Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


In 1966, Peter Loveday and Allan Martin published their book Parliament Factions and Parties: The First Thirty Years of Responsible Government in New South Wales, 1856-1889. They aimed to show how factions operated within the New South Wales Parliament during the colonial period of responsible government between 1856 and 1889. While Loveday and Martin’s work was challenged briefly at the time, that challenge was short-lived. It has since become the foundational theory regarding how colonial politics worked, and most political histories written since that time use the term ‘faction’ as a short-hand description for proto-party organisation that carries connotations of disapproval and disappointment.

However, Loveday and Martin’s ideas are unhelpful when it comes to understanding how independent politicians behaved. John Lucas, who had a reputation as a fierce independent, did not fit their model. Using the first full parliament in which Lucas served – the Fourth (1860-1864) – this research initially aimed to determine how the behaviour of independents differed from that of their fellow politicians who were members of factions.

Using a combination of prosopography, statistical analysis, and case studies, this thesis explores the ideals and practical demonstrations of political independence and the social construct of the nineteenth century gentleman to show that they are intimately linked. This research shows that factions very likely did not exist during the Fourth Parliament, and uncovered more complex ideas regarding independence and the nineteenth century politician. Instead of the factions that Loveday and Martin saw, this research proposes an alternative hypothesis – that the Fourth Parliament was comprised of politicians who considered themselves to be independent.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.