Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council 13/10/1868 - 01/12/1886
Vice President of the Executive Council 14/11/1881 - 04/01/1883
Member, Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the laws and regulations, and to the arrangement made from time to time for the establishment and maintenance of the military forces of New South Wales 1881
Fellow of the Senate, University of Sydney 1879 - 1887
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 29/11/1886 - 04/01/1910
Judge Commissary, Vice Admiralty Court 01/01/1887 - 31/12/1909
President, Statute-Law Consolidation Commission 28/12/1893 - 04/06/1896
Acting Governor of New South Wales 02/03/1893 - 29/05/1893, 15/03/1895 - 21/11/1895, 22/11/1897 - 22/01/1898, 05/03/1899 - 18/05/1899, 24/01/1900 - 09/03/1900, 01/11/1900 - 27/05/1902, 07/06/1905 - 29/12/1905
Member, Royal Commission on Military Preparation for the South African War (Great Britain) 11/10/1902 - 09/07/1903
Frederick Matthew Darley was born on 18 September 1830 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Henry Darley and his wife Maria Louisa nee West. He was educated at Dungannon College, County Tyrone, and Trinity College Dublin (BA 1851, Honorary LLD 1903). Called to the Bar at King's Inns, Dublin, on 18 January 1853, and also at the Inner Temple, he read in the chambers of Richard Holmes Coote at London and practised in the Munster Circuit in Ireland. With his wife Lucy Forest nee Browne, he left England in the 'Swiftsure' in January 1862, arriving in Melbourne in April, thence to Sydney on 30 May 1862 on the 'Wonga Wonga'. They had married at Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, on 13 December 1860. (1)
He was admitted to the Bar of the New South Wales Supreme Court on Sydney 2 June 1862 and was made a Queen's Counsel on 8 April 1879. Appointed to the Legislative Council on 28 September 1868, he took up his seat on 13 October 1868. He was Vice-President of the Executive Council and Representative of the Government from 14 November 1881 to 4 January 1883. He was interested in the policy and drafting of legislation, especially company law, equity, bankruptcy and matrimonial causes. He was a member of the Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the laws and regulations, and to the arrangement made from time to time for the establishment and maintenance of the military forces of New South Wales (1881). Darley was a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney from 1879 to 1887. (2)
After Sir James Martin's death in 1886, he was offered the position of Chief Justice but refused it because of the financial loss it would entail. Julian Salomons, who accepted the position, resigned before being sworn in. When it was again offered to Darley, he accepted. He resigned from the Legislative Council on 1 December 1886 and was appointed Chief Justice on 29 November 1886, sworn in on 7 December. As Chief Justice he was Judge Commissary of the Vice Admiralty Court from 1887 to 1909. He was president of the Statute-Law Consolidation Commission, appointed 28 December 1893. (3)
Darley was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1887 and a Knight Grand Cross of the same order on 6 May 1901. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales following Sir Alfred Stephen's resignation on 27 April 1891. He acted as Governor on seven occasions: 2 March 1893 to 29 May 1893, 15 March 1895 to 21 November 1895, 22 November 1897 to 22 January 1898, 5 March 1899 to 18 May 1899, 24 January 1900 to 9 March 1900, 1 November 1900 to 27 May 1902, and 7 June 1905 to 29 December 1905. As Governor of New South Wales, he took a leading role in the Federation celebrations during 1900-01.
He became seriously ill late in 1901 and in 1902 took a leave of absence from 16 June 1902, proceeding to England. On 11 October 1902 he was appointed by the British Government to the Royal Commission on Military Preparation for the South African War, which reported on 9 July 1903. (4)
He is believed to have returned to Sydney in 1903, although Matthew Henry Stephen was Acting Chief Justice until 25 February 1904. Darley resumed his position as Chief Justice in 1904 and was appointed to the Privy Council in 1905. He took further leave of absence as Chief Justice from 1 February 1909 while Sir George Bowen Simpson was Acting Chief Justice, however, Sir Frederick officially remained Chief Justice until his death. He returned to England and became Resident Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute. He died at London on 4 January 1910 and was buried in the family vault at Dublin. He was survived by his wife and children. (5)
(1) JM Bennett, 'Darley, Sir Frederick Matthew (1830-1910)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040019b.htm (cited 11 January 2008); Fred Johns, Johns's Notable Australians and Who's Who in Australasia, Adelaide, the Author, 1908, p.113; 'Darley, Sir Frederick Matthew (1830-1910)', Percival Serle, Dictionary of Australian Biography, 1949 http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogD.html (cited 23 January 2008); 'The Honourable Sir Frederick Darley, Knight', Australian Men of Mark, Sydney, Charles F Maxwell, 1889, Vol.2, pp.39-41; Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923, and Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ and Foreign Ports 1852-1886, Public Record Office Victoria, http://proarchives.imagineering.com.au/index_search_results.asp (cited 27 February 2008); State Records NSW: Shipping Master's Office; NRS13278, Inward Passenger lists January to June 1862 [X106]; Reel 410.
(2) ADB, op.cit.; Supreme Court; NRS 13664, Roll of Barristers and Solicitors, 1824-1876; Fiche 852, p.8A; New South Wales Governemnt Gazette No. 131, 10 April 1879, p.1681; The Hon. Frederick Matthew Darley [Former Member], New South Wales Parliament website http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/members.nsf/V3ListFormerMembers (cited 19 February 2008); New South Wales Government Gazette No.456, 14 November 1881, p.5827; DH Borchardt, Checklist of Royal Commissions Select Committees of Parliament and Boards of Inquiry Part IV New South Wales 1855-1960, Bundoora, La Trobe University Library, 1975, p.109; 'Fellows of the Senate - Senate - the University of Sydney' http://www.usyd.edu.au/senate//fellows1850onalpha.shtml (cited 26 February 2008).
(3) New South Wales Government Gazette No.679, 29 November 1886, p.8201; No.683, 30 November 1886, p.8215; Public Service Lists (Blue Books) 1887, p.83; 1894, p.75; New South Wales Law Almanacs 1887 to 1909.
(4) ABD, op.cit.; WM Shaw, The Knights of England, originally published 1906, p.347 on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=wQM7YzGBZi0C (cited 26 February 2008); New South Wales Parliamentary Record 1824-1935, 12th edition, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1926, pp.2-3; NSW Government Gazette No.388, 20 June 1902, p.4422; 'Lists of commissions and officials: 1900-1909 (nos.103-145)', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 10: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1870-1939 (1995), pp.42-57 URL http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=16607&strquery=Darley (cited 26 February 2008).
(5) ABD, op.cit.; New South Wales Law Almanac for 1910, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1910, p.21.