ID 0316

State Government of Tasmania beginning 8 March 1886 - period in office of Premier Agnew, James Wilson ending on 30 March 1887

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

Agnew, James Wilson
Date of beginning of period in office
8 March 1886
Date of end of period in office
30 March 1887 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Resignation of premier (see note) 
Reason for end of this government
Defeat in parliament (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
TAS 26 July 1886James Wilson AgnewSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsJames Wilson AgnewSupport from parliamentary factions and independents

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Resignation of premier (Douglas): Beginning of Agnew's period in office: Douglas resigned as Premier after nominating himself to the newly created position of Tasmanian Agent-General in London; see Reynolds, p. 165, (see 'References', below). Agnew was commissioned as Premier with the ministers remaining from Douglas's government; this was the last period in office of the so-called 'Continuous Ministry'; see Reynolds, pp 151-167 (see 'References', below).

Premier in upper house: Agnew accepted his commission as Premier while a member of the Legislative Council. He was the eighth Tasmanian premier to hold the office while a member of the Legislative Council. His Attorney-General, John Stockell Dodds, remained in office from Giblin's and Douglas's ministries for most of Agnew's period in office as leader for the government in the House of Assembly, Reynolds, p. 162-163, (see 'References', below).

Defeat in parliament (Agnew): 'Following the 1886 election in which the 'Continuous Ministry' lost seats [see Reynolds, pp 151-167, (see 'References', below)], the government suffered a series of reverses and eventually Agnew resigned', Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, p. 253 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700).

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 Agnew's career, see F C Green, 'Agnew, Sir James Willson (1815 - 1901)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, pp 18-19, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1969), 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).