11. William Edward Marmion (1845-1896), merchant and politician
William Marmion was the son of Patrick Marmion, who had come to Fremantle as an indentured servant. By the time William was born, his father was a wealthy merchant.
William began work at 16. He was a master mariner at 21 and soon established his own business, W E Marmion and Co. The company was involved in merchandising, pearling and maritime activities. William Marmion was also an early station owner in the Kimberley, where he leased millions of hectares of grasslands. He also established mining companies.
Marmion married Anna Gibbons in the Fremantle Catholic Church in 1870. They had nine children.
On the introduction of representative government in 1870, Marmion was defeated for the Fremantle seat but was appointed an unofficial nominee member of the Legislative Council. In 1873 he was elected for Fremantle and remained its member – from 1890 in the Legislative Assembly – until his death. Premier John Forrest appointed Marmion as Commissioner for Crown Lands and Minister for Mines from 1890, an era when gold strikes were transforming the state.
When he died suddenly, there was widespread grief. His funeral at Fremantle was the one of the largest ever held in the port. A biographer noted: “Marmion’s progressive public works policy and voluble promotion of Fremantle have left him with a reputation for being honest and clear-sighted, but lacking in tact.”