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The Hon Sir Adye Douglas











Adye's residence
Residence of Adye Douglas,
Sir Adye Douglas DOUGLAS, (1815-1906), lawyer and politician, was born on 31 May 1815 at Thorpe-next-Norwich, England, son of Captain Henry Osborne Douglas and his wife Eleanor, née Crabtree; his grandfather was Admiral Billy Douglas.


Educated at schools in Hampshire and Normandy, he served articles with a legal firm in Southampton. He decided to migrate to Van Diemen's Land, sailed from London in the Louisa Campbell and arrived at Launceston in January 1839. He was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court in February but soon went to Port Phillip, where he ran sheep with his brother Henry near Mount Macedon. Late in 1842 he returned to Launceston where he founded a legal firm which still operates. Over the years he had several partners; the last, George Thomas Collins (1839-1926), had been articled by him. Douglas built up a flourishing local practice and acted for many important clients in Victoria. Deeply interested in the colony's welfare, he realized that no progress was possible while convicts were sent to Tasmania. He became one of the founders of the Anti-Transportation League. He was elected one of the first aldermen in the Launceston Municipal Council, established in 1852 and held office until 1884, serving as mayor in 1865-66 and 1880-82.


Douglas was defeated at the elections for the first part-elective Legislative Council in 1851 but won a Launceston seat in 1855. He was prominent in the council's action against J. S. Hampton, moving his arrest and the appeal to the Privy Council in defence of the Speaker, Michael Fenton. Under the new Constitution in 1856 he represented Launceston in the first House of Assembly where he succeeded in introducing a bill to provide a water supply for Launceston but failed to win support for a preliminary survey of the Hobart-Launceston railway. In 1857 he resigned and travelled in America, France and England. He became even more impressed by the need for railways. On his return he began to advocate the Launceston-Deloraine railway and in 1865 carried the bill for it against strong opposition; the first sod was turned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868.


In the House of Assembly Douglas represented Westbury in 1862-71, Norfolk Plains in 1871-72 and Fingal in 1872-84. He then became premier and chief secretary and was elected for South Esk to the Legislative Council, where in 1885 he carried a bill for the appointment of an agent-general in London. He had represented Tasmania at the Sydney convention from which the Federal Council of Australasia was evolved. In 1886 at its first session in Hobart, Douglas predicted a 'United States of Australasia … independent of the little island in the Northern Hemisphere'. Called to order, he reminded members of the toasts of forty years ago to the 'Australian Republic'. In March he resigned as premier after appointing himself the first Tasmanian agent-general in London. He attended the Colonial Conference in 1887 but was recalled because his negotiations with the Tasmanian Main Line Railway Co. had failed. He represented Launceston in the Legislative Council in 1890-1904 and was its president in 1894-1904. As an active delegate to the federal conventions in 1891 and 1897-98 he won praise for his physical endurance; to (Sir) Isaac Isaacs, 'he looked like a Hebrew prophet with his long locks and long beard, speaking with kindly wisdom to his people'. Douglas was knighted in 1902, ranked by the governor as 'the first among living Tasmanians'. He died at his home, Ryehope, Hobart, on 10 April 1906 and was buried at Cornelian Bay cemetery.


The Constitution and the Franchise

An objective of some of the framers of the Australian Constitution was to secure the right to vote for women. At the Adelaide session of the 1897-1898 Convention, Frederick Holder, the Treasurer of South Australia, proposed that the draft constitution contain the following clause: 'Every man and women of the full age of twenty-one years, whose name has been registered as an elector for at least six months, shall be an elector.' By this provision, Holder sought to extend, at least in regard to federal elections, the right to vote enjoyed by South Australian women since 1894.

The attempt failed, Adye Douglas, the President of the Legislative Council of Tasmania, protesting 'I do not see why it should be forced upon people who do not want it, simply because South Australia has got it' and 'I have not found a single woman yet who is anxious for this franchise'. The proposal was defeated by 23 votes to 12.



Ayde Douglas played his only first class cricket match at South Yarra Ground, Melbourne, on 29 and 30 March 1852 for Tasmania against Victoria. He scored a duck in the first innings, and 6 in the second. He also took 0/5 off 2 overs in Victoria's second innings.




Douglas had three sons and a daughter in the 1840s. On 10 July 1858 in London as a widower he married a widow Martha Matilda Collins, née Rolls. At Launceston on 18 January 1873 he married Charlotte Richards, by whom he had a daughter Eleanor before she died aged 22 on 23 July 1876. On 6 October 1877 in Adelaide he married Charlotte's sister Ida; they had four sons and four daughters.



Born  :   31st May 1815 at Thorpe-next-Norwich, Norfolk, England 
Died  :    10th Apr 1906 at Ryhope, Davey Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 

Father: Henry Osborne DOUGLAS
Mother: Eleanor CRABTREE


Married 1: ?
  • Child 1 : (daughter) DOUGLAS

Martha Matilda COLLINS , 10th Jul 1858 at London, England 
  • Child 2 : Archibald DOUGLAS (b. 1st Jun 1845)
  • Child 3 : Ada DOUGLAS (b. 5th May 1846)

Married 2: Charlotte RICHARDS , 18th Jan 1873 at Holy Trinity Church, Launceston, Launceston, Tasmania 

Child 1 : Eleanor Charlotte DOUGLAS (b. 21st Oct 1873)

Married 3: Ida RICHARDS , 6th Oct 1877 at Pine Street Wesleyan Parsonage, Adelaide, South Australia  

  • Child 1 : Gordon Adye DOUGLAS (b.31st August 1878)
  • Child 2 : Catherine Ida DOUGLAS (b. 22nd Aug 1881)
  • Child 3 : Annie Florence DOUGLAS
  • Child 4 : Ida Constance Alithea DOUGLAS
  • Child 5 : Osborne Henry DOUGLAS (b. 14th Mar 1880)
  • Child 6 : Adye Sholto DOUGLAS (b. 6th Feb 1885)
  • Child 7 : (daughter) DOUGLAS (b. 29th Jan 1891)
  • Child 8 : Bruce Claude DOUGLAS (b. 17th Jun 1897)
  • Child 9 : Grace Mary DOUGLAS (b. 24th Jan 1893)


John writes:

My wife is the greatgranddaughter of Sir Adye Douglas, her mother being Kate Ida Douglas daughter of Adye Shalto Douglas



Eva Marie Carr contributes:

I am a direct decendant of Sir Adye Douglas
Adye S. Douglas/Ida Richard Great Grandparents
Adye Shalto Douglas  Grandfather
Kate Ida Douglas  Mother
Eva Marie Carr Self

Editor: The spelling of Shalto is unusual - Sholto be more common - any other examples?
            His grandaughter, Jan Bindoff, contributes: @To my knowledge "Sholto" is always spelt with an "O" in our family'. Adye Osborne had two daughters, Anne and Felicity, Sholto Gordon had no children and my father, Fergus Gavin has four children: myself, Jan Maree, and my three brothers: Peter Sholto, Robert Macleod and Ian Gordon Douglas



Joanna Michiels contributes:
London, England Marriage and Banns 1754-  The first wife of Sir Ayde Douglas was called Eliza Clark. They were married on the 12th May 1836 in the parish of St Marylebone, London.



The following is an extract from Wikipedia:

Douglas had three sons and a daughter in the 1840's. He married Martha Matilda Collins in 1858, but they had no children. In 1873, he married Charlotte Richards, and they had a daughter Eleanor, before she died in 1876. In 1877, he married Charlotte's sister, Ida in Adelaide, and they had four sons, and four daughters.



Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



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