Sir Stuart Donaldson
|1st Premier of New South Wales|
6 June 1856 – 26 August 1856
|Succeeded by||Charles Cowper|
|Constituency||County of Durham|
|Born||Stuart Alexander Donaldson
16 December 1812
London, England, UK
|Died||11 January 1867
Carleton Hall, Cumberland, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Amelia Cowper (1854–1867)|
|Children||Hay Frederick Donaldson
St Clair Donaldson
|Profession||Business agent for Richard Jones & Co, Company manager for Lloyds of London, Sheep and cattle grazier|
Donaldson was born in London, England. He entered his father's firm at the age of 15 and was sent first to Mexico (1831-1834), for business training, and then to Sydney, where he arrived in 1835. He returned to London between 1841 and 1844.
In 1848, Donaldson was elected a member of the first Legislative Council of New South Wales, representing the County of Durham from 1848 to 1856. Comments made while running for re-election in 1851, led Sir Thomas Mitchell to demand a public apology. While Donaldson complied Mitchell was not satisfied and challenged Donaldson to a duel with pistols. Both men missed but they remained antagonised. He supported the development of steam ship services to Australia and the work of Caroline Chisholm. In 1852 he achieved the carriage of a motion recommending that £10,000 should be applied to supporting Chisholm's work. He travelled to England in 1853-1854.
In March 1856 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the first Parliament, representing Sydney Hamlets. The first Legislative Assembly had trouble forming a Government. Eventually Governor Denison invited Donaldson to be Premier and he took up the offices of Premier and Colonial Secretary on 6 June 1856. Two months and 20 days later, on 25 August 1856, his Government lost a vote and he resigned. He was criticised for standing down so readily but he said, "my colleagues and myself are all too independent of office to cling to it", a somewhat prophetic remark.
He was succeeded by Charles Cowper and Donaldson served as Colonial Treasurer (1856-1857) and was a Commissioner for Railways in 1857. He was elected unopposed to Cumberland (South Riding) in October 1856, representing it to 1859. He was a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney from 1851–61 and his brother John helped to select its academic staff.
Donaldson returned to England for the last time in June 1859 and was knighted there in 1860. Following his return, he unsuccessfully sought election to the British House of Commons for Dartmouth in 1860 and later for Barnstaple. He had four sons and one daughter. The eldest son Stuart Alexander Donaldson, a distinguished scholar, became Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 1912 and died in 1915; another son was St Clair Donaldson – archbishop of Brisbane. A third son, Sir Hay Frederick Donaldson, who became an eminent engineer, went with Lord Kitchener on a special mission to Russia in 1916 and was drowned in the Hampshire.
- Draper, Sandra. "Donaldson, Sir Stuart Alexander (1812 - 1867)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- Serle, Percival. "Donaldson, Sir Stuart Alexander (1812 - 1867)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- "Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson (1812 - 1867)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
|Premier of New South Wales