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Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Sir John Colton KCMG


Full Name Sir John Colton KCMG
Date of Birth 20 Sep 1823
QualificationsKCMG (1891)
Public ActivitiesJohn Colton migrated to South Australia in 1839, and in 1842 opened a successful hardware and saddlery business. He was active in the Adelaide City Council and served as Mayor in 1874-75. Colton was renowned for his administrative ability and it was largely due to this, as well as his good business sense, that led to his appointment as Commissioner for Public Works in the Strangways Ministry of 1868. He stood for Noarlunga in 1872 and in 1875 became Treasurer in the Boucaut government but later resigned. He became Premier after Boucaut left in 1875 and his government introduced legislation for the Trade Unions Act (1876) giving more power to employees through their unions. Colton yielded the Premiership to Boucaut in 1877 when a vote of no confidence in his ministry was passed after his perceived provocation of members of the Upper House. Citing poor health, Colton resigned in 1878 before returning to the Lower House in 1880 where he sat with the Opposition. In 1884 he voiced distrust in the Government's advisers, resulting in the fall of the Bray administration. Colton took over as Premier in 1884, and in the next twelve months introduced an innovative Land and Income Tax in an attempt to reduce the 400,000-pound deficit the previous Government had left him. Colton's strong social conscience and religious convictions influenced both his political and private life: he sponsored a Young Persons Protection Bill through Parliament and was a member of several social benefit organisations. In 1885 Downer proposed a motion of no confidence in the Colton ministry, using the same words with which Colton had brought down the Bray government twelve months earlier. Colton travelled through Australia and New Zealand before returning to lead the Opposition against the Downer government but illness forced his retirement in 1887, and he died in 1902 in Adelaide.
Deceased06 Feb 1902


DateHouseDistrictPartyReason (If Retired)
17 Nov 1862 - 27 Mar 1870House of AssemblyNoarlungaPre-Party SystemNot Re-elected
16 Feb 1875 - 29 Aug 1878House of AssemblyNoarlungaPre-Party SystemResigned
06 Jan 1880 - 18 Mar 1887House of AssemblyNoarlungaPre-Party SystemNot Re-elected


Offices Held

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18 Mar 1887Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

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03 Nov 1868 - 12 May 1870Commissioner of Public Works
03 Jun 1875 - 25 Mar 1876Treasurer
06 Jun 1876 - 26 Oct 1877Commissioner of Public Works
06 Jun 1876 - 26 Oct 1877Premier
16 Jun 1884 - 16 Jun 1885Chief Secretary
16 Jun 1884 - 16 Jun 1885Premier
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