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Mitchell, Sir Edward Fancourt (1855–1941)

Sir Edward Fancourt Mitchell, K.C.M.G., K.C., died at his home at South Yarra yesterday after a short illness. He was aged 86 years.

Sir Edward Mitchell was born at Richmond, Surrey, England, and came to Victoria with his father when a boy. From Melbourne Grammar School he obtained an exhibition in mathematics, and entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge, two years later.

Called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, London, in 1881, he was admitted to the Victorian Bar in the same year, and practised continuously in Australia for considerably more than 50 years. In fact, Sir Edward Mitchell never officially retired from practice.

In the days before Federation he was engaged almost exclusively in the Supreme Court, and after Federation there was scarcely a constitutional action of importance in the High Court of Australia in which he did not appear. Appointed King's Counsel in 1904, he became leader of the Bar in Victoria in 1913.

Perhaps the most important position he held outside his professional activities was that of chairman of the Edward Wilson (of The Argus) Trust, He and his co-trustees discharged the responsible duty of making the periodical distribution of profits to charitable institutions in accordance with Mr. Wilson's will.

Sir Edward Mitchell was chairman at the time of the jubilee distribution of accumulated funds amounting to £154,000, in 1928. By that time £1,000,000 had been paid out of the estate to charities. Sir Edward Mitchell maintained a deep interest in pastoral affairs, and owned, in conjunction with his son-in-law, Mr. W. Duke Armit, a station. Bindi, in East Gippsland.

Important posts which he held at various times were chancellor of the Diocese of Melbourne, president of the Old Melburnians in 1905-6, president of the Melbourne Cricket Club, president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria, and member of the Australian Board of Cricket Control. He was a member of the Melbourne Club, Australian Club, and Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Sir Edward Mitchell is survived by Lady Mitchell and four daughters—Mrs. Duke Armit, Mrs. G. H. Adams, of South Yarra; Miss Janet Mitchell, and Miss Mary Mitchell (the authoress).

The funeral, which will be private, will leave the parlours of A. A. Sleight Pty. Ltd.. St. Kilda road, at 4 p.m. to-day, for St. Kilda Cemetery.

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Citation details

'Mitchell, Sir Edward Fancourt (1855–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 August 2020.

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