ID 0213

State Government of Western Australia beginning 29 December 1890 - period in office of Premier Forrest, John ending on 14 February 1901

Period in office of premier (see Glossary entry for 'period in office' and related terms)

Forrest, John
Date of beginning of period in office
29 December 1890
Date of end of period in office
14 February 1901 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
First ministry 
Reason for end of this government
Resignation of premier (see note)
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Support from parliamentary factions and independents
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
Coalition partner 2
Coalition partner 3
Coalition partner 4
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
If change in parliamentary support during period
If further change during period

Number of ministers at beginning of period (this may vary during the period)

Total number of ministers
Number from party of premier
Number from coalition party 1
Number from coalition party 2
Number from upper house
Number who are women

Assembly elections contested as premier or after which became premier (see Glossary entry for 'after election')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
WA 27 April 1897John ForrestMinisterialistsJohn ForrestMinisterialists
WA 14 June 1894John ForrestSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsJohn ForrestMinisterialists
WA 5 December 1890John ForrestSupport from parliamentary factions and independents

Next period in this series for WA


First ministry: Forrest was the first Premier to take office as head of government under the system of parliamentary self-government granted to Western Australia by Britain. On the choice of Forrest as Premier, see C T Stannage, 'John Forrest and the Formation of the First Ministry under Responsible Government in Western Australia', University Studies in History, [University of Western Australia], 5 (2) 1968: 23-33; and de Garis, p. 64 (see 'References', below).

Forrest remained Premier for ten years; he '... maintained his continuous ministry by incorporating in it prominent Oppositionists', Hughes and Graham, p. 224 (see 'Sources', below).

Resignation of premier: In October 1990, ' ... whilst introducing his last Budget, Forrest announced that he would be leaving Parliament at the end of the session', de Garis, p. 78 (see 'References', below). His intention was to seek election to the new Commonwealth Parliament. Reid and Oliver state that Forrest 'Resigned 14 February 1901, having been sworn in as a member of first Federal Cabinet 1 January 1901', Reid and Oliver, Appendix C, p. 112 (see 'Sources', below).

Ministerialists: During the 1890s, factional politics began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. But these groupings were still fluid. The term ministerialists is often applied to groupings which, for a variety of reasons, supported a particular government. Hughes and Graham (p. 223, see 'Sources', below) label the Forrest ministry as 'Protections or Conservative', but the terms reflect the predisposition of the Premier and his supporting group rather than a party organization.

For the emergence of political parties in Western Australia, see Brian de Garis, 'Western Australia', in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 298-354 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035).

References: For a study of Forrest's period in office and the style of parliamentary politics at the time, see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties, 1890-1911', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 63-95, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839), and note C T Stannage, 'The Composition of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-1911', University Studies in History, 4 (3), 1965: 85-94.

Summary information on Western Australian premiers from 1890 to 1982 and a short essay, 'The Premiers -- An Introductory Comment', can be found in Reid and Oliver (see 'Sources', below).

For a survey of Forrest's career, see F K Crowley, 'Forrest, Sir John [Baron Forrest] (1847 - 1918)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, pp 544-551, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1981), on line at:


Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); John Mandy and David Black (editors),The Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook Centenary Edition, (Perth: Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1990, ISBN 0731697847); G S Reid and M R Oliver, The Premiers of Western Australia 1890-1982, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1982, ISBN 0855642149).