Adye Douglas

Sir Adye Douglas (31 May 1815 10 April 1906) was an Australian lawyer and politician, and first class cricket player, who played one match for Tasmania. He was Premier of Tasmania from 15 August 1884 to 8 March 1886.


Adye Douglas
15th Premier of Tasmania
In office
15 August 1884  8 March 1886
Preceded byWilliam Giblin
Succeeded byJames Agnew
ConstituencyLaunceston, Westbury, Norfolk Plains, Fingal
President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council
In office
20 April 1894  2 May 1904
Preceded byWilliam Moore
Succeeded byWilliam Dodery
Personal details
Born(1815-05-31)31 May 1815
Thorpe-next-Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Died10 April 1906(1906-04-10) (aged 90)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Political partySeparationist
Spouse(s)Martha Matilda Collins (née Rolls), Charlotte Richards, Ida Richards

Early life

The son of Captain Henry Osborne Douglas, and his wife Eleanor, Douglas was born in Thorpe, Norfolk, England of Scottish descent. His father was an army officer, but his grandfather, Billy Douglas was an admiral and five uncles were post-captains. Douglas was educated in Hampshire and Caen, France, before doing his articles with a Southampton law firm. He migrated to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) aboard the Louisa Campbell in 1839.[1]


Douglas was admitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania,[2] but went to Victoria where he ran a sheep farm near Kilmore with his brother. He tired of farming, and in 1842 he returned to Launceston, where he established his own law firm, which still operates today.[3]

Douglas was very interested in the development and welfare of the colony, and was a supporter of both the establishment of local responsible government and the name change from Van Diemens Land to Tasmania. He was also a strong advocate of the Anti-Transportation League.


Ayde Douglas played his only first class cricket match at South Yarra Ground, Melbourne, on 29 and 30 March 1852 for Tasmania against Victoria. He scored a duck in the first innings, and 6 in the second. He also took 0/5 off 2 overs in Victoria's second innings.

Later career

Douglas was elected as an alderman of Launceston in 1853,[4] and served until 1884, including two terms as mayor from 1865–1866, and 1880–1882.

In 1856 Douglas was one of the first representatives elected to Tasmania's new House of Assembly, but was soon frustrated by lack of support. He resigned in 1857 to travel in North America, France, and England, before soon returning to Tasmania.

Whilst abroad, Douglas had been impressed by the development of railways in those places, and felt strongly that Tasmania needed to develop its own railways. He failed to gain support for the development of a Hobart to Launceston railway, but did push through a Launceston to Deloraine railway.

Douglas was a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly from 1862 until 1884, when he became a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council instead. He served as Premier of Tasmania from 1884 until 1886.

Douglas represented Tasmania at the Federal Council of Australasia, where he not only supported the creation of a federation, but wanted to go further and promoted the establishment of an Australian Republic.

Douglas resigned as Premier in 1886 to take up a post as Tasmanian Agent-General in London,[5] but was soon recalled due to problems with his railway associations in Tasmania. He returned to the Tasmanian Legislative Council from 1890 to 1904, and was made a knight bachelor on 14 August 1902,[6] being described as "The first amongst the Tasmanians", by then Governor of Tasmania, Captain Sir Arthur Havelock.

Personal life

In 1836 Douglas married Eliza Clarke[7] and she died in 1839. In 1858 Douglas married Martha Matilda Collins (nee Rolls) and she died in 1872 in Launceston, Tasmania. In 1873, he married Charlotte Richards, and they had a daughter Eleanor (1873-1936), and Charlotte died in 1876. In 1877, he married Charlotte's sister, Ida, in Adelaide, and they had four sons, and four daughters.

Sir Adye Douglas died on 10 April 1906, in Hobart, Tasmania, aged 90 years and 314 days.

See also


  1. "Shipping Intelligence". The Tasmanian. XIV (556). Tasmania, Australia. 25 January 1839. p. 4. Retrieved 25 January 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  2. "Advertising". The Cornwall Chronicle. 5 (209). Tasmania, Australia. 9 February 1839. p. 3. Retrieved 25 January 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  3. "About Us". Douglas & Collins.
  4. "MUNICIPAL ELECTION". Launceston Examiner. XII (1100). Tasmania, Australia. 4 January 1853. p. 5 (AFTERNOON). Retrieved 25 January 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "THE AGENT-GENERAL". The Daily Telegraph. VI (56). Tasmania, Australia. 9 March 1886. p. 2. Retrieved 25 January 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "No. 27465". The London Gazette. 15 August 1902. p. 5327.
  7. "Marriage license Eliza Clarke and Adye Douglas".
Political offices
Preceded by
William Giblin
Premier of Tasmania
1884 1886
Succeeded by
James Agnew
Tasmanian Legislative Council
Preceded by
William Moore
President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council
Succeeded by
William Dodery
Preceded by
Richard Dry
Member for Launceston
Served alongside: Ronald Gunn
Preceded by
Charles Leake
Member for South Esk
Succeeded by
James Gibson
Preceded by
John Scott
Member for Launceston
Served alongside: William Hart
Succeeded by
Charles Russen
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