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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/MacBain, Hon. Sir James

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MacBain, Hon. Sir James, M.L.C., K.C.M.G., is the youngest son of the late Smith MacBain, of Invergordon, Ross-shire, and was born at Kinrhives in that county in 1828. Having served a business apprenticeship in Inverness, he married in 1853 Jessie, youngest daughter of the late William Smith, of Forres, and sister of the late Duncan Smith, manager of the Oriental Bank Corporation at Bombay. Immediately afterwards he came to Melbourne, where he entered the service of the Bank of New South Wales, which, however, he shortly quitted, and became partner in Melbourne of the mercantile and squatting agency firm of Gibbs, Ronald & Co. In 1863 he became a partner in the Geelong and London business of that firm, and of Richard Gibbs & Co., of London. In 1865 the business of the former was sold to the Australian Mortgage, Land and Finance Company, Limited, of the Australian Board of which Sir James is chairman. Sir James is a member of the Council, and a trustee of both the Ormond College, affiliated to Melbourne University, and of the Working Men's College, Melbourne. He is also a trustee of the Scotch College and the Ladies' Presbyterian College, and of the Public Library and National Gallery in that city. Sir James represented the Wimmera district in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria from 1864 to 1880, and in the latter year was elected to the Legislative Council for the Central province. He was a member of the O'Loghlen Government without portfolio from August 1881 to March 1883, in which year he visited Europe and acted as chairman of the Victorian Commission at the Amsterdam Exhibition. In the next year Sir James McBain was elected for the South Yarra province, and succeeded the late Sir W. F. Mitchell as President of the Legislative Council, a position which he still holds. He was knighted in May 1886, and having in the meantime acted as president or the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition, was created K.C.M.G. in 1889.