Cowper ministry (1861–63)

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Third Cowper ministry
7th cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Charlescowper.jpg Australian states history 11.gif Australian states history 12.gif
Premier Charles Cowper and the Colony of New South Wales (1860–1862 and 1862)
Date formed 10 January 1861 (1861-01-10)
Date dissolved 15 October 1863 (1863-10-15)
People and organisations
Head of government Charles Cowper
Head of state Queen Victoria (represented by William Denison and subsequently Sir John Young)
No. of ministers 7
Member party unaligned
Status in legislature Minority government
Opposition party unaligned
Opposition leader
Predecessor First Robertson ministry
Successor First Martin ministry

The third Cowper ministry was the seventh ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and third 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. Cowper formed Government on the second occasion between 1857 and 1859; but it also lost the confidence of the Assembly. Cowper was again asked to form Government following the decision by Premier John Robertson to step aside and focus on land reform.[1]

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 10 January 1861 until 15 October 1863, when Cowper was defeated amidst criticism of its financial management.[2][3]

Composition of ministry[edit]

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Hon. Charles Cowper MLA 10 January 1861 15 October 1863 2 years, 278 days
Colonial Treasurer Hon. Elias Weekes MLA 20 March 1863 2 years, 69 days
Hon. Thomas Smart MLA 21 March 1863 15 October 1863 208 days
Secretary for Lands and Works Hon. John Robertson MLA 10 January 1861 2 years, 278 days
Secretary for Public Works Hon. William Arnold MLA
Attorney-General Hon. John Darvall MLA 1 August 1863
Hon. John Hargrave MLC 10 January 1861 31 July 1863
Representative of the Government in Legislative Council
1 August 1863 15 October 1863
Clerk of the Executive Council Hon. Charles Cowper, Jr MLA 1 September 1861 2 years, 44 days

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nairn, Bede. "Robertson, Sir John (1816 - 1891)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  2. ^ Ward, John M. "Cowper, Sir Charles (1807 - 1875)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  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 2010-01-02. 
Preceded by
First Robertson ministry
Third Cowper ministry
Succeeded by
First Martin ministry