The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Ayers, Hon. Sir Henry

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1349417The Dictionary of Australasian Biography — Ayers, Hon. Sir HenryPhilip Mennell

Ayers, Hon. Sir Henry, K.C.M.G., M.L.C., son of Mr. Ayers of Portsmouth Dockyard, was born at Portsea, England, on May 1st, 1821, and emigrated to South Australia in 1840, where he engaged in legal pursuits until 1845, when he took the management of the Burra Burra Mines, as Secretary to the Company formed to work them. In March 1857 he was elected a member of the Legislative Council, and has ever since retained a seat in that body. He was a member of the Dutton Ministry, without office for a few days in July 1863, and then formed an Administration, of which he was Chief Secretary and Premier. This Government lasted till August 1864, Mr. Ayers retaining the Chief Secretaryship under his two successors in the Premiership, and in his own subsequent Administration till Oct. 1865. He was Premier and Chief Secretary on four subsequent occasions—viz. from May 1867 to Sept. 1868, Oct. to Nov. 1868, Jan. to March 1872, and March 1872 to July 1873. Mr. Ayers was also Chief Secretary in the Colton Government from June 1876 to Oct. 1877. In Feb. 1870 he was created C.M.G, and K.C.M.G. in Dec. 1872, owing to the fact of his being Premier of South Australia at the time when the overland telegraph line was opened for traffic. In June 1881 Sir Henry was elected President of the Legislative Council, and has since been re-elected to the position, which he still holds.