ID 0305

State Government of Tasmania beginning 20 January 1863 - period in office of Premier Whyte, James ending on 24 November 1866

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

Whyte, James
Date of beginning of period in office
20 January 1863
Date of end of period in office
24 November 1866 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
Reason for end of this government
Loss of general election
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
TAS 3 October 1866James WhyteSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsRichard DrySupport from parliamentary factions and independents
TAS 6 November 1862Thomas Daniel ChapmanSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsJames WhyteSupport from parliamentary factions and independents

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Loss of election (Chapman): Beginning of Whyte's period in office: 'Although Chapman appeared to have good support as a result of the second general election ..., the Opposition Leader Charles Meredith succeeded in carrying a non-confidence motion on the Government's financial proposals. However, Meredith apparently could not satisfy the new Governor, Thomas Gore-Brown, that he could form a government. The Governor accepted Chapman's advice and the second Parliament, the shortest in Tasmanian history, was dissolved. In spite of the popularity of Chapman's proposals his supporters were defeated, and James Whyte ... formed a government....', Reynolds, p. 130, (see 'References', below).

Premier in upper house: Whyte accepted his commission as Premier while a member of the Legislative Council. He was the second of several Tasmanian premiers to hold the office while a member of the Legislative Council. The Colonial Treasurer, Charles Meredith, led for the government in the House of Assembly during Whyte's period in office as Premier.

Loss of election (Whyte): Charles Meredith, the Colonial Treasurer in Whyte's government, and leader of the government in the House of Assembly, introduced a proposal for a property and income tax which was defeated. 'As nobody was prepared to carry on the government, an election was inevitable and Parliament was dissolved. The election on the old narrow franchise resulted in a defeat for the supporters of Whyte and Meredith who resigned as soon as the new Parliament opened on 20 November, 1866', Reynolds, p. 136, (see 'References', below).

References: For a description of the style of parliamentary government in this period, see John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, pp 115-192, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and note Terry Newman, Tasmanian Premiers 1856-1988: A Biographical Handbook, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, [1988]).

For a survey of Whyte's career, see Neil Smith, 'Whyte, James (1820 - 1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, pp 395-396, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976), on line at:


'Ministries: Names of the Members of Successive Ministries which have held Office in Tasmania since the inauguration of Responsible Government, together with the Dates of Appointment and Retirement', Journal of House of Assembly, Second Session of the Forty-Fifth Parliament of Tasmania, Anno LIII and LV Eliz II; Session 2 of the 45th Parliament, Volume 251, 2004-2006, (Hobart: Government Printer, Tasmania).