James Whyte (Australian politician)
|6th Premier of Tasmania|
20 January 1863 – 24 November 1866
|Preceded by||Thomas Chapman|
|Succeeded by||Sir Richard Dry|
30 March 1820|
Greenlaw, Scotland, UK
|Died||20 August 1882
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Wilkinson (1852)
Elizabeth Gregson (1856-1865)
Elizabeth Coverdale (1868-1882)
|Children||John WIlkinson Whyte|
James Whyte was born near Greenlaw, Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders, the son of George Whyte (died 1836), a captain in the yeomanry, and his wife Jessie (née Walker). The family emigrated to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in 1832, and as a young man Whyte was a pioneer sheep-farmer in Victoria with his brothers, gaining some wealth from a gold strike at a property at Clunes, Victoria, in which he was a partner, and returning to Tasmania in 1852.
Having failed to win a seat in 1854, Whyte was elected to the Legislative Council for Pembroke in 1856. After serving briefly as a minister under the premiership of Thomas Gregson and serving as chairman of several council committees, he became premier and colonial secretary on 20 January 1863.1 His government engaged in road and rail development, in public service reform, and in fiscal reform including an unpopular proposal for a property and income tax which was to cause its downfall in November 1866. In 1869-70 he was involved in framing laws to prevent the spread of scab in sheep, and was chief inspector of sheep from 1870 until 1882. He continued as an active member of committees until 1875, retiring from parliament in 1876.
Whyte was an active and philanthropic Presbyterian Christian, a fellow of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and an original proprietor of the Tasmanian Daily News (incorporated with the Hobart Town Daily Mercury in 1858). He was married three times:
- (1) in January 1852 to Sarah Wilkinson (died in childbirth, November 1852);
- (2) in May 1857 to Elizabeth Gregson, elder daughter of Thomas Gregson (died 1865);
- (3) in June 1868 to Elizabeth Coverdale, daughter of Dr John Coverdale, superintendent of an orphanage at New Town.
Whyte died in Hobart in 1882, leaving one son, John Wilkinson Whyte.
- Parliamentary Library profile
- Neil Smith, 'Whyte, James (1820 - 1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, MUP, 1976, pp 395–396.
- Percival Serle (1949). "Whyte, James". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
|Premier of Tasmania
1863 – 1866
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