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Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Thomas Playford II


Full Name Thomas Playford II
Date of Birth 26 Nov 1837
Prior EmploymentOrchardist
Public ActivitiesA physically imposing man, Thomas Playford began his career is politics in 1868, as the member for Onkaparinga. His integrity and straightforward manner were reflected in the epithet 'Honest Tom', but his often blunt and tactless speeches earned him the disapproval of fellow members and his electorate on more than one occasion, and caused his defeat at the polls in 1871. He returned to Parliament in 1875 for East Torrens, where he held office as Reforming Commissioner for Crown Lands and Immigration three times between 1875 and 1885. He travelled in 1882 visiting New Zealand, Europe and the United States of America. In 1887 he was returned to the electorate of Newcastle after losing East Torrens, and served as Premier for the next two years. His most important achievement was the implementation of the first systematic tariff system for South Australia. His government was brought down by Cockburn's no confidence vote in 1889, although his reply to this motion was recorded as 'one of the most masterly' speeches ever heard in chambers. In 1890 Playford stood for East Torrens again and won, beginning his second term as Premier from August of that year until mid 1892. He also served as Treasurer during this time, significantly reducing the State's debt. He was Agent-General for South Australia in London from 1894 to 1898, and made several changes to the office before returning to South Australia to sit as a back bencher for the electorate of Gumeracha. In 1899 he crossed the floor to help bring down the Kingston government over a potential erosion of the power of the Legislative Council. He was actively involved in the planning the Federation of the Australian Commonwealth and drafting the Federal Constitution. He was elected to the Senate in 1901 and served in the first Deakin Ministry, as Leader of the Government in the Senate and Vice-President of Executive Council and in the second, as Minister of Defence before his defeat in 1906. He travelled to Asia before returning to Adelaide where in 1910 he made one further unsuccessful attempt for election to the Senate. He died in Kent Town in 1915.

Deceased19 Apr 1915


DateHouseDistrictPartyReason (If Retired)
21 Apr 1868 - 13 Dec 1871House of AssemblyOnkaparingaPre-Party SystemNot Re-elected
10 Feb 1875 - 05 Apr 1887House of AssemblyEast TorrensPre-Party SystemChanged Seat
06 Apr 1887 - 18 Apr 1890House of AssemblyNewcastlePre-Party SystemChanged Seat
19 Apr 1890 - 17 Apr 1894House of AssemblyEast TorrensPre-Party SystemResigned
29 Apr 1899 - 08 May 1901House of AssemblyGumerachaPre-Party SystemSeated Federal Parliament


Offices Held

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08 May 1901Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

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02 Feb 1876 - 06 Jun 1876Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration
26 Oct 1877 - 24 Jun 1881Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration
16 Jun 1884 - 04 Feb 1885Commissioner of Public Works
04 Feb 1885 - 16 Jun 1885Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration
11 Jun 1887 - 27 Jun 1889Premier
11 Jun 1887 - 27 Jun 1889Treasurer
19 Aug 1890 - 06 Jan 1892Treasurer
19 Aug 1890 - 21 Jun 1892Premier
16 Jun 1893 - 21 Jun 1892Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration
16 Jun 1893 - 17 Apr 1894Treasurer
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