Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/437

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

employment in Melbourne as a reporter on the Argus. The next year he became editor of the Leader, the weekly journal published in connection with the Melbourne Age; and of the latter paper was subsequently sub-editor and, for a short time, editor. Whilst engaged as a journalist, Mr. Smith was admitted to the Victorian Bar in Sept. 1861, and in 1865 was elected to the Legislative Assembly for South Bourke as a Liberal and Protectionist. From July 1868 to Sept. 1869 Mr. Smith was Attorney-General in the second M'Culloch Ministry, but at the General Election in Jan. 1871 he did not seek re-election for South Bourke. In 1874, however, he was again returned unopposed, and sat till 1877, when the constituency was divided, and Mr. Smith was returned for the Boroondara portion. He died on Dec. 9th, 1877.

Smith, James, was born at George Town, on the river Tamar, Northern Tasmania, on July 1st, 1827. For some years he followed the business of engineer and miller with Mr. Guillan, of Launceston, but this occupation did not suit his adventurous spirit, and on the discovery of gold in Australia he threw up his employment, and went to the diggings. In 1853 he returned to Tasmania, and settled on the river Forth on the north coast. Thenceforward he became an ardent searcher for minerals, his zeal for mineralogy earning for him the sobriquet of "Philosopher Smith," by which name he was long well known in Northern Tasmania. In 1859 he discovered gold in the river Forth, and silver on the beach at the Penguin in 1861. Still continuing his search for minerals, he worked his way alone through the dense scrub and forest to Mount Bischoff, where on Dec. 4th, 1871, he discovered the enormous tin deposit since become so famous. He took up two eighty-acre sections on the Mount, which are now worked by the Mount Bischoff Tin Mining Company, having proved to be the richest tin mine in the world. Mr. Smith's discovery was of the greatest importance to his native colony, not only from its intrinsic value, but also from the great impetus it gave to the mining industry, opening the way for the great development of mineral wealth in the west of Tasmania. In recognition of his services, the Parliament of Tasmania in 1879 voted him a life pension of £200 per annum. Mr. Smith was induced in 1886 to offer himself as a candidate for the Legislative Council. He was elected without opposition for the Mersey district, but, finding politics uncongenial, he resigned his seat in 1888. He resides at Westwood, Hamilton-on-Forth.

Smith, James, the eminent Victorian journalist, was born near Maidstone, in the county of Kent, and took to literary pursuits before he was out of his teens. He contributed occasionally to the London Punch, which brought him into connection with Douglas Jerrold, with whom he was associated in the Illuminated Magazine, for which he wrote regularly. Mr. Smith was appointed at the age of twenty editor of the Herts County Press, and afterwards took the editorship of the Salisbury Journal, which he held from 1849 to 1854, and organised in that city the first provincial exhibition held in England. Mr. Smith went out to Australia at the end of 1854, and joined the staff of the Argus in 1856, as leader-writer, fine art and dramatic critic, and has been uninterruptedly connected with that journal ever since. In the first-named capacity he called public attention to the importance of forming reservoirs and introducing artificial irrigation, and also of preserving the mountain forests from destruction. He likewise advocated the institution of a National Gallery, and was one of the founders and the second editor of Melbourne Punch, also editor of the first evening paper, The Evening Mail, published in Melbourne. Mr. Smith was Librarian to the Parliament from 1863 to 1868, when the office was abolished, because his political opinions were regarded as hostile to those of the Government of the day. While there he re-modelled, catalogued, and classified the library. Mr. Smith has been a public lecturer for thirty-six years, and wrote a three-act drama, Garibaldi, successfully produced at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, Melbourne, in 1860, also a farce entitled A Broil at the Café, played at the Theatre Royal. Mr. Smith has published "Rural Records" (two editions), 1848; "Oracles from the British Poets," 1851; "Wilton and its Associations," 1851; "Lights and Shadows of Artist Life and Character," 1853; "From Melbourne to Melrose," 1888.