Captain William Lonsdale – Biography


Captain William Lonsdale

Captain William Lonsdale became the government’s first representative in Melbourne and his statesmanship developed good relationships with its rebellious inhabitants. In his official capacity, Lonsdale was not supposed to dabble in land and stock speculations, but did so using Alfred as his front. Because of Lonsdale’s official knowledge and patronage, the dubious partnership flourished.

Despite valid accusations of nepotism and inappropriate financial dealings, Lonsdale was elected Victoria’s first Colonial Secretary in 1851 and Colonial Treasurer in 1854. He died age 64 years in 1864 in England and left a huge financial estate. Alfred was not quite as successful but nevertheless left a substantial estate when he died age 56 years in Melbourne, having suffered from botched operations on his leg and severe depression in his final months.