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Hon. James G. Francis

1819 – 1884

James Goodall Francis (1819–1884), a London-born merchant and politician, arrived in Hobart as a steerage passenger in February 1835. He later found work with the firm Boyes & Poynter, becoming a partner in a subsequent form of the business and moving to Melbourne to open a branch there in 1853. Later the founder of the mercantile firm Francis & McPherson, his business interests encompassed banking, insurance, coal-mining, gold-mining and forestry along with pastoral and wine-growing enterprises, and included directorships with companies such as the Bank of New South Wales and the Victoria Sugar Co. An erstwhile president of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, Francis was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1859; he was Commissioner of Trade and Customs and Treasurer in James McCulloch’s administrations (1863-68 and 1870-71), and was Premier and Chief Secretary from June 1872 to July 1874. Francis thrice refused a knighthood; in declining health, he was elected member for Warrnambool in 1878 and served in this role until his death in 1884.

Updated 2018