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Dibbs ministry (1885)

First Dibbs ministry
21st Cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Premier George Dibbs and the Colony of New South Wales (1863–1900)
Date formed7 October 1885 (1885-10-07)
Date dissolved21 December 1885 (1885-12-21)
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Victoria
GovernorLord Augustus Loftus / The Lord Carrington
Head of governmentGeorge Dibbs
No. of ministers10
Member partyunaligned
Status in legislatureMinority government
Opposition partyunaligned
Opposition leaderJohn Robertson
PredecessorStuart ministry
SuccessorFifth Robertson ministry

The first Dibbs ministry was the 21st ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and was the first of three occasions of being led by the Premier, George Dibbs. Dibbs was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1874.

The title of Premier was widely used to refer to the Leader of Government, but was not a formal position in the government until 1920. Instead the Premier was appointed to another portfolio, usually Colonial Secretary, but on this occasion Dibbs kept the portfolio of Colonial Treasurer he had held in the Stuart ministry.

There was no party system in New South Wales politics until 1887.[1] Under the constitution, ministers in the Legislative Assembly were required to resign to recontest their seats in a by-election when appointed.[2] Such ministerial by-elections were usually uncontested and on this occasion most of the ministers had been appointed prior to the election in October 1885. The two new ministers, Thomas Slattery (Boorowa) and William Lyne (The Hume), were re-elected unopposed.[3]

This ministry covers the period from 7 October 1885 until 21 December 1885. Dibbs took over as Premier following the October 1885 resignation of Sir Alexander Stuart due to ill-health. At the subsequent election Dibbs' government polled badly and despite attempting to govern; less than three months later when it became clear that there would be a budget deficit of over £1m.[4][5][6] Dibbs was succeeded by Sir John Robertson.[7]

Composition of ministry

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Premier George Dibbs 7 October 1885 21 December 1885 75 days
Colonial Treasurer 10 October 1885 72 days
Colonial Secretary 7 October 1885 9 October 1885 2 days
Sir Patrick Jennings 10 October 1885 21 December 1885 72 days
Minister of Public Instruction William Trickett 7 October 1885 75 days
Representative of the Government in Legislative Council George Thornton MLC 13 November 1885 21 December 1885 38 days
James Farnell MLC 7 October 1885 9 October 1885 2 days
Minister of Justice
Thomas Slattery 2 November 1885 21 December 1885 49 days
Attorney General Jack Want 7 October 1885 75 days
Secretary for Lands Joseph Abbott
Secretary for Public Works Henry Badgery 31 October 1885 24 days
William Lyne 2 November 1885 21 December 1885 49 days
Postmaster-General John See 7 October 1885 75 days
Secretary for Mines Francis Wright 17 October 1885 10 days
George Thornton MLC 13 November 1885 21 December 1885 38 days

Ministers are members of the Legislative Assembly unless otherwise noted.

See also


  1. ^ Green, Antony (20 October 2010). "Centenary of the First NSW Labor Government". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012.
  2. ^ Twomey, Anne (2004). The Constitution of New South Wales. Federation Press. pp. 442. ISBN 9781862875166. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  3. ^ Green, Antony. "By-elections 1885-87". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  4. ^ Mansfield, Bruce E. "Dibbs, Sir George Richard (1834–1904)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Sir George Richard Dibbs (1834–1904)". Former members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  6. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Dibbs, Sir George Richard (1834–1904)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Part 6 Ministries since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 6 March 2021.


Preceded byStuart ministry First Dibbs ministry 1885 Succeeded byFifth Robertson ministry
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Dibbs ministry (1885)
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