The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/M'Combie, Hon. Thomas

MᶜCombie, Hon. Thomas, who was a native of Scotland, was a very prominent man in the early days of the colony of Victoria, or, as it was then called, Port Phillip. In 1845 he was a member of the committee appointed at a public meeting held in Melbourne on Sept. 28th to frame a petition to the Imperial Parliament in opposition to the proposal of New South Wales to pledge the credit of Port Phillip for an immigration loan for her own benefit. Mr. MᶜCombie was one of the first members of the Melbourne Town Council. In 1846 he took an active part in exerting pressure on the Superintendent of Port Phillip, Mr. Latrobe, to expend the moneys voted by the Sydney Legislature for public works in Melbourne, and which Mr. Latrobe had withheld owing to his distrust of local administration. On June 15th Mr. MᶜCombie submitted the following motion to the Council, which was carried by nine votes to five: "That the Legislative Committee be instructed to prepare an humble petition to her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen praying for the removal of Charles Joseph Latrobe, Esq., from the office of Superintendent of the district of Port Phillip on account of his systematic mismanagement of the money voted for the service of the province, his neglect of public works of paramount consequence, and his repeated breaches of faith in his official transactions with this Council in matters of high public importance." On August 3rd following Mr. MᶜCombie presided at a great public meeting held in Melbourne, when a resolution was carried for the despatch of a petition to the Home Government for the removal of Mr. Latrobe. The petition was courteously acknowledged, but not acted on. In 1848 Mr. MᶜCombie took an active part in what was known as the non-election movement, under which it was proposed to abstain from sending members from Port Phillip to the Sydney Legislature. As, however, a local candidate persisted in standing for the city of Melbourne, Mr. MᶜCombie proposed the nomination of Earl Grey, and he was returned by a large majority. In the outside districts the non-electionists were not so successful. They put the Duke of Wellington, Lords Palmerston, Brougham, and John Russell, and Sir Robert Peel in nomination for the five seats, but in the result five local candidates were returned. On the subject of these proceedings Mr. MᶜCombie addressed lengthy letters to Mr. Hawes, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, and to Lord John Russell. He also took an active part in the anti-transportation movement, subscribing a hundred guineas towards the funds of the Australasian League in 1851. Though Mr. MᶜCombie had been one of the most prominent advocates of the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, he was not elected to the mixed Legislative Council when in 1851 the colony of Victoria was constituted. In 1856, however, when responsible government was conceded, Mr. MᶜCombie was returned to the Upper House for the South Province. He was a member of the second O'Shanassy Ministry without portfolio from March 1858 to Oct. 1859. Latterly Mr. MᶜCombie eschewed public life, and was connected with the press in Geelong. He was the author of "New Plan of Colonial Government" (1845); "Waste Land Acts Considered" (1846); "Australian Sketches," reprinted from Tait's Magazine (1847); "History of the Colony of Victoria" (London, 1858). He died in Victoria.