ID 0358

State Government of Victoria beginning 8 March 1883 - period in office of Premier Service, James ending on 18 February 1886

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

Service, James
Date of beginning of period in office
8 March 1883
Date of end of period in office
18 February 1886 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
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 22 February 1883Bryan O'LoghlenSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsJames ServiceMinisterialists (Conservative)
VIC 14 July 1880James ServiceSupport from parliamentary factions and independentsGraham BerrySupport from parliamentary factions and independents
VIC 28 February 1880Graham BerrySupport from parliamentary factions and independentsJames ServiceSupport from parliamentary factions and independents

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Loss of general election (O'Loghlen): Beginning of Service's second period in office; 'O'Loghlen's minority government survived for 21 months with the support of Constitutionalists determined to deny Berry further office. Parliamentary turmoil continued, over the tariff and State assistance for Catholic schools, subjects eventually consigned to royal commissions. O'Loghlen's humiliating bungling of a critical overseas loans spelled the end for his ministry.' Lack, p.77 (see 'References', below). O'Loghlen requested a dissolution for an Assembly election which was held on 22 February 1883. 'The government was so unpopular that O'Loghlen had difficulty in finding candidates and was himself defeated.' Serle, p.18 (see 'References', below).

The former Premier, James Service, had returned to Victoria in 1882 and ran as a candidate in the 1883 election. '... Service adopted a conciliatory note for his campaign. He welcome the reform of the [Legislative] Council, audaciously claiming that he "drew the plan of the House, and Mr Berry built it ... there was a coalition between the old Constitutionalists and the old Liberals to carry the Bill". He declared moribund "the party lines which divided the country, and caused bitter and protracted struggle".' Lack, p.77 (see 'References', below).

After the election, neither the Constitutionalists led by Service, nor the Liberals, led by Berry could command a majority in the Assembly and there was pressure for a coalition. 'Within a week Service and Berry had met to discuss terms, agree on four ministers from each side, and a coalition program that was subsequently ratified by the parties' caucuses. Service became premier, for the Constitutionalists had the larger numbers, and Service had dictated the terms of the election.' Lack, pp 77-78 (see 'References', below)

Resignation of premier (Service): 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.

References: For a detailed study of the politics of Service's second period in office, see Geoffrey Serle, The Rush to be Rich: A History of the Colony of Victoria, 1883-1889, pp 17-40 (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 Service's ministries 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 Service's career, see Geoffrey Serle, 'Service, James (1823–1899)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976), on line here [accessed 4 March 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.