ID 0302

State Government of Tasmania beginning 12 May 1857 - period in office of Premier Smith, Francis Villeneuve ending on 1 November 1860

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

Smith, Francis Villeneuve
Date of beginning of period in office
12 May 1857
Date of end of period in office
1 November 1860 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Resignation of premier (see note) 
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')

This premier did not win office as the result of an election, and was not (or has not been) in office long enough to contest an election as premier ; see 'Period in office' table above.

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Resignation of premier (Weston): Beginning of Smith's period in office: Weston's government 'was quite evidently a stop-gap because after seventeen days Weston resigned and was succeeded by his Attorney-General, Francis Smith. Weston remained in the new government', Reynolds, p. 119, (see 'References', below).

Minister not in parliament: One of the four ministers shown as being a member of the upper house in this ministry was not, in fact, a member of parliament. Thomas John Knight had been Solicitor-General in the previous short-lived Weston government as a minister from the Legislative Council but, on recontesting his seat at the required ministerial by-election on 13 May 1857, he failed to be re-elected to the Legislative Council seat of Huon by four votes. Notwithstanding his lack of a seat in either house of parliament and considerable public criticism, he retained his commission as Attorney-General in Smith's government until Smith's resignation in November 1860, and continued as Attorney-General in Weston's brief second period in office. Knight resigned from the Weston ministry in February 1861; see Terry Newman, Sandstone and Statutes: A History of the Tasmanian Parliament, (in process).

Resignation of premier (Smith): Smith resigned as Premier in November 1860 and accepted a position as a judge of the Tasmanian Supreme Court.

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 Smith's career, see J M Bennett and F C Green, 'Smith, Sir Francis Villeneuve (1819 - 1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, pp 144-145, (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).