Sir Julius Vogel, KCMG (February 24, 1835 - March 12, 1899) was New Zealand's only practicing Jewish prime minister. His administration is best remembered for the issuing of bonds to fund railway construction and other public works.
He is best remembered for is his "Great Public Works" scheme of the 1870s. Before 1870, New Zealand was a country largely dominated by provincial interests and pork-barrel politics. After Vogel, as colonial treasurer, proposed borrowing the massive sum of 10 million pounds, New Zealand developed significant infrastructure of roads, railways and communication, all administered by central government. This ultimately led to the end of provincial government in 1876.
He is also noteworthy as one of the few practicing Jewish prime-ministers outside Israel. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, a non-practicing Jew, would later serve as New Zealand's prime minister.
Vogel is reputed to be the first New Zealander to write a science fiction novel, Anno Domini 2000 - A Woman's Destiny, published in 1889. It anticipated a utopian world where women held many positions of authority, and in fact New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote, and since 1998 has continuously had a female Prime Minister, while for a short period (2005-2006) all five highest government offices (Queen, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice) were simultaneously held by women.
On his passing in 1899, Julius Vogel was interred in Willesden Jewish Cemetery in London.
Several things bear his name today:
National Pasts and Imperial Futures: Temporality, Economics, and Empire in William Morris's News from Nowhere (1890) and Julius Vogel's Anno Domini 2000 (1889)
Jan 01, 2008; I The massive outpouring of utopian fiction during the late Victorian period has met with an uneven response from literary...