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Former Member of Parliament Details

   Sir Robert Torrens GCMG


Full Name Sir Robert Richard Torrens GCMG
QualificationsKCMG (1872), GCMG (1884)
Public ActivitiesBorn circa 1814 Robert Torrens arrived with his wife in the colony of South Australia in December 1840. He was immediately appointed Collector of Customs, and held the position for ten years. During this time he became known for his unorthodox approach to work and his uncompromising nature, characteristics which were to bring him into conflict with several Governors and other colonial officials. From 1851 to 1857 Torrens was a Member of the Legislative Council and with the adoption of new democratic constitution, was elected to the House of Assembly. After his participation in the fall of the Baker ministry, Torrens was commissioned to form a ministry of his own which was duly inaugurated in September 1857. Support for Torrens as Premier was only marginal, however, and only two weeks later, he was defeated in the Lower House on a motion concerning the controversial Waste Lands Act, and resigned along with his ministry. Torrens is better remembered for his successful advocacy of the Real Property Act of 1858. Known popularly as the Torrens Title System, this Act allowed for land title to be transferred more efficiently. The benefits of the Torrens system were recognised and subsequently introduced in other Australian colonies and overseas in the mid-1860's. Torrens returned to England where, as a member of the House of Commons he continued to lobby for adoption of his title system. He died in 1884.
Deceased31 Aug 1884


21 Feb 1851 - 02 Feb 1857Legislative CouncilUnknownPre-Party SystemCouncil Expired by Law
09 Mar 1857 - 01 Jul 1858House of AssemblyCity of AdelaidePre-Party SystemAccepted Office
01 Jul 1858Not Re-electedUnknown


Offices Held

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01 Jul 1858Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

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24 Oct 1856 - 21 Aug 1857Treasurer
01 Sep 1857 - 30 Sep 1857Chief Secretary
01 Sep 1857 - 30 Sep 1857Premier