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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Finniss, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Boyle Travers

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Finniss, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Boyle Travers, was born at sea on August 18th, 1817, and educated under Dr. Burney at Greenwich, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He joined the 56th Regiment as ensign in 1825, and became lieutenant in 1827, being shortly afterwards transferred to the 82nd Regiment. He sold his commission in 1835 with the view of emigrating to New South Wales as a military settler; but having been appointed Assistant Surveyor under Colonel Light, Surveyor-General of South Australia, he arrived in that colony in Sept. 1836, and four years later became Deputy Surveyor-General. In 1843 he was appointed Commissioner of Police and Police Magistrate, becoming Registrar-General, with a seat in the Executive and Legislative Councils, in succession to Captain Sturt, in 1847. This post he held till 1852, when he was appointed Colonial Secretary, a position which he had temporarily held in 1849, during the absence of Captain Sturt. In his official capacity Mr. Finniss carried the Constitution Act through the Legislative Council, and from Dec. 1854 to June 1855 was Acting Governor, during the interval between the departure of Governor Young and the arrival of his successor, Sir R. G. MacDonnell. Mr. Finniss continued to act as Colonial Secretary till Oct. 24th, 1856, when he was gazetted Chief Secretary, and became first Premier of the colony under the present constitutional régime. He was also one of the first members for the city of Adelaide in the first South Australian Legislative Assembly, and represented Mount Barker in the second parliament from 1860 to 1862. Mr. Finniss, who resigned the premiership in August 1857, was Treasurer in the Hanson Ministry from June 1858 to May 1860. He was appointed Lieut.-Colonel commanding' the Adelaide Volunteer Regiment, having raised a company of Volunteers called the Adelaide Marksmen, and organised a Volunteer force of 2000 men under the Act of 1853. In 1864 he was appointed Government Resident of the Northern territory, where it had been decided to form a settlement. On arrival with his party he selected a site for the capital at Adam Bay, which caused much opposition, and the break-up of the expedition. This ill-judged act and the indiscipline which prevailed in his party led to his recall in 1865, when an official inquiry took place as to the selection of the site and the general management of the expedition, the result of the report being that Mr. Finniss resigned. Having held ministerial office for three years, he received the Queen's permission in 1866 to bear the title of Honourable within the colony of South Australia. He was appointed a member of the Forest Board in 1875, and was Acting Auditor-General during the next year in the absence, on leave, of Mr. Hitchin, the Auditor-General. He resigned his position in the Civil Service in 1881.