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Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Boyle Finniss


Full Name Boyle Travers Finniss
Date of Birth 18 Aug 1807
Public ActivitiesA prominent public figure during the first decades of South Australian settlement, in 1857 Boyle Finniss became the first Premier in the newly formed South Australian Parliament. Arriving from England at Kangaroo Island in 1836, he was an assistant to Surveyor-General Colonel William Light, and played a role in the laying out of the City of Adelaide and its immediate surroundings. In 1838 he formed a surveying firm with Light, and in the early 1840's established several other business interests. The eventual failure of these saw him return to the public service, first as Commissioner of Police, then as Treasurer. He was appointed Colonial Secretary in 1851 with the approval of the semi-democratic enlarged Legislative Council, a position in which he remained until it was made redundant by the establishment of self-government as set out under the radical new constitution of 1856. Although he officially became Premier in 1856 by virtue of his previous status as colonial secretary, he did not take an active role until his election to the House of Assembly in the first Parliamentary elections of March 1857. As was to be the case with many of his successors, his Premiership was a brief one, lasting less than four months from April to August 1857. He was active in politics until 1862 and held several positions in public office, including Auditor-General from 1876 until his resignation in 1881. Finniss wrote "The Constitutional History of South Australia" in his retirement, reflecting that it was largely the lack of clear, Party-based ideologies that caused such political instability in the early years of self-government - a period that would see forty-seven different governments in the thirty-six years to 1893. Finniss died in 1893, in Adelaide.
Deceased24 Dec 1893


01 May 1847 - 08 Mar 1857Legislative CouncilUnknownPre-Party System
09 Mar 1857 - 22 Mar 1860House of AssemblyCity of AdelaidePre-Party SystemChanged Seat
23 Mar 1860 - 23 Nov 1862House of AssemblyMount BarkerPre-Party SystemNot Re-elected


Ministerial Appointment

expand / collapse detail
24 Oct 1856 - 21 Aug 1857Chief Secretary
24 Oct 1856 - 21 Aug 1857Premier
12 Jun 1858 - 09 May 1860Treasurer