John Morphett

<p>Sir John Morphett, ca. 1855. Image courtesy of the SLSA, B11135</p>

John Morphett (1809-1892) was the son of a London solicitor. On leaving school at the age of 16 he worked in a commercial firm in London, before joining another firm in Alexandria, Egypt. On returning to England in 1834 he became interested in the South Australian Association and published a circular with the lengthy title: Reasons for the Purchase of Land in South Australia, by Persons Resident in Britain; with a view to the removal of Labourers, and the profitable employment of Capital. He became one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the establishment of South Australia and advertised his willingness to act for purchasers of land in the new province. He sailed in the Cygnet in 1836.

Morphett was involved in many aspects of early colonial life and was well known for his level-headed decision making. In 1838 John Morphett married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of James Hurtle Fisher. He entered politics in 1843 when he was nominated as one of the first non-official nominees of the Legislative council. His political career was distinguished: he held the positions of Speaker of the Legislative Council, chief secretary in the Thomas Reynolds Ministries as well as later becoming president of the Legislative Council. He retired from politics in 1873 and died on the 7 November 1892.

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