Sir Philip Oakley Fysh KCMG (1 March 1835 – 20 December 1919) was an English-born Australian politician. He arrived in Tasmania in 1859 and became a leading merchant in Hobart. He served two terms as premier of Tasmania (1877–1878, 1887–1892) and became a leader of the colony's federation movement. He subsequently won election to the new federal House of Representatives (1901–1910) and was invited to represent Tasmania in the first federal ministry, serving as minister without portfolio (1901–1903) and Postmaster-General (1903–1904).

Philip Fysh
Postmaster-General of Australia
In office
10 August 1903 – 27 April 1904
Prime MinisterEdmund Barton
Alfred Deakin
Preceded byJames Drake
Succeeded byHugh Mahon
Premier of Tasmania
In office
29 March 1887 – 17 August 1892
GovernorRobert Hamilton
Preceded byJames Agnew
Succeeded byHenry Dobson
In office
9 August 1877 – 5 March 1878
GovernorFrederick Weld
Preceded byThomas Reibey
Succeeded byWilliam Giblin
Personal details
Philip Oakley Fysh

(1835-03-01)1 March 1835
Highbury, London, England
Died20 December 1919(1919-12-20) (aged 84)
Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Australia
Political partyProtectionist (to 1909)
Fusion (from 1909)
Esther Willis
(m. 1856⁠–⁠1912)
RelationsWilliam Willis (brother-in-law)

Early life edit

Fysh was born in Highbury, London, the son of John Fysh and his wife Charlotte. He was educated at the Denmark Hill school in Islington. At 13 years of age, Fysh commenced work in a London stockbroker's office, then he obtained a position in the office of a shipping firm, L. Stevenson & Sons, with Australian connections. Fysh migrated to Tasmania in 1859, becoming a leading merchant (establishing P. O. Fysh and Company), hop-grower and orchardist.

Colonial politics edit

A Protectionist, Fysh was a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council from 1866 to 1869, 1870 to 1873, 1884 to 1894, and of the Tasmanian House of Assembly from 1873 to 1878 (where he was treasurer in the Alfred Kennerley ministry until March 1875) and 1894 to 1899. Fysh became Premier and Chief Secretary of Tasmania in 1877, serving initially until 1878 and returning to the positions in 1887, serving to 1892. He was again elected to the assembly and was treasurer in Braddon's ministry from April 1894 to December 1898, when he was appointed Agent-General for Tasmania at London.

Federation movement edit

Fysh at the 1891 Australasian Federal Convention

Fysh took an important part in the federal movement in Tasmania. He was a representative of his colony at the 1891 and 1897 conventions, and was a member of the Australian delegation that watched the passing of the federal bill through the Imperial Parliament.

Federal politics edit

Fysh was elected to the Australian House of Representatives in 1901 as a member for Division of Tasmania and was minister without portfolio until 1903. After Tasmania was split into five electoral divisions in 1903, Fysh was elected for the Division of Denison, based on Hobart. He was Postmaster-General 1903–04. He retired in 1910.

Later life edit

Fysh in 1915

Fysh was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in January 1896. He died in December 1919, aged 84. He was survived by five sons and four daughters. Fysh's wife, Esther Kentish Willis, was the daughter of William, a straw-hat manufacturer of Luton, Bedfordshire, who was also father of the judge and M.P. William Willis.[1]

Honours edit

The Canberra suburb of Fyshwick was named after him.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Dod's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1901, S. Low, Marston & Co., p. 376
  • "Fysh, Philip". Members of the Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  • Serle, Percival (1949). "Fysh, Philip". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  • Beresford, Quentin (1981). "Fysh, Sir Philip Oakley (1835–1919)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. pp. 602–603. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
Political offices
Preceded by Premier of Tasmania
Succeeded by
Preceded by Premier of Tasmania
Succeeded by
Preceded by Postmaster-General
Succeeded by
Tasmanian Legislative Council
Preceded by Member for Hobart
Served alongside: Kennerley, Wilson
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member for Buckingham
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member for Buckingham
Succeeded by
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Tasmania
Served alongside: Braddon, Cameron, O'Malley, Piesse
Division abolished
Member for Tasmania
Served alongside: Braddon, Cameron, Hartnoll, O'Malley
New division Member for Denison
Succeeded by