Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Richard West Nash (1808–1850)

by David Mossenson

This article was published:

Richard West Nash (1808-1850), advocate-general, was born in Dublin, the son of Richard Nash, rector of Ardstraw in the diocese of Londonderry. At 16 he entered Trinity College, Dublin (M.A., 1832), and was admitted to the Irish Bar. In 1839, after his marriage to Miss Schoales, he went to Western Australia where his brother-in-law, John Schoales, had settled in the previous year. Nash practised his profession but did not restrict his colonial activities to it. He became an enthusiastic farmer, acting as honorary secretary of the Agricultural Society in 1842-45 and publishing A Manual for the Cultivation of the Vine and Olive in Western Australia (Perth, 1845). For four months in 1846 he edited the Inquirer newspaper. He had served briefly as advocate-general in 1841 and was formally appointed to that position in November 1846, but journalism and agriculture remained his outstanding interests.

Nash was a lively controversialist and a member of the leading Church of England set in the colony. After the arrival in Perth of Bishop John Brady with a party of priests and sisters early in 1846, a series of disputes developed between the local government and the Roman Catholic Church, in which Nash took a prominent part. He was secretary of the General Board of Education which was created in August 1847 and which originated Western Australia's state school system. In January 1849 he left the colony to become manager of the Colonization Assurance Corporation, founded in London to sponsor emigration, mainly to Western Australia. He published Stray Suggestions on Colonization (London, 1849). He died at Norwood near London on 22 December 1850.

Select Bibliography

  • E. M. Russell, ‘Early Lawyers of Western Australia’, Journal and Proceedings (Western Australian Historical Society), vol 4, part 3, 1951, pp 32-53.

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Citation details

David Mossenson, 'Nash, Richard West (1808–1850)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 16 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


22 December, 1850 (aged ~ 42)
London, Middlesex, England

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