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Cowper ministry (1865–1866)

Fourth Cowper ministry
9th Cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Premier Charles Cowper and the Colony of New South Wales (1863–1900)
Date formed3 February 1865 (1865-02-03)
Date dissolved21 January 1866 (1866-01-21)
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Victoria
GovernorSir John Young
Head of governmentCharles Cowper
No. of ministers7
Member partyunaligned
Status in legislatureMinority government
Opposition partyunaligned
Opposition leaderJames Martin
PredecessorFirst Martin ministry
SuccessorSecond Martin ministry

The fourth Cowper ministry was the ninth ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and fourth 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. Cowper formed Government on the second occasion between 1857 and 1859; but it also lost the confidence of the Assembly. On the third occasion, Cowper formed Government following the decision by Premier John Robertson to step aside and focus on land reform,[1] however Cowper then lost the confidence to James Martin.[2] Cowper retained government by defeating Martin at the 1864–65 general election.[3]

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.[4] Such ministerial by-elections were usually uncontested however on this occasion a poll was required in East Sydney (Charles Cowper), The Glebe (Thomas Smart) and West Sydney (John Darvall and John Robertson). Each minister was comfortably re-elected. Only The Paterson (William Arnold) was uncontested.[5]

This ministry covers the period from 3 February 1865 until 21 January 1866, when Martin was asked to form government after Cowper again lost the confidence of the Assembly in December 1865.[6]

Composition of ministry

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Charles Cowper 3 February 1865 21 January 1866 352 days
Colonial Treasurer Thomas Smart 19 October 1865 258 days
Saul Samuel 20 October 1865 3 January 1866 75 days
Marshall Burdekin 4 January 1866 21 January 1866 17 days
Attorney General John Darvall 3 February 1865 20 June 1865 137 days
John Plunkett 25 August 1865 21 January 1866 149 days
Solicitor General
Representative of the Government in the Legislative Council
John Hargrave MLC 3 February 1865 352 days
Secretary for Lands John Robertson 19 October 1865 258 days
William Arnold 20 October 1865 30 October 1865 10 days
John Robertson 1 January 1866 21 January 1866 20 days
Secretary for Public Works William Arnold 3 February 1865 19 October 1865 258 days
Thomas Smart 20 October 1865 21 January 1866 93 days
Postmaster-General[a] James Cunneen 1 October 1865 112 days

  Ministers are members of the Legislative Assembly unless otherwise noted.

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

See also


  1. ^ Nairn, Bede. "Robertson, Sir John (1816–1891)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  2. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Martin, James". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  3. ^ Ward, John M. "Cowper, Sir Charles (1807–1875)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  4. ^ Twomey, Anne (2004). The Constitution of New South Wales. Federation Press. pp. 442. ISBN 9781862875166. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  5. ^ Green, Antony. "1865 to 1869 by-elections". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Part 6 Ministries since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 15 December 2020.


Preceded byFirst Martin ministry Fourth Cowper ministry 1865–1866 Succeeded bySecond Martin ministry
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Cowper ministry (1865–1866)
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