GOVERNORS

of Western Australia

 

Government House Perth

 

 

 

 

 

 

This page lists all West Australia Governors but more detailed information on some can be found by clicking on their respective biography links.

 

Thank you to the J.S. Battye Library, the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, National Library of Australia, ICRAR, The Age Newspaper, Australian War Memorial, State Library of W.A. and Wikipedia for some of the images used in this section.

 

Related pages:

Government | Local Government Websites | Premiers

 

GOVERNORS

 

James Stirling 1829-1839
James Stirling
Biography link for James Stirling

 

John Hutt 1839-1846
John Hutt
Biography link for John Hutt

 

Andrew Clarke 1846-1847
Andrew Clarke
Andrew Clarke was not well when he was appointed Governor and has the unlucky distinction of being the only West Australian Governor to die while in office.
Biography link for Andrew Clarke

 

Frederick C. Irwin takes over when Andrew Clarke dies 1847-1848
Frederick C. Irwin
Irwin is not officially a governor but acts in a caretaker roll as Lt. Governor. Irwin, Capt. Richard Daniell and Capt. Picton Beete all take over for varying periods as Lt. Governors while Stirling visits England. Irwin was a cousin of Gov. Stirling.

 

Charles Fitzgerald 1848-1855
Charles Fitzgerald
Captain Fitzgerald was of Irish descent and joined the Royal Navy. His first Governorship was the Gambia Settlements in West Africa. It was during his tenure as Governor of W.A. that it was decided to ship convicts to the colony. This effectively saved the enterprise from complete collapse. Although he was not a popular Governor he instituted many changes that were for the benefit of ordinary people. He was speared by an Aborigine while on an expedition to the Geraldine mines but he survived and went on to live to the ripe old age of 96.

 

Arthur Edward Kennedy 1855-1862
Arthur Edward Kennedy
Arthur Kennedy was born in Ireland and served in the British military attaining the rank of Captain before his retirement. He served as Governor of the Gambia Settlements and in 1854 he was appointed Consul-General of Sherborough County. The following year he became Governor of W.A. He was an unpopular Governor and a protest rally was held in August 1856. After leaving W.A. he went on to become Governor of Vancouver Island, Governor of Sierra Leone, Commissioner for the abolition of the slave trade, Governor of Hong Kong and Governor of Queensland.

 

John Hampton 1862-1868
John Hampton
Biography link for John Hampton

 

Benjamin Chilley Campbell Pine
Benjamin Chilley Campbell Pine
Benjamin Chilley Campbell Pine was appointed as Governor but never took up the post. He was born in 1809 and eventually joined the British Colonial Service. In 1850 he became Lieutenant-Governor of Natal Colony and then in 1857 became Governor of Ghana. He decided to take up a position as Governor of the Leeward Islands instead of coming to W.A. He then became Governor of Antigua and died in 1891.

 

Frederick Weld 1869-1875
Frederick Weld
Biography link for Frederick Weld

 

William Cleaver Francis Robinson 1875-1877
William Cleaver Francis Robinson
William Robinson was Governor of the Falkland and King Edward Islands prior to becoming Governor of W.A. He resigned in 1877 to become Governor of the Straits Settlement but in 1880 took up the position as Governor of W.A. again. In 1883 he became Governor of South Australia and then in 1889 was Governor of Victoria. In 1890 he returned to W.A. as Governor for the third time before returning to London where he assisted delegates from W.A. in passing the Constitutional Bill through the British Parliament. He retired in 1895 and died in 1897.

 

Henry St. George Ord 1877-1880
Henry St. George Ord
After serving 20 years in the British military Henry Ord entered the Colonial Service and was appointed Special Commissioner to the Gold Coast. In 1857 he became Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Dominica (West Indies) and then served as Governor of the Strait Settlements. He resigned due to ill health in 1873 but 4 years later he was appointed Governor of W.A. where he marked time until his retirement in order to get the largest pension he could. He died in 1885.

 

William Cleaver Francis Robinson 1880-1883

Robinsons's second term as governor. (See above for picture and details.) Governor Robinson appears to have been a popular choice as Governor, having held the position 3 times but strangely he does not feature greatly in any historic literature.

 

Frederick. N. Broome 1883-1889
Frederick. N. Broome. (1842-1896) Courtesy of: Nick Broome. www.siliconstudio.com/jackbroome/jackindex.html

 

William Cleaver Francis Robinson 1880-1883

Robinsons's third term as governor. (See above for picture and details.)

 

Gerald Smith 1895-1900
Gerald Smith
Gerald Smith (known as Merry Gerry for the lavish parties he threw) was involved in some shady property deals. He was sued by the Bank of New South Wales and a censure motion was brought against him in Parliament. Eventually he was convinced to retire by authorities in London but because of his family connections he never suffered for his poor behaviour while Governor of W.A.

 

Arthur Lawley 1901-1902
Arthur Lawley
Arthur Lawley joined the British military and became a Captain in the 10th Prince of Wales Own Royal Regiment. After leaving the military he was appointed Administrator of Matabeleland in 1897. He was appointed Governor of W.A. aged just 41 and was a popular choice. He represented WA at the opening of Federal Parliament in 1901. He went on to be Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal and Governor of Madras. He died in 1932.

 

Frederick George Denham Bedford 1903-1909
Frederick George Denham Bedford
Bedford is probably best remembered for his successful efforts to stop land sales on Rottnest Island. He is credited with the initiative to have the island classified as a A class reserve and preserving it for future generations.

 

Gerald Strickland 1909-1913
Gerald Strickland
Gerald Strickland was born in 1861. Educated in England he studied Law. He served as a member of the Government of Malta before being appointed as Governor of the Leeward Islands. In 1904 he was apointed Governor of Tasmania and in 1909 became Governor of W.A. He was embroiled in a controversy with Premier Holdman in N.S.W. which eventually led to his recall to London.

 

Harry Barron 1913-1917
Harry Barron

 

William Grey Ellison-Macartney 1917 - 1920
William Grey Ellison-Macartney
William Macartney was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1852. His surname was originally Ellison but was changed when he reached 7 years of age. He studied at Eton and Oxford studying law and politics and joined parliament as a Conservative member. In 1912 he was appointed Governor of Tasmania where he was not popular. He died in London in 1924.

 

Francis Alexander Newdigate Newdegate 1920-1924
Francis Alexander Newdigate Newdegate
One has to wonder how Francis Newdigate Newdegate got his name. Before coming to W.A. he had served as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Bermuda Islands and as Governor of Tasmania.

 

William Robert Campion 1924-1931
William Robert Campion
Born in England, Campion was educated at Eton and Oxford. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1910. He served in France in WW1 and was appointed Governor of W.A. in 1924. He was a popular Governor and continued to promote W.A. in England when he retired.

 

No Governor was appointed between 1931 - 1948 James Mitchell held the dual post of Lieutenant-Governor and Administrator.

 

James Mitchell 1948-1951
James Mitchell
James Mitchell was the only Governor to also serve as the state's Premier. Born in 1866 at Dardanup, he went on to work as a bank manager at Northem before entering politics. He campaigned in favour of secession but lost his seat in the 1933 election. He was the first Governor of W.A. to be born in the state. He died just a month after leaving the position.

 

Charles Gairdner 1951-1963
Charles Gairdner
Charles Gairdner was born in Batavia (Jakarta Indonesia). He joined the British army in 1916 and became Commander of the 10th Royal Hussars. Later he served in various armoured divisions and became Chief of General Staff of the 18th Army Group. He went on to be Governor of Tasmania and is remembered in Perth in the name of the Charles Gairdner Hospital.

 

Douglas Kendrew 1963-1973
Douglas Kendrew
Douglas Kendrew was born in England in 1910. In 1930 he He toured Australia and New Zealand with the English rugby team and he captained the team in 1935. He became a Lieutenant with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in 1931 and was later promoted to major. In 1943 he commanded the 6th battalion in North Africa and Italy. Later he became a Brigade Commander in Italy, Greece and the Middle East. He was one of a select group of officers to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order four times. He commanded the British Brigade Commonwealth Division in Korea in the 1950s and in 1961 was Head of British Defence Liaison Staff in Canberra. After serving as Governor of W.A. he returned to England where he died in 1989.

 

Hughie Idwal Edwards 1974-1975
Hughie Idwal Edwards

 

Wallace Kyle 1975-1980
Wallace Kyle
Wallace Kyle was born in Kalgoorlie in 1910. He studied at Guildford Grammar. He joined 17 Squadron RAF in 1930 and was a flying instructor from 1934 to 1939. He served in the Fleet Air Arm and in Bomber Command during World War Two. He became Air Chief Marshal in 1964. He died in 1988.

 

Richard Trowbridge 1980-1983
Richard Trowbridge
Born in 1920, Richard Trowbridge spent the majority of his working life in the Royal Navy. After 3 years as Governor of W.A. he returned to England.

 

Gordon Stanley Reid 1984-1989
Stanley Reid
Gordon Reid was born in 1923 and after finishing school entered the Royal Australian Air Force. He left the air force in 1946 and served in a number of Civil Service positions. He went on to become senior lecturer in public administration and eventually was Professor of Politics at the University of Western Australia. He fell seriously ill and resigned as Governor in 1989 and died a shot time later.

 

Francis Theodore Page Burt 1990-1993
Francis Theodore Page Burt
Francis Burt was born in Perth in 1918. He served in both the Australian Army and RAAF during WW2. He became a lawyer in 1941 and later became Queens Counsel and Chief Justice. In 1977 he was appointed Lt. Governor.

 

Michael Jeffery 1993-2000 (Also Governor General 2003)
Michael Jeffery
Michael Jeffery was born in Wiluna in 1937. He attended the Royal Military College Duntroon in Canberra and was posted to Malaya in 1962. He went on to serve in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam where he won the Military Cross. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1972 he commanded the 2nd Battalion of the Pacific Islands Regiment and later became commander of the S.A.S. In 1981 he became head of Australias national counter terrorist coordination authority and was promoted to Major General in 1985. In 1991 he was appointed Assistant Chief of General Staff for Material.

 

John M Sanderson 2000-2005
John M Sanderson
John Sanderson was born in Geraldton in 1940. He joined the Royal Australian Engineers in 1961. He saw service overseas in Borneo and South Vietnam. He was promoted to Major-General in 1989 and was seconded to the Secretary of the United Nations in 1991. In 1995 he became Chief of the Australian Army and held the position for 2 years before retiring.

 

Ken Michael 2006 - 2011
Ken Michael
Kenneth Comninos Michael was born in Perth in 1938. His father emigrated from Greece in the 1890s and served with the 11th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces during WW1. His mother arrived in the 1930s. Kenneth worked as a Civil Engineer with the Main Roads Dept. eventually becoming Commissioner of Main Roads in 1991. In 1997 he started his own consulting engineering and management practice. In 2001 he became Western Australian Citizen of the Year.

 

Malcolm McCusker 2011 - Current
Malcolm McCusker

 

The Administrators

During Governors absences various Administrators, Deputy Governors and Lt. Governors have been appointed to act in a stand in capacity. This often forgotten group of men are remembered below:

F.C. Irwin 1832-3 / 1847-8
Richard Daniell. 1833-4 twice. (Died in office while acting Commandant.)
Picton Beete. 1834
John Bruce. 1862 / 1868-9
Edward Douglas Harvest. 1874 / 1875 / 1877
Henry Thomas Wrenfordsley. 1883
Alexander Campbell Onslow. 1884-5 / 1891-2 / 1895 / 1900-1
Malcolm Fraser. 1889-90
Edward Albert Stone. 1901 / 1902-3 / 1909 / 1913 / 1917
Robert Furse McMillan. 1922 / 1924 / 1929
John Alfred Northmore. 1931-3
John Patrick Dwyer. 1951 / 1956 / 1958-9 / 1963
Albert Asher Wolff. 1968 / 1969 / 1970 twice / 1971 / 1973-4
Lawrence Jackson. 1974
James Maxwell Ramsay. 1974-5

Sovereigns since foundation

Although somewhat remote and increasingly irrelevant these days, the British sovereigns who have reigned since the foundation of Western Australia are:

George 4th. 1820-30
William 4th. 1830-37
Victoria. 1837-1901
Edward 7th. 1901-1910
George 5th. 1910-36
Edward 8th. 1936
George 6th. 1936-1952
Elizabeth 2nd. 1952-current

 

 

 

 

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