Pioneer landowner, explorer and politician
whose extensive influence helped develop Australia's education and
political systems. Wentworth was born in New South Wales in 1793 and
educated in England. On his return in 1810 he was granted land on the
Nepean River, and three years later participated in the first (white)
crossing of the Blue Mountains with Gregory Blaxland and William Lawson.
He was granted further land and returned to England in 1816 to study
law. He was called to the bar in 1822 and returned to the colony in
Wentworth's next major venture was the
establishment, with Robert Wardell, of the newspaper The Australian.
This was the first independent paper in the colony, and was used as a
vehicle for Wentworth's "emancipists" to promote
representative government (based on land ownership) and trial by jury.
He resisted the efforts of Governors Macquarie and later Darling to
regulate the paper, and saw trial by jury extended to the colony's
courts in 1830.
In 1835 Wentworth founded the Australian
Patriotic Society which later drafted the constitution of New South
Wales. In 1842 a Legislative Council with some elected members was
formed, and Wentworth became a member in 1843. He argued strongly for
the interests of land owners to extend self government, helping to draft
a new constitution which became law in 1855.
Wentworth's influence also contributed to
the establishment of the first State primary education system in New
South Wales, and he founded the University of Sydney in 1852.
Wentworth returned to England in the mid
1850s, where he died in 1872. His main political rival, Henry Parkes,
described Wentworth as "beyond doubt the ablest man in the