DODDS, Sir John Stokell (1848-1914)


DODDS, Sir John Stokell (1848-1914)
politician and chief justice of Tasmania
the son of William Dodds of county Durham, England, was born in Yorkshire in 1848. His father died when he was very young, and the boy was taken to Hobart by his mother. Soon after he was 16 he began to study law, was admitted to the bar in 1872, and in a few years had a large practice. He took an active part in sport and was a good oarsman and cricketer. In 1878 he was asked to stand for parliament, was elected to the house of assembly for East Hobart, and was given a seat in the W. L. Crowther (q.v.) ministry as attorney-general in December 1878. When W. R. Giblin (q.v.) formed his coalition ministry in October 1879 Dodds held the same position until December 1881, when he exchanged it for that of colonial treasurer. Giblin retired from politics in August 1884 and Dodds became attorney-general under Adye Douglas (q.v.) until March 1886, when Douglas went to London as agent-general. Douglas recommended that Sir James W. Agnew (q.v.) should be asked to form a ministry, but he could not do so because Dodds who was the leader of the assembly felt that he should have been sent for. Dodds then succeeded in forming a ministry, and having established the principle, stood aside and Agnew became premier. It was, however, felt by many that Dodds, who took the portfolio of attorney-general, was the real leader of the government. In 1887 he was appointed one of the representatives of Tasmania at the colonial conference held at London, and while on the voyage was offered and accepted the position of puisne judge of the supreme court. He held this position for 12 years and in 1898 was appointed chief justice. Five years later he became lieutenant-governor and administered the government on several occasions. He died on 23 June 1914. He married Minna Augusta, daughter of the Rev. James Norman, who predeceased him. He was survived by two sons. He was knighted in 1900 and created K.C.M.G. in 1901.
Dodds was in office for practically the whole of his nine years in parliament and did some excellent work, succeeding in obtaining reductions in mail subsidies, and reducing the rates for postages and telegrams. He was also responsible for the establishment of post office savings banks. He was an excellent judge always anxious to obtain justice in the simplest and quickest way. As chief justice and lieutenant-governor his duties were always admirably discharged, and as chancellor of the university, president of the Art and other societies, he did much to foster the cultural life of Hobart.
The Mercury, Hobart, 24 June 1914; The Examiner, Launceston, 24 June 1914; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1914.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • John Stokell Dodds — Sir John Stokell Dodds KCMG, (1848 – 23 June 1914) was an Australian politician and Chief Justice of Tasmania.Early lifeDodds was born in Durham, England, the son of William Dodds and his wife Annie, née Shute. The family moved to Hobart,… …   Wikipedia

  • 1914 in Australia — Infobox Australian year year = 1914 monarch = George V governor general = Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman Ronald Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar pm = Andrew Fisher population = 4,948,990 australian = elections =Federal, Victoria, Western… …   Wikipedia


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