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Cowper ministry (1857–1859)

Second Cowper ministry
4th Cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Premier Charles Cowper and the Colony of New South Wales (1856–1859)
Date formed7 September 1857 (1857-09-07)
Date dissolved26 October 1859 (1859-10-26)
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Victoria
GovernorWilliam Denison
Head of governmentCharles Cowper
No. of ministers6
Member partyunaligned
Status in legislatureMinority government
Opposition partyunaligned
Opposition leader
PredecessorParker ministry
SuccessorForster ministry

The second Cowper ministry was the fourth ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and second occasion of being led by Charles Cowper.

Cowper was elected in the first free elections for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly held in March 1856, and fought unsuccessfully with Stuart Donaldson to form Government. When Donaldson's Government faltered a little over two months after it was formed, Cowper formed Government on the first occasion, but he also lost the confidence of the Assembly a few months later. Henry Parker formed Government, lasting a little under twelve months, until it lost an electoral bill,[1] when Cowper was again asked to form Government.

The title of Premier was widely used to refer to the Leader of Government, but not enshrined in formal use until 1920.

There was no party system in New South Wales politics until 1887. Under the constitution, ministers were required to resign to recontest their seats in a by-election when appointed.[2] On this occasion all 4 ministers appointed in September 1857 were re-elected unopposed. Robert Campbell and John Robertson were appointed in January 1858 however no by-elections were held as the Legislative Assembly had been dissolved for the general election which was held between 13 January and 12 February 1858. William Dalley was re-elected unopposed in November 1858. John Hargrave was not a member of parliament at the time he was appointed Solicitor General. Hargrave had resigned as a judge of the District Court and the member for East Camden, Robert Owen, was appointed to replace him. Hargrave won Owen's former seat at the by-election on 21 March 1859.[3] Edward Flood was re-elected unopposed on his appointment in October 1859.

This ministry covers the period from 7 September 1857 until on 26 October 1859, when Cowper resigned his commission, having lost an educational bill. Cowper resigned from the Assembly on the next day.[4] During the period of this ministry, there were many arrangements, with no fewer than 13 men holding the seven positions in its life of just over two years.[4][5]

Composition of ministry

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Charles Cowper 7 September 1857 26 October 1859 2 years, 49 days
Colonial Treasurer Richard Jones 3 January 1858 118 days
Robert Campbell 4 January 1858 30 March 1859 1 year, 85 days
Elias Weekes 18 April 1859 26 October 1859 191 days
Secretary for Lands and Works Terence Murray 7 September 1857 12 January 1858 127 days
John Robertson 13 January 1858 30 September 1859 2 years, 49 days
Secretary for Lands 1 October 1859 26 October 1859
Secretary for Public Works Edward Flood 25 days
Attorney General James Martin 7 September 1857 8 November 1858 1 year, 62 days
Alfred Lutwyche MLC 15 November 1858 21 February 1859 98 days
Lyttleton Bayley MLC / MLA 21 February 1859 26 October 1859 247 days
Solicitor General Alfred Lutwyche MLC 7 September 1857 14 November 1858 1 year, 68 days
William Dalley 15 November 1858 11 February 1859 88 days
John Hargrave MLA / MLC 21 February 1859 26 October 1859 247 days
Representative of the Government in the Legislative Council Lyttleton Bayley MLC 23 February 1859 28 April 1859 64 days
John Dickson MLC[a] 30 August 1859 28 September 1859 219 days
John Hargrave MLC 12 October 1859 26 October 1859 14 days

  Ministers are members of the Legislative Assembly unless otherwise noted.

  1. ^ A member of the government without a seat in the Cabinet.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Parker, Sir Henry Watson (1808–1881)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  2. ^ Twomey, Anne (2004). The Constitution of New South Wales. Federation Press. pp. 442. ISBN 9781862875166. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  3. ^ Green, Antony. "1859 East Camden by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b Serle, Percival (1949). "Cowper, Sir Charles (1807–1875)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Part 6 Ministries since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Legislative Council". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 September 1859. p. 2. Retrieved 19 January 2021 – via Trove.
Preceded byParker ministry Second Cowper ministry 1857–1859 Succeeded byForster ministry
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Cowper ministry (1857–1859)
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