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Sir James Mitchell GCMG (27 April 1866 – 26 July 1951) was the 13th Premier of Western Australiamarker, serving on two occasions, the Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia for 15 years and the 22nd Governor of Western Australia.

Mitchell, the eldest of thirteen children, was educated at Bunbury, Western Australiamarker and in 1885 joined the Western Australian Bank. He later was a farmer.

In 1906, the state premier Newton Moore made Mitchell an honorary minister for agricultural expansion. In 1909 he was promoted, being given the portfolios of lands and agriculture. He recruited William Lowrie as director of agriculture.

On 17 May 1919, premier Hal Colebatch resigned and Mitchell succeeded to the position. Mitchell won the 1921 election and remained premier until 1924. During this period he garnered much publicity for his strong support for the Soldier-Settlement Scheme in the south-west of Western Australia. As a result of his enthusiastic promotion of this scheme (which ultimately proved very costly in terms of money and resources) he was dubbed "Moo-Cow" Mitchell by the local press. Nonetheless the establishment of a dairy industry in Western Australia can be largely credited to him. He also proved adept at dealing with the divisions between the Nationalist Party and the Country Party.

Mitchell's election to a second term in office coincided with the onset of the Great Depression. His government was defeated at the 1933 state elections, in addition to which he became the first Western Australian premier to lose both a state election and his parliamentary seat (of Northam).

As a result of financial difficulties during the Great Depression, Tasmaniamarker had appointed a lieutenant governor in the 1930s. With the approval of the major political parties, in July 1933 Mitchell was appointed lieutenant governor of Western Australia. This meant that, although he resided in Government Housemarker, and was governor in all but name, he drew no salary, thus making a reduced demand on the public purse at a time when ordinary people were under severe restraint. He held the position until he was finally appointed governor in 1948. He retired from the post in June 1951, and died one month later.

Mitchell was the first Australian-born governor of Western Australia, and he remains the only person to have served as both Premier and Governor of the state. The Mitchell Freewaymarker was named in his honour, as was Sir James Mitchell Park in Victoria Parkmarker and Sir James Mitchell National Park.


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