Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Albert Victor Drury (1837–1907)

by J. T. Maher

This article was published:

Albert Victor Drury (1837-1907), public servant, was born on 28 August 1837 at Brussels, son of William Drury (1791-1878) and his wife Anne, née Nicholas. His father entered Trinity College, Oxford (M.A., 1814), became a master at Harrow and was chaplain to the King of the Belgians in 1829-65 and to the English Congregation in Brussels in 1829-78. Albert was educated in Brussels and reared in an atmosphere of close familiarity with people in high places. In 1855-61 he was a clerk in the War Office, London, and in 1862 went to Queensland to join his elder brother, Edward Robert.

Albert began work in the Colonial Secretary's Office and in January 1867 was the fourth to be appointed clerk of the Executive Council of Queensland, a post he held for a record term of over thirty-seven years. He was a prominent figure in government circles and enjoyed the friendship of governors, premiers and many ministers of the Crown, and moved with them in the highest stratum of colonial society. The lonely bachelor, (Sir) William Cairns, thought so highly of him that after his return to England he sent £300, insisting that Drury should visit him there. By virtue of his experience, ability and tact he became the confidant of those he served from the fourth ministry in 1866-67 to the twenty-second in 1903-04. The Imperial Service Order was conferred on him in 1903. Drury was something of an unofficial historian and kept many scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings, photographs, invitations, menus and other memorabilia relating to royalty and its representatives, governments and politicians. This collection, now in the Oxley Memorial Library, is a valuable source of reference to government activities and personalities. Drury retired in 1904 and died at his home in Brisbane on 6 September 1907, survived by his wife Mary, née Pring, whom he had married on 28 March 1864, and by four of their six children.

Select Bibliography

  • C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years (Brisb, 1919)
  • Justice Dept, Individual returns etc, JUS/103, 36/3882 (Queensland State Archives)
  • Drury papers (State Library of Queensland).

Citation details

J. T. Maher, 'Drury, Albert Victor (1837–1907)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 23 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


28 August, 1837
Brussels, Belgium


6 September, 1907 (aged 70)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.