Was born in Scotland on 11
August 1816, the son of an officer in the army. On leaving school he
entered the office of his uncle, a writer to the signet at Edinburgh, but
soon emigrated to Tasmania where he arrived in 1833. A few years later he
returned to Great Britain, and contributed to the press in London, and to
the Penny Cyclopaedia. He again went to Tasmania and was associated
with the Observer and other papers at Hobart. About the year 1846
he was working as a journalist at Launceston, and later took up farming.
With the coming in of responsible government he was elected in September
1856 as member for Morven in the house of assembly. He was colonial
treasurer in four successive ministries, the first Weston (q.v.), the
Francis Smith (q.v.), the second Weston, and the T. D. Chapman (q.v.),
from 25 April 1857 to 1 November 1862, and colonial secretary from 1
November 1862 to 20 January 1863. He had now become a member of the
legislative council, in 1864 was elected chairman of committees, and from
1868 to 1872 president of the council. He then resigned his seat and
re-entered the house of assembly. On 4 November 1872, allying himself with
some members he had previously opposed, he became premier and colonial
secretary until 4 August 1873, when the Kennerley (q.v.) ministry came in
and Innes found himself isolated. In March 1875 rather to the surprise of
his former friends he joined this ministry as colonial treasurer, and held
this position until July 1876. He then retired from the house of assembly,
was elected to the legislative council in September 1877, and in 1880 was
again made president of the council. He died at Launceston on 11 May 1882.
He married a Miss Grey who survived him with sons and daughters.
Innes, an able man of
moderate views, was an excellent treasurer. When he first took office the
finances of the colony were in a very serious condition, and he carried a
heavy burden during his five and a half years of office. But neither
parliament nor people were prepared to face the extra taxation involved,
though Innes put the position quite clearly in his financial statement
made early in 1862. During the following 20 years he took a prominent part
in the political life of Tasmania.