Victoria was known as Port Phillip, a distant province or appanage of New South Wales, but it was growing into notice, increasing in population, and assuming a social importance which necessitated the mother colony foregoing many of its claims for regulating the local wants of the district; At this date all civil cases had to be 'taken to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to be tried — an arrangement which involved the utmost inconvenience to the litigants residing in Port Phillip. Urged by frequent representations, the Government o£ New South Wales consented to the establishment of two new tribunals in Melbourne, one being a branch of the Supreme Court in that colony and the other a Court of Requests, of which Mr. Barry, the subject of our sketch, ' was appointed a commissioner. Mr. Redmond Barry's practice at the bar was not interfered with, and professionally he was regarded as very successful. When in 1851 Victoria was separated from New South Wales he was appointed Solicitor-General by Governor La Trobe, and in that capacity was a member of the Legislative and Executive Councils. In the following year he was appointed puisne judge of the Supreme Court, of which Mr. A'Beckett was chief justice. Sir Redmond Barry had therefore occupied a leading position on the judicial bench for over a quarter of a century. In 1862 he was accorded the honor of knighthood, and some years later had confer red upon him for. public services the order of K.O.M.G; Although connected with many popular movements, and associated with our loading institutions, Judge Barry ever maintained a character free from the suspicion of partisanship. His memory claims respect at the hands of his follow colonists for public virtues of tho very highest order. His whole desire appeared to have been to elevate the intellectual standard of the community. To his efforts mainly we are indebted for the foundation of the Melbourne University. That institution was opened in 1855, when, in recognition of his active serviced, his . Honor was elected chancellor, a position which he worthily maintained to the close of his earthly career. Much, of the success which has attended the establishment of the Melbourne Public Library is solely due to the never-ceasing exertions of the late judge. His Honor was not satisfied with rendering that noble institution the mere receptacle of a heterogeneous collection of works from all quarters of the globe. He was desirous of making it the nursery of colonial intellect, where might be found authentic sources of the great facts of history from which future writers might take their data and be enabled to hold their own against the litterateurs of Great Britain and Europe. One great object of his ambition appeared to have been to procure for our Public Library a complete set of works, which, in themselves, would present a verification of Gibbon's history of the Decline and Fall of tho Roman Empire. This seems to have been the darling object of his Honor's intellectual life for many years past ; and when it is remembered what that includes, as only the earnest student of Gibbon can comprehend, it will be admitted that the learned judge had undertaken the work of a lifetime. Gibbon, the historian, had set before him tho astounding enterprise of bridging over the dark period of history extending from the decline of the Caesars' sway in Rome contemporaneously with the incipiency and early development of Christianity to the incursions of tho Turks in Europe and their establishment in Byzantium in the fifteenth, century, when the whole complexion of European civilisation became completely changed. In dealing with the intermediate period, and conveying anything like an intelligible conception of the factors at work, the historian had to undertake a task truly herculean; and no thing could bettor display tho superior powers and literary capacity of the late judge than his efforts to collect in our library tho vast stores of knowledge from which Gibbon, the historian, drew his facts and inspiration.

In the matter of exhibitions his Honor Sir Redmond Barry always displayed the liveliest interest, and was identified with all the various intercolonial and international displays from that in 1854 at the old building in William- street, where the Mint now stands, down to the great Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. During his visit to Europe in 1862 he represented Victoria at tho London Exhibition, and at the same time the degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Trinity College, Dublin. At subsequent periods he took the degree of LL.B. and M.A. at the University, Melbourne. In the establishment of public libraries outside Melbourne he always evinced great interest, and he delivered addresses on the occasion of the free library being opened at Ballarat in 1869 and the school of mines in 1870. He was a member of the Royal Society of Dresden, the Society of Northern Antiquarians at Copenhagen, and a corresponding member of 'the Royal Dublin Society. At the beginning of the year 1875 the Governor, Sir George Bowen, went to England on leave of absence ; and the Chief Justice, who was also on leave, not having returned at tho time of his Excellency's departure, Sir Redmond Barry, for the space of ten days, from 1st January to 11th January, when Sir W. Stawell arrived, occupied the position of Acting-Governor. In 1870 he again visited Europe and America, acting at the Philadelphia Exhibition as one of the Victorian commissioners. About four years ago a subscription fund was started for the purpose of enabling a public recognition to be made of the efforts of Sir Redmond towards the advancement of tho community. It was proposed to erect in his honor a bronze statue, mounted on a stone pedestal placed in front of the Public Library. The cost was estimated at £3500. For some time a number of persons interested themselves in collecting subscriptions, but of late nothing has been done in tho matter. Up to the present, how ever, £1000 has been subscribed, and the amount is still in the hands of the treasurer of the fund. Possibly tho committee will hold a meeting shortly and decide what action shall be taken. The deceased judge was respected by all classes of the community as an upright, courteous and genial gentleman, and the intelligence of his death caused regret throughout the entire colony. [2]

See also

Ballarat School of Mines

Bendigo School of Mines

Sandhurst School of Mines


Leave of absence, says the Geelong Advertiser, has been granted to his Honor Sir Redmond Barry, who will proceed to England as Commissioner for Victoria, and representative of the colony at the great International Exhibition. Mr Chapman is generally spoken of as his locum tenens.[3]

BALLARAT, October 26. Sir Redmond Barry arrived by afternoon. train, to open School of Mines tonight. A large gathering is expected.[4]

THE BALLARAT SCHOOL OF MINES. - A deputation from tho School of Mines, Ballarat, consisting of their Honors Sir Redmond Barry and Judge Rogers, Mr. Macpherson, M.L.A., Mr. Russell, M.L.C., and some other gentlemen connected with or interested in tho school, were introduced yesterday by Mr. Jones, M.L.A., to the Minister of Mines, for the purpose of asking that an additional Government subsidy should be given to tho school. Mr. Jones, M.L.A., would have been present, but was unable to attend from ill-health. Sir Redmond Barry set forth at considerable length the great advantages and value of the School of Mines, and asked that L300 should be granted to it out of the L500 remaining at the disposal of the Government. His Honor dwelt strongly on the facts that a very heavy expenditure had been gone to, and that the school was in a far more advanced state than that at Sandhurst, and he said he felt quite sure that the Minister of Mines, although connected with Sandhurst, would recognise the justice and importance of the request. Mr. Mackay said that the Ballarat School of Mines had received L500 last year, and a like sum also this year; and L500 had been promised to Sandhurst, if the progress made with the school warranted its being given. The Secretary of Mines would be instructed to visit the Sandhurst school, and to report on its condition, and would after wards visit Ballarat for the same purpose, and when his report was received lie (Mr. Mackay) would consult his colleagues as to the manner in which tho money would be disposed of Sandhurst would have a claim to it if certain progress had been made with the school. He might add that the Government had hardly determined on the policy of making tho subsidy perpetual. The deputation then withdrew.[5]


  1. Clare Gervasoni, Dorothy Wickham & Justin Corfield, (2004), The Eureka Encyclopedia, Ballarat Heritage Services.
  2. Illustrated Australian News, 4 December 1880.
  3. Ballarat Star, 22 November 1861.
  4. Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, 27 October 1870.
  5. Bendigo Advertiser, 28 March 1873.

Further Reading

Peter Ryan, The Age, Sir Redmund Barry: no citizen did more for Melbourne. 30/09/1980.

Peter Ryan, Australian Dictionary of Biographies, Retrieved from URL: 22/12/2011

External links

--Lyndel Ward 15:44, 22 December 2011 (EST)

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