James Strachan (Australian politician)

James Ford Strachan (1810 – 14 April 1875) was a merchant, grazier and politician in colonial Victoria (Australia), member of the Victorian Legislative Council.[1]

Strachan was born in Montrose, Scotland, the fifth son of John Strachan and his wife Isobel, née Smith.[2] Strachan arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1832 with his widowed mother and two sisters.[2] He was an early settler in Port Phillip District (which later became Victoria), and a leading merchant in Melbourne, in which city he built the first brick store.[1]

Mausoleum of James Strachan at Geelong's Western Cemetery

Strachan was an active promoter of separation from New South Wales, and when the colony of Victoria was constituted in 1851 he was returned to the semi-elective Legislative Council, then the only chamber, as member for Geelong in October of that year.[1] After responsible government was conceded in 1855, Strachan was elected to the first wholly elective Legislative Council for the South-Western Province in November 1856.[3] He was a member of the second Haines Ministry without portfolio from April 1857 to March 1858.[1] During the great constitutional battle between the two Houses on the tariff and Darling grant "tacks" Strachan took a leading part on the side of the Council, and resigning his seat for the South-Western Province, contested the Western Province against Henry Miller, who had accepted office under Sir James McCulloch, and defeated him on 10 August 1866.[4] Strachan held the seat until September 1874.[3]

Strachan died at Geelong, Victoria on 14 April 1875, aged sixty-five years.[1] He was married to Lilias Cross née Murray,[3] daughter of Hugh Murray, a fellow Scottish emigrant, merchant and grazier.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Strachan, Hon. James Ford". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
  2. 1 2 3 Brown, P. L. "Strachan, James Ford (1810–1875)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 "Strachan, James Ford". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria.
  4. "Telegraphic.". The Brisbane Courier. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 11 August 1866. p. 4. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
Victorian Legislative Council
New district Member for Geelong
With: Robert Robinson 1851–1852
Alexander Thomson 1852–1854
James Cowie 1853–1854
Alexander Fyfe 1854–1856
James Harrison 1854–1856
Original Council abolished
New district Member for South Western Province
With: James Henty 1856–66
William Roope1856–60, John McCrae 1860–66
J. Cowie 1856–58, G. Coppin 1858–63, C. Jenner 1863–66
Robert Hope 1856–64, John Lowe 1864–66
Succeeded by
George Rolfe
Preceded by
Henry Miller
Member for Western Province
With: Stephen Henty 1866–70, William Skene 1870–74
Charles Sladen 1866–68, Robert Simson 1868–74
James Palmer 1866–70, Thomas McKellar 1870–74
Niel Black 1866–74
Succeeded by
Thomas Bromell
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