A by-election was held for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly electorate of South Sydney on 4 June 1887 because Bernhard Wise (Free Trade) was appointed Attorney General in the fourth Parkes ministry. Such ministerial by-elections were usually uncontested. Most of the ministry was not required to face a by-election as they had been appointed prior to the general election in February 1887. William Foster had been the Attorney General however he resigned on the ground that he had been promised an appointment to the Supreme Court and Henry Stephen had been appointed instead.
|18 May 1887||William Foster resigned as Attorney General.|
|27 May 1887||Bernhard Wise appointed Attorney General.|
|31 May 1887||Writ of election issued by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.|
|2 June 1887||Nominations|
|4 June 1887||Polling day|
|7 June 1887||Return of writ|
|Free Trade||Bernhard Wise (re-elected)||2,618||50.4|
|Total formal votes||5,196||99.1|
|Free Trade hold|
With a margin of just 40 votes, William Traill challenged the result in the Elections and Qualifications Committee. The Committee consisted of 2 Free Trade members (William Trickett and Charles Garland) and 3 Protectionist members (James Garvan, Thomas Slattery and Henry Clarke). The committee scrutinised the ballot papers and held that Wise was properly elected, finding that the true result was Wise 2,611, Traill 2,571, formal 5,182, informal 62, total 5,244.
- "Mr Bernhard Ringrose Wise (1858-1916)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
- Rutledge, Martha. "Foster, William John (1831–1909)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 8 May 2021 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- "Writ of election: South Sydney". New South Wales Government Gazette (315). 1887. p. 3657. Retrieved 8 May 2021 – via Trove.
- Green, Antony. "1887 South Sydney by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
- "Petition: election for South Sydney". New South Wales Government Gazette (339). 13 June 1887. p. 3921. Retrieved 8 May 2021 – via Trove.
- "Meeting of the Elections and Qualifications Committee of the Legislative Assembly". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 June 1887. p. 7. Retrieved 8 May 2021 – via Trove.