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Image of William Henry Fancourt Mitchell

Sir William Henry Fancourt Mitchell

November 1811 (Leicester, Leicestershire)
24 November 1884
Rev. George Berkeley and Penelope, nee Fancourt

Religion: Church of England

Marital Status: 21 Aug 1841 Hobart, Christina Templeton; 2s. 7d.


Pastoralist and government officer

William Mitchell was born in Leicester, England, and arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1833 as a writer in the Executive Council's Office; acting colonial secretary in 1837 and assistant colonial secretary in 1839; grazier at Barfold station near Kyneton (which he selected the site for in 1848);  1853 to 1855 was chief commissioner of police; travelled to England in 1854-55; on his return in 1856 elected to the Legislative Council for the North-Western Province until 1858, serving as postmaster-general in 1857-58. He returned to parliament less than a year later when he was elected at a by-election for the North-Western Province in 1859. In 1861-63 he was minister for railways and roads, and he became President of the Legislative Council in 1870. Mitchell remained as President until his death at Barfold in 1884. He remained always a strongly conservative and resolute defender of the Legislative Council.

HouseElectorateStart End
Legislative CouncilOffice-bearing nominee1 August 185329 November 1853Resigned
Legislative CouncilNorth Western1 November 18561 October 1858
Legislative CouncilNorth Western1 January 18703 December 1882By-election
Legislative CouncilNorthern3 December 18821 November 1884

*The Start date for Members elected after 1900 is the date they were elected. The start date for pre-1900 Members is the date they were sworn in.
Inaugural Speech
Australian Dictionary of Biography, 5; Adams, N., "Saxon Sheep", Melbourne, 1961 (fiction). Jones, Catherine & Victoria. Parliamentary Library. Library Committee (1986). "Presiding officers of the Victorian Parliament 1856-1986." Victorian Government Printing Office on behalf of the Library Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne. 'Police Life' November 1980.

Last updated: 14th August 2019