Victoria became a separate colony to New South Wales on 1St July 1851. The draft constitution was sent to Britain for approval in March 1853. Elections for the Legislative Council took place in August and September 1856 and for the Legislative Assembly in September and October 1856. With Sir Henry Barkly as the new Governor, the first elected parliament opened on 21St November 1856. Up until the 1890’s Victorian’s celebrated Separation day with a public holiday.
Members were elected for 5 years. They had to be over 21 years of age and owners of Freehold property with a value of £2000.
To vote for the Legislative Assembly one had to be 21 or over, have resided in the colony for over one year, be able to read and write and to own property worth £50 or occupy property worth £10, or lease Crown lands or have a Salary of £100 per annum. Women did not have the right to vote until 1902 federally (first voted 1903) and in Victoria 1908. Women first voted in a Victorian election in Nov 1911.
The Colonial Office announced in December 1852 that the four south-eastern colonies were to be granted the status of self-governing colonies. At the end of 1853 work began on drawing up the Constitution.
The draft constitution was sent to Britain for approval in March 1853. It was finally approved and sent back to Melbourne, arriving in late 1855.
Elections for the new Legislative Council took place in August and September 1856.
The Legislative Council was to be made up of 30 members. They were elected for a ten- year term, had to be at least 30 years of age and to own property valued at more than £5000
Electors of the Council had be over 21 years old, and could qualify by owning or leasing property with an annual value of at least 1000 pounds, by having graduated from a British University, or by being a lawyer, doctor, clergyman or army or navy officer.