LEE-STEERE, Sir James George (1830-1903)


LEE-STEERE, Sir James George (1830-1903)
speaker legislative assembly, Western Australia
was born at Ockley, Surrey, England, on 4 July 1830. His father was a leading resident and landed proprietor in the county. After being educated at Clapham grammar school, Lee-Steere became a midshipman in the merchant service and was at sea for 15 years. His last position was commander of the Devonshire, well-known East Indiaman. Early in 1860 he emigrated to Western Australia and leased 100,000 acres of land in the southern part of the colony. In 1867 he was one of the first elected members of the legislative council, won his seat again in 1870, and was then chosen leader of the elected members. In 1880 he lost his seat by one vote but almost immediately became a nominee member. He was made a member of the executive council in 1884 and two years later was elected speaker. In 1890 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly under responsible government and was unanimously elected speaker. He held this position for the remainder of his life. He represented Western Australia at the federal conventions of 1891 and 1897, and was a member of the constitutional committee on each occasion. He died at Perth on 1 December 1903. He married in 1859 Catherine Anne Leake who survived him with a large family of sons and daughters. He was knighted in 1888, and created K.C.M.G. in 1900.
Lee-Steere was an able, upright and hardworking member of the community. A good constitutional authority and an able speaker he was held in great respect by all parties in the house and by the public generally.
The West Australian, 1 and 2 December 1903; Who's Who, 1903; Quick and Garran, The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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