previous
next

Tasmania.

Although the commission of Governor Phillip included the territory of Van Diemen's Land, there was no settlement there until the arrival of an expedition under Lieutenant Bowen, on September 12th, 1803. Bowen was commissioned “Commandant of the Island of Van Dieman” by Governor King of New South Wales; and in February, 1804, the island was made a Lieutenant-Governorship under New South Wales. For some years it was treated less as an integral part of New South Wales than as a dependency of that colony. The Act of 1823, which established a Council in New South Wales to make laws for that “colony and its dependencies,” authorized the establishment of a Supreme


  ― 14 ―
Court of Judicature for Tasmania, with an appeal to the Governor of New South Wales. This power was exercised on October 13th of the same year. Section 44 of the Act empowered the Crown to erect Van Diemen's Land into a separate colony independent of the Government of New South Wales, and to commit to any person or persons within the island of Van Diemen's Land such and the like powers, authorities, and jurisdictions as might be committed to any person or persons in New South Wales. On December 3rd, 1825, the island was proclaimed a separate colony, and the appropriate legislative and executive authority established. By the Australian Courts Act, 1828, provision was made for the government of Van Diemen's Land identical with that made for New South Wales (q.v.), including the provision for the introduction of the Laws of England in the administration of justice. A Charter of Justice, dated March 4th, 1831, was granted under the powers of the Acts of 1823 and 1828. When the representative principle was introduced into New South Wales in 1842, all that was done for Van Diemen's Land was to make permanent the arrangements of the Act of 1828 and to enlarge the number of members of Council (see 5 and 6 Vict., c. 76, § 53). The island was, however, embraced in the constitutional arrangements of the Act of 1850 (13 and 14 Vict., c. 59), and that under that Act acquired a Legislative Council, one third nominated and two thirds elected, with the power to alter its own Constitution. This power was exercised by 17 and 18 Vict., No. 17, passed on October 31st, 1854 (confirmed by 25 and 26 Vict., c. 11), and a Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, both elected, were substituted for the old Legislative Council. The new Legislature began its first session in December 2nd, 1856.

The colony was an original member of the Federal Council of Australasia (constituted by 48 and 49 Vict., c. 60), and has remained a member ever since.




  ― 15 ―
previous
next