Edward Wittenoom

Sir Edward Horne Wittenoom KCMG (12 February 1854 – 5 March 1936) was an Australian politician who served intermittently in the Legislative Council of Western Australia between 1883 and 1934, including as President of the Legislative Council from 1922 to 1926. He sat in the Legislative Council from 1883 to 1884, 1885 to 1886, 1894 to 1898, 1902 to 1906, and finally from 1910 to 1934. Wittenoom was a minister in the government of Sir John Forrest, and was also Agent-General for Western Australia between 1898 and 1901.

Edward Wittenoom

President of the Legislative Council
of Western Australia
In office
27 July 1922  10 August 1926
Preceded byWalter Kingsmill
Succeeded byJohn Kirwan
Member of the Legislative Council
of Western Australia
In office
30 May 1883  23 January 1884
Preceded byMaitland Brown
Succeeded byJohn Davis
In office
25 June 1885  6 November 1886
Preceded bySamuel Mitchell
Succeeded byEdward Keane
In office
16 July 1894  28 April 1898
Preceded byNone (new creation)
Succeeded byWilliam Loton
ConstituencyCentral Province
In office
12 May 1902  6 November 1906
Preceded byDonald MacKay
Succeeded byRichard Pennefather
ConstituencyNorth Province
In office
13 May 1910  12 May 1934
Preceded byRobert Frederick Sholl
Succeeded byEdward Angelo
ConstituencyNorth Province
Personal details
Born(1854-12-12)12 December 1854
Fremantle, Western Australia
Died5 March 1936(1936-03-05) (aged 81)
West Perth, Western Australia
Political partyLiberal (to 1917)
Nationalist (after 1917)


Early life

Born in Fremantle, Western Australia on 12 February 1854, Wittenoom was the son of bank director and pastoralist Charles Wittenoom. He was educated at Bishop Hale's School (now Hale School) in Perth, then at 15 worked at Bowes sheep station at Northampton from the age of 15. In 1874, he took up sheep farming with his brother Frank at Yuin in the Murchison district, before returning to Bowes in 1877 to lease and manage it. On 23 April 1878 he married Laura Habgood; they would have two sons and three daughters.[1]

In 1881, Wittenoom purchased the Geraldton station White Peak from John Drummond, and established a sheep stud farm there. From 1883 to 1886 he also owned a station at La Grange. He ran a stock and station agency in Geraldton in 1886 and 1887, but later sold it. He became heavily involved in business and finance, becoming managing director for Dalgety & Co. in 1901; chairman of directors of Millars Karri and Jarrah Co.; chairman of Bovril Australian Estates; director of the Bank of New South Wales; director of Commercial Union Insurance; and director of the WA Bank. He was president of the Pastoralists' Association from 1912 to 1915, and again in 1917.[1]

Political career

From around 1883, Wittenoom became increasingly involved in public life. On 30 May of that year he was elected to the Legislative Council's Geraldton seat in a by-election occasioned by the resignation of Maitland Brown. Wittenoom resigned the seat on 23 January 1884 and was replaced by John Sydney Davis. He again won the seat in a by-election on 25 June 1885 but resigned again on 6 November 1886. He became a member of the Murchison Road Board in 1890.[1]

On 16 July 1894 Wittenoom was elected to the Legislative Council for the Central Province. On 19 December of that year he was appointed Minister for Mines, Education, and Posts and Telegraphs in the Forrest ministry. At that time, newly appointed ministers were required to re-contest their seats, so Wittenoom resigned his seat on 19 December, and was re-elected in the subsequent ministerial by-election of 16 January 1895. He retained his seat and ministerial portfolio until the general election of 28 April 1898, which he did not contest. The following month he was appointed Agent General for Western Australia in London, a position that he held until 1901.[1]

While in the UK, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1900, being the last KCMG to be personally invested by Queen Victoria at Osborne House prior to her death in January 1901.[1]

On returning to Western Australia, Wittenoom was again elected to the Legislative Council on 12 May 1902, this time for the North Province. He held his seat until 6 November 1906, when he resigned to contest a seat in the Australian Senate in the federal election of 12 December. He stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Western Australian Party.[2] He returned to state politics in the following election, winning a North Province seat in the Legislative Council on 13 May 1910. He would hold this seat for 24 years, finally losing after declining to contest the election of 12 May 1934. During this period, he was President of the Legislative Council from 27 July 1922 to 10 August 1926. He also spent a brief period at consul for France in Western Australia.[1]

Final years

Wittenoom's first wife died in 1923, and on 22 December 1924 he married Isobel du Boulay, with whom he would have two daughters. Wittenoom died at West Perth on 5 March 1936, and was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.[1]

One of Wittenoom's sons, Charles Horne Wittenoom, also became a member of the Legislative Council. The town of Wittenoom is named for his brother, Frank Wittenoom.[1]


  1. G. C. Bolton, Wendy Birman (1990) "Wittenoom, Sir Edward Charles (Horne) (1854–1936)", pp. 553–554 in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press.
  2. "THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 10 November 1906. p. 11. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

Further reading

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