Naval officer and public servant, born on 25 September 1822 in Aberystwyth, Wales, son of Richard William Clode Douglas and his wife Mary, née Johnson. In January 1842 he entered the navy and became a captain’s steward on H.M.S. Wolverene before resigning in September at Hong Kong.
He then won distinction fighting pirates with Brooke in Sarawak in 1843-44. After his time with The Royalist, Douglas worked for the East India Company from 1844 to 1847. He then returned to England and worked as a coastguard in Northumberland before going back to sea. On 25 April 1848 at Embleton, Northumberland, he married Ellen, daughter of Christopher Atkinson, yeoman.
In December 1854, Douglas assumed the role of naval officer and harbour master in Adelaide, South Australia. He took on additional responsibilities, including Collector of Customs, Master of Trinity House, and chairman of the Harbour Trust. These positions were later consolidated into the Marine Board, with Douglas appointed as its first president. Douglas was involved in official inquiries regarding lighthouses, harbours, and defense’s in South Australia from 1855 to 1858. He conducted surveys of Kangaroo Island, the Backstairs Passage, and the mouth of the Murray River. Apart from his maritime activities, Douglas served as a stipendiary magistrate, a member of the Immigration Board, and an Inspector of Distilleries. In April 1870, Douglas was appointed as the Government Resident of the Northern Territory by the South Australian government. His tenure was marked by extravagant spending, including the construction of a lavish Residency. He also stimulated a gold rush but faced criticism for his excessive drinking and lack of order in his administration. Douglas was eventually forced to resign in June 1873 at the request of Commissioner Thomas Reynolds.
Following his resignation, Douglas was sent to Singapore by the South Australian government to recruit gold miners for the Northern Territory. Instead of returning to Australia, he remained in Singapore and served as a police magistrate. In November 1875, he was appointed Acting Assistant Resident of Selangor, and in April 1876, he became the Acting Resident. However, Douglas faced criticisms for his temper and inability to control his administration. An 1879 inquiry revealed deficiencies in the treasury and land offices, and he was asked to resign in 1882.
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