Francis Smith (Australian politician)

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Sir Francis Smith
Sir Francis Smith.jpg
4th Premier of Tasmania
In office
12 May 1857 – 1 November 1860
Preceded by William Weston
Succeeded by William Weston
Personal details
Born (1819-02-13)13 February 1819
Lindfield, Sussex, England, UK
Died 17 January 1909(1909-01-17) (aged 89)
London, England, UK
Nationality English
Spouse(s) Sarah Giles
Profession Lawyer

Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith (13 February 1819 – 17 January 1909[1]) was an English-born Australian lawyer, judge and politician, who was the fourth Premier of Tasmania from 12 May 1857 until 1 November 1860.

Life

Smith was born in Lindfield in the English county of Sussex, the eldest son of London merchant Francis Smith and Marie Josephine Villeneuve. Smith would acknowledge his mother's ancestry from French naval admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve by adopting her surname in 1861. The Smith family emigrated to the Australian colony of Van Diemen's Land (later called Tasmania) in 1826, settling in Campania near Richmond. Smith, however, returned to England to further his education, studying law at Middle Temple and arts at University College London. He was admitted to the Bar on 27 May 1842.[2]

In 1851 he became a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council and soon after became Attorney-General. He was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1856. He was Attorney General in William Champ's first ministry from 1 November 1856 until 26 February 1857. When William Weston's ministry (1857) collapsed he proceeded to form his own with himself as Premier and Attorney General, he held office for three years until 1860 becoming the first Premier of Tasmania to hold office for more than one year.

He represented the now-defunct electorate of Fingal. He was also Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. Smith was knighted in 1862.

Family

Francis Smith, père, had a large family, several with confusingly similar names being notable lawyers in three different States. The following list, though not exhaustive and missing much essential information, should be helpful in identifying their relationships.

Francis Smith, J.P. Esq. (c. 1787 – 8 September 1855) of Campania, Tasmania (then from 1854 Hobart), married Marie Josephine Villeneuve ( – 4 December 1893)

  • Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith (13 February 1819 – 17 January 1909), subject of this aricle, married Sarah Giles ( – 1 August 1909) on 26 August 1851
  • only son Francis George Villeneuve Smith (1854–1941), solicitor, left Tasmania for Sydney in 1883, married Caroline Anne Shadforth "Lena" Stephen on 2 July 1885[3]
  • Emma Smith ( – ) married Alexander G. Dumas on 18 April 1843
  • second son James Smith ( – ) married Sophia Louisa Gellibrand, daughter of Joseph Tice Gellibrand on 14 May 1854
  • third son William Villeneuve Smith (c. 1823 – 17 June 1902)[4] barrister-at-law, of the Middle Temple, London, married Flora D'Oyley Fenton on 24 April 1848, divorced 1873[5] married Mary Agnes Ryan née Dwyer ( – 25 August 1901), moved to Adelaide. He acknowledged Francis Villeneuve "Frank" Smith (1883–1956) as his son in 1899.[6]
  • Villeneuve Francis Fenton Smith (1850 – ) married Bertha Louisa Grundy on 23 August 1883.
  • James Villeneuve Fenton Smith (c. 1851 – ) the two sons subsequently dropped the name Fenton.[5]
  • Francis Villeneuve "Frank" Smith (27 July 1883 – 1956) KC, of North Adelaide married May Winifred Wickham ( – 27 February 1933) in 1906 and began practising law shortly after.[7] He married again to Isabel Gordon of Essendon, Victoria on 29 June 1936
  • Lindley Ray Villeneuve Smith (22 February 1910 – ) married headmaster and celebrity gardener Tommy Garnett
  • Francis Inglis Villeneuve Smith (15 February 1913 – 1987)
  • Cairns William Wickham Villeneuve Smith[8] (16 February 1923 – October 2000) an Adelaide barrister, he moved to country Victoria.
  • Francis Geoffrey Gordon Villeneuve Smith (18 May 1937 – 1983) married Virginia Ellen Shaw in 1967. Robert Menzies was his godfather.[9]
  • Hester Villeneuve Smith ( – 18 September 1868) married John Bennett Williams on 7 December 1854
  • 4th daughter Marguerite Villeneuve Smith ( – ) married barrister Edmund Russell Roberts on 9 December 1862
  • Josephine Villeneuve Smith ( – 5 November 1893) married Yvon Eccles on 31 March 1869
  • Henry Villeneuve Smith ( – ) married Mary Jane ??? (c. 1866 – 24 April 1924)

References

  1. ^ Parliamentary library profile
  2. ^ J. M. Bennett, F. C. Green, 'Smith, Sir Francis Villeneuve (1819 - 1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp 144-145.
  3. ^ "Family Notices". The Sydney Morning Herald (14,751). New South Wales, Australia. 6 July 1885. p. 1. Retrieved 13 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "Family Notices". Evening Journal (Adelaide). XXXIV, (9813). South Australia. 19 June 1902. p. 2. Retrieved 14 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ a b "A Divorce Case". The Weekly Examiner. II, (20). Tasmania, Australia. 17 May 1873. p. 7. Retrieved 14 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ John Playford (1988). "Australian Dictionary of Biography: Smith, Francis Villeneuve (1883–1956)". National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  7. ^ "Personal Gossip". The Critic (Adelaide). IX, (450). South Australia. 23 May 1906. p. 5. Retrieved 14 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "Advertising". The News (Adelaide). XX, (2,974). South Australia. 28 January 1933. p. 8. Retrieved 14 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "Uncle Bob". The News (Adelaide). XXXIII, (4,979). South Australia. 10 July 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 14 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
Political offices
Preceded by
William Weston
Premier of Tasmania
1857–1860
Succeeded by
William Weston
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