ID 1081

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 8 September 1856

Show full election details

Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 8 September 1856
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

* to view table drag left or right.
Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Independents (No disciplined party groupings)  8,487  100.00  30  16  100.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 8,487  100.00    30  16  100.00 

Next election in this series | Display Chart

* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.


Election dates: Elections were held over the period from 8-22 September 1856.

First premier: Champ was the first premier to take office as head of government under the system of parliamentary responsible government granted to Tasmania by Britain; see 'References'. below. On the choice of Champ as Premier, see Reynolds, p. 115-116 (see 'References', below); for more details and references, click on Champ's name in the 'Government in office after election' table, above.

Franchise: The franchise was granted to 'males over 21 who possessed a freehold estate worth £100 clear, to householders paying £10 annual rent, to salary earners of £100 per annum upwards, and to those with professional qualifications' (graduates, barristers, solicitors, medical practitioners, ministers of religion, or officers, including retired officers, of Her Majesty's forces); Townsley, Tasmania, p. 111, (see 'References', below). The franchise had to be claimed annually. Plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one electoral district; see Terry Newman, Sandstone and Statutes: A History of the Tasmanian Parliament, (in process), and note Bennett and Bennett, pp 5-6 (see 'Sources', below).

Electoral system and voting: Thirty members were elected to the House of Assembly from 22 single member electoral districts and 2 multimember districts; Hobart Town with 5 members, and Launceston with 3 members. Voting was by striking out the names of candidates on a printed ballot paper until, for single member districts, only one name remained. In the case of Hobart Town and Launceston, 5 and 3 names respectively had to remain after the names of other candidates on the ballot had been struck out. For all districts, if more or fewer names remained on the ballot than the number of members to be elected from the district, the ballot was declared invalid. Votes were counted by the first past the post (plurality) method and cast using the secret ballot (see Newman in 'References', below).

Missing data: No figures are available for the number of informal (invalid) ballots cast. This means that the figures shown in the 'Enrolment and voting' table, above, understate the number of ballots cast and the turnout rate.

References: For the granting of self-government to Tasmania, see W A Townsley, The Struggle for Self-Government in Tasmania, 1842-1856, (Hobart: Government Printer, Tasmania, 1951), and W A Townsley, Tasmania From Colony to Statehood 1803-1945, pp 111-128 (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0724625753). For a description of the style of elections and parliamentary government in this period, see W A Townsley, 'Electoral Systems and Constituencies', and John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, pp 59-65, and 115-192, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]); on Tasmania's early adoption of the secret ballot in 1856, see Terry Newman, 'Tasmania and the Secret Ballot', Australian Journal of Politics and History, 9 (1) 2003: 93-101, and note pp 99-100 which gives an idea of the context of voting in early Tasmanian elections.


Voting figures and election results calculated from information in Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook, 1851-1982, (Kensington, NSW: Reference Section of History Project Incorporated, University of New South Wales, 1983). The difficulties of determining the accuracy of early Tasmanian election results is discussed in Scott Bennett, 'The Statistics of Tasmania and the Study of Tasmanian Elections: A Cautionary Note', in Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Papers and Proceedings, 45(4), December 1998: 237-242.