Neil Elliott Lewis


NE Lewis (AOT, PH30/1/9969)

Neil Elliott Lewis KCMG (18581935), politician, came from a wealthy, free-migrant, much-connected Hobart family. After taking degrees at Oxford and mixing in Britain's high society, he returned to Tasmania in 1885, soon entering legal practice and Parliament. A long-kept diary hints little at ideology or sentiment. Lewis' politics mixed basic conservatism with readiness to adapt to change, and broad concern for the common weal. Lewis had been important in the federation movement, and from January to April 1901 (while Premier of the state) was honorary minister in Edmund Barton's federal cabinet. His first premiership, beginning in 1899, ended in catastrophic defeat in 1903; persistent and phlegmatic, he later was Premier 190912, and Treasurer 191622. Freemasonry, the Church of England, mining investment, the University and sport (especially walking) were other interests.

Further reading: ADB 10.

Michael Roe