Parkes ministry (1872–1875)

The first Parkes ministry was the fourteenth ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and the first of five occasions of being led by Henry Parkes.

First Parkes ministry
14th Cabinet of the Colony of New South Wales
Henryparkes.jpg Australian states history 13.gif
Premier Henry Parkes and the Colony of New South Wales (1863–1900)
Date formed14 May 1872 (1872-05-14)
Date dissolved8 February 1875 (1875-02-08)
People and organisations
Head of stateQueen Victoria (represented by Hercules Robinson)
Head of governmentHenry Parkes
No. of ministers10
Member partyunaligned
Status in legislatureMinority government
Opposition partyunaligned
Opposition leaderJohn Robertson
PredecessorThird Martin ministry
SuccessorThird Robertson ministry

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 4 occasions due to his personal insolvency.[1] He came to power as Premier on the first occasion after the Sir James Martin ministry had involved itself in a petty squabble with the colony of Victoria over a question of border duties. The acting-governor had sent for William Forster before parliament met, but he was unable to form a ministry, and in May 1872 Parkes formed his first ministry.[2]

The title of Premier was widely used to refer to the Leader of Government, but not enshrined in formal use until 1920.

There was no party system in New South Wales politics until 1887. Under the constitution, ministers were required to resign to recontest their seats in a by-election when appointed. A poll was required for East Sydney (Henry Parkes) and Newcastle (George Lloyd), both of whom were comfortably re-elected. The five other ministers, Edward Butler (Argyle), James Farnell (Parramatta), Joseph Innes (Mudgee), William Piddington (The Hawkesbury) and John Sutherland (Paddington), were re-elected unopposed. Polls were subsequently required on the appointment of George Allen (Glebe) and Robert Abbott (Tenterfield) but each were comfortably re-elected.[3]

The ministry created two new ministerial roles, Minister of Justice and Public Instruction in 1873 and the Secretary for Mines in 1874. The office of Solicitor General became dormant in 1873 when the Attorney General, Edward Butler. resigned and Solicitor General Joseph Innes was appointed Attorney General.[4]

This ministry covers the period from 14 May 1872 until 8 February 1875, when Parkes lost the confidence of the Assembly following Governor Robinson's decision to release the bushranger Frank Gardiner, resulting in the defeat of the ministry.[5][6]

Composition of ministryEdit

Portfolio Minister Term start Term end Term length
Colonial Secretary
Henry Parkes 14 May 1872 8 February 1875 2 years, 270 days
Colonial Treasurer William Piddington 4 December 1872 204 days
George Lloyd 5 December 1872 8 February 1875 2 years, 65 days
Secretary for Lands James Farnell[a] 14 May 1872 8 February 1875 2 years, 270 days
Secretary for Mines 9 May 1874 26 July 1874 78 days
Robert Abbott 27 July 1874 8 February 1875 196 days
Secretary for Public Works John Sutherland 15 May 1872 8 February 1875 2 years, 269 days
Attorney General Edward Butler 10 November 1873 1 year, 179 days
Sir Joseph Innes MLA / MLC[b] 20 November 1873 8 February 1875 1 year, 80 days
Solicitor General 14 May 1872 19 November 1873 1 year, 189 days
Minister of Justice and Public Instruction George Allen 9 December 1873 8 February 1875 1 year, 61 days
Postmaster-General George Lloyd 14 May 1872 4 December 1872 204 days
Saul Samuel MLC 3 December 1872 8 February 1875 2 years, 67 days
Vice-President of the Executive Council 14 May 1872 2 years, 270 days
Representative of the Government
in the Legislative Council
13 September 1873 1 year, 122 days
Sir Joseph Innes MLC 13 September 1873 8 February 1875 1 year, 148 days

Ministers are members of the Legislative Assembly unless otherwise noted.

  1. ^ Without salary as Secretary for Mines.
  2. ^ Joseph Innes resigned from his seat of Mudgee to accept appointment to the Legislative Council on 9 September 1873. He did not have a seat in Cabinet from 9 December 1873.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Henry Parkes resigned due to financial difficulties in 1856 (Sydney City), 1858 (Cumberland (North Riding)), 1870 (Kiama) and 1871 (Kiama). He would again resign due to financial difficulties in 1887 (St Leonards).
  2. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Parkes, Sir Henry (1816–1896)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ Green, Antony. "By-elections 1872-74". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  4. ^ Mason, Keith, The Office of Solicitor General for New South Wales (PDF) (1988 Autumn) Bar News: Journal of the NSW Bar Association 22.
  5. ^ Martin, A W. "Parkes, Sir Henry (1815–96)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 28 December 2020 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  6. ^ a b Part 6 Ministries since 1856 (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 December 2020.


Government offices
Preceded by First Parkes ministry
Succeeded by