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John Douglas (Queensland politician)

John Douglas CMG (6 March 1828 – 23 July 1904) was an Anglo-Australian politician and Premier of Queensland.[1]

John Douglas

John Douglas.jpg
7th Premier of Queensland
In office
8 March 1877 – 21 January 1879
Preceded byGeorge Thorn
Succeeded byThomas McIlwraith
5th Treasurer of Queensland
In office
19 December 1866 – 21 May 1867
Preceded byJohn Donald McLean
Succeeded byThomas Blacket Stephens
ConstituencyEastern Downs
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
for Darling Downs
In office
5 July 1859 – 10 December 1859
Serving with William Handcock
Preceded byWilliam Wild
Succeeded byDavid Bell
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
for Camden
In office
21 December 1860 – 17 July 1861
Preceded byWilliam Wild
Succeeded byDavid Bell
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Port Curtis
In office
14 June 1863 – 1 February 1866
Preceded byAlfred Sandeman
Succeeded byArthur Palmer
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Eastern Downs
In office
4 January 1867 – 18 September 1868
Preceded byJohn Donald McLean
Succeeded byArthur Macalister
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for East Moreton
In office
28 September 1868 – 16 December 1868
Serving with Arthur Francis
Preceded byJames Garrick
Succeeded byHenry Jordan
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Maryborough
In office
27 April 1875 – 24 November 1880
Serving with Henry King
Preceded byBerkeley Basil Moreton
Succeeded byHenry Palmer
Member of the Queensland Legislative Council
In office
22 February 1866 – 25 July 1866
In office
11 December 1868 – 13 November 1869
Personal details
Born(1828-03-06)6 March 1828
London, England, UK United Kingdom
Died23 July 1904(1904-07-23) (aged 76)
Thursday Island, Queensland, Australia Australia
Spouse(s)Mary Ann Howe
Sarah Hickey
RelationsHenry Douglas (son), Alex Douglas (great grandson)
OccupationSquatter, Civil Servant


Early lifeEdit

Douglas was born in London, the seventh son of Henry Alexander Douglas[1] and his wife Elizabeth Dalzell, daughter of the Earl of Carnwath. His father was the third son of Sir William Douglas (c.1730–1783), fourth Baronet Douglas of Kelhead, who was a brother of the sixth and seventh Marquess of Queensberry. Douglas' parents died in 1837, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Rugby 1843-47 and Durham University where he graduated B.A. in 1850.[2]

Douglas arrived in New South Wales with his brother Edward in 1851 and was appointed a gold-fields commissioner, but gave this up to enter on a pastoral life.


Douglas was elected member for the Darling Downs and afterwards for Camden in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly until resigning on 17 July 1861.

He moved to Queensland in 1863.

On 12 May 1863 he was elected as member for Port Curtis in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. He resigned on 1 February 1866, in order to be appointed on to the Queensland Legislative Council, which occurred on 22 February 1866.[3]

On 1 March 1866 became postmaster-general in the first Macalister ministry.[3]

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly again as member for Eastern Downs. He took the portfolio of colonial treasurer in the second Macalister ministry in December 1866, but in May 1867 changed this position for that of secretary for public works. He was postmaster-general in the Charles Lilley ministry from December 1868 to November 1869, when he resigned to become Agent-General for Queensland in London.

In 1871 Douglas returned to Queensland and became insolvent on 23 February 1872. Douglas was returned for Maryborough at the election held in 1875. He was secretary for public lands in the Thorn ministry from June 1876 until March 1877, when he became premier and was given the honour of C.M.G. His party was defeated at the election held in January 1879 and Douglas gave up politics. Lewis Adolphus Bernays claimed Douglas had more success as a clever political wire-puller behind the scenes than he had in parliament.[4]

Later lifeEdit

He was for some time on the literary staff of the Brisbane Courier, and in 1885 was appointed government resident and magistrate at Thursday Island. After the death of Sir Peter Scratchley in December 1885 Douglas acted as special commissioner for the protectorate of British New Guinea for nearly three years (1886–88), and showed tact and ability in his dealings with the local inhabitants.

In 1888 Douglas returned to his old position on Thursday Island. He visited England in 1902 and on his return continued his work until his death at Thursday Island.


Douglas was married twice, first on 22 January 1861 to Mary Ann, daughter of the Rev. William West Simpson, who was killed in a carriage accident 23 November 1876, and for the second time in 1877 to Sarah, daughter of Michael Hickey, with whom he had four sons:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Serle, Percival (1949). "Douglas, John". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Durham University Calendar 1857". Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Alphabetical Register of Members of the Legislative Assembly 1860-2012 and the Legislative Council 1860-1922" (PDF). Queensland Parliament. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. ^ Joyce, R. B. "Douglas, John (1828 - 1904)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  5. ^ McPherson, B. H. Douglas, Robert Johnstone (1883–1972). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ McPherson, B. H. Douglas, Edward Archibald (1877–1947). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
George Thorn
Premier of Queensland
1877 – 1879
Succeeded by
Thomas McIlwraith
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Darling Downs
Served alongside: William Handcock
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William Wild
Member for Camden
1860 – 1861
Served alongside: John Morrice
Succeeded by
David Bell
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Alfred Sandeman
Member for Port Curtis
1863 – 1866
Succeeded by
Arthur Palmer
Preceded by
John Donald McLean
Member for Eastern Downs
1867 – 1868
Succeeded by
Arthur Macalister
Preceded by
James Garrick
Member for East Moreton
Served alongside: Arthur Francis
Succeeded by
Henry Jordan
Preceded by
Berkeley Basil Moreton
Member for Maryborough
1875 – 1880
Served alongside: Henry King
Succeeded by
Henry Palmer