1887 New South Wales colonial election

The 1887 New South Wales colonial election was held between 4 February and 26 February 1887. This election was for all of the 124 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and it was conducted in 37 single-member constituencies, 23 2-member constituencies, seven 3-member constituencies and five 4-member constituencies, all with a first past the post system.[1][2][3] Part 1 (section 13) of the Electoral Act of 1880 had awarded the right to vote to 'every male subject of Her Majesty of the full age of twenty-one years and absolutely free being a natural born or naturalized'.[4] The previous parliament of New South Wales was dissolved on 26 January 1887 by the Governor, Lord Carrington, on the advice of the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes.

1887 New South Wales colonial election

← 1885 4 February 1887 – 26 February 1887 1889 →

All 124 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
63 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Sir Henry Parkes George Dibbs
Party Free Trade Protectionist
Leader since 1886 20 January 1887
Leader's seat St Leonards Murrumbidgee
Seats won 79 seats 37 seats
Percentage 60.75% 32.89%

Results of the election, showing winners in each seat. Seats without circles indicate the electorate returned one member.

Premier before election

Sir Henry Parkes
Free Trade

Elected Premier

Sir Henry Parkes
Free Trade

Parkes had defeated the government of Patrick Jennings less than a week previously, and was keen to test his electoral strength. This was the first election at which there were recognisable political parties, namely the Protectionist Party, which coalesced around Jennings' successor George Dibbs, and Parkes' Free Trade Party. At this stage these parties were still organisationally very different from today's political parties, and party affiliation was often fluid or non-existent, depending on the individual member.

Key dates

Date Event
26 January 1887 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.
2 February to 18 February 1887 Nominations for candidates for the election closed.
4 February to 26 February 1887 Polling days.
8 March 1887 Opening of new Parliament.



New South Wales colonial election, 4 – 26 February 1887 [1]
Legislative Assembly
<< 18851889 >>

Enrolled voters
Votes cast 128,787 Turnout 57.84 −3.26
Informal votes 2,275 Informal 1.74 −0.27
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Free Trade 78,238 60.75 n/a 79 n/a
  Protectionist 42,354 32.89 n/a 37 n/a
  Ind. Free Trade 4,159 3.23 n/a 4 n/a
  Ind. Protectionist 3,105 2.41 n/a 4 n/a
  Independent 931 0.72 n/a 0 n/a
Total 252,004     124  
Popular vote
Free Trade
Ind. Free Trade
Ind. Protectionist
Parliamentary seats
Free Trade
Ind. Free Trade
Ind. Protectionist

See also



  1. ^ a b Green, Antony. "1887 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Part 5B alphabetical list of all electorates and Members since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Former members of the New South Wales Parliament, 1856–2006". New South Wales Parliament. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  4. ^ Electoral Act 1880 (NSW).