Refine results | Home

Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Sir Henry Ayers GCMG


Full Name Sir Henry Ayers GCMG
Date of Birth 01 May 1821
QualificationsCMG (1870), KCMG (1872), GCMG (1894)
Prior EmploymentFinancier
Public ActivitiesHenry Ayers emigrated to Adelaide with his wife Elizabeth in 1841. Young, ambitious, and determined, he quickly gained work as a law clerk and, in 1845, was appointed secretary of the South Australia Mining Association. His shrewd business sense and growing control over the finances and votes of outside investors saw him rise to the position of Managing Director of the organisation in 1850. By the time he was elected to the Legislative Council of the first Parliament in 1857 he had amassed a significant personal fortune, primarily from his interests in the lucrative Burra Burra copper mine. From his position in the Upper house, Ayers became Premier in no less than seven different administrations in the decade from 1863. His various ministerial permutations ranged in duration from 13 days in 1864 to just under a year and a half in 1867-68. Perhaps more than any other nineteenth century South Australian Premier, Ayers' political career reflected what his contemporary A. Forster called the period's 'chronic ministerial instability' - the result of the fragmentation and ideological incoherence of the young Parliament. Ayers' last ministry fell in 1873, but he remained a powerful member of the Legislative Council until 1893. Knighted in the 1870's, Ayers died in 1897 wealthy, influential, and respected.
Other InformationImage reproduced with permission -
State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B10797
Deceased11 Jun 1897


DateHouseDistrictPartyReason (If Retired)
09 Mar 1857 - 12 May 1888Legislative CouncilThe Province Pre-Party SystemChanged Seat
12 May 1888 - 19 Dec 1893Legislative CouncilNorth-Eastern District Pre-Party SystemResigned


Offices Held

expand / collapse detail
02 Jun 1881 - 19 Dec 1893President, Legislative Council
19 Dec 1893Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

expand / collapse detail
04 Jul 1863 - 15 Jul 1863Without Office
15 Jul 1863 - 04 Aug 1864Premier
15 Jul 1863 - 23 Oct 1865Chief Secretary
20 Sep 1865 - 23 Oct 1865Premier
03 May 1867 - 24 Sep 1868Chief Secretary
03 May 1867 - 24 Sep 1868Premier
13 Oct 1868 - 03 Nov 1868Chief Secretary
13 Oct 1868 - 03 Nov 1868Premier
22 Jan 1872 - 22 Jul 1873Chief Secretary
22 Jan 1872 - 22 Jul 1873Premier
06 Jun 1876 - 26 Oct 1877Chief Secretary
Refine results | Home