The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Palmer, Hon. Sir James Frederick

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Palmer, Hon. Sir James Frederick, first President of the Legislative Council of Victoria, was the fourth son of the Rev. John Palmer, of Torrington, Devonshire, and Jane his wife, daughter of William Johnson. He was born in 1804, and married in 1832 Isabella, third daughter of John Gunning, C.B., Inspector-General of Hospitals. He was educated for the medical profession, and went in 1839 to Port Phillip, where he practised his profession for a time, and then went into business as a cordial manufacturer and subsequently as a wine merchant. In 1846 he was Mayor of Melbourne, and in 1848 was elected to the Legislative Council of New South Wales as one of the five representatives of Port Phillip. When the latter district was separated from New South Wales in 1851, Mr. Palmer was returned to the first Legislative Council, then the only chamber, as member for Normanby, Dundas, and Follet. In Dec. of the same year he was elected Speaker of the Legislative Council, and held that post till responsible government was conceded, and he was elected to the new Legislative Council in the bicameral Parliament for the Western Province in 1856. When Parliament met he was elected first President of the Legislative Council in Nov. 1856, and was re-elected in Oct. 1859, August 1861, Nov. 1864, Feb. 1866, and March 1868. In Oct. 1870 he resigned, and was succeeded by Sir W. H. F. Mitchell. He was knighted in 1857, and died on April 23rd, 1871.