Fellows of Senate
Sir William Montagu Manning KCMG
Sir William Montagu Manning KCMG, barrister and politician, was a Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney from 1861 to 1895. During his membership of Senate he was Chancellor between 1878 and 1895).
(1811 - 1895)
KCMG, LLD UCL
Fellow of Senate 1861 - 1895, including election by Senate as
Chancellor 1878 - 1895
William Montagu Manning attended University College, London where he graduated LLD.
Manning was admitted to the London bar in 1832. He arrived in Sydney in 1837 and was appointed as a magistrate and later, Chairman of the Quarter Sessions. He was Commissioner of the Courts of Requests in 1841-43 and became Solicitor-General in 1844.
In 1848-49, he was a member of the Supreme Court bench, presiding in the Equity Division. In 1851, Manning was nominated to the Legislative Council by Governor Fitzroy. After the dissolution of the Council in 1856, he was elected to that body that same year and was appointed Attorney-General.
In 1857, he was made Queens Counsel and he travelled to England where the following year he received a knighthood. Manning returned to Sydney 1859 and advised Governor Denison on the arrangements for Queensland’s separation.
As well as maintaining a significant legal practice, Manning served as Attorney-General in several government administrations during the 1860s. In 1876 Manning became a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court.
His membership of Senate
Manning was appointed to the University Senate in 1861. In 1878, he was elected Chancellor, a position he held until his death in 1895. During his long and productive stewardship, he presided over the expansion in the University’s teaching, including the introduction of the professional schools of medicine, law and engineering. He steered the University through the legal complexities of the substantial Challis Bequest, made in 1881, and successfully fought for the endowment of the University by the government when the Depression of the 1890s was at its height. The admission of women to the University in 1881 owes a great deal to the initiative of Manning. He was also deeply committed to a liberal education, claiming that ‘the teachings of the faculty of Arts are the very essence of University education and the chief source of culture’. Manning House and Manning Road commemorate his name.
The biographical notes on the Chancellors contain information derived from a variety of sources including: Australia’s First: A History of the University of Sydney; University News; University of Sydney Archives; Lawlink NSW: Law and History