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The first ministry under responsible government in New South Wales ( Thomas Holt, Treasurer; Sir William Manning, Attorney General; Sir Stuart Donaldson, First Premier of New South Wales; Sir John Darvall, Solicitor General; and George Nichols, Auditor General).
, 1856

by Freeman Brothers

albumen silver photograph (sheet: 25.0 cm x 29.1 cm, image: 13.4 cm x 18.4 cm)

Responsible government – the system wherein members of the Executive (the premier and cabinet) are also elected members of Parliament – was introduced in New South Wales in 1856. Prior to this, the colony had been administered by governors who, from 1824, governed with the assistance of a Legislative Council. The end of convict transportation, the gold rush, and other economic and social developments of the 1840s and 1850s contributed to demands for a more democratic system of government. A committee chaired by William Charles Wentworth (1790–1872) drew up a new constitution which was assented to by the British government in 1855. The first elections for the Legislative Assembly were held in March and April 1856, with the new Parliament meeting for the first time in May. The first ministry was sworn in in June 1856, its members being (left to right): Thomas Holt (1811–1888), treasurer; Sir William Manning (1811–1895), attorney-general; Sir Stuart Donaldson (1812–1867), premier; Sir John Darvall (1809–1883), solicitor-general; and George Robert Nichols (1809–1857), auditor-general and secretary for works.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2009
Accession number: 2009.58