William Irvine (Australian politician)
William Hill Irvine (6 July 1858 – 20 August 1943), Australian politician and judge, was born in Newry in County Down, Ireland, into a Scottish-Presbyterian family. He was educated in Armagh and Dublin, graduating in law in 1879 before migrating to Melbourne, where he taught in Presbyterian schools and read law at Melbourne University, gaining a masters degree in arts and law. He soon became a leading Melbourne barrister.
In 1894 Irvine was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as Liberal. He was Attorney-General 1899-1900 and 1902-03 and Solicitor-General in 1903. He succeeded George Turner as leader of the Victorian Liberals, but was much more conservative than either Turner or the federal Protectionist Party leader, Alfred Deakin. He was Premier of Victoria and also Treasurer 1903-04, leading a Liberal ministry.
In 1906 Irvine was elected to the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Flinders. First elected as an independent Protectionist, he became a member of Deakin's Commonwealth Liberal Party in 1908. He was Attorney-General in Joseph Cook's Liberal government of 1913-14. He was considered a potential Prime Minister of Australia, but his abrupt manner and hard-line conservatism made him unacceptable to many Liberals: he was known in Parliament as "Iceberg Irvine."
Recognising this, Irvine accepted the appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1918, and held this position until 1935. He was knighted in 1914 and made GCMG in 1936. A keen motorist, he was a founding member of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) and was its patron 1938-43.
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