ID 0169

State Government of Victoria beginning 18 February 1886 - period in office of Premier Gillies, Duncan ending on 5 November 1890

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

Gillies, Duncan
Date of beginning of period in office
18 February 1886
Date of end of period in office
5 November 1890 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Resignation of premier 
Reason for end of this government
Resignation of premier
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
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
VIC 28 March 1889Duncan GilliesConservativeDuncan GilliesMinisterialists (Conservative)
VIC 5 March 1886Duncan GilliesMinisterialists (Conservative)Duncan GilliesMinisterialists (Conservative)

Previous period in this series for VIC | Next period in this series for VIC


Resignation of premier (Service): Beginning of Gillies period in office; The Victorian Parliament was prorogued on 18 December 1885 at the end of its three year term, and elections were scheduled for early 1886. 'On Boxing Day 1885 the Argus announced that the coalition had been secretly reconstructed by Service, Berry and Kerferd, who would retire, and Gillies and Deakin, who would become, respectively, premier and chief secretary. The next day [27 December 1885], amid a storm of protest, Kerferd was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge, Service would leave politics, and Berry would become [Victorian] agent-general in London.' Lack, p.82 (see 'References', below). Service continued as premier until Gillies was commissioned on 18 February 1886, to prepare for Assembly elections on 5 March 1886.

There was some pressure from supporters to break up the coalition between Service's Constitutionalists and Berry's Liberals, but Gillies as leader of the the more conservative members together with Deakin as the leader of the more radical members agreed to continue the coalition. This coalition of Conservatives and Liberals won enough seats for a comfortable Assembly majority at the 5 March 1886 election, and were returned at the following election in March 1889.

The Gillies-Deakin ministry presided over the boom period of the 1880s which preceded the financial and economic collapse in late 1889 (see generally, Serle in 'References', below).

Defeat in parliament (Gillies): By early 1890, the government faced overwhelming financial difficulties and the social dislocation generated by economic recession but the issue prompting the defeat of the Gillies-Deakin ministry was the government's response to the maritime strike and union unrest of August and September 1890 (Lack, p.85 , see 'References', below). A motion of no confidence in the government was moved by the leader of the opposition, Munro, and passed 55 to 35 early in the morning of 31 October 1890; Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1890 Session, vol. 65, 30 October 1890, p.2294.

References: For a detailed study of the politics of this period in Victoria's history, see Geoffrey Serle, The Rush to be Rich: A History of the Colony of Victoria, 1883-1889, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1971) and for a review of the Victorian parliament in this period, see, Wright, ch. 5 (in 'Sources', below). A study of Gillies's premiership can be found in John Lack, 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Service and Gillies: The Grand Coalition Premiers 1883-1890', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 5 (see 'Sources', below). For a survey of Gillies's career, see Margot Beever, 'Gillies, Duncan (1834–1903)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1972), on line here [accessed 12 March 2014].


Colin Hughes and B D Graham (editors), A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Parliament of Victoria, One Hundred Years of Responsible Government 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Government Printer, 1957, Parliamentary Paper No. 40 of 1956-58); Paul Strangio and Brian Costar (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019); Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593). Victoria Hansard (Record of Parliamentary Debates) on line here .

In consulting these sources, note the difference between ministries and periods in office.