James Walker Bain

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James Walker Bain

James Walker Bain (1841 – 29 September 1899) was a 19th-century New Zealand politician. He was a significant businessman in Invercargill and Southland.

Bain was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1841.[1][2] His parents were the spirit merchant John Bain and his wife, Elizabeth Middlemass.[3] He received his education at the Free Church Normal School and then at a private academy. He started with the printing company Oliver and Boyd and learned the trade of a compositor.[1][4]

He arrived in Port Chalmers in New Zealand, Otago's harbour, on 23 September 1858 on the Jura from Glasgow.[5] His parents, five sisters and one brother arrived in Otago on the Gloucester three months later; one of his sisters was Wilhelmina Sherriff Bain.[3] He initially worked for the Otago Witness[1] before going to Auckland for two years.[4] He moved to Invercargill at the beginning of 1861.[1] Together with George Smallfield, he founded Invercargill's first newspaper, the Southland News and Foveaux Straits Herald, and its first edition was published on 14 February 1861.[1] The paper later became the Southland Daily News and existed until 1967, when it was bought by the rival The Southland Times.[6] Bain founded the Mataura Paper Mill in 1875.[6] He was a significant businessman in Invercargill, was president of the Southland Building Society for the first 30 years of its existence. He was a member of the Southland Education Board for many years, and was at times its chairman.[1]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1879–1881 7th Invercargill Independent

He represented the Invercargill electorate in Parliament from 1879 to 1881, when he retired.[2] He was Mayor of Invercargill in 1891–1892.[6]

Bain died unexpectedly on the morning of 29 September 1899 after falling ill on 26 September. He was survived by his wife, three sons, and four daughters.[1] He was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Invercargill.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Obituary". Otago Witness (2379). 5 October 1899. p. 45. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  3. ^ a b Hutching, Megan. "Wilhelmina Sherriff Bain". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Cyclopedia Company Limited (1905). "Former Members Of The House Of Representatives". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Otago & Southland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. p. 794. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Shipping News". Otago Witness (356). 25 September 1858. p. 5. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Information on past Mayors of Invercargill City and the location of their headstones in the Invercargill Cemeteries" (PDF). Invercargill City Council. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Henry Feldwick
Member of Parliament for Invercargill
Succeeded by
Henry Feldwick