Henry Dobson


The Dobson family in a carriage outside their home in South Hobart (AOT, PH30/1/9807)

Henry Dobson (18411918), lawyer and politician, was born in Hobart. Following in his father's footsteps, he was called to the Tasmanian Bar in 1864, becoming one of the colony's most trusted family lawyers. In 1891, Dobson was elected for Brighton to the House of Assembly and soon became Leader of the Opposition, and Premier in 1892. His policy of drastic retrenchment, in response to the previous administration's over-spending, was rejected and he resigned in 1894. An enthusiastic federalist, he sat on the Federal Council of Australasia from 1893 and represented Tasmania at the 189798 convention.

Dobson sat in the Tasmanian parliament until 1899, and held a Senate seat from 1901 until his retirement in 1910. Dobson was one of the founders of the Working Men's Club in 1864. During the 1890s, he and his wife Emily established a self-supporting village settlement at Southport to assist unemployment. He sponsored the introduction of kindergartens; supported the developing fruit-growing industry; and promoted Tasmania as a tourist resort through his work as founder and president of the Tasmanian Tourist Association from 18951914.

Further reading: ADB 8.

Wendy Rimon