Reynolds, Thomas

South Australian politician, born in London who was an active Wesleyan Local Preacher both in London and Adelaide, where he settled in 1840. He opened a successful grocer's shop in Adelaide, although his business was temporarily interrupted when he went gold prospecting in Victoria in 1851. He later pioneered jam manufacturing in South Australia and for twenty years was a director of the South Australia Insurance Co. A temperance worker, popularly known as 'Teapot Tommy', he withdrew from WM as he opposed state aid and subsequently became a Congregationalist.

As an alderman of Adelaide City Council, he became a prominent reformer and as such was elected in 1854 to represent West Torrens on the Legislative Council, successfully helping to get secret ballots introduced. From 1857 to 1860 he represented the suburb of Sturt in the House of Assembly, serving as Commissioner of Public Works, 1857-8. A financial expert, his no-confidence motion brought down the ministry in 1860. He became the new Premier, but resigned in October 1861. He later represented East Adelaide, 1864-1870, and then Encounter Bay, 1871-1873. During this period he served as Treasurer in various ministries and as a Commissioner of Crown Lands, 1872-1873. Disagreeing with free immigration, he resigned from Parliament in August 1873.

He then moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory but, failing to settle, decided to return to Adelaide. On the return journey he and his wife were drowned when the Gothenburg was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef on 25 February 1875 with the loss of about a hundred lives. Reynolds Range in the Northern Territory was named after him. It was said that when he became 'The Honourable', 'he lost sight of the cross.'

  • Australian Dictionary of Biography

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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