MILNE, Sir William (1822-1895)


MILNE, Sir William (1822-1895)
politician
was the son of William Milne, a merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth McMillan. He was born at Wester-Common, near Glasgow, on 17 May 1822, and was educated at the high school, Glasgow. On leaving school he entered his father's office, but soon afterwards sailed for South Australia and arrived there on 29 October 1839. After having experience on a northern station, he went to Tasmania in 1842 and entered the commissariat department at Hobart. He returned to South Australia in 1845 and became a partner with his brother-in-law as wine and spirit merchants. His business ventures prospered, and in 1857 he was elected to the South Australian house of assembly as one of the members for Onkaparinga. He was commissioner of crown lands and immigration in the Baker ministry from 21 August to 1 September 1857 and in the Hanson (q.v.) ministry from 5 July 1859 to 9 May 1860. He became commissioner of public works in the Waterhouse (q.v.) ministry from 19 February 1862 to 4 July 1863, commissioner of crown lands and immigration in the second Ayers (q.v.) ministry for a few days from 22 July 1864, and, when the ministry was reconstructed under Blyth (q.v.), was commissioner of public works from 4 August 1864 to 22 March 1865. He was again commissioner of crown lands and immigration in the Boucaut (q.v.) ministry from 28 March 1866 to 3 May 1867, and was chief secretary in the third Hart (q.v.) ministry from 30 May 1870 to 10 November 1871, and in the succeeding Blyth ministry until 22 January 1872. Transferring to the legislative council Milne was elected its president on 25 July 1873, and continued in that position until he retired from politics in 1881. He had many business interests and was a trustee of the Savings Bank and the Zoological Society. He died on 23 April 1895. He married in 1842, Eliza, daughter of John Disher, who survived him with three sons and five daughters. He was knighted in 1876.
Milne had a long political life, was a good administrator, and was associated with much useful legislation in the house of assembly. He was a strong supporter of the Torrens (q.v.) real property act, and of measures relating to the land, water-supply, and railway and telegraph extensions. In the legislative council his wide experience, courtesy and dignity made him an admirable president.
The South Australian Register, 24 April 1895; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 25 April 1895; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1895.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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