The Honourable Samuel James Mitchell

The Honourable Samuel James Mitchell

Samuel James Mitchell was the first Judge of the Northern Territory Supreme Court and served from 1911 to 1912.

Samuel Mitchell was born on 11 May 1852 near Barker in South Australia and was educated at RC Mittons Grammar school in Adelaide. He worked at Mt Gambier and Melrose before moving to Port Augusta in 1871 and working as an auctioneer.

He was a district councillor and Mayor for 2 years before returning to Adelaide and working as a draper.

He married Eliza Ann Gardner on 15 September 1875 and was articled to H.E. Downer in 1885.

Samuel Mitchell graduated from the University of South Australia in 1890 and was admitted to the Bar and practised with Paris Nesbit QC and later Robert Ingleby QC.

He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1900, but in 1901 won the House of Assembly Seat for the Northern Territory. He was re-elected in 1902 and 1906 and was Attorney-General for 6 months from June 1909.

In 1910 with the transfer of the Northern Territory to Commonwealth control, he resigned to become the Government resident and the Northern Territory Judge. In 1911 he helped to effect the transfer of control to the Commonwealth.

He remained Acting Administrator and Judge but resigned in 1912 after the Federal authorities would not make his appointment for life.

He returned to South Australia and became a Stipendiary Magistrate and in 1916 transferred to the Adelaide Police Court. He was a Judge of Insolvency from 1918 to 1926 and a Stipendiary Magistrate of the Adelaide Local Court and Taxation Appeal Court.

Samuel Mitchell died on 3 October 1926. Dame Roma Mitchell, who was Australia's first female Queen's Counsel and Judge and who was later to become Governor of South Australia, was his grand daughter.