George Kerferd

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George Briscoe Kerferd
10th Premier of Victoria
In office
31 July 1874 – 7 August 1875
Preceded byJames Francis
Succeeded byGraham Berry
Personal details
Born21 January 1831
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died31 December 1889(1889-12-31) (aged 58)
Sorrento, Victoria, Australia
Spouse(s)Ann Martindale

George Briscoe Kerferd (21 January 1831 – 31 December 1889),[1] Australian colonial politician, was the 10th Premier of Victoria.

Kerferd was born in Liverpool, the son of G. B. Kerferd, a merchant[2] (or Joseph Kerferd, a bookkeeper, and his wife Rachel, née Blundell)[3] Kerferd was educated at the Collegiate Institute, Liverpool, with intentions of studying law; however circumstances led him to enter his father's business. Kerferd emigrated to Victoria in 1853 with plans to open a branch of the family business, but this did not eventuate. After trying his luck as a gold miner at Bendigo, he settled in Beechworth[4] and became a brewer and wine merchant. He was mayor of Beechworth 1863-64 and three other occasions.[2] In 1853 he married Ann Martindale, with whom he had ten children. Kerferd was admitted to the Melbourne bar in 1867 but did not practise as a lawyer.

Kerferd was elected to the Legislative Assembly for the Ovens in November 1864, and represented the area continuously until February 1886.[1] He began studying law in 1864[2] and was Minister for Mines and Vice-President of the Board of Land and Works in the government of James McCulloch 1868, and Solicitor-General 1872-1874 and Attorney-General in 1874 in the government of James Francis. When the Francis government was defeated in July 1874, Kerferd succeeded him at the head of a new conservative ministry.

Kerferd's Treasurer, James Service, was, like most colonial conservatives, a convinced free trader, and the government's 1875 budget proposed repealing the tariffs imposed by Charles Gavan Duffy's liberal government, and replacing the lost revenue with a land tax and a tax on beer and spirits. But this offended both the landowners and the business community, and Kerferd's government was defeated in August 1875.

Kerferd was again appointed as Attorney-General in later conservative governments (1875–1877, 1880 and 1883–86, in the Service government). In 1883 Kerferd was a Victorian representative to the federal convention. In 1886, he quit politics and on 1 January 1886 was appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria. The appointment was not without controversy as several barristers had served longer in the legal profession, but Kerferd had eight years as attorney-general. There was general agreement that Kerferd filled his role as judge with great ability. Kerferd served as a judge until his death in 1889 while on a holiday at Sorrento, Victoria.[2]

Kerferd Road in Albert Park is named after him. Kerferd Road, later Avenue, in Sorrento is also named after him.

See also[edit]


  • Geoff Browne, A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900-84, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1985
  • Don Garden, Victoria: A History, Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1984
  • Kathleen Thompson and Geoffrey Serle, A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1856-1900, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1972
  • Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel. A History of the Parliament of Victoria, 1856-1990, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992
  1. ^ a b "Kerferd, George Briscoe". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Percival Serle (1949). "Kerferd, George Briscoe". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
  3. ^ Beever, Margot. "Kerferd, George Briscoe (1831–1889)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  4. ^ George Biscoe Kerferd at

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Francis
Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
Graham Berry