Commissioner for examining and reporting on claims to grants of land 20/03/1841 – 01/06/1841
Crown Prosecutor 02/06/1841 – 06/09/1844, 01/01/1845 - 24/01/1845
Chairman, Sydney Court of General and Quarter Sessions 07/09/1844 - 31/12/1844, 03/10/1851 - 31/12/1858, 01/01/1859 - 3006/1865
Commissioner to the Courts of Requests for the County of Cumberland 18/01/1845 – 31/12/1858
District Court Judge 01/01/1859 - 21/06/1865
Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 22/6/1865 - 14/3/1876.
Alfred Cheeke was born on 10 March 1810 at Evesham, Worcestershire. The son of John Mosley Gilbert Cheeke, Solicitor and Senior Magistrate for the County of Worcester, he was educated by private tutors, and at the University of Cambridge. Called to the Bar of the Middle Temple on 29 January 1836, he initially joined the Oxford Circuit. (1)
Arriving in New South Wales in October 1837, Cheeke was admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 10 November 1837. (2) He was made a Magistrate on 18 September 1838. On 20 March 1841 he took Roger Therry's place as a Commissioner for examining and reporting on claims to grants of land, while Therry was acting as Attorney General. Cheeke relinquished his role as Commissioner when on 2 June 1841 he was appointed as a Crown Prosecutor before the Courts of General and Quarter Sessions, in place of Francis Moore who had died. Following the resignation of William Montagu Manning, Cheeke was made a Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions on 7 September 1844 till the end of the year. He returned to his role as Crown Prosecutor from 1 to 24 January 1845. (3) On 18 January 1845 he was made a Commissioner of the Court of Requests for the County of Cumberland, and from 1 January 1859 a Judge of the Metropolitan District Court, when the Court of Requests was abolished and District Courts created under the District Courts Act, 1858 (22 Vic. No 18). (4) On 3 October 1851, he was appointed a Chairman of the Courts of General and Quarter Sessions for the rest of 1851, in place of Samuel Raymond. It was a position he was to occupy until he rose from the District Court to be a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 22 June 1865. (5) In 1868 he presided over the trial of H J O'Farrell for the attempted assassination of Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Cheeke formed a partnership with Edward Broadhurst in 1848 to establish grazing properties in the Gwydir District. The partnership ended in 1865, with Cheeke selling the land two years later. In 1859 he bought 'Yarroville', near Minto, where his racehorses were trained. He took leave from the Supreme Court for 12 months in 1875 to visit Europe. Alfred Cheeke died on 14 March 1876, soon after returning to Sydney. (6)
(1) HTE Holt, 'Cheeke, Alfred (1810-1876)', Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol.3, Carlton, University of Melbourne Press, 1969, pp.384-385.
(2) ADB, op cit.; Supreme Court; NRS 13664, Roll of Barristers and Solicitors, 1824-1876, SR Fiche 852, p.2A.
(3) New South Wales Government Gazette No.375, 19 September 1838, p.749; No.23, 23 March 1841, p.405; No.44, 4 June 1841, p.768; No.83, 10 September 1844, p.1117; Colonial Secretary; NRS 1286, Returns of the Colony (Blue Books) 1841, pp.126, 166; 1844, p.242; 1845, p.240.
(4) NSW Government Gazette No.6, 21 January 1845, p.66; No.214, 22 December 1858, p.2253; Blue Books, op cit., 1845, p.242; 1859, pp.72, 74; 'An Act for establishing District Courts and for enabling Judges thereof to act as Chairmen of Quarter Sessions' (District Court Act, 1858, No.18) assented to 12 November 1858.
(5) NSW Government Gazette No.110, 3 October 1851, p.1555; No.1, 2 January 1852, p.1; No.1, 4 January 1853, p.1; No.132, 23 June 1865, p.1362; Blue Books, op. cit., 1851, p.342; Public Service Lists (Blue Books), 1865, pp.42, 38. Note Blue Books state term as Supreme Court Judge started 22 June, Government Gazette notice is dated 23 June 1865.
(6) HTE Holt, 'Alfred Cheeke', pp.16-21 in A Court Rises: the lives and times of the Judges of the District Court on New South Wales (1859-1959), North Sydney, Law Foundation of New South Wales, 1976.