Thomas Walter Mitchell


Thomas Walter Mitchell

Thomas Walter Mitchell (11 November 19064 February 1984) was an Australian politician, author and sportsman.

Mitchell was born at the family property "Towong Hill" near, near Corryong, Victoria and was educated at Cambridge University from 1925 to 1930 before returning to Australia, and Towong Hill. At the time the property consisted of convert|17000|acre|km2|0 of prime land beside the Murray River, but today has been reduced to convert|2300|acre|km2|0, as sections have been split to various family members.

A keen skier, Mitchell founded the Australian National Ski Federation in 1932, captained the Australian skiing team and won gold medals in competitions against England and New Zealand. He was an Australian champion in the downhill and long time member of the Australian Ski Club. He and his wife Elyne Mitchell (nee Chauvel) were the first people to ski the western slopes of the main range, including the demanding runs of "Little Austria".

Mitchell joined the Second Australian Imperial Forces in 1940 and was a captain in the 2/22 battalion and Headquarters 8th Division. He was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and was interned in the infamous Changi POW camp until 1945, being forced to work on the Burma Railway by his captors. He later built a chapel, in memory of comrades lost during the war, on his property.

In 1947, he and Elyne, plus Ossie Rixon set off in two four wheel drive vehicles to become the first people to cross the Australian Alps in a motor vehicle. "One", a Willys army jeep, sits in Corryong to this day.

He served as the member for Benambra in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1947 to 1976 and as Attorney General from from June 1950 to Dec 1952 and as Solicitor-General from June 1950 to December 1951. [cite web
title =Mitchell, Thomas Walter
work =re-member
publisher =Parliament of Victoria
url =http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/re-member/bioregfull.cfm?mid=1335
accessdate = 2007-05-29
]

He contributed to the official war history and wrote several volumes on skiing and local history.

Mitchell died in Melbourne.

References


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