Stuart Donaldson

Stuart Donaldson

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Stuart Donaldson

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Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson (16 December 1812 – 11 January 1867) was the first Premier of the Colony of New South Wales.

Early life

Donaldson was born in London, England. He entered his father's firm at the age of 15 and was sent first to Mexico (1831-1834), for business training, and then to Sydney, where he arrived in 1835. He returned to London between 1841 and 1844.


In 1848, Donaldson was elected a member of the first Legislative Council of New South Wales, representing the County of Durham from 1848 to 1856. Comments made while running for re-election in 1851, led Sir Thomas Mitchell to demand a public apology. While Donaldson complied Mitchell was not satisfied and challenged Donaldson to a duel with pistols. Both men missed but they remained antagonised. He supported the development of steam ship services to Australia and the work of Caroline Chisholm. In 1852 he achieved the carriage of a motion recommending that £10,000 should be applied to supporting Chisholm's work. He travelled to England in 1853-1854.

In March 1856 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the first Parliament, representing Sydney Hamlets. The first Legislative Assembly had trouble forming a Government. Eventually Governor Denison invited Donaldson to be Premier and he took up the offices of Premier and Colonial Secretary on 6 June 1856. Two months and 20 days later, on 25 August 1856,...
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