Francis Smith (Australian politician)

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Francis Smith
Sir Francis Smith.jpg
4th Premier of Tasmania
In office
12 May 1857 – 1 November 1860
Preceded by William Weston
Succeeded by William Weston
Personal details
Born (1819-02-13)13 February 1819
Lindfield, Sussex, England, UK
Died 17 January 1909(1909-01-17) (aged 89)
London, England, UK
Nationality United Kingdom British
Spouse(s) Sarah Giles
Profession Lawyer

Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith (13 February 1819 – 17 January 1909[1]) was a British-born Australian lawyer, judge and politician, who was the fourth Premier of Tasmania from 12 May 1857 until 1 November 1860.


Smith was born in Lindfield in the English county of Sussex, the eldest son of London merchant Francis Smith and Marie Josephine Villeneuve. Smith would acknowledge his mother's ancestry from French naval admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve by adopting her surname in 1861. The Smith family emigrated to the Australian colony of Van Diemen's Land (later called Tasmania) in 1826, settling in Campania near Richmond. Smith, however, returned to England to further his education, studying law at Middle Temple and arts at University College London. He was admitted to the Bar on 27 May 1842.[2]

In 1851 he became a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council and soon after became Attorney-General. He was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1856. He was Attorney General in William Champ's first ministry from 1 November 1856 until 26 February 1857. When William Weston's ministry (1857) collapsed he proceeded to form his own with himself as Premier and Attorney General, he held office for three years until 1860 becoming the first Premier of Tasmania to hold office for more than one year.

He represented the now-defunct electorate of Fingal. He was also Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. Smith was knighted in 1862.

Political offices
Preceded by
William Weston
Premier of Tasmania
1857 – 1860
Succeeded by
William Weston