TASMANIA AN OFF-SHOOT OF NEW SOUTH WALES.
Separation.--By the Act 4 Geo. IV, c. 96 (19 July 1823), the Crown was empowered to separate Van Diemen's Land from New South Wales, and erect it into a separate colony which then received a lieutenant-governor, an Execu tive Council and a small Legislative Council, consisting of seven members. By Act 13 and 14 Vic., c. 59, s. 7, it was provided that the legislature already existing in Van Diemen's Land might establish within the colony a Legis lative Council to consist of not more than 24 members, of whom one-third should be nomi nated by Her Majesty and the remainder elected by qualified inhabitants of the colony. Under the authority of this law a new Legislative Council was called into existence having pow ers and functions similar to the Legislative Council of New South Wales.
The New During the gov ernorship of Sir William Denison the new Legislative Council of Van Diemen's Land under the powers conferred by 13 and 14 Vic., c. 59, s. 32, drafted a constitution for the es tablishment of a bicameral legislature in Van Diemen's Land composed of a Legislative Coun cil of 15 members elected by the qualified in habitants, and a House of Assembly of 30 members elected on a more popular franchise than that of the Council. The bill so drawn was passed by the Legislative Council and reserved by the lieutenant-governor for the Royal as sent. It became law on 24 Oct. 1856; the first Parliament being opened on 2 Dec. 1856. Sir Henry E. F. Young was appointed the first governor-in-chief of the colony under the new system of responsible government. The first premier was William T. N. Champ. In the year 1853, upon the cessation of transportation, the name of the island was changed from that of Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania.
Administration and Legislation.— Upon the cessation of transportation and the grant of responsible government to Tasmania a new life and destiny was imparted to the struggling community. Between 1855 and 1872 there was substantial improvement and progress in the position and prospects of the island, marked by the development of the interior, the con struction of roads and tramways, the initiation of railway and telegraphic communication, the expansion of the agricultural and pastoral in dustries, the division of the colony into munic ipalities, the laying of a submarine cable be tween Tasmania and the mainland, the discovery of tin at Mount Bischoff and other places, gold in the quartz reefs at Brandy Creek and sub sequently of silver and lead at Zeehan, and gold and copper at Mount Lyell. The west coast be
came famous by the opening up of some of the richest silver lead mines in the world; coal seams were opened at Hastings, Langlock and Ivanhoe.
In February 1894, while the Dobson Min istry was in office, the necessity of financial re form became a burning question. Financial proposals were submitted by the government. A bill to authorize a graduated land tax was submitted to the Assembly and rejected; conse quently Dobson and his colleagues resigned in April 1894, and Sir Edward Braddon formed a ministry. An income tax was passed, to gether with a land tax imposing one penny per pound on the capital value of all land in the colony. This general tax was adopted as a sort of a compromise instead of the proposed tax on the unimproved capital value of the land which was at first submitted and rejected.
In February 1895, a conference of premiers was held at Hobart at which the draft of a Federal Enabling Bill was adopted. At a gen eral election held in 1897, a system of voting based upon Hare's preferential method was used for the first time. During the year a Federal referendum was held at which a large majority of votes was given in favor of the Federal Con stitution. In 1899 the Braddon Ministry was defeated and it was succeeded by one formed by Sir Niel Elliot Lewis on 12 Oct 1899, who retained office until 8 April 1903. On 9 April 1903, William Bispham Propsting became Pre mier, and on 12 July 1904 he was succeeded by John William Evans, who resigned and was / succeeded by Sir Niel Elliot Lewis, who held office until une 1912 when he was succeeded by Mr. A. E. Solomon who was defeated by Mr. John Earle in April 1914, who held office until April 1916 when he was succeeded by Mr. W. H. Lee.