William Haines (Australian politician)

William Haines (Australian politician)

Infobox_Premier | name =William Clark Haines
nationality =Australian
order =1st Premier of Victoria
term_start =30 November 1855
term_end =11 March 1857
term_start2 =29 April 1857
term_end2 =10 March 1858
predecessor1 = -
predecessor2 =John O'Shanassy
successor1 =John O'Shanassy
successor2 =John O'Shanassy
deputy =

caption =
birth_date =1810
birth_place =Hampstead, London, UK
death_date =3 February 1866
death_place = South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria
constituency =
party =
spouse =Mary Dugard
profession =
religion = Anglican

footnotes =

"This article is about the Australian politician. For other people called William Haines, see William Haines (disambiguation)."

Dr William Clark Haines (1810–3 February 1866), Australian colonial politician, was the first Premier of Victoria. He was born in London, the son of a physician. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Caius College, Cambridge University, where he graduated in medicine. In 1835 he married Mary Dugard, with whom he had nine children.

Haines migrated to the Port Phillip District (later Victoria) in 1841 and settled in the Geelong area. He farmed in the area as well as practising as a surgeon. He was appointed a member of the Victorian Legislative Council (then a partly elected, partly appointive body) in 1851, and in 1853 he was elected for Grant Province. He served as Colonial Secretary 1854-55. Politically, he represented the small farmers against the squatters who owned most of Victoria's land.

When Victoria gained full responsible government in 1855 Haines was elected to the Legislative Assembly for South Grant. He was commissioned as Victoria's first Premier and Chief Secretary in November 1855 and served until March 1857, and again from April 1857 to March 1858. He later served as Treasurer from November 1861 to June 1862, in the third O'Shanassy government. In 1860 he moved to the seat of Portland which he represented until 1864. He served again in the Legislative Council, representing Eastern Province, from 1865 until his death in February 1866.

The historian Raymond Wright describes Haines as a bluff, plain "honest farmer" type, who was "much enjoyed for his appalling public speaking." His main concern as Premier was to democratise the Constitution which had been drawn up for Victoria by colonial officials before self-government, mainly to protect the interests of the squatter class. A bill was introduced to enlarge the Assembly, redraw electoral boundaries and abolish the property qualification for both votes and candidates. But the unstable situation in the Assembly brought his ministry to an early end.


*Geoff Browne, "A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900-84", Government Printer, Melbourne, 1985
*Don Garden, "Victoria: A History", Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1984
*Kathleen Thompson and Geoffrey Serle, "A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1856-1900", Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1972
* Raymond Wright, "A People's Counsel. A History of the Parliament of Victoria, 1856-1990", Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992

It is all so well know that he had a funny beard.

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