George Leake

Last updated


George Leake

George Leake (1898).jpg
3rd Premier of Western Australia
In office
27 May 21 November 1901
Preceded by George Throssell
Succeeded by Alf Morgans
In office
23 December 1901 24 June 1902
Preceded byAlf Morgans
Succeeded by Walter James
Member of the Legislative Council
of Western Australia
In office
7 September 3 December 1886
4 January – 6 March 1888
ConstituencyNone (nominated by governor)
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
28 November 1890 30 December 1890
Preceded byNone (new creation)
Succeeded by Horace Sholl
Constituency Roebourne
In office
23 June 1894 2 August 1900
Preceded by Lancel de Hamel
Succeeded by John Hassell
Constituency Albany
In office
24 April 1901 24 June 1902
Preceded by Barrington Wood
Succeeded by Charles Moran
Constituency West Perth
Personal details
Born(1856-12-03)3 December 1856
Perth, Western Australia
Died24 June 1902(1902-06-24) (aged 45)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Spouse(s)
Louisa Emily Burt
(m. 1881)

George Leake CMG KC (3 December 1856 – 24 June 1902) was the third Premier of Western Australia, serving from May to November 1901 and then again from December 1901 to his death.

Contents

Leake was born in Perth, into a prominent local family. Studying law, he was called to the bar in 1880, and in 1883 was appointed Crown Solicitor and Public Prosecutor (the equivalent of solicitor-general). Leake first entered parliament in 1886, when he served briefly in the Legislative Council. He was again briefly a member of that body in 1888. In 1890, Leake was elected unopposed to the Legislative Assembly (representing the seat of Roebourne), but he resigned shortly after in order to continue as Crown Solicitor.

In 1894, Leake re-entered the Legislative Assembly, representing the seat of Albany. An opponent of the government of Sir John Forrest, he began to be regarded as the Leader of the Opposition, although that position was unofficial at the time. Forrest eventually resigned as premier in 1901 to enter federal politics, and was initially replaced by George Throssell. Throssell's government was short-lived, however, and he was replaced as premier by Leake, who also appointed himself attorney-general.

Leake's first government lasted five months before being defeated on a no-confidence motion. Alf Morgans was appointed as his successor, but was unable to form a government, resulting in Leake being recommissioned as premier after just a month out of office. Leake's second government lasted until his sudden death from pneumonia in June 1902, aged 45. He is the only Premier of Western Australia to have died in office.

Early life and background

George Leake was born on 3 December 1856 [1] in Perth in what was then the British colony of Western Australia. The Leake family was prominent in the development of Perth and Western Australia; his father George Walpole Leake (1825-1895) was a barrister and politician, his uncle Sir Luke Samuel Leake (1828-1886) was the first Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Council. Their uncle George Leake (1786-1849) had arrived in what was then the Swan River Colony in 1829, and settled as a merchant.

Young George was educated at the Church of England Collegiate School (now Hale School) and at St Peter's College in Adelaide. On 1 December 1876, George was on board the steamer SS Georgette when it sank off Margaret River, he survived. He had been on the ship travelling to St Peter's in Adelaide to undergo a law course. [2] In 1880 he was admitted to the Western Australian bar and became a partner in his father's law firm. The following year he married Louisa Emily Burt, daughter of the late Chief Justice, Sir Archibald Burt. In 1883 he was appointed Crown Solicitor and Public Prosecutor. Leake also took a keen interest in the gold mining industry, and was a member of the syndicate that successfully sent Harry Anstey to find gold in the Yilgarn in 1887.

Career

In September 1886, Leake was appointed acting Attorney-General, and was subsequently nominated to the colony's Legislative Council. He remained in the position until December. On 28 November 1890, Leake was elected unopposed to the Legislative Assembly seat of Roebourne. He was offered a position in John Forrest's ministry, but declined, and resigned shortly afterwards on 30 December 1890 to avoid forfeiting his position as Crown Solicitor.

On 23 June 1894, Leake was elected as Legislative Assembly member for Albany, and in the following year became Leader of the Opposition. He was an enthusiastic proponent of federation and was president of the Federation League. In 1897 he was chosen as a Western Australian delegate to the Federal Convention, and attended meetings in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1898.

On 2 August 1900, Leake resigned his seat for business reasons, and travelled to Europe. After his return, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as member for West Perth on 24 April 1901. No party won clear support in that election, and the incumbent premier George Throssell resigned office before parliament met, rather than test his support. Leader of the Opposition Frederick Illingworth was then invited to form a government, but could not do so because Leake refused to serve under him and some other members refused to serve without Leake. Eventually it was agreed that Leake would become premier, and Illingworth would be treasurer and colonial secretary. Leake became Premier and Attorney-General on 27 May.

Leake's government did not have the support of the majority of parliament, but it was allowed to govern for five months until finally being defeated in November. Alf Morgans then formed a government, but in the subsequent ministerial by-election, [3] supporters of Leake stood against Morgans' new cabinet, and three of the six new ministers were defeated. Morgans then resigned and Leake returned as Premier and Attorney-General on 23 December 1901, this time with much clearer support.

Last days and death

In June 1902, Leake caught pneumonia. He died on 24 June 1902, [4] to date the only Western Australian premier to die in office. Two days later it was announced in The Times that King Edward VII had intended to make him a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), and the award was made posthumously. [5] [6]

Footnotes

  1. "Family Notices". The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News . 8 (463). Western Australia. 5 December 1856. p. 3. Retrieved 11 March 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  2. "OLD TIME MEMORIES". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). 25 February 1916. p. 43. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  3. Until 1947, newly appointed ministers were required to resign and stand for re-election.
  4. "Obituary - Hon. George Leake". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 7.
  5. "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
  6. It's an Honour: CMG 26 June 1902

Related Research Articles

Premier of Western Australia Head of the executive branch of the state government of Western Australia

The Premier of Western Australia is the head of the executive branch of government in the Australian state of Western Australia. The Premier has similar functions in Western Australia to those performed by the Prime Minister of Australia at the national level, subject to the different Constitutions.

George Throssell Australian politician

George Lionel Throssell was the second Premier of Western Australia. He served for just three months, from 15 February to 27 May 1901, during a period of great instability in Western Australian politics.

Alf Morgans Australian politician

Alfred Edward Morgans was the fourth Premier of Western Australia, serving for just over a month, from 21 November to 23 December 1901.

Walter James Australian politician

Sir Walter Hartwell James, was the fifth Premier of Western Australia and an ardent supporter of the federation movement.

Frank Wilson (politician) Australian politician

Frank Wilson, was the ninth Premier of Western Australia, serving on two separate occasions – from 1910 to 1911 and then again from 1916 to 1917.

Throssell Ministry

The Throssell Ministry was the second Ministry of the Government of Western Australia. It succeeded the Forrest Ministry on 15 February 1901 after Sir John Forrest's move from state to federal politics, and was led by Forrest's choice of successor, George Throssell. However, no clear winner emerged from the April 1901 state election, and rather than test his support in the Assembly, Throssell and the Ministry he led resigned on 27 May 1901, allowing the Leake Ministry led by Opposition Leader George Leake to take office.

The First Leake Ministry was the third Ministry of the Government of Western Australia and was led by Premier George Leake, who had hitherto been the Leader of the Opposition. It succeeded the Throssell Ministry on 27 May 1901 after George Throssell's resignation as premier following the inconclusive result of the April 1901 state election.

Frederick Illingworth Australian politician

Frederick Illingworth, Australian politician, was a Member of Parliament in two Australian states, and a government minister in Western Australia. As a financier of land speculation in Victoria in the 1880s, he was heavily involved in the Victorian land boom.

George Randell Australian politician

George Randell was an Australian businessman and politician. He served intermittently in the Parliament of Western Australia between 1875 and 1910, including as a minister in the government of Sir John Forrest.

The following is a list of members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly between the 1897 elections and the 1901 elections, together known as the Third Parliament.

This is a list of members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly between the 1901 election and the 1904 election, together known as the Fourth Parliament.

Elections were held in the state of Western Australia on 24 April 1901 to elect 50 members to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. It was the first election to take place since responsible government without the towering presence of Premier Sir John Forrest, who had left state politics two months earlier to enter the first Federal parliament representing the Division of Swan, and the first state parliamentary election to follow the enactment of women's suffrage in 1899.

George Walpole Leake was a Western Australian barrister and magistrate and nephew of George Leake (1786–1849). For short periods of time he was also Attorney-General of Western Australia.

Matthew Moss Australian politician

Matthew Lewis Moss KC was a lawyer and politician who served in the Parliament of Western Australia on three separate occasions – in the Legislative Assembly from 1895 to 1897, and in the Legislative Council from 1900 to 1901 and again from 1902 to 1914. He was a minister in the governments of Alf Morgans (1901), Walter James (1902–1904), and Hector Rason (1905–1906). Moss was born in New Zealand and arrived in Western Australia in 1891. He left for England in 1914 and spent the rest of his life there, although he maintained connections with Australia, on two occasions acting as Agent-General for Western Australia.

Mathieson Jacoby Australian politician and winemaker

Mathieson Harry Jacoby was an Australian politician who twice represented the seat of Swan in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, from 1901 to 1905 and then again from 1908 to 1911. He was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1904 to 1905. Outside politics Jacoby was a noted viticulturist, one of the pioneers of the West Australian wine industry.

William James George CMG was an Australian engineer and politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1895 to 1902 and from 1909 to 1930. He was a minister in the governments of Frank Wilson, Henry Lefroy, Hal Colebatch, and James Mitchell.

Charles Moran (Australian politician) Australian politician

Charles John Moran was an Australian politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1894 to 1901 and again from 1902 to 1905. He was a minister in the government of George Throssell.

Barrington Clarke Wood was an Australian businessman and politician who served in both houses of the Parliament of Western Australia. A minister in the governments of Sir John Forrest and George Throssell, he was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1894 to 1901, and then a member of the Legislative Council from 1902 until his death.

William Sayer Australian politician

William Frederic Sayer KC was an Australian lawyer and politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1901 to 1902. He was attorney-general in the short-lived government of George Throssell.

A by-election for the seat of Claremont in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia was held on 11 June 1902. It was triggered by the resignation of William Sayer on 26 May. John Foulkes, a prominent local lawyer, won the election with 40.4 percent of the vote. Of the other four candidates, three entered parliament themselves at later dates.

References

Further reading

Preceded by
George Throssell
Premier of Western Australia
1901
Succeeded by
Alf Morgans
Preceded by
Alf Morgans
Premier of Western Australia
1901–1902
Succeeded by
Walter James