1. Sir James Mitchell (1866-1951), Premier and Governor


James Mitchell was the son of a Bunbury grazier. He began his working life in 1885 as a clerk in the West Australian Bank and within 10 years was appointed manager at the Northam branch.

In 1905 he entered Parliament. He held the portfolio of Minister of Lands and Agriculture from 1909-1911 and played a major role in opening up the eastern wheatbelt for settlement. He encouraged new farmers with land, capital, equipment and railways. However, some were forced to abandon their farms in the droughts of 1912-1914.

Mitchell’s optimism came to the fore again while he served as National Party Premier from 1919-1924. He initiated a group settlement scheme which brought British migrants to pioneer the dairying industry in the south west. They experienced many hardships, but most shared Mitchell’s optimism and vision.

From 1933-1951 Mitchell served as Lieutenant-Governor and Governor of Western Australia. His belief in the potential of the state never wavered throughout his distinguished career.