1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Forrest, Sir John
FORREST, SIR JOHN (1847- ) , West Australian statesman and explorer, son of William Forrest, of Bunbury, West Australia, was born near Bunbury, on the 22nd of August 1847, and educated at Perth, W.A. In 1865 he became connected with the Government Survey Department at Perth, and in 1869 led an exploring expedition into the interior in search of D. Leichardt, penetrating through bush and salt-marshes as far inland as 123° E. In 1870 he again made an expedition from Perth to Adelaide, along the southern shores. In 1874, with his brother Alexander Forrest (born 1849), he explored eastwards from Champion Bay, following as far as possible the 26th parallel, and striking the telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Darwin; a distance of about 2000 m. was covered in about five months with horses and without carriers, a particularly fine achievement (see Australia: Exploration). John Forrest also surveyed in 1878 the north-western district between the rivers Ashburton and Lady Grey, and in 1882 the Fitzroy district. In 1876 he was made deputy surveyor-general, receiving the thanks of the colony for his services and a grant of 5000 acres of land; for a few months at the end of 1878 he acted as commissioner of crown lands and surveyor-general, being given the full appointment in 1883 and retaining it till 1890. When the colony obtained in 1890 its constitution of self-government, Sir John Forrest (who was made K.C.M.G. in 1891, and G.C.M.G. in 1901) became its first premier, and he held that position till in 1901 he joined the Commonwealth government, first as minister for defence, later as minister for home affairs and postmaster-general, resigning the office of federal treasurer in July 1907. His influence in West Australia was one of an almost autocratic character, owing to the robust vigour of his personality and his success in enforcing his views (see Western Australia: History). In 1897 he was made a member of the Privy Council. Sir John Forrest married in 1876 Margaret Hamersley. He published Explorations in Australia (1876) and Notes on Western Australia (1884-1887).