Weld, Sir Frederick Aloysius - I212

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First Class Passenger 
His Excellency
Frederick Aloysius Weld
Born 9 May 1823
Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, date unknown.
Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, date unknown.
Title Govenor of Western Australia
Nationality Unknown
Born 9 May 1823
Genealogy Data
Person ID I212
Marriage Family/Families
Weld Family - F115
Spouse Filumena Mary Anne Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle 
(b. 1836)
Nationality Unknown

Cecily Mary Agnes Weld (b. 10 Sep 1861)
Christiana Mary Filumena Weld (b. 23 Jun 1860)
Everard Aloysius Weld (b. 24 Nov 1868)
Edith Mary Weld (b. 27 Apr 1866)
Humphrey Frederick Weld (b. 30 Sep 1867)
Filumena Mary Weld (b. 7 Apr 1865)
Voyage Data
Voyage to Adelaide in 1869
Personal role First Class Passenger
Name on list His Excell F. A. Weld
Travel Family Weld Family - F115
Age on voyage 45
Occupation Governor
Joined place London
Left place Adelaide
The Honourable
Sir Frederick Weld
6th Premier of New Zealand
In office
24 November 1864 – 16 October 1865
Monarch Victoria
Governor George Grey
Preceded by Frederick Whitaker
Succeeded by Edward Stafford
Constituency Wairau, Cheviot
8th Governor of Western Australia
In office
Preceded by Benjamin Pine
Succeeded by William Cleaver Francis Robinson
4th Governor of Tasmania
In office
13 January 1875 – 5 April 1880
Preceded by Charles Du Cane
Succeeded by George Strahan
14th Governor of the Straits Settlements
In office
Preceded by William Cleaver Francis Robinson
Succeeded by Cecil Clementi Smith
Personal details
Political party None
Religion Roman Catholic

Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld was born on 9 May 1823 at Chideock Manor, Dorset, England.[1] He was the son of Humphrey Weld and Hon. Christina Maria Clifford.[1] He married Filumena Mary Anne Lisle March Phillipps, daughter of Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle and Laura Maria Clifford, on 3 March 1859 at Private Chapel, Leicester, Leicestershire, England.[1] He died on 20 July 1891 at age 68 at Chideock, Dorset, England, from a fever contracted on a trip to the Straits Settlements.[1]

The new Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Weld at Perth; he is standing with his party and a military escort outside a large building, possibly Government House, ca 1869

Early life

Weld was born near Bridport, Dorset, England, on 9 May 1823. His mother, Christina Maria Clifford, was the daughter of Charles Clifford, 6th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh. Both of his parents were from old recusant Catholic families.[2]

His father, Humphrey Weld of Chideock, was a member of the Weld-Blundell family. Humphrey's brother Thomas was founder of the Jesuit college at Stonyhurst. Weld's upbringing was strongly grounded in the Catholic faith. His early years were spent with his parents in France. Later, he received a good education, studying at Stonyhurst before attending the University of Fribourg] in Switzerland, where he studied philosophy, chemistry, languages and law. He had originally intended to pursue a military career, but was convinced otherwise by his tutor at Fribourg. He instead decided to seek a career in the colonies, and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on 22 April 1844.

In New Zealand, he entered a partnership with his cousin, Sir Charles Clifford, 1st Baronet of Flaxbourne. The two established a number of sheep stations around the country, and Weld became relatively prosperous. Weld found a life of agricultural management to be too mundane, however, and soon became active in political concerns. One of his more significant campaigns was to ward against any potential discrimination against Catholics in New Zealand. He later became active in lobbying for representative government] in New Zealand.

In 1848, Weld declined an offer by the governor, Sir George Grey, of a seat on a proposed nominee council. In 1852 he visited England, where he published a pamphlet, Hints to Intending Sheep Farmers in New Zealand, which ran into three editions.

Member of Parliament

When the creation of the New Zealand Parliament was announced, Weld stood for election. He became a member of the 1st Parliament as the representative of Wairau, an electorate in the northeast of the wikipedia:South Island. The main political division of the day was between "centralists" (favouring a strong central government) and "provincialists" (favouring strong regional governments). On this spectrum, Weld established himself as a moderate centralist, although he tended to oppose the extremes of either side.

Weld was also a member of the brief "cabinet" formed around James FitzGerald. This represented an attempt by Parliament to assume direct responsibility for administering New Zealand. Acting Governor Robert Wynyard managed to block this move, however, and Weld's role as a "minister" came to an end. Despite the failure of the FitzGerald "cabinet", Weld was pleased that Catholics were able to participate fully in politics. The fact that Charles Clifford, also a Catholic, had become Speaker was also encouraging to him.

Weld resigned from Parliament a short while before the end of its first term, returning to England for a brief time. When he returned, he was elected to the 2nd Parliament, again representing Wairau. He briefly returned to England again to marry his second cousin Filumena Mary Anne Lisle Phillipps. They were married in March 1859 at Leicester, England. She was daughter of Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps De Lisle and a great grandchild of the 4th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh like Weld. With Filumena, Weld would have thirteen children – five were born in New Zealand (but one died young), two in England, three in Western Australia and three in Tasmania.

Weld, who was very tall, slim, and erect, with a handsome, whiskered face, was a man of gracious manner and noble character. He took a statesman's rather than an administrator's view of questions. Though he had both ability and energy, he was too trustful to be a good judge of men.

Cabinet minister

In 1860, Weld was invited to join Edward Stafford's government, taking over responsibility for Native Affairs from William Richmond. In this role, Weld had to contend with conflicts such as the First Taranaki War. Although Weld disliked the prospect of war, and believed that Governor George Grey had mishandled the situation, he believed strongly in the need to assert the power of the government, describing it as a "painful duty". Weld lost his ministerial position when the Stafford administration was defeated.

In 1864 (by which time Weld was representing Cheviot, formed from the southern half of his old Wairau seat), the government of Frederick Whitaker resigned due to disputes with the Governor. The point in question was who should bear responsibility for funding British troops stationed in New Zealand. Weld, believing that it was British ineptitude that caused conflict with the Māori in the first place, strongly objected to Grey's demands that Parliament should fund the troops. Weld instead believed that British troops should be removed from New Zealand altogether, and be replaced by local forces.

Premier of New Zealand

Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, ca 1865

As Premier, Weld met with mixed success. In 1865 the capital was indeed moved to Wellington, and his proposals for Māori relations were adopted. These two things generated considerable bitterness, however – Aucklanders were angry about the change of capital, and Māori were angry about the confiscation of over a million acres (4,000 km²) of land in the Waikato area. Weld's other success, the withdrawal of British troops from New Zealand, was also controversial, and generated considerable hostility from the Governor. In addition, the government's financial situation was precarious. A little less than a year after taking office, Weld's government resigned.

Colonial governorships

Weld, suffering from poor health and stress, retired from politics in 1866, and returned to England the following year. However his health improved, and he began working again. In 1869 he published Notes on New Zealand Affairs, and in March of the same year he began a career as a British colonial governor with an appointment to the post of Governor of Western Australia.

Governor of Western Australia

Weld arrived in Western Australia in September, 1869. He immediately embarked on a series of tours of the state, which saw travel about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) on horseback in his first six months in office. Impressed by the state's isolation, he urged the establishment of telegraph lines and improvements to transportation. In March, 1870, he sent John Forrest] to explore and survey a possible route for a telegraph line between Albany and Adelaide. This was later built, and by 1874, the state had more than 900 miles (1400 km) of operational telegraph line. Weld also oversaw the establishment of a steamship service along the coast, and the beginnings of a rail system.

Weld saw his appointment to the governorship as a mandate to institute similar constitutional changes to that achieved in New Zealand. With the enthusiastic support of his Colonial Secretary Frederick Barlee, he set about promoting representative government]. At the first opportunity, Weld introduced a Bill which provided for the election of 12 Members of the Legislative Council, to sit with six official and nominee members. The Bill was eventually passed on 1 June 1870. Barlee then began agitating for responsible government, and in 1874 the Legislative Council passed a resolution calling for it. Although Weld did not think that Western Australia was ready for responsible government, he accepted the situation and passed on the request to the Colonial Office] in London. The Colonial Office were strongly against granting responsible government, and were critical of Weld for allowing the situation to arise. In 1874, Weld went on leave to New Zealand to look after his partnership affairs. On this return, he was transferred to the post of Tasmania, and the issue of responsible government was dropped until 1890.

Other colonial governorships

Weld was Governor of Tasmania from 1875 to 1880. He found the role much less taxing than in Western Australia, as Tasmania already had responsible government and his main duty was to preside at meetings of the Executive Council. From 1880 to 1887, he was Governor of the Straits Settlements], consisting of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore. Louch (1966) writes of Weld's seven years in Singapore: "It was there with his wealth of experience that he found the fullest scope for his talents as a colonial administrator, and where he is best remembered now." He was created in the Order of St Michael and St George first CMG (1875), then KCMG (1880) and ultimately GCMG (1885).

He was a devout Catholic all his life, and the Pope made him a knight of the Order of Pius IX.

Governor of Straits Settlements

Malay States Administration

In 1880, Sir Frederick Weld arrived in the Straits Settlements. He began to take personal interest in the development of the Malay States. In the middle of 1881, Weld visited the town of Taiping, in Perak. He found "the revenue increasing and everything going on excellent well..." but "labour for public works and roads and to develop other industries and sources of revenue besides tin-mining," he lamented, "is the great want". he also reported that:

"Water supply for Taiping from the hill (Maxwell Hill), the roads to Krian, which will connect Taiping town centre with Province Wellesley, and a rail and tramway from Taiping to the port (Port Weld, which was named after him) are amongst the next most necessary works to be undertaken. the town of Taiping has been much improved since the fire, which took place rather more than a year ago; new streets have been laid out to considerable width, and a better class of houses has been built"

The construction of the Taiping - Port Weld railway was the beginning of a major transformation altering radically the landscape of the Malay Peninsula. It also brought the first influx of Indians (mainly Tamils) and Ceylonese to Perak. Sir Frederick Weld was in Taiping again in 1883 where he "inspected everything". He spent time going down the Port Weld railway line, then in the course of construction, "on a truck behind the Engine". He also put into effect plans to build a telegraph line along the road linking Taiping with Province Wellesley. It was nearing completion after which a railway along the same route would be constructed.

Later life

Failing health forced Sir Frederick Weld to retire from political life finally in 1887 after a brilliant and honourable career. He settled down to spend his declining years as a country gentleman in Chideock Manor, which estate he had inherited from his elder brother.

In 1891 he visited the States Settlements once again on behalf of the Pahang Exploration and Development Co., of which he was a director. He was taken ill there and, after rallying sufficiently to return home, died at Chideock on 20 July 1891 aged 68.

He was survived by his wife, six sons and six daughters. Weld was devoted to his wife and children, and spent much time with them and members of his personal staff, who were usually relations. He was honourable and an able administrator, but lacked the common touch and did not make friends easily except amongst people of his own class. Though wedded to democratic principles he was inclined to be autocratic.

After his death his widow Mena Weld withdrew to a convent of which her daughter Edith Mary was prioress, and she died there on 9 April 1903.

Filumena Mary Anne Lisle March Phillipps

Filumena Mary Anne Lisle March Phillipps was born circa 1840. She was the daughter of Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle and Laura Maria Clifford. She married Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, son of Humphrey Weld and Hon. Christina Maria Clifford, on 3 March 1859 at Private Chapel, Leicester, Leicestershire, England.[1] She died on 9 April 1903.[1]

Children of Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld and Filumena Mary Anne Lisle March Phillipps

  1. Christina Mary Filumena Weld+ b. 23 Jun 1860
  2. Cecily Mary Agnes Weld+[3] b. 10 Sep 1861
  3. Mary Weld b. 28 Aug 1863, d. 19 Mar 1864
  4. Filumena Mary Weld b. 7 Apr 1865
  5. Edith Mary Weld b. 27 Apr 1866, d. 26 Apr 1919
  6. Humphrey Frederick Weld+ b. 30 Sep 1867, d. 30 Jun 1929
  7. Everard Aloysius Weld+[4] b. 24 Nov 1868, d. 1 Jun 1956
  8. Frederick Joseph Weld+ b. 6 Jun 1870, d. 11 Mar 1926
  9. Magdalena Maria Dolores Josephine Weld+ b. 26 Apr 1872, d. 24 May 1944
  10. Reverend Joseph Anthony Weld b. 10 Feb 1874, d. 27 Feb 1908
  11. Angela Mary Candida Weld b. 1 Feb 1875, d. 7 Dec 1933
  12. Reverend Raymund John Lisle Weld b. 3 May 1876
  13. Osmund Joseph William Weld b. 15 Sep 1877, d. 14 Jul 1910

Places named after him

Port Weld in Perak was named after him, later changed to Kuala Sepetang.

  • Weld Road in Kuala Lumpur was named after Weld in 1960. In 1982 it was renamed Jalan Raja Chulan after Raja Chulan, but a 1980s shopping complex on that road retains the name "The Weld".
  • Weld Hill in Kuala Lumpur was named after Weld and subsequently renamed Bukit Makahmah. It is now the site of Menara Maybank.
  • Weld Road and Upper Weld Road in Singapore and Weld Quay in Penang are named after him.
  • Weld Road in Swan View, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, is named after him.
  • The Weld River in south-west Western Australia is named after him.
  • The Weld Club and Weld Square in Perth are named after him.
  • Weld Street in Hobart, Tasmania, is named after him.
  • Weld Valley and Weld River in Tasmania, are named after him.
  • Weld's Cone near Ward In Marlborugh, South Island, New Zealand.


There is an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.[1]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 W. H. Oliver, editor, The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography: Volume One, 1769 - 1869 (Wellington, New Zealand: Allen and Unwin and Department of Internal Affairs, 1990), page 581-582. Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of N.Z. Biography: Volume One.
  2. Graham, Jeanine. "Weld, Frederick Aloysius". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  3. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 822. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  4. Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 1149.
  5. Forrest, John (1875). Explorations in Australia. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 

Further reading