Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms
For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Early proposals
Six colonies
Drafting a constitution
Declaration of the Commonwealth
Conducting the first Federal election
Who could vote?
The election campaign
9 May 1901
The royal visit
The first federal parliamentarians
Ministry of May, 1901
Edmund Barton
Political parties
Legislative program
Relationship between the houses

Members of the First Parliament

James Hiers McColl

James Hiers McColl (1844-1929)

Member for Echuca (Victoria) 1901-1906, Senator for Victoria 1907-1914

Born in South Shields, Durham, England, James McColl migrated with his family to Melbourne in 1853. The family settled in Bendigo and James served an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner with the intention of becoming a mechanical engineer. In 1873 he became an insurance agent and legal manager of companies in the firm McColl and Rankin. McColl was a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly 1886-1901, during which time he was Minister for Mines and Water Supply (1893-04), Minister of Forests, and Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey (1899-1900).

In 1901 McColl, a Protectionist, was elected to represent the federal seat of Echuca in the House of Representatives at the first federal election. He retired from the House of Representatives in 1906 and in the same year was elected to represent Victoria in the Senate. He was Vice-President of the Executive Council 1913-14 during the Cook Government.

McColl believed that the future of Victoria lay in agricultural and mining development and worked hard to encourage this. In 1917 he purchased an irrigation property north of Bendigo which he ran until his retirement. McColl found time to teach Sunday school at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bendigo, for 55 years.

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