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Premiers of South Australia

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The Premier of South Australia is the head of government in the state of South Australia. Before the 1890s when there was no formal party system in South Australia, MPs tended to have historical liberal or conservative beliefs.

Image right: a photograph of former South Australian premiers Robert Richards, Sir Richard Layton Butler, Hon Lionel Laughton Hill, Sir Henry Newman Barwell and Sir Thomas Playford, taken in 1940.

  • George Waterhouse – 6th Premier of South Australia, 1861–1863. 7th Premier of New Zealand, 1872–1873. Born in Penzance in 1824.
  • James Penn Boucaut – 11th Premier of South Australia. A judge and politician, Boucaut was Premier of South Australia three times: 1866–1867, 1875–1876 and 1877–1878. Born in Mylor in 1831, he emigrated to South Australia with his parents in 1846.
  • John Verran – 26th Premier of South Australia, 1910–1912. The 1910 election saw the South Australian division of the Australian Labor Party form a majority government, the first time a party had done so in South Australia. Verran was born at Gwennap in 1856 and when only three months old was taken by his parents to Australia. The family lived at Kapunda, South Australia, until he was eight, and then moved to Moonta where copper had been discovered in 1861.
  • Lionel Hill - 30th Premier of South Australia between 28 August 1926 – 8 April 1927 and 17 April 1930 – 13 February 1933
  • Sir Richard Butler 31st Premier of South Australia between 8 April 1927 – 17 April 1930 and 18 April 1933 – 5 November 1938
  • Robert Richards – 32nd Premier of South Australia, 1933. Born in Moonta in 1885, the youngest of twelve children to Cornish miner Richard Richards.
  • Don Dunstan – 35th Premier of South Australia, 1967–1968 and again 1970–79. Born on 21 September 1926 in Suva, Fiji to Australian parents of Cornish descent. He played a crucial role in Labor's abandonment of the White Australia Policy, securing of Aboriginal rights and encouraging a more multi-cultural Australia. His socially progressive administration saw Aboriginal land rights recognised, homosexuality decriminalised, the first female judge appointed, the first non-British governor, Sir Mark Oliphant, and later, the first indigenous governor Douglas Nicholls.
  • David Tonkin – 38th Premier of South Australia, 1979–1982. Born in Adelaide in 1929.