Zeal, Sir William Austin

Born 05 December 1830 (Westbury, Wiltshire)
Died 11 March 1912. (Toorak. Buried Melbourne General Cemetery.)
Parents: Thomas, wine merchant, and Ann, nee Greenland
Marriage: Unmarried
Occupation: Engineer and businessman
Religion: Church of England.
Education: Private school Westbury and Clover House, Windsor; gained diploma as surveyor and engineer 1851.

Career: William Zeal was born in England and trained as a surveyor and engineer before emigrating to Melbourne in 1852. He went briefly to the Castlemaine goldfields before he found work as a railway engineer in 1855. Zeal worked on railway construction for approximately ten years. In late 1864 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Castlemaine and retained the seat for just one year. Between 1866 and 1870 he partnered William Mitchell (q.v.), a future president of the Legislative Council, in pastoral runs in the Riverina and in 1871 Zeal was again elected to the Legislative Assembly for Castlemaine, this time holding the seat until 1874. He was also a Prahran city councillor and a chairman of many companies including director of the National Bank 1883-1912. Zeal designed the Moama-Deniliquin railway that was completed in 1876. In 1882 Zeal returned to parliament, this time elected to the Legislative Council in a by-election for North Western province. He remained a member of the Legislative Council until 1901, serving as postmaster-general in 1892 and president from 1892 until 1901. He was knighted in 1895. Zeal was a delegate to the Federal Convention and on his resignation from the Legislative Council was elected to the Senate in the first Commonwealth parliament. He retired from political life in 1906, and died six years later in Toorak. Prahran city councillor 1879-82

House Electorate Start *   End *  
MLACastlemaineMay 1864 December 1865Resigned
MLACastlemaineApril 1871 March 1874Resigned
MLCNorth WesternMay 1882(b/e)May 1901Resigned

Other seats contested: South Western Province 1876
Non-Victorian Parliamentary Service: Federal senator, Victoria, 1901-06.
Appointments: Postmaster-general 28 Apr 1892-9 Nov 1892; president Legislative Council 1892-1901; Railways Standing Commission 1890. Senator 1901-06
References: Australian Dictionary of Biography, 6; The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, Vol. 1.; Jones, Catherine & Victoria. Parliamentary Library. Library Committee (1986). "Presiding officers of the Victorian Parliament 1856-1986." Victorian Government Printing Office on behalf of the Library Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne
Initial data source: Thomson, K & Serle, G, 'A Biographical Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900', ANU Press, 1972
Last update: 2013 (last date the record was checked and updated)

*The Start date for Members elected after 1900 is the date they were elected. The start date for pre-1900 Members is the date they were sworn in.