Home>Library>Information>Constitutional Events

Constitutional Events

11 September 1803 >European settlement of Van Diemen's Land (VDL) under Lt John Bowen.
24 September 1804 Tasmania divided into two counties: Cornwall under William Paterson and Buckingham under David Collins.
4 February 1813

Tasmania to be ruled as a single unit.
19 July 1823 Original 'Crown' Council provided for both NSW and VDL.
1 December 1823 Official warrant issued by Governor Arthur establishing 'Crown' Council.
25 August 1824 Crown Council holds first meeting.
14 July 1825 Order-in-Council separates VDL from NSW.
16 July 1825 NSW Governor Darling appointed with separate Royal Instructions for VDL.
17 July 1825 Warrants issued for VDL Legislative Council by Governor Darling.
24 November 1825 Governor Darling arrives in VDL.
3 December 1825 While in Hobart Darling proclaims VDL as a separate colony from NSW.
17 December 1825 Governor Arthur publishes this proclamation dated 12 December 1825.
12 April 1826 Legislative Council meets formally.
26 April 1826 Legislative Council proceeds to swear in Members.
21 June 1826 Legislative Council meets for first proper session.
30 January 1829 Enlarged 'Nominee' Council established. (9 Geo IV c83).
31 July 1829 Warrant for Nominee Council published (and again on 8 and 15 August 1829).
30 July 1842 Act passed in England for 'Better Government of NSW and VDL'.
31 October 1845 'Patriotic six' depart Legislative Council, leaving it without a quorum.
23 March 1847 'Patriotic six' reinstated to Legislative Council.
5 August 1850 English Parliament passes Australian Constitutions Act to confirm legislative powers of colonies. 'Blended' Council established, part nominated, part elected.
21 October 1851 First polling day to elect Tasmanian Members of Parliament.
30 December 1851 Noon: first meeting of Legislative Council with elected Members.
19 August 1853 Legislative Council select committee appointed to draft constitution for VDL.
25 April 1854 Select Committee appointed to draft constitution for bicameral Parliament
(Paper No 63/1854 dated 29/9/1854).
31 October 1854 New Constitution passed by Legislative Council. (18 Vic No.17); beginning of responsible government.
1 May 1855 Royal Assent from Queen Victoria to new bicameral Parliament.
21 July 1855 Privy Council approves name change from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania (Gazette 27 November 1855)
24 ctober 1855 Royal Assent to 'Constitutional Act' proclaimed in Hobart (Gazette 30 Oct 1855).
1 January 1856

Formal change of name to Tasmania.
8 February 1856 Final meeting of old Legislative Council.
8 September 1856 First elections for House of Assembly seat of Launceston - others held between 15 and 22 September.

6 October 1856 First elections for new Legislative Council seat of Hobart - others held between 7 and 17 October.
1 November 1856 First Premier W.T.N. Champ appointed.
2 December 1856 First session of new bicameral Parliament.

3 June 1898 First referendum to join Commonwealth: Vote - 81.3% Yes; 18.7% No.
27 July 1899 Second referendum to join Commonwealth: Vote - 94.4% Yes; 5.5% No.
29 October 1900 Royal Warrant creating Tasmania a State of the Commonwealth of Australia.
1 January 1901 Tasmania formally becomes a State in Australian Federal system with Legislative Council of 18 members and House of Assembly of 35 members.
25 April 1907 House of Assembly reduced to 30 members (6 per electorate).
30 April 1909 First election for the House of Assembly using Hare-Clark electoral system.
29 March 1946 Legislative Council enlarged to 19 members (Constitution Act 1946)
9 April 1959 House of Assembly enlarged to 35 members (7 per electorate from 2 May 1959).
4 December 1985 Tasmania joins with other States and Commonwealth to confirm 'sovereign, independent' status from England. (Australia Act of November 1985).
25 July 1998 Reduction in size of Parliament from 54 to 40 (25 MHAs and 15 MLCs).

Constitutional LAndmarks (In brief):

Divided Island: Two Colonies: From 1804 until 1812 Tasmania was administered from NSW by two army officers. David Collins controlled the south, known as Buckingham and William Paterson the north, or Cornwall.

Unified Island: One Colony: From 1812 Tasmania was a single unit under Lieutenant Geils and in February 1813 Thomas Davey was made Lieutenant-Governor, although the island remained answerable to NSW.

Separate Island Colony: From 1825 Tasmania was a separate colony answerable only to English colonial authority. Legislative Council established, first appointed by the Governor, later partly elected (1850).

Responsible Island Colony: The passage of the Australian Colonies Government Act by England in 1850 set Parliament's powers and from 1856 Tasmania was granted responsible self-government with its own bicameral Parliament, but British colonial authority still held some sway.

Island State of the Federation: Upon Federation, Tasmania gave some powers to the Commonwealth and since 1901 Tasmania has been a State in the Australian Federal system. The laws of Tasmania are thus controlled by the Tasmanian Parliament unless the Federal Constitution prevails.

Independent State: As a result of the passage of the Federal Australia Act and the Australia Acts (Request) Act in Tasmania (November 1985) the Commonwealth and States no longer have any parliamentary or legislative ties with the English Parliament or Executive Government.


Back to HomePage

Maintained by Computer Services, Parliament of Tasmania.

Last Update: 12 July 2005