Vaiben Louis Solomon

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The Right Honourable
Vaiben Louis 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)

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 his uncle, Vaiben Solomon (1802 – 21 June 1860), who was transported with his brother Emanuel Solomon to New South Wales in 1818 for larceny and became a wealthy pastoralist of Horningsea Park). He was a nephew 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. His education began at J. L. Young's Adelaide Educational Institution,[1] and continued at Scotch College, Melbourne.[2] He then returned to Adelaide, where he joined the firm of Donaldson, Andrews and Sharland, who promptly sent him to Kapunda, where he developed a taste for amateur theatricals. He returned to Adelaide, where he worked at the Stock Exchange.[3] Vaiben wished to marry Mary Ann Wigzell (c. June 1856 – 7 January 1885), a Gentile, but his father forbade the marriage, going so far as to publish a notice to that effect.[4] In 1873 Solomon left for (perhaps sent by his father) the Northern Territory, where he became editor of the Northern Territory Times as well as holding successful mining and mercantile holdings. He helped run his brother Moss's[5] Darwin store,[6] then left to open his own, "Solomon's Emporium", which flourished while his brother's languished.[3] He became an auctioneer in 1877, and had a business partnership with Frederick Percy Stevens and Herbert Henry Adcock in 1878. On 6 December 1880, three months after his father's death, Solomon married Wigzell, who was by then Mary Ann Bridgland, a widow with a young son; she died a little over four years later, having in the meantime had a daughter by Vaiben. Her two children were taken to Adelaide to be cared for by relatives.[3] He became a prominent figure in the Northern Territory, where he gained the nickname "Black Solomon" from the time when, on a dare, he painted himself black and walked naked (streaked?) through the streets of Palmerston (now known as Darwin). He had helped found Palmerston's first municipal council in 1874 and was later served as Chairman. He founded a building company and became quite prosperous, building for himself a residence on The Esplanade that was perhaps the grandest in the town.[3]

Solomon was elected with colleague J. Langdon Parsons to the South Australian House of Assembly in April 1890 as the inaugural members for the Electoral district of Northern Territory (then part of South Australia) on the back of a campaign advocating a White Australia policy. Financial difficulties led to his resignation in March 1891, but his constituents brought him back and re-elected him at the next elections.[7] 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, and gaining for Vaiben the cognomen "Sudden Solomon".[8]

Vaiben Louis Solomon at the 1897-1898 Australasian Federal Convention.

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 statewide 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. Solomon holds the dual distinctions of being South Australia’s sole Jewish and shortest serving Premier.


The Hundred of Solomon in South Australia[9] and the Electoral Division of Solomon in the Northern Territory are named after him.


V. L. Solomon (1853-1908) married the widow Mary Ann Bridgland (née Wigzell) (c. June 1856 – 7 January 1885) on 6 December 1880 in Darwin. He married again, to Alice Cohen ( – 19 May 1954) of Richmond, Victoria on 22 July 1896, and lived at "Beryl", Robe Terrace Medindie. His children were:

  • Mary Danks Solomon (10 September 1881 – 1 June 1952) born in Darwin, married financier D(avid) Leon Abraham ( – 24 April 1944) on 16 September 1903. She was awarded the Royal Humane Society's medal in 1894[10]
  • Vaiben Louis "Vaib" Solomon (31 May 1897 – ) married Claribelle "Claire" Mitchell ( – ) on 31 March 1931. He was educated at St. Peter's College then Wesley College, Melbourne. As "Vaiben Louis" he won some fame as a humorous writer, and was commissioned by Hugh J. Ward, who had the rights to the "hit" farce Tons of Money to write a musical version, which had a successful run at Melbourne's Princess Theatre.[11] In business as an accountant.
  • Esther Solomon MBE (6 April 1900 – 27 January 1991) married dentist Hyam John "Boy" Lipman (11 January 1889 – 16 March 1960) on 9 April 1919; she married a second time, to Harrold Cook.[when?] Her third marriage was to Sir Roland Ellis "Raoul" Jacobs (28 February 1891 – 28 June 1981) on 30 November 1970. Esther was the first woman elected to the Adelaide City Council and served two terms as Deputy Mayor.
  • Elizabeth Laura "Betty" Solomon (1908 – c. 2007) married Eric B. Fewster ( – ) c. 15 July 1930

He adopted Mary Ann's son Harrie Walter Bridgland (31 May 1879 – 17 October 1947), who for a time called himself Harrie Walter Solomon or Solomon-Bridgland, then disowned him in 1903.[12] Harrie was a champion swimmer, as was his son Walter Lewis Bridgland (23 March 1908 – 30 July 1987), Lord Mayor of Adelaide 1966–1968.

For further details on Vaiben Louis Solomon's extended family, please refer to Samuel Moss Solomon.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c d "Vaiben Louis Solomon" (PDF). Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group. September 2011. ISSN 1836-7860. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Advertising". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 11 October 1872. p. 2. Retrieved 29 December 2015.  Interesting that Vaiben was able to publish a riposte in the same column
  5. ^ Moss Judah Solomon (1843–1933)
  6. ^ "Classified Advertising". Northern Territory Times and Gazette (Darwin, NT : 1873 - 1927). Darwin, NT: National Library of Australia. 8 July 1876. p. 2. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Biographies of the Members". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 26 May 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "From the Bulletin". Quorn Mercury (SA : 1895 - 1954). SA: National Library of Australia. 22 December 1899. p. 3. Retrieved 27 December 2015.  And the Legislative Council was nicknamed "Fatman's House". Some interesting, breezy writing.
  9. ^ Manning, Geoffrey Haydon. "Manning index of South Australian place names: Solomon". State Library of South Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "A Plucky South Australian Girl". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 23 April 1894. p. 4. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "Talented Adelaidean". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 22 November 1924. p. 11. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 17 March 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Downer
Leader of the Opposition of South Australia
Succeeded by
Frederick Holder
Preceded by
Charles Kingston
Premier of South Australia
Preceded by
Frederick Holder
Treasurer of South Australia
Preceded by
Frederick Holder
Leader of the Opposition of South Australia
Succeeded by
Robert Homburg
Parliament of South Australia
New district Member for Northern Territory
Served alongside: Parsons, Griffiths, Herbert
Succeeded by
Samuel James Mitchell
Preceded by
Charles Edward Herbert
Member for Northern Territory
Served alongside: Mitchell
Succeeded by
Thomas Crush
Parliament of Australia
New district Member for South Australia
Served alongside: Batchelor, Bonython, Glynn, Holder, Kingston, Poynton
District abolished