William Highett

An 1888 illustration of Highett

William Highett (1807 – 29 November 1880) was a banker and politician in colonial Victoria, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council.[1]

Early life

Highett was born in Weymouth, Dorset, England, the son of Joseph Highett and his wife Elizabeth, née Harding.[1][2]

Colonial Australia

Along with his brother John, William Highett arrived in Hobart Town aboard the Elizabeth in February 1830.[2] The brothers acquired land in Van Diemen's Land.[2] William became first Melbourne manager of the Union Bank of Australia in 1838 and in 1840 became a local director with the title of managing director.[2]

On 29 August 1853 Highett was nominated to the unicameral Victorian Legislative Council along with several others due to the expansion of the Council.[3] Highett held this position until the original Council was abolished in March 1856.[1] After an unsuccessful candidacy in 1856,[1] Highett was elected to Eastern Province in the new Council (now the upper house) in April 1857,[4] after successfully petitioning the incumbent, William Kaye, for bribery.[5] Highett held the seat until September 1880.[1]

Highett owned land in the Moorabbin Shire, part of which was named Highett after him.[2] Highett died in Richmond, Victoria on 29 November 1880.[1] He never married.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Highett, William". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Hone, J. Ann. "Highett, William (1807–1880)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  3. Labilliere, Francis Peter (1878). "Early History of the Colony of Victoria". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  4. "Melbourne". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 4 May 1857. p. 5. Retrieved 24 August 2014. report from Melbourne 30 April 1857
  5. "The Eastern Province Election". Ovens and Murray Advertiser. Beechworth, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 21 April 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
Victorian Legislative Council
New seat Nominated Member
August 1853 – March 1856
With: multiple
Original Council abolished
Preceded by
William Kaye
Member for Eastern Province
April 1857– September 1880
With: Matthew Hervey 1857–65
William Haines 1865–66
Robert S. H. Anderson 1866–80,
James Stewart 1857–63
James Pinnock 1863–64
Henry Murphy 1864–73
John Wallace 1873–80,
Robert Thompson 1857–63,
Robert Turnbull 1863–72
Francis Murphy 1872–76
Robert Reid 1876–80,
Benjamin Williams 1857–74
William Wilson 1875–80
John Dougharty 1880
Succeeded by
William McCulloch
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