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Sir William John Lyne

1844 – 1913

Sir William John Lyne (1844-1913), politician, was a Premier of New South Wales and a minister in the first Australian parliament. The son of a farmer, Lyne left his native Tasmania at the age of 20 and went to Queensland and took up a sheep station on the Gulf of Carpentaria. After a period in back in Tasmania - during which he first became involved in politics - he went to New South Wales and leased a property near Albury. Here, he involved himself in community affairs and by October 1880 ran successfully for election to the Legislative Assembly. A protectionist and supporter of issues such as water conservation and the reform of land laws, Lyne was secretary for public works in the cabinets of premiers Patrick Jennings and George Dibbs. Lyne was a delegate to the 1897-98 Federal Convention despite disapproving of Federation on the grounds that it would disadvantage NSW; and was Premier and Colonial Treasurer from 1899 to 1901. It was while he was Premier that Lyne was invited by Lord Hopetoun to form the first Commonwealth government. This became known as 'the Hopetoun Blunder' when Lyne failed to secure enough supporters to form government and was forced to stand aside. Elected as member for the Federal seat of Hume, Lyne became Minister for Home Affairs in Edmund Barton's government, later serving as minister for trade and then treasurer under Alfred Deakin. He was knighted in 1900.

Updated 2018