LORIMER (Street; G 19/7/1895 proclaimed 1880)
Sir James Lorimer, merchant and MLC; Minister of Defence and chairman of Harbour Trust
Sir James Lorimer (1831-1889) was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, son of Thomas Lorimer, merchant, and his wife Catherine. Educated at Hatton Hall Academy, he was articled to a Liverpool softgoods firm trading with America and Africa. Advised for health reasons to take a long voyage, he arrived in Victoria in 1853 and decided to stay. Soon afterwards he founded the firm of Lorimer, Mackie & Co, merchants and shipping agents for the White Star Line. The firm later amalgamated with John Swire & Sons of London and Liverpool, set up a Sydney branch and after his partner retired became known as Lorimer, Rome & Co.
Lorimer was vice-president of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce in 1864 and 1867-68 and president in 1868-70. A foundation member and first chairman of the Melbourne Harbour Trust, he was dropped as chairman by Berry for party reasons but soon rejoined the trust as a representative for the merchants and traders of Melbourne. He was a director of various banks and insurance companies. He had helped to form the Free Trade League; he became its president in 1865 but had little taste for political warfare and did not enter politics until 1878 when he was elected to the Legislative Council for Central Province. After redistribution he was elected unopposed in 1884 for Melbourne Province. He joined the Gillies-Deakin ministry in February 1886 as minister of defence. With Deakin and Berry he attended the Colonial Conference in London in 1887, and was appointed KCMG during the conference. Lorimer was respected in parliament for his `deliberate and mature judgment, ready commonsense and temperate demeanor’. He contributed to the work of the Harbour Trust and formation of the harbour battery for the defence of Melbourne.
In March 1858 Lorimer had married Eliza Kenworthy, daughter of the United States consul in Sydney. He died of pleurisy and was survived by his wife and ten of his eleven children.
References Miles; ADB #5 1851-1890, K – Q