William Champ

William Champ

Infobox Officeholder
honorific-prefix =
name =William Champ
honorific-suffix =

imagesize =197

caption =
order =1st
office =Premier of Tasmania
term_start =1 November 1856
term_end =26 February 1857
predecessor =
successor =Thomas Gregson
constituency =Launceston
majority =
birth_date =birth date|1808|4|15
birth_place =Maldon, Essex, England, UK
death_date =death date and age|1892|8|25|1808|4|15
death_place =Melbourne, Victoria
nationality =flagicon|UK British
spouse =Helen Abigail Gibson
party =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =Soldier / Politician
religion =

website =
footnotes =

William Thomas Napier Champ (15 April, 180825 August 1892) was a soldier and politician who became the first Premier of Tasmania.

Early life

Champ was born in Maldon, Essex, England and educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined the army as an ensign when 18 years old and later became an adjutant.cite web |url=http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogCa-Ch.html#champ1 |title=Champ, William Thomas Napier (1808 - 1892) |accessdate=2007-05-14 |author=Percival Serle|work=Dictionary of Australian Biography |publisher=Angus and Robertson|year=1949 ]

Army and police career

Champ was serving with the 63rd Regiment of Foot as an ensign by 1826 and was posted with them to Sydney, New South Wales in October 1828. Some of the regiment was detached as a garrison force for Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania) in 1829, and Champ was amongst them.

As a lieutenant with the 63rd, he took part in the Black War campaign which was an attempt to segregate Tasmanian Aborigines near the end of 1830.

The 63rd left New South Wales and Van Diemens Land in 1834 to deploy to India and Burma and Champ left with the regiment. However, he had apparently enjoyed his time in Australia and later in 1834 he resigned his army commission and returned to Van Diemens Land to enter the civil service. He then became an assistant police magistrate, before being appointed as the commandant of Port Arthur penetentiary (succeeding Captain Booth) in 1844.

Political career

In 1852 Champ became a colonial secretary to Governor Denison.In the 1850s, the British parliament passed legislation that would give Tasmania a responsible 'independent' government. This created the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The first elections for the Tasmanian House of Assembly took place in 1856. Prior to this Champ was a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council chosen by the Governor from 1852 until 1856. He was elected as the member for Launceston in the new Tasmanian House of Assembly and became Premier in the first responsible government.

Champ held office of premier from 1 November, 1856 until 26 February, 1857. Shortly into his term, his ministry collapsed and he was unable to govern. He was briefly opposition leader in 1857 but resigned shortly after. Leaving Tasmania, he became inspector-general of penal establishments in Victoria. He later entered politics in Victoria, being a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1871 until 1873. He died in Melbourne, Victoria on 25 August 1892.


* [http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/history/tasparl/champw11.htm Parliamentary Library profile]

Other references listed by the "Dictionary of Australian Biography":
*"The Argus", Melbourne, 27 August 1892
*P. Mennell, "The Dictionary of Australasian Biography"
*J. Fenton, "A History of Tasmania", pp. 287-92
*J. W. Beattie, "Port Arthur".

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