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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Early Residents - Geoffrey Eagar & A. Stewart

Geoffrey Eagar
We have no information about A. Stewart but Geoffrey Eagar is quite famous.  He was one of several parliamentarians that resided – mainly part time – in the Blue Mountains in the nineteenth century.  Eagar was son of convict Edward Eagar who received a conditional pardon in 1813 from Governor Lachlan Macquarie.  Eagar senior became one of the richest businessmen in the colony and was a shareholder in the Bank of New South Wales.  Geoffrey was born in 1818 and received his education by attending the schools of J.D. Lang and W.T. Cape.  In 1843 he married Mary Ann Bucknell. 
Geoffrey worked for various mercantile firms until he joined the staff of the Bank of New South Wales and his resignation in 1859 signalled a move into politics and the New South Wales Legislative Council where he joined with former school friends William Forster, James Martin and John Robertson.  His career was somewhat turbulent and after resigning from the Forster ministry in 1860, returned to the political stage in 1863 when James Martin replaced Cowper as Premier.  Under Martin he attained the position of Colonial Treasurer where his previous bank experience stood him in good stead.  He met with resistance however when he tried to bring the Customs Department under the control of Treasury.  He experienced resistance from W.A. Duncan who had powerful supporters like Henry Parkes.  Eagar resigned from the ministry again in 1868.  As the Premier, James Martin found a place for Eagar in Treasury in 1871 when he was facing financial difficulties.  Eagar, a well-known poet and essayist, was Chair of the Civil Service and History Boards and in the latter position recommended the publication of the Historical Records of NSW.  He died in 1891.
This is part of a longer article found in The Making of a Mountain Community: A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District, 2002.

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