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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Anderson, Robert Stirling Hore (1821–1883)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

Robert Stirling Hore Anderson, 1890-95

Robert Stirling Hore Anderson, 1890-95

State Library of Victoria, H93.371/16

Robert Stirling Hore Anderson (1821-1883), solicitor and parliamentarian, was born at Articlave, near Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland, son of Robert Anderson, farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Caldwell. He was educated at Belfast Academy and Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., 1845). After completing his articles with a solicitor in Dublin he started his own practice in 1846. In the Luconia he arrived at Melbourne in June 1854 with his wife Elizabeth, née Cockburn, and her mother, sister and brother. He was admitted to practice as a solicitor, set up an office in Melbourne and became a justice of the peace. He lived first at Emerald Hill, where he was elected to its first Municipal Council, succeeded his friend, James Service, as its chairman in 1857 and held office for three years. In 1858 he won the South Melbourne seat in the Legislative Assembly with the aid of the land conventionists although he professed no complete belief in all their aims. Next year he defeated Service for the same seat, now renamed Emerald Hill, in the assembly. Plain spoken, sincere and modest, he was intensely practical, leaving others to argue about principles; he was also very independent and became increasingly conservative. He was commissioner of trade and customs in the administrations of Richard Heales in 1860-61 and (Sir) John O'Shanassy in 1861-63. In 1864 he lost his seat in the assembly but was elected for Eastern Province to the Legislative Council in 1866. He was commissioner of public works in the ministries of James Francis in 1874 and George Kerferd in 1874-75 and had charge of trade and customs under James McCulloch in 1875-77. Under Service he was in the cabinet without portfolio in 1880 and minister of justice in March-October 1883.  

Anderson had moved his home to Kew about 1863 but retained his city office, taking as partner B. N. Sandilands in 1863-76, William H. Croker in 1877-82 and his own son in 1883. He was an early member of the Law Institute of Victoria and chairman of the Australian Alliance Insurance Co. in 1860-81. He was admitted to the University of Melbourne (B.A. ad eund., 1862), and commanded the Emerald Hill company of the Victorian Volunteer Artillery in 1864. Born and bred a Presbyterian, he was not afraid to avow his faith, but never with bigotry. He gave generously to the building fund of the Emerald Hill Church, was the first to sign its communion roll and served as its treasurer and senior trustee. Depressed by the death of a son, he took his wife to Europe in 1881. He died at his home in Kew on 26 October 1883, survived by his wife and four sons and one daughter of their eight children. His estate was valued for duty at more than £24,000.

Select Bibliography

  • G. Serle, The Golden Age (Melb, 1963)
  • Argus (Melbourne), 16 Sept 1858, 2 Dec 1859, 27, 29 Oct 1883
  • Examiner (Melbourne), 8 Dec 1860
  • Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 13 Oct 1874
  • Table Talk, 21 Mar 1890.

Citation details

'Anderson, Robert Stirling Hore (1821–1883)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 28 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

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