Alfred John Brisbane

M, #1592, b. 1875, d. 18 Jan 1892
Father*Matthew Brisbane b. 18 Nov 1830, d. 14 Feb 1890
Mother*Lucinda Whittle Barker Lyon b. 1848, d. 23 Feb 1932
Birth*1875 St Arnaud, VIC, Australia, #B12595.1 
Death*18 Jan 1892 St Arnaud, VIC, Australia, #D4311 (Age 16.)2 
Inquest21 Jan 1892Inquest held 1892/84 - Accidental Drowning - Swanwater.3 

Grave

  • St Arnaud Cemetery, St Arnaud, VIC, Australia, In Memory of Dr Matthew Brisbane F.R.C.S Passed away 16-2-1890 Aged 58
    Lucinda W. B. Brisbane
    Passed away 23-2-1932 Aged 84
    Alfred John Brisbane
    Passed Away 20-1-1892 Aged 17
    William James Brisbane
    Passed Away 10-6-1912 Aged 414

Newspaper-Articles

  • 18 Jan 1892, A BOATING FATALITY. TWO MEN DROWNED. ST. ARNAUD, Sunday.
    A boating fatality occurred to-day at the Volcano Lake, Swanwater. James Pounseby, aged 22, and John Brisbane, aged 17, were out rowing, when the boat upset, and they were drowned. Pounseby's wife and Brisbane's brother were with others witnesses of the fatality. Pounseby was married a fortnight ago. Brisbane is a son of the late Dr. Brisbane.
    News was brought to the town shortly after the accident. Senior Constable M'Kinnon and mounted Constable Hutchinson went out with grappling irons, and boats were lent by F. J. Mogg and W. J. Marchment, Swanwater. Diving and dragging for the bodies was continued for several hours, but up to dark they had not been recovered.5
  • 21 Jan 1892, ST. ARNAUD, Wednesday. The body of the youth Brisbane, who was drowned on Sunday last, was recovered last night, and an inquest into the circumstances of his death was held to-day by the mayor, Mr. A. Giles, J.P. The evidence showed that the deceased and Pownceby, who was also drowned, as previously telegraphed, were in a boat on Volcano Lake when the boat sank in deep water. The boat is a very dangerous contrivance, being merely an iron case with one end pointed and caulked. A verdict of accidental death was returned.
    Brisbane was a universal favourite, and his funeral this afternoon was one of the largest ever known here, including the members of all the cricket and football clubs and a large number of miners. There were 50 conveyances, headed by the St. Arnaud Brass Band.6

Citations

  1. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 "#B12595."
  2. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888.
  3. [S34] PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), VPRS 24/P0000 unit 591, item 1892/84.
  4. [S80] Ancestry - Family Tree.
  5. [S16] Newspaper - The Age 18 Jan 1892, p5.
  6. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 21 Jan 1892, p6.
Last Edited30 Sep 2016

Frank Harry Allan

M, #1595, b. 1884, d. 25 Jul 1940
Probate (Will)* 315/452, Grazier, Upper Beaconsfield.1 
Birth*1884 Warrnambool, VIC, Australia, #B13606.2 
Marriage*1911Spouse: Anne Milford. VIC, Australia, #M8346.3
 
Land-UBeac*6 Jul 1939 GEM-C-70.70A.B.C.D.E.71.71A. Transfer from Arthur Edward Thompson Rhoda Millicent Evelyn Richardson to Frank Harry Allan. 484a 1r 15p.4 
Residence*b 25 Jul 1940 "Tooram Hills", Upper Beaconsfield, VIC, Australia, must have called "Louisville" "Tooram Hills." 
Death*25 Jul 1940 Berwick, VIC, Australia, #D18990 age 56 [par Fran Erskine ALLAN & May Emma MAWBEY].5 
Death-Notice*27 Jul 1940ALLAN -On July 25 (result of accident) Frank Harry of Beaconsfield Upper, second son of the late Francis Erskine Allan of Warrnambool, dearly loved husband of Anna, father of Margaret (Mrs C M McDonald, Warrowie, Irrewarra) Mary, Cynthia and Suzanna aged 56 years.6 
Land-Note*16 Sep 1940 Frank Harry Allan died on 25 July 1940. Probate of his will has been granted to Anne Allan of Upper Beaconsfield Widow.7 
Land-UBeac*19 Sep 1940 GEM-C-70.70A.B.C.D.E.71.71A. Transfer from Frank Harry Allan to Stuart Kitchener Andrews. 484a 1r 15p.8 
Village Bell*Sep 1981The article reads: Mr. Allan, who lived at Bim Bim Be for a time, next bought "Staverton" above Guys Hill. He was killed when a cartload of manure overturned, on the road between Upper Beaconsfield and "Faldinghurst".9 

Newspaper-Articles

  • 26 Jul 1939, BOUNDARY FENCE TENDERS. Mr. F. H. Allan, Upper Beaconsfield (Phone 55) is calling tenders for renewal of one mile of boundary fence, post and wire (labor only). Tenders, close on August 9.10
  • 26 Jul 1940, THROWN FROM VEHICLE BERWICK, Thursday.—Found unconscious on the main road near Beaconsfield Upper this afternoon, Mr. Frank Harry Allan, of Louisville, Beaconsfield Upper, died while being taken to hospital.
    Mr. Allan, in a horse-drawn vehicle, had a few minutes before left the property Ardgour, which he had purchased from Misses McLean, and was to have taken over on August 1. It is presumed that, the horse became frightened, and that be was thrown from the vehicle.
    Mr. Allan has left a widow and family.11

Citations

  1. [S35] Probate Records, PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), VPRS 28/P3, unit 3389; VPRS 7591/P2, unit 1111.
  2. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 "#B13606."
  3. [S3] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913 "#M8346."
  4. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6189-731 - Frank Harry Allan of Lilydale Grazier.
  5. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985 "#D18990 age 56 [par Fran Erskine ALLAN & May Emma MAWBEY]."
  6. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 27 Jul 1940 p4.
  7. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6189-731 - Frank Harry Allan died on 25 July 1940. probate of his will has been granted to Anne Allan of Upper Beaconsfield Widow.
  8. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6189-731 - Stuart Kitchener Andrews of Dewhurst Grazier.
  9. [S15] Newspaper - Village Bell "020-1981, p9."
  10. [S218] Newspaper - The Dandenong Journal (1927-1954) "The Dandenong Journal (Vic. : 1927 - 1954), Wed 26 Jul 1939, p11
    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201306852."
  11. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 26 Jul 1940, p2.
Last Edited5 Jul 2018

Harold Frank Leadbetter

M, #1596, b. 23 Sep 1919, d. 5 Mar 1988
Father*Charles James Leadbetter b. 5 Oct 1886, d. 27 Nov 1977
Mother*Agnes Olga Stapleton b. 2 Jun 1889, d. 17 Jan 1966
Residence* Leadbetter Road, Upper Beaconsfield, VIC, Australia, still lived opposite Graham & Barbara Jackson when they moved to UB - left possibly mid to late 1970s to Queensland. Some of the children came back to Victoria.1 
Birth*23 Sep 1919 Frankston, VIC, Australia, (not registered.) 
Military*9 Nov 1939Enlisted for military service: Australian Army VX3970 - Discharged 3 Sep 1945, Private 9 Australian Division.2 
Marriage*Spouse: Lucy Anne Tivendale.
 
Death*5 Mar 1988 Hervey Bay Hospital, Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia, late of Scaness, (Age 66.)3 
Death-Notice*8 Mar 1988At Hervey Bay Hospital, late of Scarness.4      

Newspaper-Articles

  • 19 Oct 1943, WOUNDED IN ACTION
    LEADBETTER, H. F., Pte, E. Bentleigh. Med.5

Citations

  1. [S50] Miscellaneous Source, Graham Jackson, personal information 21 Nov 2010.
  2. [S30] Nominal Roll, Australian War Memorial - WWII, http://www.awm.gov.au/database/, Name      LEADBETTER, HAROLD FRANK
    Service      Australian Army
    Service Number      VX3970
    Date of Birth      23 Sep 1919
    Place of Birth      FRANKSTON, VIC
    Date of Enlistment      9 Nov 1939
    Locality on Enlistment      EAST BENTLEIGH
    Place of Enlistment      PRAHRAN, VIC
    Next of Kin      LEADBETTER, A
    Date of Discharge      3 Sep 1945
    Rank      Private
    Posting at Discharge      9 Australian Division
    WW2 Honours and Gallantry      None for display
    Prisoner of War      No.
  3. [S50] Miscellaneous Source, Ryerson Index.
  4. [S14] Newspaper - Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay), 8 Mar 1988.
  5. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 19 Oct 1943 p5.
Last Edited8 Jul 2018

Charles James Leadbetter

M, #1597, b. 5 Oct 1886, d. 27 Nov 1977

Upper Beaconsfield Relevance

Leadbetter Road named after this family.1
Residence* Had a timber mill at "Mill Bend" Split Rock Road.1 
Anecdote*Worked in Wattle Gully mine, but was a builder most of his life. He started work at 8 years of age and was one of six children. He married Agnes Olga Stapleton, one of nine children. They had 7 children of their own. They lived in Frankston, Cheltenham, Officer, Upper Beaconsfield.2 
Birth*5 Oct 1886 Whitehorse Gully, Chewton, VIC, Australia, #B24922.3 
Marriage2 Dec 1908Spouse: Agnes Olga Stapleton. Maryborough, VIC, Australia, #M8541.4
 
Death*27 Nov 1977 Beaconsfield, VIC, Australia, #D28124 (Age 93) [par William LEADBETTER & Lucenia Caroline SWEETLOVE].5 

Grave

  • Plot 5-009-A, Berwick Cemetery, Berwick, VIC, Australia6

Family

Agnes Olga Stapleton b. 2 Jun 1889, d. 17 Jan 1966
Child 1.Harold Frank Leadbetter+ b. 23 Sep 1919, d. 5 Mar 1988

Newspaper-Articles

  • 4 Mar 1950, FRIDAY. MARCH 17. At 11 a.m. Split Rock Road, UPPER BEACONSFIELD.
    SAWMILL & PLANT. SAWMILL & PLANT.
    (First to be Offered as One Lot, and if Not Sold-Offered in Separate Lots.)
    The Lots include:
    FOWLER BOILER & TANGYE STEAM ENGINE, Complete, 30-h.p., Breaking-down Saw, Complete with Trolley and Winch Gearbox Drive, Rip Saw and Bench, Rails and Trolley; 80ft. 6in. and 7in. Belting, Engine and Docking Saw, Gulloting Machine, Riverside Pump and Morris Engine, 350ft. 2in. Pipe. Steel Rails and Trolley. Sawdust Conveyor. Spare Pulleys. Shed Over Mill. 2 Tanks, Chev. 4x4 Logging Truck with Winch Attached, and Sundry Equipment.
    Full Details: H. R. HILL & Co., Auctioneer, 49 Elizabeth St.. City. MU3744. MU2891.7

Citations

  1. [S50] Miscellaneous Source, Graham Jackson, personal information 21 Nov 2010.
  2. [S80] Ancestry - Family Tree, Robyn June GREEN (nee SILLCOCK) last updated 2002.
  3. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 "#B24922."
  4. [S3] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913 "#M8541."
  5. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985.
  6. [S44] Index of burials in the cemetery of Berwick,
    5-009-A     Leadbetter     Agnes Olga     F     76     20/01/1966     1533
    5-009-A     Leadbetter     Charles James     M     93     30/11/1977     1758.
  7. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 4 Mar 1950, p15.
Last Edited13 Mar 2016

Agnes Olga Stapleton

F, #1598, b. 2 Jun 1889, d. 17 Jan 1966
Married NameLeadbetter. 
Birth*2 Jun 1889 Rosebud, VIC, Australia.1,2 
Marriage*2 Dec 1908Spouse: Charles James Leadbetter. Maryborough, VIC, Australia, #M8541.3
 
Death*17 Jan 1966 Upper Beaconsfield, VIC, Australia, #D935 age 76 [par George STAPLETON & Catherine] (Reg Fern.)1 
Land-Note*4 Nov 1966 GEM-C-30.31 (part): Agnes Olga Leadbetter died on 17th January 1966. Probate of her will has been granted to Charles James Leadbetter of Split Rock Road Upper Beaconsfield Retired.4 
Land-UBeac*28 Nov 1966 GEM-C-30.31 (part). Transfer from Agnes Olga Leadbetter to Joseph Albert Murfin Winifred Alice Murfin. 15a 0r 24p.5 

Grave

  • Plot 5-009-A, Berwick Cemetery, Berwick, VIC, Australia6

Family

Charles James Leadbetter b. 5 Oct 1886, d. 27 Nov 1977
Child 1.Harold Frank Leadbetter+ b. 23 Sep 1919, d. 5 Mar 1988

Citations

  1. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985 "#D935 age 76 [par George STAPLETON & Catherine]."
  2. [S80] Ancestry - Family Tree.
  3. [S3] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913 "#M8541."
  4. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 7344-755 - Agnes Olga Leadbetter died on 17th January 1966. Probate of her will has been granted to Charles James Leadbetter of Split Rock Road Upper Beaconsfield Retired.
  5. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 7344-755 - Joseph Albert Murfin Nylon Processor and Winifred Alice Murfin Married Woman both of 6 Junction Road Blackburn North - joint proprietors.
  6. [S44] Index of burials in the cemetery of Berwick,
    5-009-A     Leadbetter     Agnes Olga     F     76     20/01/1966     1533
    5-009-A     Leadbetter     Charles James     M     93     30/11/1977     1758.
Last Edited17 Mar 2016

Anne Milford

F, #1612, b. 1887, d. 14 Dec 1954
Married NameAllan. 
Birth*1887 Fitzroy, VIC, Australia, #B11012 [par James Stanley MILFORD & Jessie TOPPING].1 
Marriage*1911Spouse: Frank Harry Allan. VIC, Australia, #M8346.2
 
Widow25 Jul 1940Anne Milford became a widow upon the death of her husband Frank Harry Allan.3 
Land-Note*16 Sep 1940 Frank Harry Allan died on 25 July 1940. Probate of his will has been granted to Anne Allan of Upper Beaconsfield Widow.4 
Land-UBeac*18 Sep 1940 PAK-76.78 (part). Transfer from Jessie Mabel McLean Agnes Margaret 'Nessie' McLean to Anne Allan. 69a 0r 34 4/10p (Caveat lodged 3 Jul 1940.)5 
Land-UBeac*18 Sep 1940 PAK-76.78 (part). Transfer from Anne Allan to Sidney Wolton Gullett. 69a 0r 34 4/10p.6 
Death*14 Dec 1954 Caulfield, VIC, Australia, #D14405 (Age 67) [par James MILFORD & Jessie WRIGHT].7 
Death-Notice*16 Dec 1954ALLAN -On December 14 at a private hospital East St Kilda Anne loved wife of the late Frank Harry Allan loved mother of Margaret (Mrs Charles McDonald), Mary (Mrs Brendon Thomson), Cynthia (Mrs John Ritchie) and Suzanne (Mrs Roy Maxwell)
ALLAN - The Funeral of the late Mrs ANNE ALIAN will leave St James Anglican Church Inkerman road East St Kilda TOMORROW (Friday) after a service commencing at 9 45 a m for the Spring Vale Crematorium.8 

Citations

  1. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 "#B11012 [par James Stanley MILFORD & Jessie TOPPING]."
  2. [S3] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913 "#M8346."
  3. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985 "#D18990 age 56 [par Fran Erskine ALLAN & May Emma MAWBEY]."
  4. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6189-731 - Frank Harry Allan died on 25 July 1940. probate of his will has been granted to Anne Allan of Upper Beaconsfield Widow.
  5. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 3096-030 - Anne Allan of Upper Beaconsfield Widow.
  6. [S185] Property Titles. ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 3096-030 - Sidney Wolton Gullett of St Georges Road Toorak Industrial Engineer.
  7. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985.
  8. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 16 Dec 1954 p15.
Last Edited23 Apr 2016

James Balfour

M, #1619, b. 10 May 1830, d. 24 Aug 1913
James BALFOUR
(1830-1913)

Upper Beaconsfield Relevance

President Upper Beaconsfield Progressive League.1
Birth*10 May 1830 Edinburgh, Scotland.2 
Marriage*1859Spouse: Frances Charlotte Henty.
 
Death*24 Aug 1913 Kew, VIC, Australia.2 
Death-Notice*25 Aug 1913BALFOUR.-On the 24th August, at Windella, Kew, James Balfour, M.L.C., beloved husband of Frances C Balfour in his 84th year.3 
Probate (Will)*23 Sep 1913 130/791. No indication of property in UB.4 
Anecdote*Born 10 May 1830 (Edinburgh) - Died 24 August 1913. (Kew)
Parents: John and Robina, nee Gordon
Marriage: 1859 Hawthorn, Frances Charlotte Henty; 6s. 5d.
Occupation: Merchant
Religion: Presbyterian
Education: Edinburgh Academy; business experience Edinburgh and London
Career: Arrived Melbourne 1852; partner in charge Geelong branch James Henty & Company 1854-1863; returned Melbourne and retired from firm 1878; established James Balfour & Company 1879; director banks and insurance companies. Prominent churchman.

MLA East Bourke February 1866 -      August 1868 (Resigned)
MLC Southern June 1874 - November 1882     
MLC South-Western November 1882 -      May 1904
MLC East Yarra June 1904 - August 1913
Appointments: Minister without office 15 May 1890-5 Nov 1890, 5 Dec 1899-19 Nov 1900; royal commission charitable institutions 1870, water supply 1884, banking laws 1887.5 

Newspaper-Articles

  • 25 Aug 1913, DEATH OF MR. BALFOUR, M.L.C. - STATE'S OLDEST PARLIAMENTARIAN.
    It will come is a great shock to the political business and personal friends of Mr James Balfour, M.L.C., to learn of his death, which took place at his residence, Windella, Studley Park road, Kew, at 9 o'clock last night. Mr Balfour was present at the meeting of the Legislative Council held on Tuesday when he appeared to be in his usual health. He contributed to the debate on the supplementary estimates and his speech was full of characteristic vigour. On the following day he became ill suddenly, and death was the result of an attack of pneumonia and pleurisy.
    Mr Balfour was the "father" of the Legislative Council, in which he had occupied a seat continuously for 39 years. His Parliamentary record however, goes back even further than that, for 47 years ago he was a member of the Legislative Assembly.
    Although 83 years of age, he was up to within a few days of his death a virile man, clear-headed and forceful in debate, and physically active and energetic. His kindly personality and courtly manners made his a notable figure in the Council, and, while enjoying the strong friendship of the veterans of both Houses, he was warmly regarded by the new men for the helping hand he extended, and the high standard he set in personal and political probity.
    The son of a Leith merchant the late Mr Balfour was born in Edinburgh in 1830. He followed commercial pursuits, and in the early fifties on coming to Melbourne he became associated with the firm of Messrs James Henty and Co., for whom, in 1854 he opened a Geelong branch. De spite his business activities, Mr Balfour found time to devote interest to public matters, and in 1866 he was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly for East Bourke. Prior to the establishment of the Department of Education he was, for three years, one of the Commissioners of Education. He sat as the member for East Bourke for two years and in 1868 resigned his seat, and paid a visit to England—the second since his arrival in Victoria. Returning to Melbourne he was elected, in 1874, to the Legislative Council of which he has been a member continuously ever since.
    Mr Balfour's political career covered a greater number of years than that of any other surviving public man in Victoria. He held the East Bourke seat in the Assembly during part of the stormy times of the tariff und Darling Grant crises. Later on he was elected to the Legislative Council, and as the South Eastern Province was from time to time remodelled Mr Balfour stood for the part which lay nearest the city and ultimately, in the last redistribution was elected for the East Yarra Province. His business interests prevented him from accepting many offers of office made to him, but on two occasions he found it pos sible to join Cabinets in an honorary capa city—first in the Gillies Ministry, towards the end of his career, in 1890, and then with Mr McLean from December 5, 1899, to November, 1900.
    These were, however, merely incidents in a long career of usefulness in the Council. Mr Balfour, whose tendencies while a member of the Legislative Assembly were towards the Radical side of politics had by the time he entered the Council become convinced of the necessity for safe and prudent counsels in public affairs. He had not long been a member of that body when it was plunged into the second of the severe conflicts with the Legislative Assembly brought about by the aggression of the extremists, who sought to paralyse the power of the Upper House, and whose undisguised object was to make the Legislative Assembly paramount in all legislation.
    The defenders of the Constitution who were led in the Council by Sir Charles Sladen included a number of most stalwart upholders ot the bicameral system of go vernment, and none was more sturdy nor more effective in his speeches than Mr Balfour. The history of the time does not required to be retold further than to say that the onslaught was repelled, and the Legislative Council whose members were always favourable to the broadening of its basis emerged triumphantly from the fight. It speaks volumes for the part Mr Balfour played in the controversy that as the number of voters for the Legislative Council was increased his hold on the confidence of his constituents became stronger.
    The late Mr Balfour was as well known in business as in political circles. He made a third trip to England in 1878, and on his return he established the mercantile business carried on under the name of Messrs James Balfour and Co. Amongst the companies with which he had been associated as a director are the Australian Deposit and Mortgage Bank and the Trustees Executors and Agency Company Limited.
    Apart from his Parliamentary and business career. Mr Balfour took an active part in the courts of the Presbyterian Church. He was a devout son of that church and gave without stint of the best that was in him for the promotion of its welfare. He was, perhaps the foremost layman in the General Assembly for Victoria and was during the stormy proceedings of thr early eighties an uncompromising upholder of his convictions in relation to church polity. Both in and out of Parliament he was a strong advocate of Bible instruction in State schools.
    In 1859 Mr Balfour married Frances Charlotte eldest daughter of the late Mr James Henty. His widow and nine children—five sons and four daughters—survive him. The funeral will take place to-morrow afternoon. There will be a service at the West Hawthorn Presbyterian Church at 2 o'clock.6

Australian Dictionary of Biography

BALFOUR, JAMES (1830-1913), merchant, churchman and politician, was born on 10 May 1830 in Edinburgh, the second son of John Balfour (1776-1859), a corn merchant of Leith, and his second wife Robina, née Gordon (1795-1879). He was sickly as a child and did not follow his brothers from Edinburgh Academy into a profession but entered the Edinburgh office of the City of Glasgow Assurance Co. as a protégé of his cousin, Robert Balfour. In 1848 he went to London to gather further business experience in the maritime insurance office of his half-brother, Buchanan Balfour. About this time, as a member of the Regent Square Presbyterian Church, he came under the favourable notice of Hugh Matheson who offered him a situation as Matheson & Co.'s representative in their corresponding house, the Melbourne mercantile firm of Hart, Henty & Co. On 7 August 1852 Balfour embarked for Victoria.
Aged 22, he was a model of the 'sound principles … steady habits, thoroughness … and capacity of adaptation' that he was to specify as the 'chief points' of the successful immigrant. He began his colonial career as a clerk on £200 a year with the expectation of a partnership which was duly offered and accepted by him in 1856. In 1855 he had been appointed James Henty's representative in Geelong where he busied himself in church and community affairs: he was a deacon and later elder of the Free Church, conducted the first of his young men's Bible classes and shared in negotiations to unify the Victorian Presbyterian Church; he was a president of the Chamber of Commerce, a magistrate and a lieutenant in the Volunteer Corps. In 1857 he went to Scotland. But he knew already that 'if spared, my future probably lies in Victoria' and next year returned to the colony. On 1 April 1859 he married Frances Charlotte, James Henty's eldest daughter.
With the closing of the Geelong establishment in 1863, Balfour returned to Melbourne where his activities were broadened in influence rather than altered in direction. Proposals for a Presbyterian Theological Hall which he presented to the assembly in 1862 were brought to a successful issue in 1866, largely through his own fund-raising efforts. As a member of the Board of Public Instruction in 1865-68 and as a witness before the royal commission on education of 1866 he strenuously advocated a system of non-sectarian biblical instruction in the publicly-provided schools. He succeeded James McCulloch as commander of the St Kilda Volunteer Artillery Corps but resigned when he entered the Legislative Assembly in 1866 as a member for East Bourke. He staunchly supported McCulloch and was a prominent spokesman for the Darling grant. In that year, however, he suffered an eye injury which proved so troublesome that in 1868 he took his family on an extended European tour. He returned late in 1869 with his sight much improved but, although he consented to act on the royal commission on charitable institutions in 1870, he did not again present himself to the electors until 1874, this time as a candidate for the Southern Province of the Legislative Council. In his successful campaign and during the constitutional crises of the later 1870s he kept company with most of his fellow merchants as a 'moderate constitutionalist'. He supported a reduction of the property qualification for the council but feared that payment of members would unduly curb their independence.
Signs of strain had already appeared in the firm in 1868 when James Henty bitterly opposed Balfour's journey to Europe. In 1878 a crisis was precipitated by Henty's impending retirement. His heir, Henry, determined that his power in the firm should be 'absolute' and, sensitive to the plight of his younger brother Herbert, whom the partners were shielding from his creditors, forced Balfour to withdraw his capital in the form of the company's station, Round Hill, north of Albury, and retire from the firm. Although Henry Henty at first proposed that he should turn to pastoral pursuits, Balfour insisted on his right to continue as a merchant. After a short visit to England to secure financial support he established James Balfour & Co. in 1879; his elder sons were later to assume the management of Round Hill.
The breaking of his connexion with the Hentys coincided with the beginnings of Balfour's closer association with three of his Bible-class protégés, John, Joseph and Matthew Davies. From the late 1870s they joined in various enterprises, extending from suburban land speculation to Queensland sugar plantations. In 1874 Balfour had become the first chairman of the Australian Deposit and Mortgage Co. which was managed by a fourth brother, G. S. Davies. In 1887 Balfour's mercantile firm was converted into a limited liability company with an authorized capital of £250,000 held in five shares by Balfour, his managing director E. C. Elliott, Joseph Davies, Matthew Davies and John Moodie. In 1889 he became a director of another Davies company, the ill-fated Freehold Investment and Banking Co. Balfour's business activities at this time display a characteristic accommodation of commercial and religious impulses: he employed his knowledge of the land market as convener of the Presbyterian Sales, Sites and Mortgages Committee and as a financial adviser to several speculating clergy; the profits of his own ventures were largely directed to the church, missions and private charity. His continuing interest in Christian journalism bore a similar aspect. As a boy he had floated a little 'joint-stock company' to finance a hand-written newspaper, 'The Watch Tower' which he circulated among the members of his church. In Victoria he had helped to establish the Banner in 1853 and the Southern Cross in 1874. In 1883 with a syndicate of Christian gentlemen he bought the Daily Telegraph which was to be edited by William Fitchett in accordance with sound morality and evangelical religion.
As a leader in Melbourne's commercial community Balfour was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1885-86 and in 1887 was invited by Matthew Davies to join the royal commission on banking institutions. In parliament he was prominent in the activities of the so-called 'morality party', a small but vocal group of members organized in support of temperance, Sabbatarianism, nondenominational biblical instruction in schools and British annexation of the New Hebrides in missionary interests.
Deeply committed as he was to the ventures of the Davies, Balfour inevitably shared their financial humiliation. His partner, E. C. Elliott, who was heavily indebted to the Davies companies, became insolvent in 1892 and later that year Balfour had to answer to a hostile shareholders' meeting for his actions in connexion with the Freehold Investment and Banking Co. He claimed not to have been a director when large sums were lent to Balfour Elliott & Co. whose board closely interlocked with that of the Freehold Investment and Banking Co., and that he had been absent in Europe at the time of the most reckless operations. These claims were literally true, although Balfour's justification was more soundly based on his private questioning of the Davies actions than on his total ignorance of them. Of the directors he alone was able to respond to the liquidators' claims and his promise to pay £5000 over ten years certainly forestalled further action against him. Only the continued prosperity of Round Hill saved him from personal bankruptcy. Compelled to economize, he sold his splendid Toorak house, Tyalla, and moved to the less pretentious Windella; the Daily Telegraph was sold and Fitchett's plans to buy an evening newspaper lapsed.
Balfour painfully rebuilt his mercantile business although after 1900 he seems gradually to have withdrawn from its direction. He remained a director of insurance and trustee companies and was a dutiful member of the Legislative Council where, by seniority and temperament, he was better suited to mediation than leadership; he was a minister without portfolio under Gillies in 1890 and McLean in 1899. He spent his energies and resources unstintingly in the referendum campaigns on biblical instruction in state schools in 1908 and made characteristic excursions into the federal sphere with his insistence on prayers at the opening of the Commonwealth parliament and his private representations to Alfred Deakin on behalf of Presbyterian missionaries during the prolonged New Hebrides crisis. He was a sponsor of the Chapman-Alexander missions in 1909 and 1912 and maintained a paternal interest in a band of Christian young men, 'Balfour's Boys', until his death from pneumonia on 24 August 1913. His wife, five of his six sons and four of his five daughters survived him. His estate was valued for probate at £24,483.
Balfour's Christianity, muscular and evangelical, was the idiom of his personal intercourse and the maxim of his actions both in business, where his native diligence and method were sometimes only scant defence against his importunate co-religionists, and in politics, where the general recognition of his abilities could not tempt him from the single pursuit of moral and religious issues which, though they moved ever closer to the boundaries of legislative competence, seemed most directly to challenge his guiding conviction that 'the practice of religion is a work of every day'.
His portrait by Muntz Adams in 1908 is in Ormond College, University of Melbourne.7

Citations

  1. [S57] Various authors, Illustrated Guide to the Beaconsfield Ranges.
  2. [S50] Miscellaneous Source, http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/re-member/bioregfull.cfm
  3. [S1] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 "25 Aug 1913, p1."
  4. [S35] Probate Records, PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), 130/791. No indication of property in UB.
  5. [S50] Miscellaneous Source, http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/re-member/bioregfull.cfm
    References: Australian Dictionary of Biography, 3; Harper, A., 'The Honourable James Balfour, MLC', Melbourne, 1918.
    Initial data source: Thomson, K & Serle, G, 'A Biographical Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900', ANU Press, 1972.
  6. [S11] Newspaper - Argus 25 Aug 1913, p13.
  7. [S55] Adb online, online http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm, Print Publication Details: Graeme Davison, 'Balfour, James (1830 - 1913)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 80-82.
    Select Bibliography: A. Harper, The Honourable James Balfour M.L.C: A Memoir (Melb, 1918); Balfour papers (privately held). More on the resources.
Last Edited15 Dec 2015