|The Honourable Sir
Patrick Alfred Jennings
Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings
|Premier of New South Wales|
26 February 1886 – 19 January 1887
|Preceded by||John Robertson|
|Succeeded by||Henry Parkes|
10 October 1885 – 21 December 1885
|Preceded by||George Dibbs|
|Succeeded by||John Robertson|
20 March 1831|
Newry, County Down, Ireland
|Died||11 July 1899
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Jennings was born at Newry, Ireland, the son of Francis Jennings, a well-known merchant in that town. He was educated at Newry and at a high school at Exeter, England, and began a mercantile career. In 1852 he went to Australia and engaged in gold mining at St Arnaud, Victoria, but soon became a shop keeper, and then moved into quartz-crushing and bought a large pastoral property on the Murrumbidgee River. In 1857 he became a magistrate. He ran unsuccessfully for the Crowlands in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1859 and then became chairman of the St Arnaud Council. In 1863, he married Mary Ann Shanahan and moved to Warbreccan near Deniliquin.
In 1863 he became interested in the movement to form the Riverina district into a separate province, and two years later was asked to go to England as a delegate to bring the grievances of the district before the English authorities. He declined on the ground that it should be possible to clear up the difficulties with the New South Wales government.
Jennings was nominated to the legislative council in 1867. He resigned in 1870 to enter the Legislative Assembly as member for the Murray, but after 1872 was out of politics for some years. He contested Mudgee unsuccessfully in 1874. He represented the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania, at the Philadelphia exhibition in 1876, and subsequently visited Europe.
Jennings was elected to the assembly again in 1880 as member for the Bogan and from January to July 1883 was vice-president of the executive council in the Stuart ministry. He was Colonial Secretary from October to December 1885 in the Dibbs ministry, and in February 1886 became the first practising Catholic Premier and was also Treasurer. His administration lasted only 11 months and had a troubled career, having inherited a financial crisis. His attempts to balance the budget included a 5 per cent ad valorem tariff, which came to be seen as a violation of his free-trade platform. Jennings was scarcely a strong enough man to control a ministry which included Dibbs, Want and Lyne.
Jennings represented New South Wales at the colonial conference held in London in 1887. He was nominated to the legislative council in 1890, and was one of the New South Wales representatives at the federal convention held at Sydney in 1891, but did not take a prominent part in the proceedings. He was vice-president of the Agricultural Society of New South Wales from 1876 to 1887 and helped to procure the Moore Park site for the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Jennings was an amiable, cultivated man much interested in art and music; he contributed £1100 to Sydney University towards the cost of an organ for the great hall. He made many friends but was not a great parliamentarian, though he was a prominent figure in the public life of New South Wales for many years.
He was a leading man among his co-religionists. In 1874 he was honoured by Pope Pius IX with the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and in 1876 was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Pius IX and St. Gregory the Great; he also received the Grand Cross of Pius IX from Pope Leo XIII. He was made an honorary LL.D. of Dublin University, and was created K.C.M.G. in 1880.
- Serle, Percival. "Jennings, Sir Patrick Alfred (1831-1897)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- Cahill, A. E. "Jennings, Sir Patrick Alfred (1831 - 1897)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- "Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings (1831 - 1897)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- "Jennings". Tenterfield Shire Council. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- Serle, Percival (1949). "Jennings, Patrick Alfred". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
|Premier of New South Wales
|Parliament of New South Wales|
|Member for Murray
|Member for Bogan
Served alongside: Cass