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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Douglas, Hon. Adye

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Douglas, Hon. Adye, M.L.C., is of Scotch descent. His grandfather, a naval officer of distinction, was Port Admiral at Yarmouth, and subsequently at Chatham. Mr. Douglas's father was an officer in the British army, and married a Norfolk lady, the late Agent-General for Tasmania being born at Thorpe, near Norwich, on May 30th, 1815. Sprung of a naval stock, five of his uncles being post captains in the royal navy, Mr. Douglas was intended for the sea, but entered the legal profession, and was articled to a firm of solicitors at Southampton, where, when admitted, he himself subsequently practised. When only twenty-three, however, Mr. Douglas emigrated to Tasmania, then and until 1857 known as Van Diemen's Land. Arriving in the colony early in 1839, he was admitted to the local bar, but having a few months later visited Victoria (then the Port Phillip district of N.S.W.), Mr. Douglas decided to embrace pastoral pursuits in the young settlement. Taking a number of sheep with him he settled near the Saltwater ranges; close to what is now the flourishing town of Kilmore, but ultimately abandoned squatting and returned to Tasmania. In 1842 Mr. Douglas re-commenced the practice of the law at Launceston, and quickly achieved a leading position. He also turned his attention to public affairs, becoming a prominent member of the Anti-Transportation Association, and in 1856 member for Launceston in the old Legislative Council. In that capacity he assisted materially in the formation of the new constitution of Tasmania, his efforts being mainly devoted to liberalising its basis. Mr. Douglas revisited England in 1857, and made a tour of the country in company with his friend, Sir Richard Dry. He was so much impressed with the advantages secured by what he saw of the extension of the railway system that on his return to Tasmania, where he was elected to the Assembly for Westbury in 1862, he vigorously championed the advent of the iron horse into his adopted country; being the foremost, in spite of strenuous opposition, in securing the formation of the first Tasmanian railway, from Launceston to Deloraine, the first sod of which was turned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868. In August 1884 Mr. Douglas somewhat reluctantly became Premier and Chief Secretary of the colony, and resigning his seat in the Lower House, was elected to the Legislative Council for South Esk. Mr. Douglas represented his colony at the Sydney Convention, and was responsible for the policy which led to the inclusion of Tasmania in the Federal Council of Australasia. The official representation of Tasmania in London having, after a good deal of irresolution, been decided on, Mr. Douglas resigned the Premiership in March 1880, and became the first Agent-General of the colony. At the London Colonial Conference of 1887 Mr. Douglas was associated with the present Judge Dodds in the representation of the colony. At the close of the year Mr. Douglas resigned his position in London and returned to Tasmania. In July 1800 he was elected a member of the Legislative Council for Launceston. He was one of the delegates of Tasmania to the Sydney Federation Convention in March 1891.

In appended Supplement, p. 530531

Douglas, Hon. Adye, M.L.C. (pp. 135-6). In August 1892 Mr. Douglas accepted office in the Dobson Ministry as Chief Secretary.