Richard Dry

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Sir Richard Dry

Sir Richard Dry.jpg
7th Premier of Tasmania
In office
24 November 1866 1 August 1869
Preceded by James Whyte
Succeeded by James Milne Wilson
Personal details
Born(1815-09-20)20 September 1815
Launceston, Van Diemen's Land
Died1 August 1869(1869-08-01) (aged 53)
Hobart, Tasmania
Spouse(s)Clara Meredith

Sir Richard Dry, KCMG (20 September 1815 – 1 August 1869) was an Australian politician, who was Premier of Tasmania from 24 November 1866 until 1 August 1869 when he died in office. Dry was the first Tasmanian-born premier, and the first Tasmanian to be knighted.

Order of St Michael and St George series of appointments of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

Premier of Tasmania head of government for the state of Tasmania, Australia

The Premier of Tasmania is the head of the executive government in the Australian state of Tasmania. By convention, the leader of the party or political grouping which has majority support in the House of Assembly is invited by the Governor of Tasmania to be Premier and principal adviser.


Dry was born in Launceston, Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), the son of Richard Dry, an officer and pastoralist, and his wife Anne, née Maughan. Dry was educated at a Kirkland's private school in Campbell Town. Dry was a close friend of the diarist Anna Baxter who was the wife of the recently arrived British Lieutenant Andrew Baxter in the 1830s. [1]

Launceston, Tasmania City in Tasmania, Australia

Launceston is a city in the north of Tasmania, Australia, at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers where they become the Tamar River (kanamaluka). Launceston is the second most populous city in Tasmania after the state capital, Hobart, and the twelfth-largest non-capital city in Australia.

Van Diemens Land British colony, later called Tasmania

Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, part of Australia. The name was changed from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania in 1856.

Tasmania island state of Australia

Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of around 533,308 as of March 2019. Just over forty percent of the population resides in the Greater Hobart precinct, which forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest city, Hobart.

In 1835 Dry voyaged to Mauritius and the British ports in India, on his return to Tasmania he managed his father's property, Quamby Estate. He was made a magistrate in 1837, and was nominated to the Tasmanian Legislative Council in 1844. He resigned his seat with five others, who together became known as the "patriotic six", after a conflict with Governor Wilmot over the power of the Legislative Council. In 1848 the six resigning members were renominated to the council, and when the Council was reconstituted in 1851 Dry, who was then a leading member of the Anti-transportation League, was elected as a member for Launceston, defeating Adye Douglas.

Mauritius Island nation in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, 560 kilometres east of Mauritius, and the outer islands of Agaléga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Réunion, a French overseas department. The area of the country is 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Port Louis.

India Country in South Asia

India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Quamby Estate is a country homestead situated on 150 acres in Tasmania's Meander Valley. The estate is one of Tasmania's most historically important properties and dates back to 1828. Quamby was the home of Sir Richard Dry, a premier of Tasmania and the first native-born premier and knight in any Australian colony. The property is now a commercial luxury lodge.

When the Council met in 1851, Dry was unanimously appointed its Speaker and remained so for four years before resigning his seat in July 1855. Dry then took a long trip to Europe for health reasons. Dry returned to Tasmania in 1860, was elected to the Legislative Council in 1862, and on 24 November 1866 became premier and colonial secretary. During his time as Premier, Quamby Estate's Homestead became known as the “Government House of the North”. [2] Dry had been much interested in the introduction of railways, was chairman of the Launceston and Deloraine Railway Association, and president of the Northern Railway League. His government succeeded in making some economies, introduced the Torrens real property act, and pushed the sale of crown lands.

Speaker (politics) presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

Deloraine, Tasmania Town in Tasmania, Australia

Deloraine is a town on the Meander River, in the central north of Tasmania, Australia. It is 50 km west of Launceston and 52 km south of Devonport along the Bass Highway. It is part of the Meander Valley Council. As of 2011, the town of Deloraine had a population of 2,745

Torrens title is a land registration and land transfer system, in which a state creates and maintains a register of land holdings, which serves as the conclusive evidence of title of the person recorded on the register as the proprietor (owner), and of all other interests recorded on the register. The interests that are not guaranteed are called "paramount interests". Ownership of land is transferred by registration of a transfer of title, instead of by the use of deeds. The Registrar would provide a Certificate of Title to the new proprietor, which is merely a copy of the related folio of the register.

In 1869 Dry's government established telegraphic communication with Victoria by laying a cable under Bass Strait. On 1 August 1869 Dry died in Hobart, Tasmania after a short illness. He married Clara Meredith, daughter of George Meredith who survived him. He had no children. He was knighted in 1858, the first Tasmanian to be granted that honour.

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea, to the east, and South Australia to the west.

Bass Strait Sea strait between the Australian mainland and Tasmania

Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.

George Meredith was the head of the Meredith family who, with the Amos family, were the first white settlers on the east coast of Tasmania. Meredith arrived in Hobart in 1821 and farmed near Swansea. Meredith's daughter Clara married Richard Dry, Tasmanian Premier and the first Australian to receive a knighthood. Meredith's son was the politician, Charles Meredith and Charles' wife was the artist and author, Louisa Anne Meredith. Meredith's grandson, Duncan Boyes won the Victoria Cross at Shimonoseki, Japan in 1865. A memorial to George Meredith can be found in All Saints churchyard, Swansea.

Dry was the first native of Tasmania to enter its parliament. He was barely 30 when his fight for political freedom made him extremely popular, and he retained this popularity all his life. He declared a wish that he might be buried at Hagley church near Quamby; a church he had himself built and endowed. At Hobart all business was suspended on the morning of his funeral, and during the four days' journey to the church the residents of every township on the route joined in the procession. His modest kindliness (it was said of him that he never condescended because he never thought of anyone being inferior to himself), his public and private charities, his honourable character, earned the respect and affection of the whole colony. A chancel was added to Hagley church by public subscription as a memorial to him, and there his body was laid. The "Dry Scholarship" was also founded by public subscription in connexion with the Tasmanian scholarships.

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  1. Else-Mitchell, R. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. Morton, Stephen (4 September 2012). "Quamby Estate Launches Launceston's First Complimentary Airport Shuttle Service". Spice News. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
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Political offices
Preceded by
James Whyte
Premier of Tasmania
Succeeded by
James Wilson
Tasmanian Legislative Council
New seat Member for Launceston
Succeeded by
Adye Douglas
Ronald Gunn
Preceded by
William Henty
Member for Tamar
Served alongside: Button/Corbett/Weedon/Sherwin
Succeeded by
William Grubb
William Hutchins