Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/41

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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.

to the aims of the Anti-Transportation League. On the introduction of responsible government in 1856, he was elected a member of the House of Assembly for the Franklin district. He retained his seat in the Assembly, with the exception of one session, until his death, a period of twenty-four years, representing successively Franklin, South Launceston, and West Hobart. Mr. Balfe's speeches were marked by considerable power of humorous satire, and his ability and force as a debater made him for many years a prominent figure in Tasmanian politics. He was at various periods editor of several Tasmanian newspapers. He died at Hobart on December 13th, 1880. An account of his trial for assaulting Mr. T. G. Gregson was published in Tasmania in 1853.

Balfour, Hon. James, M.L.C., son of John Balfour, a merchant of Leith, was born in 1830 in Edinburgh, and educated at the Edinburgh Academy and the University. After some commercial experience in London, from 1849 to 1852, he went to Melbourne as the representative of Messrs. Matheson, of Lombard Street, to the firm of James Henty & Co. In 1854 he opened a branch house of the latter firm at Geelong. He visited England in 1857-8, resigned his position in Geelong in 1863, and in 1866 entered the Assembly as member for East Bourke. He was for three years one of the Commissioners of Education prior to the organisation of the department under a responsible minister. In 1868 he made another visit to England, prior to which he resigned his seat in the Assembly, and returned to Australia and entered the Legislative Council in 1874, being re-elected for the south-eastern province on Aug. 17th, 1880. He made another trip home in 1878, and on his return established the firm of Balfour, Elliott, & Co., which was made into a limited company in 1887. Mr. Balfour is an old member of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, of which he has been President and Vice-President. He acted on the Irrigation and Water Supply, and on the Banking Laws Commissions; is Chairman of the Australian Deposit and Mortgage Bank, Limited, and of the Equitable Assurance Company of the United States, and Vice-Chairman of the Trustees, Executors, and Agency Company, Limited, and is a member of the Council of Ormond College. In 1859 he married Frances Charlotte, eldest daughter of the late Hon. James Henty, M.L.C. Mr. Balfour was a member of the Gillies Government without portfolio from May 1890 till its resignation in November of that year.

Ballance, Hon. John, M.H.R., Premier of New Zealand, was born at Glenavy, in the county of Antrim, Ireland, on March 27th, 1839, his father, Samuel Ballance, being a tenant farmer on Lord Hertford's estate. He received his preliminary education at the National School, but at the age of fourteen left his father's farm to be apprenticed to an ironmonger. This line of life took him later on to Birmingham, where he remained eight years, profiting in every way by the intellectual progressive life of the great manufacturing centre. While following his business he found time to attend the evening classes in the Midland Institute for the purpose of completing his education. Earnestly bent on self-culture, he took part in debating societies, and contributed largely to the press. At the age of twenty-seven he determined to emigrate, and, sailing for New Zealand, arrived at Wellington in August 1866. He at once proceeded to Wanganui with the intention of engaging in sheep-farming, an occupation which he had been led to believe was an easy way of making money without much capital. On this point he was soon undeceived, and he then opened a jeweller's shop of the better class, but losing money in this enterprise, he promptly abandoned it and started a newspaper under the name of the Wanganui Herald, Of this paper Mr. Ballance was both proprietor and editor, and up to the present time he has continued to be its guiding spirit. As is usual with newly established newspapers in young communities, the Wanganui Herald had many initial difficulties to overcome; but in the end its founder's energies were rewarded, and his "daily" became recognised throughout the colony as one of the best organs of public opinion. Mr. Ballance had soon achieved a reputation as an able and incisive writer; but it was not till he had surprised a Wanganui meeting by an unlooked-for speech that his qualities as a public speaker became appreciated. He contested the Egmont seat in 1873, in the interests of the Stafford Ministry, his

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