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Sir Hal Pateshall Colebatch (Nationalist)

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Sir Hal Pateshall Colebatch 17 April 1919 to 17 May 1919

Sir Hal Colebatch was Premier for just one month.

He was the first and only member of the Legislative Council to be appointed Premier. His resignation came about because he had expected a seat would be found for him in the Assembly but due to industrial unrest and hostility towards his government this did not eventuate.

He resigned and asked the Governor to send for James Mitchell. Sir Hal was from Herefordshire in England and came to Australia in 1878. He settled in South Australia with his parents. It was here that his great interest in journalism began with a six-year stint on The Silver Age. In 1895, he came to WA and worked on two Goldfields newspapers, including The Kalgoorlie Miner.

A year later he moved to Perth and soon after bought the Northam Advertiser in partnership with a former business colleague. Sir Hal had a widespread reputation for his writing and his love of reading. He first entered public life as Mayor of Northam, a position he took up in 1909, four years after he bought the local newspaper. He was elected MLC for East Province in 1912. He held ministerial posts in the Wilson and Lefroy governments before his brief appointment as Premier.

He became a minister in the Mitchell government after his resignation and was responsible for setting up a special department for the North West. He resigned his seat in 1923 to become Agent General in London. He was knighted in 1927. On his return to Australia he stood for a federal Senate seat and won. He served there from 1929 until 1933 when he was reappointed Agent General for WA.

He went to London until 1939 and then returned home - again standing for State Parliament the following year. He won the Upper House seat for Metropolitan Province. In 1948, he lost the seat to a younger candidate endorsed along with himself by the Liberal Party.

He died in 1953.


Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.