Saul Samuel

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Sir Saul Samuel, 1st Bt

Saul Samuel by Samuel Calvert - Illustrated Australian News (1874).jpg
6th Treasurer of New South Wales
In office
27 October 1859 – 8 March 1860
Premier William Forster
Preceded by Elias Weekes
Succeeded by Elias Weekes
Constituency Orange (1859–1860)
In office
20 October 1865 – 3 January 1866
Premier Charles Cowper
Preceded by Thomas Smart
Succeeded by Marshall Burdekin
Constituency Wellington (1862–1869)
In office
27 October 1868 – 15 December 1870
Premier John Robertson
Preceded by Geoffrey Eagar
Succeeded by George Lord
Constituency Orange (1869–1872)
Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales
In office
1 October 1854 – 29 February 1856
In office
12 June 1872 – 16 August 1880
Personal details
Born (1820-11-02)2 November 1820
London, England, UK
Died 29 August 1900(1900-08-29) (aged 79)
London, England, UK
Nationality British
Relations Samuel Lyons (uncle)

Sir Saul Samuel, 1st Baronet KCMG CB (2 November 1820 – 29 August 1900) was an Australian colonial merchant, member of parliament, pastoralist, and prominent Jew. Samuel achieved many breakthroughs for Jews in the colonial community of New South Wales including the first Jew to become a magistrate, the first Jew elected to parliament, the first Jew to become a minister of the Crown.[1]

Early years and background

Samuel was born in London, England on 2 November 1820, the posthumous son of Sampson Samuel and his wife Lydia, née Lyons. Samuel arrived in Australia on 25 August 1832 aboard The Brothers with his mother to meet with Samuel's brother, Lewis, and their uncle, Samuel Lyons, was had arrived in colonial New South Wales a few years earlier. Educated at schools run by W. T Cape, Samuel was initially employed at his uncles' accounting house, before he and his brother formed their own mercantile firm.

After purchasing 190,000 acres (77,000 ha) of land at Bathurst, he abandoned pastoral interests following the 1851 gold rush and business interests became his main focus.

He married Henrietta Matilda Goldsmith-Levien on 16 December 1857 and had two daughters and two sons. He married Sarah Louisa Isaacs on 31 October 1877 (in Auckland, New Zealand) [2] and had one son.

Political career

In 1854, Samuel became an elective Member of the first Legislative Council of New South Wales, representing the Counties of Roxburgh and Wellington between 1854 and 1856.[3] Elected to the first responsible government, Samuel became a member of the Legislative Assembly representing the Counties of Roxburgh and Wellington from 1854 until 1856. Re-elected to the Assembly in June 1859 and then again in November 1859, Samuel served as member for Orange until 1860. Samuel became member for Wellington in 1862, serving until 1869, and then again as member for Orange, serving between 1869 until 1872, before briefly serving as member for East Sydney during 1872. In 1872, Samuel was appointed a Life Member of Legislative Council, where he sat until he retirement from parliamentary life in 1880.

Treasurer and Postmaster General

Samuel served as Colonial Treasurer three times during his parliamentary career including in the Forster ministry between 1859 and 1860, the fourth Cowper ministry between 1865 and 1866, and the second Robertson ministry between 1868 and 1870. Samuel resigned as Treasurer in the Cowper ministry after his budget proposals for trade licences and increased duties on tea and sugar had been defeated.[1] In 1870, at the Intercolonial Conference in Melbourne, Samuel proposed intercolonial free trade to settle the border customs dispute. He hoped to abolish ad valorem duties but his plans for a tax on incomes of over £200 were bitterly contested and led to the downfall of the government in December 1870.[1]

Between 1872 and 1880, Samuel served as Postmaster-General on three occasions under Premier, Henry Parkes, including the first (1872–1875), second (1877), and third (1878–1883) ministries. During this period, Samuel established the General Post Office and negotiated a subsidized mail service from England to Australia via USA.

Career after politics

After politics, Samuel pursued his business interests including Chairman of Australian Mutual Provident Society and of Pacific Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Between 1880 and 1897, Samuel was the sixth Agent-General for New South Wales in London and was a director of Mercantile Bank of Sydney.[3] An energetic, shrewd and efficient representative, he helped negotiate government loans and by 1885 claimed that he had raised £30 million. He fostered assisted immigration, negotiated with the Peninsular and Oriental and the Orient shipping companies for weekly mail services to the colony and in 1885 about the New South Wales Contingent to the Sudan. He was a commissioner for New South Wales at the 1883 Amsterdam Exhibition and represented the colony at the 1887 Colonial Conference in London. In 1891 he also represented Queensland at the Postal Convention in Vienna.[1]

He was active in Jewish affairs, including the Board of Management of York Street Synagogue. On 26 January 1875 he laid the foundation stone for the Great Synagogue in Elizabeth Street, Sydney, and was later its president.[1]

Samuel was invested as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1874, and was elevated as a Knight Commander in 1882. He was invested of a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1886 and was created baronet in 1886.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bergman, G F J. "Samuel, Sir Saul (1820–1900)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Auckland Star". Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Sir Saul Samuel (1820-1900)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 29 May 2019.


Parliament of New South Wales
Political offices
Preceded by
Elias Weekes
Treasurer of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Elias Weekes
Preceded by
Thomas Smart
Treasurer of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Marshall Burdekin
Preceded by
Geoffrey Eagar
Treasurer of New South Wales
Succeeded by
George Lord
New South Wales Legislative Council
Preceded by
William Suttor Sr.
Member for Counties of Roxburgh and Wellington
Council abolished
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Orange
Succeeded by
John Peisley
Preceded by
Silvanus Daniel
Member for Wellington
Succeeded by
Gerald Spring
Preceded by
George McKay
Member for Orange
Succeeded by
Harris Nelson
Preceded by
David Buchanan
Member for East Sydney
Served alongside: Neale, Parkes, MacIntosh
Succeeded by
George Oakes
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