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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Everard, John (1825–1886)

by Robert A. Johnson

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

John Everard, by Henry Sadd, c1855

John Everard, by Henry Sadd, c1855

State Library of Victoria, H90.159/13

John Everard (1825-1886), businessman and politician, was born at Groby, Leicestershire, England, and baptized on 7 April 1825 at near-by Ratby, son of Thomas Everard, farmer, and his wife Mary, née Breedon. He sailed in the Adelaide and arrived at Melbourne on 11 May 1853; a fellow passenger was (Sir) James McCulloch. Everard first entered business as a merchant and later turned to stock and share broking in partnership with W. L. Horton, becoming a leading member of the Stock Exchange formed in 1861.

As a politician Everard first came to prominence in connexion with the Land Convention and the movement for liberal land settlement laws. In January 1858 he was returned for Rodney as one of the first Conventionist members of the Legislative Assembly. He was re-elected in 1859 but resigned at the end of the year to give Wilson Gray a seat. In 1861 he was returned for North Gippsland, although he did not campaign there. However, he was not sworn in because he had become insolvent when the position of certain Maldon mining companies, with which he was closely connected, deteriorated suddenly in August. His fortunes soon recovered and he began tea broking, at first with J. C. Robertson, and from January 1863 on his own. In April 1864 he was re-elected for North Gippsland at a by-election. He did not stand at the general elections of 1864 and 1866, but in March 1868 was returned for Collingwood. Two hundred of his constituents clamoured for his resignation in October 1869 but he defended himself as an independent liberal reformer in a Tract for Stirring Times and in letters to the press. He was defeated for Rodney in 1871 and for Mornington in 1872 but was again successful at Collingwood in 1874. However, in July he again had to resign because of insolvency through losses of over £12,000 in mining speculations and in guarantees on tea ventures. After this setback he concentrated on tea broking and auctioneering. He died at South Yarra on 29 August 1886 and was buried in the Anglican section of the Melbourne general cemetery.

His political principles were always radical and democratic and his devotion to them seems to have affected his business interests. He fought hardest for favourable land laws but was also active in organizations urging protection, the eight-hour system and other liberal causes. He never accepted ministerial office though it was offered to him. His wide influence in politics won him the nickname of 'Warwick'.

At Melbourne in 1856 he had married Mary, daughter of Edward Moss and Jane, née Quinn, of Gortmore, Tyrone, Ireland; they had one daughter and seven sons, one of whom, William Hugh, became Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. After his wife died, he married at Fitzroy on 19 February 1875 Faith, daughter of William Cann and Sarah, née Yeandle; they had at least three children.

Select Bibliography

  • H. M. Humphreys (ed), Men of the Time in Australia: Victorian Series (Melb, 1878)
  • Age (Melbourne), 23 Aug 1861, 31 Aug 1886
  • Daily Telegraph (Melbourne), 20 Oct 1869, 11 July 1874.

Citation details

Robert A. Johnson, 'Everard, John (1825–1886)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 28 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

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