Thomas Playford II

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The Honourable
Thomas Playford
Thomas playford II.jpg
17th Premier of South Australia
Elections: 1890
In office
11 June 1887 (1887-06-11) – 27 June 1889 (1889-06-27)
Monarch Victoria
Governor Sir William Robinson
Earl of Kintore
Preceded by John Downer
Succeeded by John Cockburn
In office
19 August 1890 (1890-08-19) – 21 June 1892 (1892-06-21)
Monarch Victoria
Governor Earl of Kintore
Preceded by John Cockburn
Succeeded by Frederick Holder
5th Leader of the Opposition (SA)
In office
1887–1887
Preceded by Jenkin Coles
Succeeded by John Downer
In office
1889–1890
Preceded by John Cockburn
Succeeded by Frederick Holder
Personal details
Born (1837-11-26)26 November 1837
Bethnal Green, London, England
Died 19 April 1915(1915-04-19) (aged 77)
Kent Town, South Australia

Thomas Playford (26 November 1837 – 19 April 1915) served as Premier of South Australia and Treasurer from 11 June 1887 to 26 June 1889 and 8 August 1890 to 20 June 1892, as well as serving as the Australian Federal Minister for Defence from 1905 to 1907.

Early life[edit]

Born in Bethnal Green, London in 1837, Playford moved to Adelaide in 1844 with his family and initially worked as a farmer prior to entering politics.[1]

Parliament[edit]

South Australia[edit]

Elected to the Parliament of South Australia at the 1868 election as the Member for Onkaparinga,[1] he gained the sobriquet "Honest Tom" for his forthright and straightforward manner, although these same qualities would earn him the occasional disapproval of fellow politicians and the electorate, and caused his defeat at the 1871 election. Playford returned to Parliament at the 1875 election as member for East Torrens and held the position of Reforming Commissioner for Crown Lands and Immigration before losing his seat yet again at the 1887 election. A month later however, he won the seat of Newcastle.[1] By mid-1887 he became Premier and Treasurer, positions he would hold for two years until a vote of no confidence passed. During his premiership, his most important achievement was considered to be the implementation of the first systematic tariff system for South Australia.[2][3][4]

He regained East Torrens at the 1890 election and a few months later he formed his second government, again becoming Premier and Treasurer, and would again last for two years. He received kudos for significantly reducing the colony's debt, although he spent much of this second term in India. Charles Kingston brought together the various 'liberal' groups and was able to defeat the conservative John Downer government at the 1893 election with Labor support. The Kingston government would last for a then-record six years. Kingston had appointed Playford as Treasurer in his government, however in 1894 Playford moved to London to act as Agent-General for South Australia before returning to South Australia in 1898 to serve in Kingston's government from the 1899 election as member for Gumeracha,[1] until he crossed the floor in later that year over a potential erosion of the power of the Legislative Council, bringing down the Kingston government in the process. He also found the time to involve himself in the planning of the Federation of the Australian Commonwealth and drafting the Australian Constitution. As part of this, he proposed the title "Commonwealth of Australia".[2][3]

Federal[edit]

As a moderate Protectionist, but with the endorsement of the conservative Australasian National League (formerly National Defence League), Playford became a Senator at the inaugural 1901 federal election. Two years later in Alfred Deakin's government, Playford served for seven months as Leader of the Government in the Senate and Vice-President of the Executive Council. He became Minister for Defence in 1905 which he held for 18 months. He was defeated in the 1906 federal election, the first serving Minister to suffer this fate. His term as a Senator ended on 31 December 1906, and his ministerial commission was terminated on 24 January 1907. Playford made one further unsuccessful attempt to re-enter the Senate at the 1910 federal election.[2]

Death[edit]

Playford died in Kent Town, Adelaide on 19 April 1915.[2][3]

Family[edit]

His eldest daughter Annie (died 1956) married the Rev. John Henry Sexton on 30 June 1886.

On 1 January 1889 his second daughter Eliza (born 1866) married Harry J. Tuck (born 1863), younger brother of painter Marie Tuck and later headmaster at Unley High School.[5]

Playford's grandson, Sir Thomas Playford, also served as Premier of South Australia.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Thomas Playford Snr". Former Member of Parliament Details. Parliament of South Australia. 
  2. ^ a b c d Playford, John (1988). "Playford, Thomas (1837 - 1915)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Serle, Percival. "Playford, Thomas (1837 - 1915)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  4. ^ "Thomas Playford - 1887". Members. Parliament of South Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  5. ^ "Aunt Of Premier Wed 50 Years". News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 31 December 1938. p. 5. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 

References[edit]

  • Jupp, J. (2004) The English in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

External links[edit]

Parliament of South Australia
Preceded by
William Milne
Member for Onkaparinga
1868–1871
Served alongside: William Townsend, Friedrich Krichauff
Succeeded by
William Bundey
Preceded by
George Stevenson
Member for East Torrens
1875–1887
Served alongside: Edwin Smith, David Murray
Succeeded by
Saul Solomon
Preceded by
Patrick Coglin
Member for Newcastle
1887–1890
Served alongside: Thomas Burgoyne
Succeeded by
Joseph Hancock
Preceded by
Saul Solomon
Member for East Torrens
1890–1894
Served alongside: Edwin Smith, Frederick Coneybeer
Succeeded by
David Packham
Preceded by
William Randell
Member for Gumeracha
1899–1901
Served alongside: Robert Homburg
Succeeded by
William Jamieson
Political offices
Preceded by
David Bower
Commissioner of Public Works
1884 – 1885
Succeeded by
Jenkin Coles
Preceded by
Jenkin Coles
Leader of the Opposition of South Australia
1887
Succeeded by
John Downer
Preceded by
John Downer
Premier of South Australia
1887 – 1889
Succeeded by
John Cockburn
Preceded by
John Cockburn
Leader of the Opposition of South Australia
1889–1890
Succeeded by
Frederick Holder
Premier of South Australia
1890 – 1892
Parliament of Australia
New division Senator for South Australia
1901–1906
Succeeded by
William Russell
Joseph Vardon
James O'Loghlin
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard O'Connor
Vice-President of the Executive Council
1903 – 1904
Succeeded by
Gregor McGregor
Preceded by
James Whiteside McCay
Minister for Defence
1905 – 1907
Succeeded by
Thomas Ewing
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Cox Bray
Agent-General for South Australia
1894–1898
Succeeded by
John Cockburn