ID 0338

State Government of Victoria beginning 11 March 1857 - period in office of Premier O'Shanassy, John ending on 29 April 1857

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

O'Shanassy, John
Date of beginning of period in office
11 March 1857
Date of end of period in office
29 April 1857 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
Reason for end of this government
Defeat in parliament
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')

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Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 26 August 1859John O'ShanassySupport from parliamentary factions and independentsWilliam NicholsonSupport from parliamentary factions and independents

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Defeat in parliament (Haines): Beginning of O'Shanassy's first period in office; The Haines government lasted for a little over five months after the general election held in September 1856, and only three and a half months after parliament met; 'Its firm supporters were few, the Opposition led by O'Shanassy was militant and comparatively united and only Childers and Fellows were good parliamentarians...', Serle, p. 260, (see 'References', below). The government was close to defeat on several issues in January and February 1857 and Haines tendered his resignation after being defeated by 29 votes to 23 on a question of expenditure on immigration on 4 March 1857; Victorian Hansard (Argus Reports), 1856-7 vol. 1, 4 March 1857, p.552.

O'Shanassy had difficulty in assembling a ministry -- three new ministers were defeated at ministerial by-elections -- and the resulting ministry included members with diverging views; see Serle, pp 261-262 (in 'References', below). The O'Shanassy ministry was commissioned on 11 March 1857.

Defeat in parliament (O'Shanassy): 'When parliament reassembled in Mid-April the numbers were against the government. A group led by Michie and McCulloch -- largely of mercantile non-conformist liberals, all abolitionists of state aide to religion -- which had voted against Haines, now rejoined him and arranged a new ministry', Serle, p.262 (see 'References', below). The government was defeated on a vote of no-confidence on 22 April 1857; Victorian Hansard (Argus Reports), 1856-7 vol. 2, 22 April 1857, pp 637-638.

References: For a detailed study of parliamentary government in Victoria in this period, see, Geoffrey Serle, The Golden Age: A History of the Colony of Victoria, 1851-1861, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1963).

In addition to the reference above, a study of O'Shanassy's premiership can be found in John Waugh, 'Haines, O'Shanassy, Nicholson and Heales: The Old Guard', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 2 (see 'Sources', below), and for a survey of O'Shanassy's career, see S M Ingham, 'O'Shanassy, Sir John (1818–1883), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1974), on line here. [accessed 3 February 2014].


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