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Members’ biographical register

James Mitchell

Principal Honours
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) 1917
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) 1921
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) 1947
Date: 27 April 1866
Place: Paradise Farm, Dardanup, near Bunbury, Western Australia
Son of William Bedford, estate manager and grazier, and Caroline Morgan
Marriage and Family
Married 17 September 1888, Bunbury to Clara Robinson Spencer (born circa August 1864), daughter of William and Hannah Properjohn
Children: three sons and one daughter
Widowed 13 October 1949
Date: 26 July 1951
Place: Rail carriage at Glen Mervyn near Donnybrook, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Church of England
Educated Bunbury
Bank manager and governor
Employment History
Joined WA Bank 1885, posted to Geraldton 1888
From 1890 branch manager Northam, also engaged in farming from 1892
Resigned from Bank 1905 (1902)
Lieutenant-Governor 11 July 1933–5 October 1948
Governor 5 October 1948–30 June 1951
Liberal until 1917 then National
Date Elected
27 October 1905
Inaugural Speech
Mitchell James, Address-in-Reply.pdf
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by James Mitchell
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA Northam 27 October 1905–April 1933
  • Contested Northam 8 April 1933

  • Minister without Portfolio controlling Agriculture 7 May 1906–30 June 1909; for Lands, Agriculture and Industries (from 16 September 1910) 30 June 1909–7 October 1911; for Railways, Water Supply and Industries 25 July 1916–28 June 1917; for Lands and Repatriation 17 April 1919 to 16 April 1924
  • Premier and Treasurer 17 May 1919–26 April 1924; 24 April 1930–24 April 1933
  • Leader of National Party May 1919 – April 1933
  • Leader of the Opposition 1924-30

Historical Notes
  • Only serving Premier to lose his seat at parliamentary election, 1933
Justice of the Peace, 1897 and 1917
Took up land at Glen Mervyn near Donnybrook
Surname given to northern section of Perth’s metropolitan freeway
Keen horseman
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. 140.
Further Information
The Australian encyclopaedia
Battye, JS. The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, vol 1, p. 348–349.
G. C. Bolton, 'Mitchell, Sir James (1866–1951)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 23 December 2015.
Erickson, Rica. The bicentennial dictionary of Western Australians, pre-1829-1888, Volume III
"Sir James Mitchell, the optimist." Ed. L Hunt , Westralian Portraits, p. 159–168.
South-Western Times, 7 May 1964.
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 1951.
The Times, 27 July 1951.
West Australian 9 June 1921, 27 April 1935, 27 July 1951.