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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

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

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

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Freeman Brothers

Thomas Holt (age 45 in 1856)

Sir William Montagu Manning (age 45 in 1856)

Sir Stuart Donaldson (age 44 in 1856)

Sir John Darvall (age 47 in 1856)

George Nichols (age 47 in 1856)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.