Governor of New South Wales

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Standard of the Governor of New South Wales

The Governor of New South Wales is the oldest political office of Australia. Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of New South Wales on 7 February 1788. The Colony of New South Wales was the first British settlement in Australia. The first governors had almost autocratic powers due to the distance from and poor communications with Great Britain. In 1824 the New South Wales Legislative Council, Australia's first legislature, was appointed to help the governor.[1]

Between 1850 and 1861, the Governor of New South Wales was also called the Governor-General. All letters between the Australian colonies and the British Government were meant to go through the Governor-General. The other colonies had Lieutenant-Governors. As they became independent, South Australia in 1836, Tasmania January 1855 and Victoria May 1855 replaced their Lieutenant-Governors with Governors. Sir William Denison kept the title of Governor-General until his retirement.[2]

The Governor acts on the advice of the head of the elected government, the Premier of New South Wales. The Governor does have power of the Crown, and has the right to dismiss the Premier. This power was last used in 1932, when Sir Philip Game dismissed Jack Lang.

If the Governor dies, resigns or is absent their duties are carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales.

The Governor of New South Wales used Government House as a home, office and official reception space until 1996. The Governor's office is now in the historic Chief Secretary’s Building at 121 Macquarie Street. In 2011, the Premier of New South Wales, Barry O'Farrell, said that this would change and the governor would move back into Government House.[3]

The first Australian-born Governor of New South Wales (or of any Australian state) was Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott in 1946. All governors since then have been Australian-born except for Gordon Samuels, who was born in the United Kingdom but came to Australia at an early age. Northcott's successor, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward (1957), was the first born in New South Wales.

List of Governors of New South Wales[change | edit source]

No. Governor From To
1 Captain Arthur Phillip RN 7 February 1788 10 December 1792
2 Captain John Hunter RN 11 September 1795 27 September 1800
3 Captain Philip King RN 28 September 1800 12 August 1806
4 Captain William Bligh RN 13 August 1806 26 January 1808
5 Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB 1 January 1810 1 December 1821
6 Major-General Sir Thomas Brisbane Bt GCH GCB 1 December 1821 1 December 1825
7 Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Darling GCH 19 December 1825 22 October 1831
8 Major-General Sir Richard Bourke KCB 3 December 1831 5 December 1837
9 Sir George Gipps 24 February 1838 11 July 1846
10 Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy KCH KCB 3 August 1846 January 1855
11 Sir William Denison KCB 20 January 1855 22 January 1861
12 The Rt Hon. Lord Lisgar GCB GCMG PC 16 May 1861 24 December 1867
13 The Rt Hon. Earl Belmore GCMG PC 8 January 1868 21 February 1872
14 The Rt Hon. Lord Rosmead GCMG 3 June 1872 19 March 1879
15 The Rt Hon. Sir Augustus Loftus GCB PC 4 August 1879 9 November 1885
16 The Most Hon. Marquess of Lincolnshire GCMG PC 12 December 1885 3 November 1890
17 The Rt Hon. Earl of Jersey GCB GCMG PC 15 January 1891 2 March 1893
18 The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Duff GCMG PC 29 May 1893 15 March 1895
19 The Rt Hon. Viscount Hampden GCMG 21 November 1895 5 March 1899
20 The Rt Hon. Earl Beauchamp KG KCMG PC 18 May 1899 30 April 1901
21 Admiral Sir Harry Rawson GCB GCMG RN 27 May 1902 27 May 1909
22 The Rt Hon. Viscount Chelmsford GCMG GCSI GCIE GBE PC 28 May 1909 11 March 1913
23 The Rt Hon. Lord Strickland, Count della Catena GCMG 14 March 1913 27 October 1917
24 Sir Walter Davidson KCMG 18 February 1918 4 September 1923
25 Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair KCB KBE MVO 28 February 1924 7 April 1930
26 Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Game GCB GCVO GBE KCMG DSO 29 May 1930 15 January 1935
27 The Rt Hon. The Earl Gowrie VC GCMG CB DSO PC 21 February 1935 22 January 1936
28 Admiral Sir David Anderson KCB KCMG MVO 6 August 1936 29 October 1936
29 The Rt Hon. Lord Wakehurst KG GCMG 8 April 1937 8 January 1946
30 Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott KCMG KCVO CB 1 August 1946 31 July 1957
31 Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward KCMG KCVO CB CBE DSO 1 August 1957 31 July 1965
32 Sir Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE 20 January 1966 19 January 1981
33 Air Marshal Sir James Rowland AC KBE DFC AFC 20 January 1981 20 January 1989
34 Rear Admiral Sir David Martin KCMG AO 20 January 1989 7 August 1990
35 Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AC 8 August 1990 29 February 1996
36 The Hon. Gordon Samuels AC CVO QC 1 March 1996 28 February 2001
37 Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO 1 March 2001 Present

References[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]