Archie Michaelis

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Sir Archie Michaelis
22nd Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
In office
20 June 1950 – 31 October 1952
Preceded by Thomas Maltby
Succeeded by Keith Sutton
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for St Kilda
In office
14 May 1932 – 31 October 1952
Preceded by Burnett Gray
Succeeded by John Bourke
Personal details
Born Archie Reuben Louis Michaelis
(1889-12-19)19 December 1889
St Kilda, Victoria
Died 22 April 1975(1975-04-22) (aged 85)
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Political party United Australia Party
Liberal Party
Liberal and Country Party
Spouse(s) Claire Esther Hart (m. 1920)
Occupation Company director
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1914–1919
Rank Lieutenant
Unit Royal Field Artillery

Sir Archie Reuben Louis Michaelis (19 December 1889 – 22 April 1975) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1932 to 1952, representing the electorate of St Kilda for the United Australia Party and its successor. the Liberal Party.[1]

Early life[edit]

Michaelis was born in St Kilda into a wealthy Jewish family which owned the successful leather tannery Michaelis, Hallenstein & Co. The family home was the historic Linden mansion on Acland Street, now a contemporary arts centre. He attended Wesley College and Cumloden School in St Kilda, until 1903 when his family took him to England to be schooled at the Harrow School.[2]

In 1908, Michaelis returned to Melbourne, where he began working for the family business, and in 1912 he returned to England to work in the company's London office. He was in England when World War I broke out, and he immediately enlisted in the British Army,[3] serving with the Honourable Artillery Company in the Middle East and in 1916 was commissioned in the Royal Field Artillery in which he served in Ireland and Greece.[2]

Political career[edit]

At the 1932 Victorian election, Michaelis was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly representing the seat of St Kilda for the United Australia Party (later to become the Liberal Party). He was made a minister without portfolio in Ian MacFarlan's "stop-gap" ministry from October to November 1945.[4]

In June 1950, Michaelis was elected Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. He was knighted in the 1952 New Year Honours.[5] In October 1952, he was one of six members of the Victorian parliament who made affidavits to Liberal and Country Party leader Les Norman that they had been offered financial and political incentives by representatives of Thomas Hollway, a disaffected MP and former Premier of Victoria, who needed parliamentary support for a planned motion of no-confidence against the governing Country Party led by John McDonald. Michaelis stated that he had been approached by a man named Raymond Ellinson, who offered him the position of Agent-General, another term as Speaker, and immunity from opposition in the next election.[6] A Royal Commission was established to investigate the charges against Hollway, but it was postponed indefinitely on a legal technicality and never reconvened. In the subsequent state election in December 1952, Michaelis was defeated by the Labor Party candidate John Bourke, and retired from politics.


  1. ^ Michaelis, Sir Archie, Re-Member, Parliament of Victoria.
  2. ^ a b Levi, J. S., 'Michaelis, Sir Archie Reuben Louis (1889–1975)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 23 February 2012.
  3. ^ "ST. KILDA SEAT". The Argus. Melbourne. 27 November 1931. p. 7. Retrieved 23 February 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "END OF STAFF PARLIAMENT". The Horsham Times. Vic. 5 October 1945. p. 2. Retrieved 3 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ It's an Honour. Retrieved 14 April 2015
  6. ^ "Corruption charges shock State Parliament SIX MEMBERS SWEAR BRIBES OFFERED FOR THEIR VOTE". The Argus. Melbourne. 1 October 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Burnett Gray
Member for St Kilda
Succeeded by
John Bourke
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Maltby
Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
Keith Sutton