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Parkes ministry (1887–1889)

Fourth Parkes ministry
24th Cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Premier Sir Henry Parkes and the Colony of New South Wales (1863–1900)
Date formed20 January 1887 (1887-01-20)
Date dissolved16 January 1889 (1889-01-16)
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Victoria
GovernorLord Carrington
PremierSir Henry Parkes
No. of ministers10
Member partyFree Trade Party
Status in legislatureMinority government
Opposition partyProtectionist Party
Opposition leaderGeorge Dibbs
PredecessorJennings ministry
SuccessorSecond Dibbs ministry

The fourth Parkes ministry was the 24th ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and was led by the seventh Premier, Sir Henry Parkes. It was the fourth of five occasions that Parkes was Premier.[1]

Having served in the New South Wales Legislative Council between 1854 and 1856, Parkes was elected in the first free elections for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly held in 1856, however resigned from Parliament later that year. He served in the Assembly on several occasions, between 1858 and 1870, being forced to resign on at least one occasion due to his personal insolvency. He came to power as Premier on the first occasion in 1872, serving as Premier for a period of three years. However, Parkes lost the confidence of the Assembly following Governor Robinson's decision to release of the bushranger Frank Gardiner led to the defeat of the ministry in 1875.[2]

John Robertson served as Premier between 1875 and 1877, before Robertson was defeated at the 1877 election. Parkes formed his second ministry in a challenging environment where both Parkes and Robertson shared equal representation in the Legislative Assembly and business was sometimes at a standstill.[3] Parkes' second term as Colonial Premier lasted just 147 days, with the Farnell ministry giving both Parkes and Robertson reprieve for 12 months, prior to Parkes and Robertson forming an alliance government in the third Parkes ministry.[1]

The retirement of Robertson pitted Parkes against George Dibbs and after the governments of both Dibbs and Sir Patrick Jennings faltered under public debt,[2] Parkes formed this, his fourth ministry.

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.

There was no party system in New South Wales politics prior to 1887.[4] Under the constitution, ministers in the Legislative Assembly were required to resign to recontest their seats in a by-election when appointed.[5] The initial ministers were not required to face a by-election as they had been appointed prior to the general election in February 1887. Of the subsequent appointments, Bernhard Wise (South Sydney) was narrowly re-elected, while James Brunker (East Maitland) was re-elected unopposed.[6]

This ministry covers the period from 20 January 1887 until 16 January 1889.[1]

Composition of ministry

Portfolio Minister Party Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Sir Henry Parkes   Free Trade 20 January 1887 16 January 1889 1 year, 362 days
Vice-President of the Executive Council 6 March 1887 45 days
Julian Salomons MLC 7 March 1887 16 January 1889 1 year, 315 days
Representative of the Government in Legislative Council 20 January 1887 1 year, 362 days
Colonial Treasurer John Burns
Attorney General William Foster 18 May 1887 118 days
Bernhard Wise 27 May 1887 7 February 1888 256 days
George Simpson MLC 10 February 1888 16 January 1889 341 days
Secretary for Lands Thomas Garrett 20 January 1887 19 January 1888 364 days
Sir Henry Parkes 26 July 1888 23 August 1888 28 days
James Brunker 29 August 1888 16 January 1889 140 days
Secretary for Public Works John Sutherland 20 January 1887 1 year, 362 days
Minister of Justice William Clarke
Minister of Public Instruction James Inglis
Secretary for Mines Francis Abigail
Postmaster-General Charles Roberts

Ministers were members of the Legislative Assembly unless otherwise noted.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Part 6 Ministries since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Martin, A W. "Parkes, Sir Henry (1815–96)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  3. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Parkes, Sir Henry (1816–1896)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  4. ^ Green, Antony (20 October 2010). "Centenary of the First NSW Labor Government". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012.
  5. ^ Twomey, Anne (2004). The Constitution of New South Wales. Federation Press. pp. 442. ISBN 9781862875166. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  6. ^ Green, Antony. "By-elections 1887-88". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 June 2021.


Preceded byJennings ministry Fourth Parkes ministry 1887–1889 Succeeded bySecond Dibbs ministry
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Parkes ministry (1887–1889)
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