Sidney Austin was born in Somerset, England, on 16 May 1846. Early in 1864 he followed his three brothers to Victoria. He gained agricultural knowledge from them, and in 1870 became a station owner. From 1874 he became a part-lessee, and managed a succession of other properties. He married Harriet Mary, his cousin, in 1871. In 1881 he became a co-partner of Dennys, Lascelles & Co., and seven years later expanded his rural interests to New South Wales. He was literate, professional and visionary.

Austin's activities centred on Geelong, where he combined his skills as a pastoral expert and progressive. He became a council member of Geelong Church of England Grammar School, and in 1888 a Geelong town councillor and a member of the Legislative Council for the South-Western Province. He later became chair of the council of the inaugural Geelong Church of England Girls' Grammar School.

In 1892 he built a bungalow at Newton, a district in the Geelong region. In 1896-98 he was Mayor of Geelong, and is named on medal (NU 20450), issued in 1897 for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee by the Town of Geelong. Harriet died at home in 1901.

Austin held his parliamentary seat until 1904, when ill-health caused his retirement. He died in 1906.

Australian Dictionary of Biography

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