Students at the University of Sydney

The first 24 students

Joseph Leary

Joseph Leary was admitted as a student at the new University of Sydney in 1852 in the first cohort of students.


His early life

Born at Campbelltown in 1831, the son of John Leary and Catherine Jones, Joseph Leary received his schooling at St Mary’s Seminary and the Sydney College.

His student days at the University of Sydney

He was 22 when he was admitted as a student at the new University of Sydney in the first cohort of students.

He studied for two years at the University, but did not complete his studies.

His career

Leary returned to Campbelltown.

In 1860 he won the seat of Narellan in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.

He took up law at a later time and was articled to R Driver and admitted as a solicitor on 22 December 1866. He practised in Sydney.

At the same time he maintained an interest in politics, and was re-elected for Narellan in 1869, having lost the seat in 1864.

Leary continued to pursue a legal and political career. Whilst representing Murrumbidgee, in the Assembly – having been elected for that district in 1874 – he took office as Minister of Justice and Public Instruction in the Farrell Government in December 1877, and retired with his colleagues on their defeat in December 1878.

In 1880 he unsuccessfully contested the seat of Camden,

In 1881 he died at his home in Macquarie Street at 49 years of age.