Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Leake, George

LEAKE, GEORGE (1856–1902), premier of Western Australia, born at Perth, Western Australia, in 1856, was eldest son of George Walpole Leake, Q.C. His family had long taken a prominent part in the parliamentary and official life of Western Australia. His father (after filling many public offices in the colony between 1870 and 1890) was a member of the first legislative council under responsible government from 1890 until July 1894, when the council under the Constitution Act of 1889 became elective. His uncle, Sir Luke Samuel Leake, was speaker of the legislative council from 19 Oct. 1870 till his death on 1 May 1886.

After education at Bishop's Boys' School (now Perth High School) and St Peter's Collegiate School, Adelaide, George Leake, having been articled to his father, was admitted to the bar of the supreme court in May 1880 and was taken into partnership by his father. From 1878 to 1880 he was clerk to the registrar of the supreme court and assistant clerk of the legislative council, and after acting for a time as crown solicitor, he held the office permanently, except for a brief interval, from May 1883 to July 1894. In 1886 he acted temporarily as attorney-general and member of the executive council.

Leake, who attained a prominent position in his profession, was returned to the first legislative assembly as member for Roebourne in 1890, when the colony granted responsible government. He declined the offer of a poet in the ministry of Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Forrest. In June 1894 he was elected member for Albany in opposition to the Forrest ministry, was re-elected in May 1897, and resigned in August 1900 on visiting England. In April 1901 he returned to parliament as member for West Berth. He was made a Q.C. in 1898 on the recommendation of Sir John Forrest. Leake, a strong advocate of federation, was president of the Federation League of Western Australia, and a delegate to the Australian Federal Convention at Adelaide in 1897.

On the resignation of Mr. Throssel in May 1901 Leake formed a ministry in which he was both attorney-general and premier. His government had no working majority and was defeated in October, Leake resigning on 21 Nov. 1901. An attempt to form a coalition ministry failed, but Mr. Morgans, his successor, proved unable to carry on the government, and Leake formed on 23 Dec. 1901 his second administration, which lasted till his death six months later at Perth on 24 June 1902. Accorded a public funeral, he was buried in the East Perth cemetery. The London Gazette of 26 June 1902 stated that it was King Edward VII's intention to confer the C.M.G. on him at the coronation. He was a keen lover of sport and a prominent cricketer in his younger days. In later life he took a strong interest in racing, and was chairman of the Western Australia Turf Club. Leake married in 1881 Louisa, eldest daughter of Sir Archibald Paull Burt, sometime chief justice of Western Australia, and had issue.

[Colonial Office List, 1902; Who's Who, 1902; The Times, 26 June 1902; West Australian, 25 June 1902; Year Book of Australia, 1897–1902; Mennell's Dict. of Australasian Biog., 1892; Colonial Office Records.]

C. A.