Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Charles James Manning (1841–1898)

by H. T. E. Holt

This article was published:

Charles James Manning (1841-1898), judge, was born on 10 July 1841 at Balmain, Sydney, the second son of Edye Manning and his wife Fanny Elizabeth, née Turner. In 1847 he went to England with his parents and was educated in Devonshire and in 1855-61 at Winchester College; he matriculated and entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford (B.A., 1864). He was called to the Bar of Lincoln's Inn on 17 November 1865 and practised on the western circuit before returning to Sydney where he was admitted to the Supreme Court on 22 December 1866. In 1870-74 he was a parliamentary draftsman with Alexander Oliver and at times he acted as a crown prosecutor and law reporter. At the Bar he built up an extensive practice in all jurisdictions. He was standing counsel for the Bank of New South Wales, an official visitor to the Hospitals for the Insane at Gladesville and Callan Park, executor and trustee of the will of T. S. Mort, attorney for Benjamin Buchanan and a director of the New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Co. and the Illawarra Steam Navigation Co.

In 1883 Manning had a severe illness and went to England. On his return in 1886 he confined his practice to Equity and became leader of the Equity Bar. He occasionally acted as a Supreme Court judge and was appointed a puisne judge on 13 November 1889. He became a judge in bankruptcy, where he originated a practice which proved most satisfactory and helped to elucidate the bankruptcy law. He also became an assistant equity judge and in 1891 the first probate judge.

In 1893-98 Manning was a member of the Council of The King's School and in 1892-98 a fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney. Religious and philanthropic, he was a member of the Church of England Provincial Synod. In the 1893 depression his clear decisions helped to pilot banks, companies and building societies through surrounding shoals. In 1896 he became chief judge in Equity. A stickler for court etiquette despite his unjudicial-looking moustache, he was popular with the Bar and his careful judgments were commended several times and often upheld by the judicial committee of the Privy Council.

Manning died at Hunter's Hill, Sydney, on 8 August 1898 from phthisis pulmonaris against which he had courageously and uncomplainingly struggled for fifteen years. He was buried in the churchyard of St Anne's Church of England, Ryde. He had been held in affectionate regard by both branches of the legal profession, and Chief Justice Darley referred to him as 'a refined, courteous and kindly gentleman, a learned, able, hardworking and conscientious judge with a keen insight into human nature'. Manning was survived by a daughter of his first wife Clara Isabella, née Athorpe, whom he had married on 26 May 1870 at St Mark's, Darling Point, and by his second wife Emily Urania Camden, née Goodridge, whom he had married on 9 January 1879 and by three of their five sons and a daughter. Both his marriages had been witnessed by his uncle, W. M. Manning. His estate, valued at £21,000, was left to his wife 'in perfect trust that she will deal with it wisely'.

Select Bibliography

  • Cyclopedia of N.S.W. (Syd, 1907)
  • New South Wales Government Gazette 13 Nov 1889, supplement
  • ‘Memoranda’, New South Wales Law Reports, 1896, 1898
  • D. J. Quinn, ‘Puisne judges of New South Wales’, Review of Reviews (London), 20 Dec 1894, Aust ed
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Sept 1878, 14, 15 Nov 1889, 9, 10, 12 Aug 1898
  • Henry Parkes letters (State Library of New South Wales)
  • Register of deeds, no 331, book 321 (Registrar-General's Dept).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

H. T. E. Holt, 'Manning, Charles James (1841–1898)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 16 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles Manning, 1890s

Charles Manning, 1890s

National Library of Australia, 24283776

Life Summary [details]


10 July, 1841
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 August, 1898 (aged 57)
Hunters Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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