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Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Sir James Boucaut KCMG KC


Full Name Sir James Penn Boucaut KCMG KC
Date of Birth 29 Oct 1831
QualificationsKCMG (1898), QC (1875) (later, KC)
Prior EmploymentStockman
QC 1875
Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia 1878-1905
Horse and cattle breeder
Public ActivitiesSir James Boucaut arrived in Adelaide as a young man in 1846. He became a lawyer in 1851 before entering Parliament, winning a by-election in Adelaide on a radical platform opposing financial aid for immigration in 1861. He was defeated in 1862 but elected to West Adelaide in 1865 supporting a liberal land policy and some protection for South Australian industry before joining Hart's Ministry as Attorney-General. Following Hart's resignation, Boucaut formed his first ministry and was immediately forced to deal with Justice Boothby's continued objections to the legitimacy the Colony's Court of Appeal, and persuaded Parliament to petition the Queen for Boothby's removal. He resigned his position as Premier to fulfil his obligations to clients in the Moonta Mines case of 1867, as his position as Attorney-General constituted a conflict of interest. He returned to politics in 1868 but was accused of 'bartering his vote for pecuniary consideration' and was defeated at the polls as a result of this in 1869, although he was later cleared of the charge. He was strongly critical of the government in the period 1872-75 but from 1874 had begun to support widespread development in the State. The public undertaking he advocated relied on increased population and as a result Boucaut now supported immigration at public expense, a political about-face. As the member for Encounter Bay, Boucaut gained his second Premiership in 1875, but his visionary plans for the development of transport into country South Australia to improve trade were largely undermined by Parliamentary resistance to new taxation. His government was responsible for finally instituting free secular and compulsory education, with Bible readings permitted before school hours. The Ministry was defeated in 1876 but Boucaut's $3 million railway plan went ahead under Colton. Boucaut was Premier once more in 1877 before he resigned to take up a position on the Supreme Court in 1878. He was well thought of as a politician and was described as a man of 'imagination, foresight.....a statesman ahead of his time'. He retired in 1905 and died at home in Glenelg in 1916.
Deceased01 Feb 1916


DateHouseDistrictPartyReason (If Retired)
09 Dec 1861 - 09 Nov 1862House of AssemblyCity of AdelaidePre-Party SystemNot Re-elected
09 Mar 1865 - 05 Apr 1868House of AssemblyWest AdelaidePre-Party SystemChanged Seat
15 Apr 1868 - 13 Apr 1870House of AssemblyThe BurraPre-Party SystemNot Re-elected
10 Aug 1871 - 09 Feb 1875House of AssemblyWest TorrensPre-Party SystemChanged Seat
22 Feb 1875 - 25 Sep 1878House of AssemblyEncounter BayPre-Party SystemResigned


Offices Held

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25 Sep 1878Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

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23 Oct 1865 - 03 May 1867Attorney-General
28 Mar 1866 - 03 May 1867Premier
22 Jan 1872 - 04 Mar 1872Attorney-General
03 Jun 1875 - 02 Feb 1876Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration
03 Jun 1875 - 06 Jun 1876Premier
02 Feb 1876 - 06 Jun 1876Commissioner of Public Works
26 Oct 1877 - 27 Sep 1878Premier
26 Oct 1877 - 27 Sep 1878Treasurer
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