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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Macalister, Hon. Arthur

Macalister, Hon. Arthur, C.M.G., sometime Premier of Queensland, was born in Glasgow, where he studied for the legal profession. He emigrated to New South Wales and settled in the Moreton Bay district of that colony (now Queensland) in 1850. He represented Ipswich in the New South Wales Parliament until severance, of which he was one of the most active promoters, took place, when he refused a seat in the Queensland Legislative Council and was returned to the Legislative Assembly for his old constituency of Ipswich. When Mr. (now Sir) Robert Herbert formed the first responsible ministry, Mr. Macalister was included in it as Secretary for Lands and Works, and held office from March 1862 to Feb. 1866, when Mr. Herbert retired, and he himself became Premier. In the following July, however, he resigned, owing to the refusal of the Governor to assent to his method of overcoming the financial crisis by making notes legal tender. Mr. Herbert again took the helm, but retired in eighteen days, when Mr. Macalister resumed office as Premier and Colonial Secretary. Having been again relegated to private life in August 1867, Mr. Macalister acted as Chairman of Committees of the Legislative Assembly during the greater part of 1868. In November of the same year he joined the Lilley Government as Secretary for Lands and Secretary for Public Works. In Jan. 1869 he resigned the former post, but continued to administer the Public Works Department till the fall of the Ministry in May 1870. From Nov. 1870 to June 1871 Mr. Macalister was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, but lost his seat at the general election which followed. In 1873 he was re-elected for Ipswich and again became Premier, with the Portfolio of Colonial Secretary in Jan. 1874. In this ministry, both Sir Thomas McIlwraith and Sir Samuel Griffith were included. In June 1876, in which year he was created C.M.G., Mr. Macalister resigned to take up the position of Agent-General in London, which post he held till his death, in 1882.