MICHIE, Sir Archibald (1813-1899)

MICHIE, Sir Archibald (1813-1899)
jurist and politician
son of Archibald Michie, merchant, was born at London in 1813. He was educated at Westminster School, entered at the Middle Temple in 1834, and was called to the bar in 1838. He emigrated to Sydney in 1839, practised his profession and also took up journalistic work; he was associated with (Sir) James Martin (q.v.) and Robert Lowe (q.v.) on the Atlas when it was founded in 1844. About the year 1848 he returned to England, but came to Australia again in 1852 and began to practise at Melbourne. He was nominated a member of the Victorian legislative council in the same year but resigned a few months later. He became proprietor of the Melbourne Herald, then a morning paper, in 1854, but made losses and retired from it two years later. At the first election under the new constitution, held in 1856, Michie was elected one of the members for Melbourne in the legislative assembly, and in April 1857 became attorney-general in the second Haines (q.v.) ministry. He was minister of justice in the first McCulloch (q.v.) ministry from July 1863 to July 1866 and attorney-general in the third Mcculloch ministry from April 1870 to June 1871. He was then defeated at an election for the legislative assembly, and entered the legislative council, resigning soon afterwards to pay a visit to Europe in 1872. Returning in 1873 he was appointed agent-general for Victoria in London and held this position for six years. He then returned to Melbourne and practised as a barrister. In his old age he fell into ill health and for several years was confined to his house. He died at Melbourne on 21 June 1899. He married in 1840 Mary, daughter of Dr John Richardson, who survived him with three sons and two daughters. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1878.
Michie was a widely-read and brilliant man with a keen sense of humour and a fund of anecdotes. He was one of the barristers who so successfully defended the leaders of the diggers after the Eureka rebellion, and in parliament was a good administrator whose influence in the house was important, even when not in office. He was well-qualified as a writer but his only published work was Readings in Melbourne, published in 1879, which reprinted three public lectures and a long essay on the resources and prospects of Victoria.
The Argus, Melbourne, 23 June 1899; The Times, 23 June 1899: P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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