William Propsting

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William Propsting

William Propsting.jpg
20th Premier of Tasmania
In office
9 April 1903 – 11 July 1904
GovernorSir Arthur Havelock
Preceded byElliott Lewis
Succeeded byJohn Evans
Personal details
William Bispham Propsting

(1861-06-04)4 June 1861
Hobart, Tasmania
Died3 December 1937(1937-12-03) (aged 76)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Caroline Emma Coles (1893–1923)
Lilias Anne Macfarlane (1925–1937)

William Bispham Propsting, CMG (4 June 1861 – 3 December 1937) was an Australian politician and member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, who served as Premier of Tasmania from 9 April 1903 to 11 July 1904.

Early life[edit]

Propsting was born in Hobart, the son of Henry Propsting. He was educated at the Derwent School, Hobart, and went to South Australia in 1879 entering the education department as a pupil teacher. He studied at the training college and at the University of Adelaide, and rose to be first assistant at the Sturt Street School, Adelaide. He returned to Tasmania in 1886, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1892.

Political career[edit]

In February 1899 Propsting entered politics as member for Hobart in the Tasmanian House of Assembly, and in August 1901 was elected leader of the opposition. He became premier and treasurer on 9 April 1903, his party being known as the liberal democratic party. He succeeded in re-organising the education department and established a training college at Hobart, but most of his party's attempts to bring in democratic legislation were blocked by the Tasmanian Legislative Council. Propsting resigned on 11 July 1904 and was leader of the opposition until December 1905. He was then elected a member of the legislative council, and in May 1906 joined the Sir John W. Evans ministry as attorney-general and minister for education. This ministry resigned in June 1909. From April 1916 to August 1922 Propsting was attorney-general and minister for railways in Sir W. H. Lee's ministry, and was attorney-general in the Hayes ministry which succeeded it until August 1923. He was elected president of the legislative council in July 1926 and held this position with distinction until his death at Hobart on 3 December 1937.


Propsting married twice; firstly to Caroline Emma Coles in 1893, and secondly to Lilias Macfarlane in 1925, who survived him with a son and two daughters of the first marriage. He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1932.


Serle, Percival (1949). "Propsting, William Bispham". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Elliott Lewis
Premier of Tasmania
1903 – 1904
Succeeded by
John Evans
Tasmanian Legislative Council
Preceded by
Tetley Gant
President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Thomas Murdoch
Preceded by
William Gibson
Member for Hobart
Served alongside: Crosby/Bond/Murdoch/McKenzie/Gaha,
Succeeded by
William Strutt