Parliament of Tasmania - Biographical Register of Members

Biographical Register of the Tasmanian Parliament 1825-1980

Bennett and Bennett, Biographical Register of Tasmanian MPs

Biographical Register of the Tasmanian Parliament 1825-1980

Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett

Print copies can be ordered from:

House of Assembly
Parliament of Tasmania
Hobart, Tasmania 7000

or email:

Price $35 (inc GST and Postage within Australia, direct deposit or cheque only).

International Customers please contact assembly for the cost of postage to your destination.

The House of Assembly of the Parliament of Tasmania also provides a free pdf version of the complete book that can be downloaded.

See example of biographical information.

This work is a revision of our original volume Biographical Register of the Tasmanian Parliament 1851-1960, published in 1980, one of a series of Biographical Registers of parliamentarians which had begun with Martin and Wardle’s Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 1856-1901: biographical notes published in 1959. Others in that series have been revised and updated over time and it is pleasing to see that they now form a basis for biographical information on former members published on the websites of the parliaments. That use in itself indicates the extent to which the information environment has changed since the initial days of this area of research.

We have increased the scope of this edition to include members elected between 1961 and 1980 and also members from the period when the Legislative Council comprised only members who had been nominated and appointed. Upon the proclamation of Van Diemen’s Land as a colony separate from New South Wales in 1825, the first Legislative Council was created with the Lieutenant-Governor having the power to make laws with the advice of the six nominated members. The size of the Council increased with effect from August 1829, the 15 members including the Lieutenant-Governor who was to preside at meetings. This changed from 1851 (the starting date of our earlier edition) when the 24-member Council became partly-elected and the Lieutenant-Governor was no longer a member. We have included entries on the Lieutenant-Governors from 1821-51 in this volume.

Many of the entries from our earlier Register have been revised, some quite extensively. Following its publication, we were grateful to receive a good deal of additional information from people using it as a resource. We believe we have given a more complete picture of the duration of parliamentary terms, unsuccessful electoral contests and other aspects of elections by using material which we collected for our later volume, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook 1851-1982. More recently, the use of digitized newspapers and other online sources has proved wonderfully rewarding, particularly in relation to retrieving small pieces of information on individuals who never achieved a high profile in the State and enabling us to find support for decisions between other conflicting sources of information.

We hope that enlarging the period covered and revising the entries of the first edition will make this a more valuable resource. However, as authors of similar works have noted, we are aware that there are still many gaps in the information provided here. We hope that other researchers will add to its value by advising the Parliamentary Library of any errors or omissions they find.

We must thank those former members of parliament and their families who provided additional information and comment on draft entries. Staff of the National Library of Australia have given us great assistance and we also want to thank the Library for the invaluable source that Trove has become for researchers. Similarly the accessibility of information through electronic resources developed by the Tasmanian State Library and Archives and the Parliament of Tasmania is greatly appreciated. The Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, which began collecting biographical information from members during the 1970s, has continued that practice and those papers have been very valuable in relation to members in the later decades of our coverage. We are very grateful for the excellent support and assistance of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, particularly Juliet Webster and Bryan Stait. We also wish to thank Peter Bennison, formerly Deputy Clerk of the House of Assembly, for his encouragement and support of the project and the Parliament for managing its publication.

Scott Bennett
Barbara Bennet