Vaiben Solomon

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The Right Honourable
Vaiben Solomon
Vaiben Solomon1.jpg
21st Premier of South Australia
In office
1 December 1899 – 8 December 1899
Monarch Victoria
Governor Sir Thomas Buxton
Preceded by Charles Kingston
Succeeded by Frederick Holder
13th Leader of the Opposition (SA)
In office
Preceded by John Downer
Succeeded by Frederick Holder
In office
Preceded by Frederick Holder
Succeeded by Robert Homburg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for South Australia
In office
30 March 1901 – 16 December 1903
Serving with Lee Batchelor, Langdon Bonython, Paddy Glynn, Frederick Holder, Charles Kingston, Alexander Poynton
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Division abolished
Personal details
Born (1853-05-13)13 May 1853
Adelaide, South Australia
Died 20 October 1908(1908-10-20) (aged 55)
Political party Conservatives
Free Trade (1901–03)
Religion Judaism

Vaiben Louis Solomon (13 May 1853 – 20 October 1908) was the 21st Premier of South Australia and a member of the first Australian Commonwealth parliament. He was generally known by his full name, perhaps to distinguish him from the related Vaiben Solomon (1802 – 21 June 1860), brother of Emanuel Solomon and uncle of Judah Moss Solomon.

Solomon was born in Adelaide, South Australia, the son of Judah Moss Solomon, a member of the South Australian Legislative Council and Lord Mayor of Adelaide from 1869 to 1870. After an education which began at J. L. Young's Adelaide Educational Institution[1] before moving to Scotch College, Melbourne,[2] the Jewish Solomon wished to marry Mary Ann Wigzell (c. June 1856 – 7 January 1885), a gentile, but his father so opposed the marriage that Solomon left for the Northern Territory in 1873. There he became editor of the Northern Territory Times as well as holding successful mining and mercantile holdings. He mixed these interests in his 1894 book Guide to Western Australia and its Goldfields. Additionally, on 6 December 1880, three months after his father's death, Solomon married Wigzell, now Mary Ann Bridgland, a widow with a young son. He became a prominent figure in the Northern Territory and gained the nickname "Black Solomon", derived from the time, on a dare, he painted himself black and walked naked through the streets of Palmerston (now known as Darwin).

Solomon was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly in April 1890 as an inaugural member for the Electoral district of Northern Territory (then part of South Australia) on the back of a campaign advocating a White Australia policy. He served as government whip before becoming Leader of the Opposition in 1899, when he had the Charles Kingston government dissolve over Kingston’s proposal to extend suffrage to all householders and their wives. Solomon then became Premier and Treasurer of South Australia for one week, 1 December to 8 December 1899, before further machinations led to new Opposition Leader Frederick Holder gaining the Premiership.

Solomon was a member of the Australian Federation Convention in 1897 and the Convention that framed the Australian Constitution in 1897-98, before his election to the inaugural Australian federal Parliament in 1901 as a Free Trade member for the single state-wide Division of South Australia. Solomon unsuccessfully stood for the Division of Boothby at the 1903 election before returning to the South Australian House of Assembly in 1905 as the Member for the Northern Territory. By the time of his death to cancer, Solomon was Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Twice married (his second to Alice Cohen of Richmond, Victoria on 22 July 1896), Solomon holds the dual distinctions of being South Australia’s sole Jewish and shortest serving Premier. The electorate of Solomon in the Northern Territory is named after him. His daughter Esther was the first woman elected to the Adelaide City Council and served two terms as Deputy Mayor. His adoptive son Harrie Walter Bridgland (31 May 1879 – 17 October 1947), for a time known as Harrie Walter Solomon and disowned 1903,[3] was a champion swimmer, as was his son Walter Lewis Bridgland (23 March 1908 – 30 July 1987), Lord Mayor of Adelaide 1966–1968.


  1. ^ "Adelaide Educational Institution". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 15 December 1862. p. 3. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Biographies of the Members". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 26 May 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Advertising.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 17 March 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 


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Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Kingston
Premier of South Australia
Succeeded by
Frederick Holder
Parliament of Australia
New district Member for South Australia
Served alongside: Batchelor, Bonython, Glynn, Holder, Kingston, Poynton
District abolished