Cowper ministry (1857–59)

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Second Cowper ministry
4th cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Charlescowper.jpg Australian states history 09.gif
Premier Charles Cowper and the Colony of New South Wales (1856–1859)
Date formed 7 September 1857 (1857-09-07)
Date dissolved 26 October 1859 (1859-10-26)
People and organisations
Head of government Charles Cowper
Head of state Queen Victoria (represented by William Denison)
No. of ministers 6
Member party unaligned
Status in legislature Minority government
Opposition party unaligned
Opposition leader
Predecessor Parker ministry
Successor Forster ministry

The second Cowper ministry was the fourth ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and second occasion of being led by the Honourable Charles Cowper.

Cowper was elected in the first free elections for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly held in March 1856, and fought unsuccessfully with Stuart Donaldson to form Government. When Donaldson's Government faltered a little over two months after it was formed, Cowper formed Government on the first occasion, but he also lost the confidence of the Assembly a few months later. Henry Parker formed Government, lasting a little under twelve months, until it lost an electoral bill,[1] when Cowper was again asked to form Government.

The title of Premier was widely used to refer to the Leader of Government, but not enshrined in formal use until 1920.

There was no party system in New South Wales politics until 1887. Under the constitution, ministers were required to resign to recontest their seats in a by-election when appointed. These by-elections are only noted when the minister was defeated; in general, he was elected unopposed.

This ministry covers the period from 7 September 1857 until on 26 October 1859, when Cowper resigned his commission, having lost an educational bill. Cowper resigned from the Assembly on the next day.[2] During the period of this ministry, there were a large number of arrangements, with no fewer than 13 men holding the seven positions in its life of just over two years.[2][3]

Composition of ministry[edit]

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Hon. Charles Cowper MLA 7 September 1857 26 October 1859 2 years, 49 days
Colonial Treasurer Hon. Richard Jones, MLA 3 January 1858 118 days
Hon. Robert Campbell MLA 4 January 1858 30 March 1859 1 year, 85 days
Hon. Elias Weekes MLA 18 April 1859 26 October 1859 191 days
Secretary for Lands and Works Hon. Terence Murray MLA 7 September 1857 12 January 1858 127 days
Hon. John Robertson MLA 13 January 1858 30 September 1859 2 years, 49 days
Secretary for Lands 1 October 1859 26 October 1859
Secretary for Public Works Hon. Edward Flood MLA 25 days
Attorney-General Hon. James Martin MLA 7 September 1857 8 November 1858 1 year, 62 days
Hon. Lyttleton Bayley MLA 21 February 1859 26 October 1859 247 days
Hon. Alfred Lutwyche MLA 15 November 1858 21 February 1859 1 year, 167 days
Solicitor-General 7 September 1857 14 November 1858
Hon. William Dalley MLA 15 November 1858 11 February 1859 88 days
Hon. John Hargrave MLA 21 February 1859 26 October 1859 247 days
Representative of the Government in Legislative Council Hon. John Dickson, MLC

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Serle, Percival. "Parker, Sir Henry Watson (1808-1881)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 26 February 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Serle, Percival. "Cowper, Sir Charles (1807 - 1875)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  3. ^ "Former Members - Chronological List of Ministries 1856 to 2009 (requires download)". Project for the Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government in NSW. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original (Excel spreadsheet) on 15 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
Preceded by
Parker ministry
Second Cowper ministry
Succeeded by
Forster ministry