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Former Member Details

Sir Edward Deas THOMSON, KCMG,CB (1800 - 1879)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 01/06/1800
Place of Birth: Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of Death: 16/07/1879
Place of Death: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 03 Jan 1837 05 Jan 1843 6 years 3 days An Appointed Member of the first Legislative Council 1824 - 1843
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 17 Jul 1843 31 Jan 1854 10 years 6 months 15 days A Non-Elective Member of the first Legislative Council 1843 – 1856
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 22 May 1856 10 May 1861 4 years 11 months 19 days First (Quinquennial) Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 13 May 1856
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 03 Sep 1861 16 Jul 1879 17 years 10 months 14 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 24 June 1861
Member of the Executive Council 02 Jan 1837 28 Apr 1856 19 years 3 months 27 days
Colonial Secretary 02 Jan 1837 05 Jun 1856 19 years 5 months 4 days
Representative of the Government in the Legislative Council 26 May 1857 07 Sep 1857 3 months 13 days
Australian Mutual Provident Society’s Bill Committee No.26 12 Dec 1856 18 Mar 1857 3 months 7 days
Impounding Laws Committee No. 10 15 Aug 1856 18 Mar 1857 7 months 4 days
Petition of Mr David Cross Committee No.24 09 Dec 1856 18 Mar 1857 3 months 10 days
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Public servant; Colonial Secretary. Educated at Edinburgh High School and Harrow, and 2 years at college at Caen, Normandy; acquired fluent French. Clerk with Inglis, Forbes & Co., London., and assisted father at Navy Office; attended lectures on political economy by J.R McCulloch. Travelled to United States of America from 1826 until 1827. Arrived in New South Wales in 1829 as a clerk of Executive and Legislative Councils and member of Convict Assignment Board. Colonial Secretary from 1837 until 1856, and ex-officio member of Executive and Legislative Councils; visited England from 1854 until 1856 to oversee passage of Constitution Bill and recuperate; retired on pension in 1856. Had a 2,560 acre land grant in the Shoalhaven district. Senator of the University of Sydney from 1850 until 1879, elected as vice chancellor in 1863, chancellor from 1865 until 1878. Elected as a Fellow of Linnean Society., London in 1828. At various times was President of the Sydney Infirmary, Benevolent Society, Society for Destitute Children, Australian Club, Civil Service Club, Australian Jockey Club. Lived at Darlinghurst. Practising Anglican. Commissioner of International Exhibition, Paris in 1867. Important figure in New South Wales public life from 1843 until 1854; influential in debates on Constitution Hill in 1853; a moderate conservative in Legislative Council in conflicts between 1858 and 1862, in which period he sat at head of Opposition benches. Father in Law of W.J Macleay. Nominated member of Legislative Council from 1837 until 1856.
Military Service
Honours Received
Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1856, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1874.
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Youngest son of Sir John Deas Thomson, of Edinburgh and sometime accountant-general of the British Navy, and his wife Rebecca Freer, daughter of John Freer of South Carolina in the United States of America. Married Anne Maria Bourke on 18 September 1833 at Sydney and had issue, 5 daughters and 2 sons. Church of England.
Additional Information
Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: 1. Edward Deas Thomson - papers, 1773 - 1883 (A1531) 2. Edward Deas Thompson - letters (3) received, 1830, 1848; photographs in the PICMAN Database. 3. Thomson family correspondence, 1829 - 1837 (MLMSS 7270; photographs in the PICMAN Database. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2 A biography is on the 'Electric Scotland' Website: S. G. Foster, Colonial Improver: Edward Deas Thomson 1800 - 1979, MUP, 1978