History of West Australia/Frank Wallace


Frank Wallace HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

THERE can be no doubt that the best blood and enterprise of the sister colonies of Australia have been efficient factors in the material development of Western Australia. The voluntary influx of this new leaven seems to have enriched the wholesome bread of political and commercial life. These men brought with them an accumulated knowledge of institutions and ordinances, and a complete fusion of temperaments and cognition has resulted, with salutary consequences to Western Australia.

Mr. Frank Wallace is a prominent coadjutor in the new regiment of legislators, and will unfailingly bring to bear his individual share of ripe and advanced ideas on promotive political endeavours. He was born on the Darling Downs in 1862. On leaving school he went into business in the north-west of Queensland for several years till, on the break out of the Kimberley rush, he left his native colony in 1886, and sailed for Western Australia. He proceeded to the auriferous localities, but only obtained fair compensation for his troubles and hardships. He returned soon after to Fremantle, and thence went to Geraldton, where he was successful in obtaining the managership of a large mercantile house. Geraldton was destined to become the port of a large gold-bearing district, and when Mount Magnet was proved Mr. Wallace joined in the van of the rush, and once on the spot he immediately started storekeeping and mining agency work. With tolerable success, consequent on the growing numbers of the township, he remained there for six months. Then favourable news heralded from Mingenew caused him to proceed to that point, and he traded as a forwarding and goods agent, and took an active interest in mining. He acquired shares in the concerns around, and was always a useful member in assisting cheerfully in formulating the rudimentary laws of municipal life. He co-operated willingly in all beneficial and reform movements for the welfare of the mining community, and his ability and energy were suitably acknowledged by the grateful esteem of the colonising inhabitants.

As ever happens in a gold-producing country, prospectors and miners drift unconsciously to some more distant outpost beyond. Mr. Wallace found himself in course of time at Mullewa. There he was very successful in the pursuit of store-keeping for two years, and when the Government decided to start a railway from this point to Cue, he followed up the line along its course, supplying its builders with the necessaries of life. When the line had been completed as far as Yalgoo he settled down there with more permanent intentions, and invested largely in various interests in the town. He acquired considerable landed property and real estate, and expressed his confidence in the auriferous capabilities of the district by extensive investments in the mines. There was much to be done in the way of municipal improvement in Yalgoo, and Mr. Wallace, feeling it an incumbent duty as a leading resident, put shoulder to the wheel, and undertook many responsible duties in the interests of the community. 0n the Roads Board he applied his endeavours as chairman for a long time. Several other institutions promotive of the welfare of the town were assisted by his advice. The Hospital Committee numbered him as one of its leading advising members, while the Yalgoo Racing Club owes its existence to his enthusiastic instrumentalilty, and he became president.

Before the elections of May, 1897, Mr. Wallace was asked to stand for the district. He was opposed by a strong politician, Mr. H. W. Mills, and after a keen and exciting struggle the poll declared in favour of Mr. Wallace by a majority of four. The electors were fully able to repose confidence in Mr. Wallace, and entrust him with the mandatory representation of their growing interests. He was widely known, and principles and qualifications for so high a trust of honour were adjudged to be eminently suitable. His past conduct and services merited that honourable esteem which the electorate thought fit to pay him. In the House of Assembly Mr. Wallace should prove an acquisition. His political views are vigorous and consistent. With the welfare of the community at heart, and endowed with skilful resources and weight, it cannot but be a normal expectation that large profit will accrue to the electorate from Mr. Wallace's representative presence in the House. In private life his many-sided forces of character are looked on with feelings of respect and admiration. With an inflexible will, a pleasant and modest disposition and intelligence, the only augur that can be formed of his future brightness is a steady rise to political prominence and success.