Torrens, Sir Robert Richard

Torrens, Sir Robert Richard tŏrˈənz [key], 1814–84, Australian statesman, b. Ireland. Son of Col. Robert Torrens (1780–1864), one of the founders of South Australia, he went to that colony in 1839. There he served (1851–55) in the colonial legislature. When self-government was introduced (1856) he entered the assembly, and he was briefly prime minister in 1857. He secured the passage (1858) of a landholding reform known as the Torrens Act, which substituted public registration for the old conveyance system, in which land transfer could be accomplished only through a complicated tracing of deeds. The Torrens system has since been widely copied. Torrens resigned from the assembly to administer the act. Pensioned in 1863, he settled in England and served in Parliament from 1868 to 1874.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands History: Biographies