ID 1655

Parliament of South Australia, House of Assembly election

Election of 10 November 1862

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South Australia, House of Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 10 November 1862
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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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)  13,157  100.00  0.00  36  100.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 13,157  100.00    36  100.00 

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Election dates: Elections were held on 10, 17 and 24 November 1862.

Premier in office at election: There had been two changes of Premier and four changes of government since the previous Assembly election in March 1860. The Hanson government had continued after the election but was defeated '... by a fresh vote of censure in May 1860' (Howell, p.109, in 'References', below), and Reynolds was commissioned to form a government on 9 May 1860. A year later, the Reynolds government resigned over a procedural matter but was recommissioned after a minor change to the ministry (see Howell, p.123, in 'References', below).

The second Reynolds ministry collapsed in October 1861, in part as a result of disputes over the validity of South Australian statutes that had been called into question by Justice Boothby of the South Australian Supreme Court. To cope with this difficulty, Waterhouse formed a government on 8 October 1861 '... with only one specific object in view; to finalize consideration of a motion in relation to Mr Justice Boothby. As a result of the deliberations in Parliament, addresses were adopted in both Houses praying Her Majesty to removed Mr Justice Boothby from office.' Combe 2009, p.95, in 'Sources', below.

Once the addresses had been adopted by both Houses, Waterhouse resigned on 17 October 1861 but the difficulty of forming a new government prompted Waterhouse to be recommissioned with a new group of ministers from 17 October 1861. He continued in office (with an additional reshuffle of ministers in February 1862; see Howell pp 109-110 in 'References', below) when disagreements in parliament in October 1862 '... convinced the Governor that the best solution was an early election' (Jaensch, p.30 in 'Sources', below).

The role that the political controversy over Justice Boothby played during this period is surveyed in Howell, particularly pp 139-142 (see 'References', below); another perspective on Boothby can be found in the entry by Alex Castles in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, online here [accessed 1 November 2018] and more generally by John Williams, 'Justice Boothby: A Disaster that Happened', in George Winterton (editor), State Constitutional Landmarks, ch. 1, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781872876071).

Premier in office after election: The Waterhouse government continued in office after the election until July 1863.

Electoral system and voting: For discussion of the franchise and the qualification of members, see the note to the 1860 Assembly election.

This House of Assembly election in 1862 was governed by the Electoral Act of 1861 which, while keeping the bulk of the electoral administration set out in the previous Electoral Act of 1857-8 (including provision for the secret ballot in section 49), changed the way in which the 36 members of the House of Assembly were to be elected. Instead of a mix of single and multimember electoral districts, all members were elected from two-member districts. This required changing some electoral boundaries and a redistribution to accommodate the 18 two-member seats; note Combe 2009, pp 95-96 in 'Sources', below.

Voters in these two-member districts could choose to 'plump' by voting for only one candidate. Jaensch (see 'Sources', below) provides details for the number of plumped ballots at South Australian Assembly elections where figures are available.

Election results and sources: The election figures in the tables above were calculated from the individual electoral district results for the 1862 Assembly election compiled by Jaensch from results published in newspapers (see Jaensch in ‘Sources’ below).

In this Assembly election (1862), 61 candidates sought election to the Assembly's 36 seats. Two of the 18 electoral districts (4 seats) were uncontested, resulting in 4 candidates being elected unopposed. An apparent error in the results for one or two seats has meant that the entries for ballots cast and informal (invalid) ballots are not taken from individual electoral district results but from the summary table in Jaensch, p.358, in 'Sources', below.

There were no disciplined political parties at this election. Once elected, '... each member of parliament was free to offer his support and make alliances in the ways best suited to serve his constituents, the welfare of the whole colony, or his own interest and ambition. Members did not divide on clear grounds of policy or principle.' Hirst, p.67 in 'References', below. The resulting pattern of shifting individual and factional alliance in the Assembly characterised South Australian politics until the 1880s. For a discussion of the nature and consequences of the absence of parties during this period, see Howell, pp 122-123, and Jaensch, 'South Australia', pp 249-251, both in 'References', below.

References: The nature of politics in South Australia during the period up to 1890 is covered by P A Howell, 'Constitutional and Political Development, 1857-1890', in Dean Jaensch (editor), The Flinders History of South Australia: Political History, ch. 5, (Netley, SA: Wakefield Press, 1986, ISBN 0949268518), and note Dean Jaensch, 'South Australia', in P Loveday, A W Martin, & R S Parker, (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, ch. 5, (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035). While focused on a later period, useful background can also be found in the section on 'Representation' (pp 65-75) in J B Hirst, Adelaide and the Country 1870-1917: Their Social and Political Relationship, (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1973, ISBN 0522840450).

A survey of government in South Australia from 1836 to 1957 is provided in Combe 2009 (see, 'Sources', below).


Dean Jaensch, History of South Australian Elections 1857-2006, Volume 1: House of Assembly, (Rose Park, South Australia: State Electoral Office, 2007, ISBN 9780975048634). Note that some of the figures calculated by adding the results from individual electoral districts listed for each Assembly election (those used in the tables above) may differ from the summary figures provided in Jaensch's table, 'House of Assembly: Enrolment and Turnout', in Appendix 1, p.358.

Gordon D Combe, Responsible Government in South Australia, (Adelaide: Government Printer, 1957); reprinted [with changed pagination] as Gordon D Combe, Responsible Government in South Australia, Volume 1, From Foundations to Playford, (Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press, 2009, ISBN 9781862548435); also available online through Google Books, here. Page references in the text above are to the 2009 edition.

SA Electoral Act 1861, No.20, online here [accessed 1 November 2018].