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BALFOUR, James Charles Murray (1914-1990)

James Balfour, c1965.

James Balfour, c1965.

BALFOUR, Hon James Charles Murray CBE (1914-1990)

James Balfour member of parliament and dairy farmer was born at Windsor, Victoria, on 30 September, 1914, and raised in a family with a long-tradition of public service.

His parents were James Miller Balfour and Katherine Elizabeth nee Murray. A great-uncle had been a Member of the Legislative Council, and his maternal grandfather was a senior Victorian public servant. His father, a Commonwealth public servant, served on the Central Wool Committee during the 1914-18 War and in later years became Chairman of the Dried Fruits Board. In 1936 he was elected to represent the Gippsland Province in the Legislative Council, and remained a Member of Parliament until his death in 1943.

James Balfour attended Haileybury College, but in 1928 became a boarder at the Geelong College where he was a member of the Athletics Team in 1928 and 1930. He left at the end of his Form V year in 1931. After leaving school he lived at Willow Grove in Gippsland, where he became a dairy farmer.

In 1946 he became actively interested in public affairs when he was elected to the Narracan Shire Council. Although his father had been a member of the Country Party, Mr. Balfour contested the Morwell District as a Liberal and Country Party candidate at the Legislative Assembly elections in 1955. Friction within the Labor Party and a consequent divided vote enabled him to win this former Labor stronghold. In 1958 he became Government Whip, and in 1961 Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet. Following the death of W J Mibus he briefly became Minister of Water Supply and Minister of Mines in 1964 before being appointed by the Premier, Henry Bolte, Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey, President of the Board of Land and Works, Minister of Soldier Settlement and Minister for Conservation on 8th July, 1964. He retired from parliament in 1983.

Sources: L G Houston. Ministers of Water Supply in Victoria p 91.
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