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Theodore James Jaques (1823–1893)

by Martha Rutledge

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Theodore James Jaques (1823-1893), registrar-general and solicitor, was born on 6 October 1823 at Rochester, England, son of William Jaques, surveyor, and his wife Jane, née Hill. The Jaques family reached Sydney in July 1830 in the Roslyn Castle. Theodore was educated at the Sydney College under his brother-in-law, William Cape. In 1839 he became a junior clerk in the Supreme Court Registry Office. He applied for admission as a solicitor by virtue of his service to the Registry Office. Despite strong opposition from the legal profession the judges ordered that if he passed examination he could apply again. On 24 December 1856 he was finally admitted a solicitor but did not practice for many years. In 1852 he became a commissioner for affidavits. In 1857 he was made deputy registrar general, and took charge of the deeds branch. In the early 1860s he opposed the introduction of the Torrens titles system because it did not record marriage settlements and trusts. In 1864 Jaques was appointed registrar-general, a magistrate in 1865 and as chairman of the Land Titles Commission by 1867 advocated the handing to his department of all records of births, marriages and deaths, particularly those held by the Anglican registrar, Henry Kerrison James.

Jaques retired on 15 December 1870 because of ill health. He practised as a solicitor and in 1873 was appointed commissioner for affidavits for Victoria in New South Wales. In 1874 he went into partnership with his nephew, Alfred E. Jaques, who in 1878 joined Stephen & Stephen to establish the legal firm, Stephen, Jaques & Stephen, while Theodore continued to practise on his own. In September 1860 he had joined the Volunteer Infantry; he was commissioned captain in the Balmain company in December, promoted major in 1868 and retired as lieutenant-colonel in 1885. For years he was a vice-president of the Rifle Association of New South Wales. Jaques lived in Balmain and was active in local affairs and secretary of the Balmain Mechanics' School of Arts. He represented St Mary's Anglican Church, Balmain, on six synods. In 1876-79 he was registrar of the diocese of Sydney.

Jaques died from pernicious anaemia on 23 July 1893 and was buried in the Balmain cemetery. Predeceased by his wife Mary Ann (d. 4 December 1858), née Cook, he was survived by a son and a daughter. He left no will but his estate was sworn for probate at £13,826.

Select Bibliography

  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1858, 2, 1278, 1879-80, 5, 1165
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Mar 1876, 25, 26 July 1893
  • Town and Country Journal, 29 July 1893
  • private information.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Martha Rutledge, 'Jaques, Theodore James (1823–1893)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 18 April 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

Theodore Jaques, n.d.

Theodore Jaques, n.d.

State Library of New South Wales, 185150

Life Summary [details]


6 October, 1823
Rochester, Kent, England


23 July, 1893 (aged 69)
New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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