Francis Forbes

(1784—1841) lawyer and colonial official

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'Francis Forbes' can also refer to...

William Francis Forbes Sempill (1893—1965) engineer and aviator


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(1784–1841) took up the post of first chief justice of NSW in 1824. In this capacity he not only headed the judiciary but was also a member of the Legislative Council and later, the Executive Council. He also had the right to prevent the governor submitting a bill to the Legislative Council, a position of great power. Forbes worked well with Governor Brisbane but incurred with Brisbane the emnity of some influential colonists, including Hannibal Macarthur and Samuel Marsden. He differed with Governor Darling over many issues, including the governor's handling of the Sudds–Thompson affair, his attempts to control a critical press, and his rights over assigned servants. Darling sought his removal from office, but Forbes outlasted him. After serving for a time under Governor Bourke, Forbes was forced by ill-health to return to England in 1836, where he worked at the Colonial Office and appeared before the Molesworth committee on transportation. His role in NSW is considered by in Sir Francis Forbes (1968).

From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.

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