1897 Western Australian colonial election

Elections were held in the state of Western Australia between 27 April and 26 May 1897 to elect 44 members to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. The Ministerialist group led by John Forrest won a third term in office as a result of the elections. The poll took place based on boundaries established in the Constitution Act Amendment Act 1896, which increased the number of members from 33 mainly by adding new seats in the Goldfields region, and had been called a year earlier than was necessary.[1] In 18 of the 44 seats, only one candidate nominated and polls were not held.

1897 Western Australian colonial election

← 1894 27 April – 26 May 1897 1901 →

All 44 seats in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
  First party Second party
  John Forrest 1898.jpg George Leake.jpg
Leader John Forrest George Leake
Party Ministerialist Oppositionist
Leader since 22 December 1890 1895
Leader's seat Bunbury Albany
Last election 19 seats 13 seats
Seats won 29 seats 8 seats
Seat change Increase10 Decrease5
Percentage 49.80% 27.35%

Premier before election

John Forrest

Elected Premier

John Forrest

As payment of members was not introduced until 1900, the Political Labour Party, formed in 1896, had found it difficult to attract candidates who could afford to enter Parliament, but three of its candidates ran for election, and Charles Oldham, a former president of the Trades and Labor Council, became the first Labour member of Parliament in Western Australia.


Western Australian state election, 1897
Legislative Assembly

Enrolled voters 17,114[1]
Votes cast 9,016 Turnout 52.68%
Informal votes 279 Informal 3.09%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Ministerial 4,351 49.80% 29[1] + 10
  Opposition 2,390 27.35% 8 – 5
  Independent 1,613 18.46% 6 + 5
  Labor 383 4.38% +4.38% 1 + 1
Total 8,737     44  


1 The Ministerialists' total of 29 seats includes 16 which were uncontested, representing 4,297 of the 23,318 enrolled voters. A further two seats, won by George Leake (Albany, Oppositionist) and Elias Solomon (South Fremantle, Independent) representing 1,907 enrolled voters were also uncontested.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ de Garis, Brian (1991). "Self-Government and Political Parties". In Black, David (ed.). The house on the hill: A history of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990. West Perth: Parliament of Western Australia. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-7309-3983-9.