Cowper ministry (1865–66)

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Fourth Cowper ministry
9th cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Charlescowper.jpg Australian states history 13.gif
Premier Charles Cowper and the Colony of New South Wales (1863–1900)
Date formed 3 February 1865 (1865-02-03)
Date dissolved 21 January 1866 (1866-01-21)
People and organisations
Head of government Charles Cowper
Head of state Queen Victoria (represented by Sir John Young)
No. of ministers 7
Member party unaligned
Status in legislature Minority government
Opposition party unaligned
Opposition leader James Martin
Election(s) 1864–65
Predecessor First Martin ministry
Successor Second Martin ministry

The fourth Cowper ministry was the ninth ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and fourth 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. On the third occasion, Cowper formed Government following the decision by Premier John Robertson to step aside and focus on land reform,[1] however Cowper then lost the confidence to James Martin.[2] Cowper retained government by defeating Martin at the 1864–65 general election.[3]

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 3 February 1865 until 21 January 1866, when Martin was asked to form government after Cowper again lost the conifidence of the Assembly in December 1865.[4]

Composition of ministry[edit]

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Hon. Charles Cowper MLA 3 February 1865 21 January 1866 352 days
Colonial Treasurer Hon. Thomas Smart MLA 19 October 1865 258 days
Hon. Saul Samuel MLA 20 October 1865 3 January 1866 75 days
Hon. Marshall Burdekin MLA 4 January 1866 21 January 1866 17 days
Attorney-General Hon. John Darvall MLA 3 February 1865 20 June 1865 137 days
Hon. John Plunkett MLA 25 August 1865 21 January 1866 149 days
Representative of the Government in Legislative Council
Hon. John Hargrave MLA 3 February 1865 352 days
Secretary for Lands Hon. John Robertson MLA 19 October 1865 258 days
Hon. William Arnold MLA 20 October 1865 30 October 1865 10 days
Hon. John Robertson, MLA 1 January 1866 21 January 1866 20 days
Secretary for Public Works Hon. William Arnold, MLA 3 February 1865 19 October 1865 258 days
Hon. Thomas Smart MLA 20 October 1865 21 January 1866 93 days
Postmaster-General a James Cunneen 1 October 1865 112 days

:a A Member of the Government without a Seat in the Cabinet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nairn, Bede. "Robertson, Sir John (1816 - 1891)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  2. ^ Serle, Percival. "Martin, James (1820-1886)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  3. ^ Ward, John M. "Cowper, Sir Charles (1807 - 1875)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  4. ^ "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 Martin ministry
Fourth Cowper ministry
Succeeded by
Second Martin ministry