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Members’ biographical register

Cornthwaite Hector (William James) Rason

Principal Honours
Knight (Kt) (1909)
Date: 18 June 1858
Place: Cleye Yatton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Arrival in WA
To WA October 1880 in Siam
Son of Cornthwaite Hector, Royal Navy surgeon, and Sarah Ann Linington
Marriage and Family
Married 6 February 1883, Holy Trinity Church, Heworth, York, England to Mary Evelina Terry, daughter of John
Children: two daughters
Date: 15 March 1927
Place: Beckenham, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Cemetery: Elmers End Cemetery, London, United Kingdom
Not stated
Educated private schools, Eastbourne, Brighton and Reading, England
Employment History
Worked as railway clerk
Became partner with CE Dempster at Newcastle (Toodyay)
Set up business with WR Terry, wife’s brother, as storekeeper and general merchant, later forming Rason, Webster and Company at Guildford
Speculated in Kimberley gold rush 1886–1887
Retired 1891 but affected by firm’s bankruptcy in 1892
1893–1895 mining agent and engineer auctioneer at Coolgardie
Agent-General for WA in London 24 August 1906–1911; 1911–1927
Secretary and director Bovril Ltd and chairman of Bovril Australian Estates Ltd
Local Government Service
Mayor of Guildford 1897–1898
Forrest Party, then Liberal
Date Elected
3 May 1897
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Cornthwaite Rason
Year Retired/Resigned
South Murchison
Parliamentary Service
  • MLC Swan 30 January 1889–9 April 1890 (resigned)
  • MLA South Murchison 3 May 1897– 24 April 1901; Guildford 24 April 1901–27 June 1906 (resigned)

  • Third Government Whip 1899–1901
  • Minister for Works 23 December 1901–1 July 1902; for Works and Railways 1 July 1902–28 April 1904
  • Colonial Treasurer and Minister for Railways 20 April 1904–10 August 1904
  • Leader of the Opposition August 1904–25 August 1905
  • Premier, Colonial Treasurer and Minister for Justice 25 August 1905–7 May 1906

Royal Commission
  • Chairman Royal Commission Mining (1898) and Immigration
Returned to England to marry
To Mt Magnet 1896
First secretary Coolgardie Club
Again bankrupt for a time 1912
Toured Kimberleys 1915
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2001, p. 168.
Further Information
The bicentennial dictionary of Western Australians pre 1829-1888, vol. IV,
G. C. Bolton, 'Rason, Sir Cornthwaite Hector (1858–1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 11 January 2016.
Erickson, Rica, The Dempsters.
Reid, GS and MR Oliver. The Premiers of Western Australia 1890-1982,
Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 35.