Photo of Plaque B15: This plaque honours Dr James Battye
Vice Chairman Centenary Committee
Committee group
Executive (vice-chair); Finance; Historical, arts and science and pageantry
Year of death
Plaque number
Dedicated by
Kings Park Board on 29 September 1929
More information

Biography abstract:

James Sykes Battye (20/11/1871 - 15/7/1954) was born in 1871 in Geelong. He was educated in state schools, Geelong College and Melbourne University. He graduated with B.A. 1891 and took LL.B. two years later.

In 1894 he began his sixty-year term as Principal Librarian of the Public Library of Western Australia. He increased the library's holdings and collected not only reference books, newspapers and periodicals but also documentary material on Western Australian history.

It is due to Dr Battye's efforts that the archives of the State have been preserved and catalogued. He was the author of several historical works on Western Australian history and in 1912-13 compiled and published the massive two volume Cyclopaedia of Western Australia.

University of WA conferred on his Doctorate of Literature in 1922, after he had published History of Western Australia. The thesis was initially rejected by Melbourne University on the grounds that it 'lacked depth' but was successfully revised and resubmitted.

Dr Battye rendered distinguished service to the University of WA in its formative years. Foundation member of the University Senate, Pro-chancellor for 5 years and Chancellor for 6 years and Warden of Convocation several times.

Formerly a member of the board of governors for Hale School and after that member of the board of Wesley College. For several years he was President of the Children's Hospital and Honorary Secretary of the Victoria (now WA) Institute for the Blind.

He was also prominent in the Masonic Order and received the C.B.E. in 1950. The State Perth Library (Battye Library) is named in his honour.

Mr EW Gillett, Chancellor UWA 1954 was quoted as saying: "He was a clear thinker, fluent speaker and a keen debater."

Dr Battye served on several of the Western Australian Centenary Committee groups (Executive (vice-chair); Finance; Historical, arts and science and pageantry) in 1929.

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