DOUGLAS, Sir Adye (1815-1906)


DOUGLAS, Sir Adye (1815-1906)
premier of Tasmania
was born at Thorpe, Norfolk, England, of Scotch descent, on 31 May 1815. His father was an officer in the army, but his grandfather was an admiral and five uncles were post-captains. He was educated in Hampshire and at Caen, France, and after leaving school served his articles to a solicitor at Southampton. He went to Tasmania in 1839 and was admitted to practice at Hobart. In 1840 he went to Victoria with sheep and had a run near Kilmore. He, however, sold out in 1842, went to Launceston and established a prosperous business as a solicitor. He was a zealous supporter of the anti-transportation movement. In January 1853 he became an alderman at Launceston, sat in the council for more than 30 years, and was mayor in 1865, 1866, 1880, 1881 and 1882. In July 1855 he was elected a member of the legislative council, and with the coming of responsible government was elected to the house of assembly. In 1857 he visited England and on his return advocated the building of railways. A few years later he was largely responsible for the building of the Launceston to Deloraine line, opened in 1871. In August 1884, on the defeat of the Giblin (q.v.) ministry, Douglas became premier and chief secretary. He resigned his seat in the assembly and was then elected to the legislative council for South Esk. In March 1886 he went to London as agent-general for Tasmania, J. W. Agnew (q.v.) taking over the premiership. He was one of the representatives of Tasmania at the colonial conference held in 1887. He returned to Tasmania at the end of that year, in July 1890 entered the legislative council again as a member for Launceston, and was chief secretary in the H. M. Dobson (q.v.) government from August 1892 to April 1894. He was then elected president of the legislative council and held this position until May 1904 when he was defeated at an election for the council. He advocated federation and was a representative of Tasmania at both the 1891 and 1897 conventions. About the last 10 years of his life were spent at Hobart and he died there on 10 April 1906. He was survived by his wife and several children. He was knighted in 1902. Somewhat brusque and austere in manner and a determined fighter, Douglas was not without enemies. He was, however, generally respected, was able and energetic, and had much devotion to duty. For over 50 years he took a prominent part in the public affairs of Tasmania.
The Mercury, Hobart, 11 April 1906; The Examiner, Launceston, 11 April 1906.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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