Patrick Jennings

Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings, KCMG (20 March 1831 – 11 July 1897) was an Irish-Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales.

Sir Patrick Jennings

Patrick Jennings.jpg
Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings
11th Premier of New South Wales
In office
26 February 1886 – 19 January 1887
Preceded byJohn Robertson
Succeeded byHenry Parkes
Colonial Secretary
In office
10 October 1885 – 21 December 1885
PremierGeorge Dibbs
Preceded byGeorge Dibbs
Succeeded byJohn Robertson
Personal details
Born(1831-03-20)20 March 1831
Newry, County Down, Ireland
Died11 July 1899(1899-07-11) (aged 68)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Early lifeEdit

Jennings was born at Newry, Ireland, the son of Francis Jennings, a well-known merchant in that town. He was educated at Newry and at a high school at Exeter, England, and began a mercantile career. In 1852 he went to Australia and engaged in gold mining at St Arnaud, Victoria,[1] but soon became a shop keeper, and then moved into quartz-crushing and bought a large pastoral property on the Murrumbidgee River. In 1857 he became a magistrate. He ran unsuccessfully for the Crowlands in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1859 and then became chairman of the St Arnaud Council. In 1863, he married Mary Ann Shanahan and moved to Warbreccan near Deniliquin.[2]

In 1863 he became interested in the movement to form the Riverina district into a separate province, and two years later was asked to go to England as a delegate to bring the grievances of the district before the English authorities. He declined on the ground that it should be possible to clear up the difficulties with the New South Wales government.[1]

Political careerEdit

Jennings was nominated to the legislative council in 1867. He resigned in 1870 to enter the Legislative Assembly as member for the Murray, but after 1872 was out of politics for some years. He contested Mudgee unsuccessfully in 1874. He represented the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania, at the Philadelphia exhibition in 1876, and subsequently visited Europe.

Jennings was elected to the assembly again in 1880 as member for the Bogan and from January to July 1883 was vice-president of the executive council in the Stuart ministry. He was Colonial Secretary from October to December 1885 in the Dibbs ministry, and in February 1886 became the first practising Catholic Premier and was also Treasurer. His administration lasted only 11 months and had a troubled career, having inherited a financial crisis. His attempts to balance the budget included a 5 per cent ad valorem tariff, which came to be seen as a violation of his free-trade platform. Jennings was scarcely a strong enough man to control a ministry which included Dibbs, Want and Lyne.

Jennings represented New South Wales at the colonial conference held in London in 1887. He was nominated to the legislative council in 1890, and was one of the New South Wales representatives at the federal convention held at Sydney in 1891, but did not take a prominent part in the proceedings. He was vice-president of the Agricultural Society of New South Wales from 1876 to 1887 and helped to procure the Moore Park site for the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Jennings was an amiable, cultivated man much interested in art and music; he contributed £1100 to Sydney University towards the cost of an organ for the great hall. He made many friends but was not a great parliamentarian, though he was a prominent figure in the public life of New South Wales for many years.

Jennings died at Brisbane on 11 July 1897. His wife had died in 1887, but he was survived by two sons and a daughter.[1][2][3]


He was a leading man among his co-religionists. In 1874 he was honoured by Pope Pius IX with the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and in 1876 was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Pius IX and St. Gregory the Great; he also received the Grand Cross of Pius IX from Pope Leo XIII. He was made an honorary LL.D. of Dublin University, and was created K.C.M.G. in 1880.[1]

The town of Jennings, New South Wales was named in his honour.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Serle, Percival (1949). "Jennings, Sir Patrick Alfred (1831–1897)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Cahill, A E. "Jennings, Sir Patrick Alfred (1831–1897)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 30 October 2019 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  3. ^ "Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings (1831–1897)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Jennings". Tenterfield Shire Council. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007.


Political offices
Preceded by
John Robertson
Premier of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Henry Parkes
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Robert Landale
Member for Murray
Succeeded by
William Hay
Preceded by
Walter Coonan
Member for Bogan
Served alongside: Cass
Succeeded by
John Kelly