Richard Denis Meagher was born at Bathurst, NSW, on 11 January 1866, son of Denis Meagher, police constable and Irish immigrant, and his wife Jane (d.1924), née Keleher. He married Alice Maude Osmonde on 26 January 1891 at St Francis Church, Paddington. They had no children. He died at Lewisham on 17 September 1931 and was buried as a Catholic in Waverley Cemetery.
Occupation & interests
Dick Meagher was educated at St Stanislaus College at Bathurst, at St Aloysius College at Sydney and at the University of Sydney. He was articled to J A B Cahill in 1883 and assigned to William Patrick Crick in 1887. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1889 and went into partnership with Crick from 1892. He was struck off the Roll of Solicitors in 1896 for alleged conspiracy. He became a land agent before being re-admitted as a solicitor by a special Act of Parliament in 1920. He established the law firm of Meagher, Sproule and Co. He was president of the NSW Political Labor League from 1914 to 1915. A published author, he was a member of the Darlinghurst Literary and Debating Society.
Meagher was active in charitable and war work. He was Assistant Secretary to the Paddington Protection League and a delegate to the National Protection Convention in Sydney in1897. He was a member of the Universal Service League in 1915. He was a Trustee of the Public Library of NSW from 1916 until 1931 and Director of Prince Alfred Hospital from 1916 until 1918. He was a Knight Commander of St Gregory.
Meagher was MLA for Sydney/Phillip from July 1895 to October 1895 when he resigned having been charged with conspiracy in the murder trial of George Dean. He was re-elected for the Tweed, 1898-1904; and for Phillip, 1907-17. He was chairman of committees from 1910 to 1913 and Speaker from 1913 to 1917. He was appointed a Member of the Legislative Council in 1917, but resigned in 1920 to contest Sydney at the general election.
Local government service
Richard ‘Dick’ Meagher was an alderman on the City of Sydney Council from 1901 to 1921. He was Alderman for Phillip Ward, 14 October 1901 to 1 December 1918 and for Flinders Ward, 2 December 1918 to 30 November 1921.
Meagher was a member of the Parliamentary and By-Laws Committee in 1903, the Health and By-Laws Committee, 1902, 1904-05, 1907-12 and 1919-21. He was a member of the Electric Lighting Committee, 1902, 1905-06, 1909-15 and 1918-20 and its Vice-Chairman in 1911 and 1913. He also belonged to the Staff and Labour Committee, 1902-03, the Finance Committee, 1902-12, and 1914-15, the Works Committee, 1902, 1904-12 and 1919-21, the Fruit and Vegetable Markets Committee, 1907 and the Street Signs Committee, 1908. He was also a member of the Queen Victoria Market Building Committee, 1910-11 and the Electricity Supply Committee in 1921. He was the City member on the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, 1906-10.
Meagher was the first Labor Lord Mayor of Sydney, 1916-17.
Meagher, R D 1920, A twenty-five years battle: “still fighting on”, 3rd ed, William Brooks, Sydney
Meagher, R D 1925, American impressions, Gordon & Gotch, Sydney
Meagher, R D 1931, The Legislative Council, Parliament House, Sydney: the judiciary and finance, George A. Jones, Sydney
Bede Nairn, ‘Meagher, Richard Denis (Dick) (1866–1931)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/meagher-richard-denis-dick-7546/text13165, accessed 18 December 2012.
City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photo CRS 54/225; 54/284; 54/309; 54/365; 54/563; THC 88/916; and 88/318; NSCA CRS 54/562
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW: GPO 1- 16161
Who’s Who in Australia 1927-28