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William James George

William James George

The basics
Quick Facts
Gender male
Birth 26 January 1853 (West Bromwich, Sandwell, West Midlands, West Midlands)
Death 10 March 1931
Star sign AquariusAquarius
The details
Biography

William James George CMG (26 January 1853 – 10 March 1931) was an Australian engineer and politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1895 to 1902 and again from 1909 to 1930. He was a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell. George was born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England, to Eleanor (née Sheldon) and Henry Wellington George. He studied mechanical engineering at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and emigrated to Australia in 1884, initially settling in Victoria. George moved to Western Australia in 1891, where he initially managed a timber plantation at Jarrahdale. He later opened a foundry in Perth, and was involved in the construction of the Victoria Dam, as well as the extensions of the Northern Railway to Mullewa and the South Western Railway to Bunbury. In 1894, George was elected to the Perth City Council, serving as a councillor until 1898. He ran for parliament later in the year, contesting the seat of Murray at the 1894 general election. He lost to William Paterson, but Paterson resigned the following year, and George won the resulting by-election. Standing as an opponent of the governments of Sir John Forrest and George Leake, George was re-elected at the 1897 and 1901 elections. He resigned from parliament in 1902, and was subsequently appointed commissioner of railways, serving in that position until 1907. George first attempted to re-enter parliament at the 1908 general election, but was defeated by the sitting member for Murray, John McLarty. However, McLarty died the following year, and George won the by-election occasioned by his death, making him one of the few MPs in Western Australia to win multiple by-elections for the same seat. In 1916, George was appointed Minister for Works in the ministry of Frank Wilson. He remained Minister for Works when Henry Lefroy replaced Wilson as premier in 1917, and was also made Minister for Water Supply. George retained his portfolios during Hal Colebatch's brief period as premier in 1919, and also under James Mitchell. In 1920, George was responsible for organising the tour of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) to Western Australia, and the following year he was made a Commander of the Order of St George and St Michael (CMG). He remained a minister until the Nationalist Party was defeated at the 1924 state election, and eventually left parliament at the 1930 election. George died in Perth in March 1931, aged 78. He had married Mary Ann Nelson in 1891, with whom he had three sons and a daughter.

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