James George Lee Steere

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Sir James George Lee Steere KCMG (4 July 1830 – 1 December 1903) was a Western Australian politician and a prominent member of the six hungry families.

James George Lee Steere
James Lee Steere (1898).jpg
Steere in 1898.
Born4 July 1830
Ockley, Surrey, England
DiedDecember 1, 1903(1903-12-01) (aged 73)
Resting placeKarrakatta Cemetery
EducationClapham Grammar School
Spouse(s)Catherine Anne Leake
Parent(s)Lee Steere
RelativesLuke Leake (father-in-law)


Early lifeEdit

James Steere was born on 4 July 1830 in Ockley, Surrey, England.[1] He was the third of six sons of Lee Steere of Jayes, who was a leading resident and landed proprietor in the county (including High Sheriff in 1848[2]), and his wife Anne, née Watson.[1] He was educated at Clapham Grammar School.


He became a midshipman in the merchant service and was at sea for fifteen years. His last position was commander of the Devonshire, well-known East Indiaman.[3]

Early in 1860, he emigrated to Western Australia and leased 100,000 acres (400 km²) of land in the southern part of the colony. In 1867, he was one of the first elected members of the Western Australian Legislative Council, won his seat again in 1870, and was then chosen leader of the elected members. In 1880, he lost his seat by one vote but almost immediately became a nominee member. He was made a member of the Executive Council in 1884 and two years later was elected Speaker. In 1890, he was elected a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly under responsible government and was unanimously elected Speaker. He held this position for the remainder of his life.[3]

He represented Western Australia at the federal conventions of 1891 and 1897, and was a member of the constitutional committee on each occasion. He was knighted in 1888, and created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the New Year Honours list January 1900.[4] He was regarded as an able, upright and hardworking member of the community. A good constitutional authority and an able Speaker, he was held in great respect by all parties in the house and by the public generally.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Catherine Anne Leake, daughter of Sir Luke Leake, in 1859.[3] They had 15 children,[5] 11 of whom outlived him.[1]


He died in Perth, Western Australia, on 1 December 1903, and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.[6] Artist Florence Fuller posthumously painted his portrait, which was acquired by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Bolton, G. C. (1990). "Steere, Sir James George Lee (1830 - 1903)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 12. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 11 September 2009 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ Kimberly, Warren Bert (1897). History of West Australia/James George Lee-Steere  – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ a b c d Serle, Percival (1949). "Lee-Steere, James George". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  4. ^ "No. 27150". The London Gazette. 2 January 1900. p. 2.
  5. ^ Rica Erickson (1988). The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians: pre-1829 – 1888. 3 K–Q. University of Western Australia Press. p. 1838. ISBN 0 85564 276 9. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Summary of Record Information - James George Lee Steere". Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  7. ^ "The Museum and Art Gallery". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 16 May 1905. p. 2 Edition: Third edition. Retrieved 6 November 2013.


  • Muir, Alison & Dinee (1982). Forrest Family, Pioneers of Western Australia, 1842-1982. J.R. Muir & Son. p. 26. ISBN 0-9592883-0-9.
  • Schorer, Albert (1968). History of the Upper Blackwood. Bunbury, Western Australia: South West Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd. pp. 24–36.
  • Mennell, Philip (1892). "Lee Steere, Hon. Sir James George" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.