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Image of William Austin Zeal

Sir William Austin Zeal (KT)

05 December 1830 (Westbury, Wiltshire, England)
11 March 1912
Thomas, wine merchant, and Ann, nee Greenland

Religion: Church of England.

Marital Status: Unmarried

Private school Westbury and Clover House, Windsor; gained diploma as surveyor and engineer 1851.

Engineer and businessman

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.  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
HouseElectorateStart End
Legislative AssemblyCastlemaine1 May 18641 December 1865Resigned
Legislative AssemblyCastlemaine1 April 18711 March 1874Resigned
Legislative CouncilNorth Western1 May 18821 May 1901By-election, Resigned

*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.
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
He was knighted in 1895.

Last updated: 14th August 2019