The term Bunyip aristocracy
is an Australian
term satirising attempts to develop an aristocracy in the colonies now forming that country.
It was first coined in 1853 by Daniel Deniehy
who made a speech lambasting the attempt by William Wentworth
to establish a titled aristocracy
in the New South Wales
government. This speech came to be known as the Bunyip Aristocracy speech
Deniehy made speeches opposing the new self titled Australian aristocracy in the Victorian theatre and on the soapbox
at Circular Quay
In response to Wentworth's proposal to create an hereditary peerage
in New South Wales, Deniehy's satirical comments included: "Here, we all know the common water mole was transferred into the duck-billed platypus, and in some distant emulation of this degeneration, I suppose we are to be favoured with a "bunyip aristocracy.
" (The bunyip
is an Ancestral Being of Aboriginal Dreaming
.) Deniehy's ridicule caused the idea to be dropped.
Among those singled out in his speech by Deniehy was James MacArthur (1798–1867), the son of John MacArthur
, who had been nominated to the New South Wales Legislative Council
in 1839 and was later (1859) elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
(the lower house was only created in 1856): <blockquote>Next came the native aristocrat James MacArthur, he would he supposed, aspire to the coronet of an earl, he would call him the Earl of Camden, and he suggests for his coat of arms a field vert, the heraldic term for......