ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS:
The position of Chief Secretary was created on 1 April 1886 with responsibility for the following parliamentary, defence, legal and external affairs' functions:
Legislation, defence, foreign correspondence, immigration, commissions and other Instruments under the Great Seal of the Colony, and correspondence with His Excellency the Governor, the judges of the Supreme Court, the President and Clerk of the Legislative Council, the Speaker and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, the consuls of foreign states, naval and military authorities, the Secretaries of Colonial Governments, the Agent-General, the heads of the several churches, and the Government Resident at Thursday Island; and other matters attached to the Colonial Secretary's Department as may from time to time be found expedient.
Despite the creation of this ministerial position, no separate administrative structure was established; "the offices of the Chief Secretary will be at the Colonial Secretary's Department through which his official correspondence will be carried on". (QGG, 1886).
It was the position of Chief Secretary, however, which ultimately became that of Premier. From 1898, the Home Secretary was, to a large extent, responsible for internal matters and the Chief Secretary for external matters. On 7 July 1898, the Chief Secretary's Office became an independent Department entitled "The Chief Secretary's Department".
Immigration Board and Agents, 1 Apr 1886 - c. Aug 1893**; c. Jul 1895 - 24 Apr 1919
Pacific Island Labour Office, 1 Apr 1886 - c. Aug 1893**; c. Jul 1895 - c. Dec 1908
Quarantine Stations, 1 Apr 1886 - c. Jul/Aug 1893; c. Oct 1898 - c. Dec 1900
Health Officers, 1 Apr 1886 - c. Jul/Aug 1893; C. Oct 1898 - c. Dec 1900
Meteorology, 1 Apr 1886 - 30 Jun 1902
Thursday Island, c. 1907 - 24 Apr 1919
** Date of appointments and transfers to Colonial Secretary's Department in connection with Government Labour Bureau and Pacific Island Labour Department.
The title of the Department was changed to the Premier and Chief Secretary's Department on 24 April 1919.