The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Fisher, Sir James Hurtle

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Fisher, Sir James Hurtle, son of the late James Fisher, a London architect, was born in 1790, and educated for the legal profession, practising as a solicitor in Cavendish Square from 1811 to 1832. When the colony of South Australia was founded, in 1836, he was appointed by the Imperial Government, Resident Commissioner for Crown Lands, and arrived in Adelaide with the first Governor, Captain Hindmarsh, in December, being present at the proclamation of the colony in that month. The pair quickly quarrelled over the selection of a site for the capital, and possessing virtually concurrent powers, and neither being inclined to give way, a deadlock ensued, which was only broken by the interference of the Home Government, who after their representatives had spent fourteen months in wrangling, dismissed the Commissioner and recalled the Governor. This occurred in Oct. 1838, Sir James Fisher thenceforward throwing in his lot with the colony, as a much- respected private citizen. The same year he became President of the School Society, and was elected first Mayor of Adelaide in 1840; being re-chosen five times subsequently, the last occasion being in 1853, in July of which year he was nominated to the Legislative Council, and held a seat till 1855, when he became a nominated non-official member and Speaker of the united Council which passed the Constitution Act. At the first election under the Constitution Act in 1857, Sir James was returned to the Legislative Council, and was chosen Speaker in April of that year, a position which he held until he retired from the Council in Feb. 1865. Sir James, who was an active patron of the turf, was created Knight Bachelor in May 1860, up to which year he successfully practised his profession, and was for some time leader of the South Australian bar. He died in Adelaide on Jan. 28th, 1875.