James Herbert Wilson

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James Herbert Wilson
In his office at the Public Works Department in the old Barracks.
Birth: , Melbourne
Death: , Perth
Parents: Mary Wilson (née McHarg)
    1843–1925, Scotland and Australia
William Wilson
    b. 1839 Perth, Scotland; d. 1914 Sydney, Australia
Siblings: Mary 'Maimie' Agnes Wilson
    11 May 1868 – 6 October 1957
Jessie Susan Wilson
    16 August 1876 – 1889
Margaret Rae Wilson
    17 July 1880 – 12 January 1959
William Garrick Wilson
    1865–1933, Sydney
Andrew Oswald Wilson
    1866-08-16 – 1950-06-19
Robert 'Bob' Crichton Wilson
James Herbert Wilson
Charles William McHarg Wilson
Agnes Hay Wilson
Partners: Edith Olive Wilson (née Hall)
Children: William Murray Wilson
Lilian Jessie Rae Hussey (née Wilson)
    b. 1910, d. c. 2013.
Dorothy Jean McHarg Agnew (née Wilson)
Frederick Gordon Wilson
Herbert Bruce Wilson
Olive Adele Lang (née Wilson)
Keywords: H.M. Wilson Archives
Permalink: archives.org.au/JHW
Wikidata: Q108117390
Wikitree: Wilson-84877
FamilySearch: KZ42-CX9

James Herbert Wilson ('Jim' to everyone save his mother; she called him Herbert) was born in 1872 in Collingwood, Melbourne.[1]

The family had land in Kinglake in Murrindindi Shire[2], and in his early 20s Jim went there to grow potatoes so that he could earn some money to support the family[3] back in Melbourne. While he was living up there in the little shack he built himself, his younger sister Jessie died of TB, and his brother Andrew moved to Perth to practice Architecture[3].

At the peak of the gold rush, in the 1890s, Jim followed him and they went to find gold in Kalgoorlie, but with no luck.[3].

He married Edith Olive Hall on 30 January 1904[1][4] in Perth[5][6] and they lived in a rented house in Lyall Street, South Perth.[3]

13 February 1904, The West Australian:[4]

WILSON—HALL.—On January 30, at St. John's Church, Perth, by the Rev. Canon Lefroy, James Herbert, fourth son of William Wilson, of Camberwell, Victoria, to Edith Olive, youngest daughter of the late Anditon Hall, of Roebourne, West Australia.

Rae writes: "I think after Jean and Gordon were born, he had a stroke of luck and won £100, whether on a horse or a lottery or a raffle I have no idea, but the result was that he was the owner of two blocks of land west of Subiaco. Andrew designed and supervised the building of the house"[3] which was still there (although unrecognisable) in 2005.[7]

In the middle of June of 1914 (shortly before the birth of he and Edith's 5th child, Murray) he bought a farm at Quairading (the block was Avon Location 8286) for which he paid £1,000.[8] This was a forfeited block of 1000 acres, consisting of 600 acres of first-class forest land, mainly York Gum, Salmon, and Gimlet; second-class land mainly White Gum (200 acres); and 200 acres of third-class land, plain and scrub country. There were some improvements, the price paid was 20 shillings per acre, which included six shillings per acre for existing improvements. This was done through the Avon Roads Board and Lands Department and Jim had been there to see the land for himself (there is a reference in a letter to “his old campsite”).[8]

In 1914 he took long-service leave of six months, and spent this time getting the farm set-up, going by train back to Perth as necessary. At times he took one of his children for visits with him (Jean was the eldest, 9 at this time; the youngest missed out on this exciting excursion). He worked the last for nearly a decade, but ultimately his wife didn't want to move to Quairading, and his brother Charlie had started CM Wilson Pty Ltd, and so some time in the early 1920s (or perhaps earlier) he sold the farm. He invested the resulting £2000 into the nascent (and successful) family business, and went to work for Charlie as a timber merchant.[8]

On the return voyage of a business trip to Devonport in Tasmania, in the 1930s (arranging supply to Western Australia of Huon or Hoop pine), he suffered a heart attack. He was in the ship's hospital for some days. On his return to Perth, Charlie insisted that Jim stop work as he was obviously over-worked not well. This meant that the family was short of money, but the children helped as they could. By this time, Rae was nursing at Perth Hospital, Gordon was working in the country, Jean was married, Bruce had entered the Navy (aged 15), and so Murray and Adele were the only ones still at home.[8]

Jim died on 1 June 1942[9] and is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.[10]

Grave stone:

In loving memory of our beloved husband & father James Herbert Wilson born 5th Feb. 1872, died 1st June 1942. Also our beloved mother Edith Olive Wilson born 8th Sept. 1892, died 18th Aug, 1966.

Frederick Gordon Wilson 1906–1963

Electoral roll:

  • 1934: Elector number 6174, Wilson, James Herbert, Herbert road, West Subiaco, civil servant M
  • 1939: Elector number 9068, Wilson, James Herbert, Herbert road, civil servant M



  1. 1.0 1.1 Victorian Pioneers Index 1837–1888, National Library of Australia. Birth certificate number 1823. [Accessed 2007-20-10, Sam Wilson.]
  2. 'VICNAMES' online geographical name database. Accessed 2007-10-20.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Rae's documents/JAMES HERBERT WILSON.doc
  4. 4.0 4.1 Family Notices (1904, February 13). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25081123
  5. Western Australian Department of Justice Online Index of Births, Deaths and Marriages 1841–1931. Accessed 2007-10-20. Marriage registration number 1195.
  6. James and Edith Wilson's marriage certificate
  7. pers. comm. Ron Wilson, 2005
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Rae's documents/James Herbert Wilson continued.doc
  9. https://www2.mcb.wa.gov.au/NameSearch/details.php?id=KB00069173
  10. "Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:DMF3-BQZM : 6 March 2021), James Herbert Wilson, ; Burial, Karrakatta, Nedlands City, Western Australia, Australia, Karrakatta Cemetery and Crematorium; citing record ID 21365307.