Governor of New South Wales

The Governor of New South Wales is the viceregal representative of the Australian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in the state of New South Wales. In an analogous way to the Governor-General of Australia at the national level, the Governors of the Australian states perform constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level. The governor is appointed by the queen on the advice of the premier of New South Wales,[1] for an unfixed period of time—known as serving At Her Majesty's pleasure—though five years is the norm. The current governor is retired judge Margaret Beazley, who succeeded David Hurley on 2 May 2019.

The office has its origin in the 18th-century colonial governors of New South Wales upon its settlement in 1788, and is the oldest continuous institution in Australia. The present incarnation of the position emerged with the Federation of Australia and the New South Wales Constitution Act 1902, which defined the viceregal office as the governor acting by and with the advice of the Executive Council of New South Wales.[2] However, the post still ultimately represented the government of the United Kingdom until, after continually decreasing involvement by the British government, the passage in 1942 of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (see Statute of Westminster) and the Australia Act 1986, after which the governor became the direct, personal representative of the uniquely Australian sovereign.

Governor of New South Wales
Badge of the Governor of New South Wales
Badge of the Governor
Flag of the Governor of New South Wales
Flag of the Governor
Margaret Beazley AO, QC

since 2 May 2019
Office of the Governor
Executive Council of New South Wales
StyleHer Excellency The Honourable
ResidenceGovernment House, Sydney
SeatSydney, New South Wales
NominatorPremier of New South Wales
AppointerMonarch of Australia
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
Formation7 February 1788
First holderArthur Phillip
DeputyLieutenant-Governor Thomas Bathurst
Salary$181 555 (AUD)
WebsiteOffice of the Governor


John Northcott AWM 107728
Sir John Northcott, the first Australian-born person appointed as governor (1946–57).

The Office of Governor is required by the New South Wales Constitution Act, 1902. The Australian monarch, on the advice and recommendation of the premier of New South Wales, approves the appointment of governor with a commission issued under the royal sign-manual and Public Seal of the State, who is from then until being sworn in by the premier and chief justice referred to as the governor-designate.

Besides the administration of the oaths of office, there is no set formula for the swearing-in of a governor-designate. The constitution act stipulates that: "Before assuming office, a person appointed to be Governor shall take the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance and the Oath or Affirmation of Office in the presence of the Chief Justice or another Judge of the Supreme Court."[2] The sovereign will also hold an audience with the appointee and will at that time induct the governor-designate as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

The incumbent will generally serve for at least five years, though this is only a developed convention, and the governor still technically acts at Her Majesty's pleasure (or the Royal Pleasure). The premier may therefore recommend to the queen that the viceroy remain in her service for a longer period of time, sometimes upwards of more than seven years. A governor may also resign[note 1] and three have died in office.[note 2] In such a circumstance, or if the governor leaves the country for longer than one month, the lieutenant governor of New South Wales, concurrently held by the chief justice of New South Wales since 1872, serves as Administrator of the Government and exercises all powers of the governor.[note 3] Furthermore, if the lieutenant governor becomes incapacitated while serving in the office of governor or is also absent from the state, the next most senior judge of the Supreme Court is sworn in as the administrator.[note 4]


In October 1786, Captain Arthur Phillip RN was named 'Governor-designate' of New South Wales and became the first governor on arrival in Sydney Cove in January 1788.

Between 1788 and 1957, all governors were born outside New South Wales and were often members of the Peerage. Historian A.J.P. Taylor once noted that "going out and governing New South Wales became the British aristocracy's 'abiding consolation'".[3] However, even though the implementation of the Australian Citizenship Act in 1948 established the concept of an independent Australian citizenship, the idea of Australian-born persons being appointed governor of New South Wales was much earlier. Coincidentally the first Australian-born governor, Sir John Northcott on 1 August 1946, was also the first Australian-born governor of any state. However, as Northcott was born in Victoria, it was not until Sir Eric Woodward's appointment by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957 that the position was filled by a New South Welshman; this practice continued until 1996, when Queen Elizabeth II commissioned as her representative Gordon Samuels, a London-born immigrant to Australia.

Although required by the tenets of constitutional monarchy to be non-partisan while in office, governors were frequently former politicians, many being members of the House of Lords by virtue of their peerage. The first governors were all military officers and the majority of governors since have come from a military background, numbering 19. Samuels was the first governor in New South Wales history without either a political, public service or military background, being a former justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The first woman to hold this position is also the first Lebanese-Australian governor, Dame Marie Bashir.


As Australia shares its monarch equally with fifteen other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and the sovereign lives predominantly outside New South Wales' borders, the governor's primary task is to perform the sovereign's constitutional duties on his or her behalf, acting within the principles of parliamentary democracy and responsible government as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and as a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power. For the most part, however, the powers of the Crown are exercised on a day-to-day basis by elected and appointed individuals, leaving the governor to perform the various ceremonial duties the sovereign otherwise carries out when in the country; at such a moment, the governor removes him or herself from public, though the presence of the monarch does not affect the governor's ability to perform governmental roles.

Lord wakehust arrives
The Lord Wakehurst takes the oath of office upon his arrival in Sydney in 1937.

It is the governor who is required by the Constitution Act 1902, to appoint persons to the Government of New South Wales, who are all theoretically tasked with tendering to the monarch and viceroy guidance on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative. Convention dictates, that the governor must draw from the Parliament an individual to act as premier, who is also capable of forming government—in almost all cases the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the Legislative Assembly. The premier then directs the governor to appoint other members of parliament to the Executive Council of New South Wales known as the Cabinet, and it is in practice only from this group of ministers of the Crown that the queen and governor will take direction on the use of executive power, an arrangement called the Queen-in-Council or, more specifically, the Governor-in-Council. In this capacity, the governor will issue royal proclamations and sign orders in council. The governor-in-council is also required to appoint in the queen's name the President of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Supreme Court and District Court justices, and local court magistrates in the state, though all of these are made on the advice of either the premier and cabinet or the majority of elected members of each house in the case of the Speaker or President. The advice given by the Cabinet is, in order to ensure the stability of government, typically binding; both the queen and her viceroy, however, may in exceptional circumstances invoke the reserve powers, which remain the Crown's final check against a ministry's abuse of power, this was last fully exercised in 1932, when Sir Philip Game revoked the commission of Premier Jack Lang.

The governor alone is constitutionally mandated to summon parliament. Beyond that, the viceroy carries out the other conventional parliamentary duties in the sovereign's absence, including reading the Speech from the throne and the proroguing and dissolving of parliament. The governor grants Royal Assent in the queen's name; legally, he or she has three options: grant Royal Assent (making the bill law), withhold Royal Assent (vetoing the bill), or reserve the bill for the queen's pleasure (allowing the sovereign to personally grant or withhold assent). If the governor withholds the queen's assent, the sovereign may within two years disallow the bill, thereby annulling the law in question. No modern viceroy has denied Royal Assent to a bill. With most constitutional functions delegated to Cabinet, the governor acts in a primarily ceremonial fashion. He or she will host members of Australia's royal family, as well as foreign royalty and heads of state. Also as part of international relations, the governor receives letters of credence and of recall from foreign consuls-general appointed to Sydney. When they are the longest-serving state governor, the governor of New South Wales holds a dormant commission to act as the Administrator of the Commonwealth when the Governor-General of Australia is absent from Australia, a role most recently held by Governor Bashir.[4]

The governor is also tasked with fostering unity and pride. He or she will also induct individuals into the various national orders and present national medals and decorations, however the most senior awards such as ACs or the Victoria Cross are the sole prerogative of the governor general. The governor also ex-officio serves as Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South Wales Regiment (since 1960) and as Honorary Air Commodore of No. 22 (City of Sydney) Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (since 1937), as well as the Chief Scout for New South Wales.[5]

Symbols and protocol

Flag of the Governor of New South Wales
The present standard, adopted on 15 January 1981.

As the personal representative of the monarch, the governor follows only the sovereign in the NSW order of precedence. The incumbent governor is entitled to use the style of His or Her Excellency, while in office. On 28 November 2013 the premier of NSW announced that the Queen had given approval for the title of "The Honourable" to be accorded to the governors and former governors of New South Wales.[6] He or she also upon installation serves as a Deputy Prior of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in Australia and is also traditionally invested as either a Knight or Dame of Justice or Grace of the Order.[5] It is also customary that the governor is made a Companion of the Order of Australia, though this is not necessarily automatic.

The Viceregal Salute—composed of the first and last four bars of the National Anthem ("Advance Australia Fair")—is the salute used to greet the governor upon arrival at, and mark his or her departure from most official events, although "God Save The Queen", as the Royal Anthem, is also used. To mark the viceroy's presence at any building, ship, aeroplane, or car in Australia, the governor's flag is employed. The present form was adopted on 15 January 1981. The shield of the Royal Arms of New South Wales crowned with the St Edward's Crown is employed as the badge of the governor, appearing on the viceroy's flag and on other objects associated with the person or the office.

Past standards of the governor
Flag of the Governor of New South Wales (1870–1876)


Flag of the Governor of New South Wales (1876–1981)



View of Botany Bay
An engraving of the First Fleet in Botany Bay at voyage's end in 1788, from The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay.[7] The arrival of the First Fleet marked the establishment of the colony of New South Wales, and the office of the governor.

Aside from the Crown itself, the office of Governor of New South Wales is the oldest constitutional office in Australia. Captain Arthur Phillip assumed office as Governor of New South Wales on 7 February 1788, when the Colony of New South Wales, the first British settlement in Australia, was formally proclaimed. The early colonial governors held an almost autocratic power due to the distance from and poor communications with Great Britain, until 1824 when the New South Wales Legislative Council, Australia's first legislative body, was appointed to advise the governor.[8]

Between 1850 and 1861, the governor of New South Wales was titled governor-general, in an early attempt at federalism imposed by Earl Grey. All communication between the Australian colonies and the British Government was meant to go through the governor-general, and the other colonies had lieutenant-governors. As South Australia (1836), Tasmania (January 1855) and Victoria (May 1855) obtained responsible government, their lieutenant-governors were replaced by governors. Although he had ceased acting as a governor-general, Sir William Denison retained the title until his retirement in 1861.[9]

Federation Pavillion
Federation Pavilion in Sydney on 1 January 1901: the lieutenant governor and chief justice of New South Wales administered the oath of office to the first governor-general of the new commonwealth.

The six British colonies in Australia joined together to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. New South Wales and the other colonies became states in the federal system under the Constitution of Australia. In 1902, the New South Wales Constitution Act 1902 confirmed the modern system of government of New South Wales as a state, including defining the role of the governor as the monarch's representative, who acts by and with the advice of the Executive Council. Like the new federal Governor-General and the other state governors, in the first years after federation, the governor of New South Wales continued to act both as a constitutional head of the state, and as a liaison between the government and the imperial government in London. However, the British government's involvement in Australian affairs gradually reduced in the next few years.

Australia Act 1986
The copy of the Australia Act 1986 (UK) bearing the Queen's signature, now displayed in Canberra.

In 1942, the Commonwealth of Australia passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942, which rendered Australia dominion status under the Statute of Westminster, and while Australia and Britain share the same person as monarch, that person acts in a distinct capacity when acting as the monarch of each dominion. The convention that the monarch acts in respect of Australian affairs on the advice of his or her Australian ministers, rather than his or her British ministers, became enshrined in law. For New South Wales however, because the Statute of Westminster did not disturb the constitutional arrangements of the Australian states, the governor remains (at least formally) in New South Wales the representative of the British monarch. This arrangement seemed incongruous with the Commonwealth of Australia's independent dominion status conferred by the Statute of Westminster, and with the federal structure. After much negotiation between the federal and state governments of Australia, the British government and Buckingham Palace, the Australia Act 1986 removed any remaining constitutional roles of the British monarch and British government in the Australian states, and established that the governor of New South Wales (along with the other state governors) was the direct, personal representative of the Australian monarch, and not the British monarch or the British government, nor the Governor-General of Australia or the Australian federal government.

Residences and household

Government House

Government House in Sydney
Government House, Sydney, the official residence of the governor

On his arrival in Sydney in 1788, Governor Phillip resided in a temporary wood and canvas house before the construction of a more substantial house on a site now bounded by Bridge Street and Phillip Street, Sydney. This first Government House was extended and repaired by the following eight governors, but was generally in poor condition and was vacated when the governor relocated to the new building in 1845, designed by Edward Blore and Mortimer Lewis.

With the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901, it was announced that Government House was to serve as the secondary residence of the new Governor-General of Australia. As a consequence the NSW Government leased the residence of Cranbrook, Bellevue Hill as the residence of the governor. This arrangement lasted until 1913 when the NSW Government terminated the Commonwealth lease of Government House (the governor-general moved to the new Sydney residence of Admiralty House), the governor from 1913 to 1917, Sir Gerald Strickland, continued to live in Cranbrook and on his departure his successor returned to Government House.

On 16 January 1996, Premier Bob Carr announced that the next governor would be Gordon Samuels, that he would not live or work at Government House and that he would retain his appointment as chairman of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission. On these changes, Carr said: "The Office of the Governor should be less associated with pomp and ceremony, less encumbered by anachronistic protocol, more in tune with the character of the people."[10] The state's longest-serving governor, Sir Roden Cutler, was also reported as saying: "It's a political push to make way in New South Wales to lead the push for a republic. If they decide not to have a Governor and the public agrees with that, and Parliament agrees, and the queen agrees to it, that is a different matter, but while there is a Governor you have got to give him some respectability and credibility, because he is the host for the whole of New South Wales. For the life of me I cannot understand the logic of having a Governor who is part-time and doesn’t live at Government House. It is such a degrading of the office and of the Governor."[11][12]

In October 2011, the new premier, Barry O'Farrell, announced that the governor, now Dame Marie Bashir, had agreed with O'Farrell's offer to move back into Government House: "A lot of people believe the Governor should live at Government House. That's what it was built for ... [A]t some stage a rural or regional governor will be appointed and we will need to provide accommodation at Government House so it makes sense to provide appropriate living areas".[13] With the Governor's return, management of the residence reverted to the Office of the Governor in December 2013.

Summer residence

"Old" Government House, Parramatta.

In addition to the primary Sydney vice-regal residence, many governors had also felt the need for a 'summer retreat' to escape the hard temperatures of the Sydney summers. In 1790, Governor Phillip had a secondary residence built in the township of Parramatta. In 1799 the second governor, John Hunter, had the remains of Arthur Phillip's cottage cleared away, and a more permanent building erected on the same site. This residence remained occupied until the completion of the primary Government House in 1845, however the hard summers and growing size of Sydney convinced successive governors of the need for a rural residence.

The governor from 1868 to 1872, The Earl Belmore, used Throsby Park in Moss Vale as his summer residence. His successor, Sir Hercules Robinson, often retired privately to the same area, in the Southern Highlands, for the same reason. In 1879 it was then decided that the colony should purchase a house at Sutton Forest for use as a permanent summer residence, and in 1881 the NSW Government purchased for £6000 a property known as "Prospect" that had been built by Robert Pemberton Richardson (of the firm Richardson & Wrench). This was renamed "Hillview", and became the primary summer governor's residence from 1885 to 1957. In 1957, seen as unnecessary and expensive, Hillview was put up for sale and purchased from the state government by Edwin Klein. Hillview was returned to the people of NSW in 1985 and is currently leased under the ownership of the Office of Environment and Heritage.[14]


The viceregal household aids the governor in the execution of the royal constitutional and ceremonial duties and is managed by the Office of the Governor, whose current Official Secretary and Chief of Staff is Colonel Michael Miller RFD.[15] These organised offices and support systems include aides-de-camp, press officers, financial managers, speech writers, trip organisers, event planners and protocol officers, chefs and other kitchen employees, waiters, and various cleaning staff, as well as tour guides. In this official and bureaucratic capacity, the entire household is often referred to as Government House. These departments are funded through the annual budget, as is the governor's salary of A$181,555.[16]

List of governors of New South Wales

The following individuals have served as a governor of New South Wales:[17]

No. Portrait Governor Term start Term end Time in office
Governors appointed by King George III (1760–1820):
1 Arthur Phillip - Project Gutenberg eText 12992 Captain Arthur Phillip RN 7 February 1788 10 December 1792 4 years, 307 days
2 Gouverneur John Hunter Captain John Hunter RN 11 September 1795 27 September 1800 5 years, 16 days
3 Philip Gidley King - Project Gutenberg eText 12992 Captain Philip Gidley King RN 28 September 1800 12 August 1806 5 years, 318 days
4 WilliamBligh.jpeg Captain William Bligh RN 13 August 1806 26 January 1808 1 year, 166 days
5 Ln-Governor-Lachlan macquarie Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB 1 January 1810 1 December 1821 11 years, 334 days
Governors appointed by King George IV (1820–1830):
6 Thomasbrisbane Major-General Sir Thomas Brisbane Bt, GCH, GCB 1 December 1821 1 December 1825 4 years, 0 days
7 Ralph Darling Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Darling GCH 19 December 1825 21 October 1831 5 years, 306 days
Governors appointed by King William IV (1830–1837):
8 Sir Richard Bourke by Martin Archer Shee c. 1837-1850 Major-General Sir Richard Bourke KCB 3 December 1831 5 December 1837 6 years, 2 days
Governors appointed by Queen Victoria (1837–1901):
9 Governor Gipps Major Sir George Gipps 24 February 1838 11 July 1846 8 years, 137 days
10 Sir Charles FitzRoy by Henry Robinson Smith (ca. 1855) Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy KCH, KCB 3 August 1846 28 January 1855 8 years, 178 days
11 William Denison 2 Sir William Denison KCB 20 January 1855 22 January 1861 6 years, 2 days
12 John Young, 1st Baron Lisgar The Rt Hon. Sir John Young Bt, GCMG, KCB 16 May 1861 24 December 1867 6 years, 222 days
13 4thEarlOfBelmore The Rt Hon. The Earl Belmore GCMG, PC 8 January 1868 21 February 1872 4 years, 44 days
14 LordRosmead The Rt Hon. Sir Hercules Robinson GCMG 3 June 1872 19 March 1879 6 years, 289 days
15 Augustus Loftus The Rt Hon. Lord Augustus Loftus GCB 4 August 1879 9 November 1885 6 years, 97 days
16 1stMarquessOfLincolnshire The Rt Hon. The Lord Carrington GCMG, PC 12 December 1885 3 November 1890 4 years, 326 days
17 7thEarlOfJersey The Rt Hon. The Earl of Jersey GCB, GCMG, PC 15 January 1891 2 March 1893 2 years, 46 days
18 Governor Duff The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Duff GCMG 29 May 1893 15 March 18952 2 years, 291 days
19 Henry Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden The Rt Hon. The Viscount Hampden GCMG 21 November 1895 5 March 1899 3 years, 104 days
20 Earl beauchamp1900 The Rt Hon. The Earl Beauchamp KCMG, PC 18 May 1899 30 April 1901 1 year, 347 days
Governors appointed by King Edward VII (1901–1910):
21 Rawson Admiral Sir Harry Rawson GCB, GCMG, RN 27 May 1902 27 May 1909 7 years, 0 days
22 Chelmsford Governor The Rt. Hon. The Lord Chelmsford GCMG 28 May 1909 11 March 1913 3 years, 287 days
Governors appointed by King George V (1910–1936):
23 Gerald Strickland 1930s 140x190 The Hon. Sir Gerald Strickland, Count della Catena GCMG 14 March 1913 27 October 1917 4 years, 227 days
24 WEDavidson Sir Walter Davidson KCMG 18 February 1918 4 September 1923[note 2] 5 years, 198 days
25 De Chair Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair KCB, MVO 28 February 1924 7 April 1930 6 years, 38 days
26 Portrait Sir Philip Game 1947 Air Vice Marshal Sir Philip Game GBE, KCB, DSO 29 May 1930 15 January 1935 4 years, 231 days
27 Lordgowrie The Rt. Hon. The Lord Gowrie VC, GCMG, CB, DSO 21 February 1935 22 January 1936 335 days
Governors appointed by King Edward VIII (1936):
28 David Murray Anderson Admiral Sir David Anderson KCB, KCMG, MVO 6 August 1936 30 October 1936[note 2][note 3] 85 days
Governors appointed by King George VI (1936–1952):
29 Wakehurst The Rt. Hon. The Lord Wakehurst KCMG 8 April 1937 8 January 1946 8 years, 275 days
30 John Northcott AWM 107728 Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott KCMG, KCVO, CB 1 August 1946 31 July 1957 10 years, 364 days
Governors appointed by Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952):
31 Ericwoodward Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward KCMG, KCVO, CB, CBE, DSO 1 August 1957 31 July 1965 7 years, 364 days
32 VCArthurRodenCutler Sir Roden Cutler VC, KCMG, KCVO, CBE 20 January 1966 19 January 1981 14 years, 365 days
33 SUK11573Rowland Air Marshal Sir James Rowland AC, KBE, DFC, AFC 20 January 1981 20 January 1989 8 years, 0 days
34 Beazley1986 cropped.JPEG Rear Admiral Sir David Martin KCMG, AO, RAN 20 January 1989 7 August 1990[note 1] 1 year, 199 days
35 Badge of the Governor of New South Wales Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AC, RAN 8 August 1990 29 February 1996 5 years, 205 days
36 Badge of the Governor of New South Wales The Hon. Gordon Samuels AC, CVO, QC 1 March 1996 28 February 2001 4 years, 364 days
37 Marie-bashir-in-wahroonga-2008 Crop Professor The Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO 1 March 2001 1 October 2014 13 years, 214 days
38 David Hurley AUSMIN General The Hon. David Hurley AC, DSC (Retd) 2 October 2014 1 May 2019 4 years, 211 days
39 Badge of the Governor of New South Wales The Hon. Margaret Beazley AO, QC 2 May 2019 Incumbent 108 days

Living former governors

Currently, three former governors are alive. The most recent governor to die was Gordon Samuels (1996–2001), on 10 December 2007.

Name Term as governor Date of birth
Peter Sinclair 1990–96 16 November 1934 (age 84)
Dame Marie Bashir 2001–14 1 December 1930 (age 88)
David Hurley 2014–19 26 August 1953 (age 65)

See also


  1. ^ a b Sir David Martin resigned the viceregal post on 7 August 1990 due to health concerns. He died three days later.
  2. ^ a b c The following governors died in office: Sir Robert Duff on 15 March 1895; Sir Walter Davidson on 15 September 1923; and Sir David Anderson on 30 October 1936.
  3. ^ a b When Sir David Anderson died in office on 30 October 1936, the lieutenant governor, Sir Philip Street, served as Administrator until Lord Wakehurst was sworn in on 8 April 1937.
  4. ^ Sir Leslie Herron, the lieutenant governor, died suddenly in May 1973 while the governor, Sir Roden Cutler, was overseas. Sir John Kerr became the Administrator until Cutler was able to return.


  1. ^ The Royal Household. "The Queen and the Commonwealth > Queen and Australia > The Queen's role in Australia". Queen's Printer. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b Constitution Act, 1902, Sydney: Queen's Printer, retrieved 19 August 2010
  3. ^ Taylor, A. J. P. (1965). "English History, 1914–1945". In Cannadine, David (ed.). Aspects of Aristocracy. Yale University Press (published 1994). pp. 172–3.
  4. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette S205 dated 17 June 2003
  5. ^ a b "Patronage Listing". Governor of New South Wales. Office of the Governor. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  6. ^ "The title 'The Honourable' for Governors of New South Wales" (PDF). New South Wales Government Gazette. 6 December 2013. p. 5716. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  7. ^ The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (1789)
  8. ^ NSW Parliament. History of the Legislative Council Archived 9 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  9. ^ Twomey, Anne (2006). The chameleon Crown: The Queen and her Australian governors. Sydney: The Federation Press. ISBN 978-1-86287-629-3.
  10. ^ The Queen's Other Realms: The Crown and Its Legacy in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Peter John Boyce, Federation Press, 2008, page 165
  11. ^ Government House, Legislative Assembly, 19 September 2012
  12. ^ "Editorial—A Governor on the side". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 January 1996.
  13. ^ "Governor Marie Bashir makes a grand return home to Government House". The Daily Telegraph. 7 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Heritage dispute over Sutton Forest mansion Hillview". Southern highland News. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Governor of New South Wales Official Website". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Constitution (Governor's Salary) Regulation 1990 (NSW)". Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  17. ^ "GOVERNORS". Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) (Evenings ed.). Vic.: National Library of Australia. 6 January 1868. p. 4. Retrieved 2 May 2012.

External links

Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie

Brigadier General Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie & Bar, PC (; 6 July 1872 – 2 May 1955) was a British Army officer who served as the tenth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1936 to 1945. He was previously Governor of South Australia (1928 to 1934) and Governor of New South Wales (1935 to 1936).

Gowrie was born in Windsor, Berkshire, England, into a minor aristocratic family. He joined a voluntary Yeomanry unit at the age of 17, and then enlisted in the regular army at the age of 19. Gowrie fought in the Sudan during the Mahdist Revolt, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving a wounded Egyptian soldier. He later served in the Somaliland Campaign and as an aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. During World War I, Gowrie commanded units in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front, winning several further honours. He finished his military career with the rank of brigadier-general.

In 1928, Gowrie was appointed Governor of South Australia. His handling of political instability during the Great Depression was highly regarded, and when his term expired he was instead appointed Governor of New South Wales. However, Gowrie's second governorship lasted little more than a year, as Joseph Lyons recommended him to become Governor-General. As well as the stresses of World War II, he faced several constitutional challenges, including Lyons' death in office and the defeat of Arthur Fadden's government on a confidence motion. Gowrie's term in office was prolonged as a result of war, and in total he spent nine years in the position, the longest of any governor-general.

Arthur Phillip

Admiral Arthur Phillip (11 October 1738 – 31 August 1814) was a Royal Navy officer and the first Governor of New South Wales who founded the British penal colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia.After much experience at sea, Phillip sailed with the First Fleet as Governor-designate of the proposed British penal colony of New South Wales. In January 1788, he selected its location to be Port Jackson (encompassing Sydney Harbour).Phillip was a far-sighted governor who soon saw that New South Wales would need a civil administration and a system for emancipating the convicts. But his plan to bring skilled tradesmen on the voyage had been rejected, and he faced immense problems of labour, discipline and supply.

The arrival of the Second and Third Fleets placed new pressures on the scarce local resources, but by the time Phillip sailed home in December 1792, the colony was taking shape, with official land-grants and systematic farming and water-supply.

Phillip retired in 1805, but continued to correspond with his friends in New South Wales and to promote the colony's interests.

David Hurley

General David John Hurley, (born 26 August 1953) is a former senior officer in the Australian Army and the 27th Governor-General of Australia, in office since 1 July 2019. He was previously the 38th Governor of New South Wales, serving from 2014 to 2019.

In a 42-year military career, Hurley deployed on Operation Solace in Somalia in 1993, commanded the 1st Brigade (1999–2000), was the inaugural Chief of Capability Development Group (2003–2007) and Chief of Joint Operations (2007–2008), and served as Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2008–2011). His career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2011, in succession to Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston. Hurley retired from the army in June 2014, and succeeded Dame Marie Bashir as Governor of New South Wales on 2 October 2014.

David Murray Anderson

Admiral Sir David Murray Anderson (11 April 1874 – 30 October 1936) was a British naval officer and governor. Anderson served in the Royal Navy from the age of 13 and served in many Colonial wars and was given various Empire postings, rising to the rank of admiral in 1931. He retired a year later and took up the posting as Governor of Newfoundland, where he also took up the role of Chairman of the Government following the suspension of self-government in the Dominion of Newfoundland. Leaving Newfoundland in 1935, he was appointed as Governor of New South Wales but served only briefly due to his ill health. He died while in office aged 62.

Division of Gippsland

The Division of Gippsland is an Australian electoral division in the state of Victoria. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. It is named for the Gippsland region of eastern Victoria, which in turn is named for Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales 1838–1846. It includes the towns of Bairnsdale, Morwell, Sale and Traralgon.

Frederic Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford

Frederic John Napier Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, (12 August 1868 – 1 April 1933) was a British statesman who served as Governor of Queensland from 1905 to 1909, Governor of New South Wales from 1909 to 1913, and Viceroy of India from 1916 to 1921, where he was responsible for the creation of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. After serving a short time as First Lord of the Admiralty in the government of Ramsay MacDonald, he was appointed the Agent-General for New South Wales by the government of Jack Lang before his retirement.

George Gipps

Major Sir George Gipps (1791 – 28 February 1847) was Governor of the colony of New South Wales, Australia, for eight years, between 1838 and 1846. His governorship was during a period of great change for New South Wales and Australia, as well as for New Zealand, which was administered as part of New South Wales for much of this period. Settlers at the time were not happy with his move towards responsible government, although contemporaries at the Colonial Office found him to be an able administrator.

Gordon Samuels

Gordon Jacob Samuels (12 August 1923 – 10 December 2007) was a British-Australian lawyer, judge and the Governor of New South Wales from 1996 to 2001.

Born in London in 1923, Samuels was educated at University College School and Balliol College, Oxford. After serving in the Second World War, he was called to the bar and emigrated to Australia in 1949. Serving as a barrister in Sydney, Samuels was made a Queen's Counsel in 1964 and appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1972.

Samuels was later appointed a Judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal in 1974, serving till his mandatory retirement in 1993, aged 70. A member of the University of New South Wales Council from 1969, Samuels was appointed Chancellor of the University of New South Wales in 1976, serving until 1994, being the longest-serving Chancellor. On retirement from law, Samuels became Chairman of the Law Reform Commission of New South Wales, a position he held until he was appointed governor in 1996. As Governor of New South Wales, he endured significant controversy over the decision not to reside in Government House, Sydney. Despite this he served with distinction and retired in March 2001. He died aged 84 in December 2007.

John Northcott

Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott (24 March 1890 – 4 August 1966) was an Australian Army general who served as Chief of the General Staff during the Second World War, and commanded the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in the Occupation of Japan. He was the first Australian-born Governor of New South Wales.

Northcott joined the Australian Army as a reservist in 1908, before becoming a regular officer in 1912. On duty in Tasmania when the Great War broke out in 1914, he joined the 12th Infantry Battalion, a unit from that state. He was wounded in the landing at Gallipoli on Anzac Day and invalided to Egypt, the United Kingdom, and ultimately Australia, taking no further part in the fighting. After the war, Northcott served on a series of staff posts. He attended the Staff College, Camberley and Imperial Defence College and also spent time overseas as an exchange officer with the British Army and as a military attaché in the United States and Canada.

During World War II, Northcott was attached to the British 7th Armoured Division in the Middle East to study armoured warfare, returning to Australia in December 1941 to organise the new 1st Armoured Division. In March 1942, he assumed command II Corps. In September 1942, he was appointed Chief of the General Staff. As General Sir Thomas Blamey's principal non-operational subordinate, he was responsible for administering and training the wartime army. After the war, he served as commander of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in the post-war Occupation of Japan. He retired from the Army in 1946 to become the Governor of New South Wales.

Lachlan Macquarie

Major General Lachlan Macquarie, CB (; Scottish Gaelic: Lachann MacGuaire; 31 January 1762 – 1 July 1824) was a British Army officer and colonial administrator from Scotland. Macquarie served as the fifth and last autocratic Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821, and had a leading role in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony. He is considered by historians to have had a crucial influence on the transition of New South Wales from a penal colony to a free settlement and therefore to have played a major role in the shaping of Australian society in the early nineteenth century. In 1816 Macquarie gave orders that led to the Appin Massacre of Gundungurra and Dharawal people.

Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales

The Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales is a government position in the state of New South Wales, Australia, acting as a deputy to the Governor of New South Wales. The office was first created in October 1786, before the arrival of the First Fleet, to act as a deputy to the first governor, Arthur Phillip. At that time the Lieutenant-Governor, or its equivalent of "Administrator of the Government", was filled by military officers and was a position only created when needed or in times of long absences by the Governor. Since 1872 this office has been held concurrently by the Chief Justice of New South Wales but the position may be retained by the Chief Justice after their retirement from the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Margaret Beazley

Margaret Joan Beazley, (born 23 July 1951) is an Australian jurist who is the 39th and current Governor of New South Wales, serving since 2 May 2019. She was the president of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, the first woman to hold the office, from 2013 until February 2019.

Marie Bashir

Dame Marie Roslyn Bashir, (born 1 December 1930) is the former and second longest-serving Governor of New South Wales. Born in Narrandera, New South Wales, Bashir graduated from the University of Sydney in 1956 and held various medical positions, with a particular emphasis in psychiatry. In 1993 Bashir was appointed the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the Central Sydney Area Health Service, a position she held until appointed governor on 1 March 2001. She has also served as the Chancellor of the University of Sydney (2007–2012).

Bashir retired on 1 October 2014, and was succeeded as governor by General David Hurley.

Peter Sinclair (governor)

Rear Admiral Peter Ross Sinclair, (born 16 November 1934) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy who served as the 35th Governor of New South Wales from 8 August 1990 to 1 March 1996. Born in Manly, New South Wales, he was educated North Sydney Boys High School before joining the navy through the Royal Australian Naval College.

Over a 41-year career, Sinclair saw active service in Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and in relief operations following Cyclone Tracy, and commanded the naval base HMAS Penguin. He later rose to high command, serving as Director of Naval Plans and as chief project officer during the establishment of the tri-service Australian Defence Force Academy, and then serving as its first commandant. In 1987 he was appointed Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet, which was redesignated as Maritime Commander Australia the following year. In 1989 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff but served only briefly until his retirement later that year.

When his friend and navy colleague, Sir David Martin, resigned his commission as Governor of New South Wales in August 1990 due to an advancing medical condition, Sinclair was appointed to succeed him. He retired in 1996 while controversy of Carr's proposed changes of the Governor's role emerged in regard to his successor.

Philip Gidley King

Captain Philip Gidley King (23 April 1758 – 3 September 1808) was the third Governor of New South Wales, and did much to organise the young colony in the face of great obstacles.

When the First Fleet arrived in January 1788, King was detailed to colonise Norfolk Island for defence and foraging purposes. As Governor of New South Wales, he helped develop livestock farming, whaling and mining, built many schools and launched the colony's first newspaper. But conflicts with the military wore down his spirit, and they were able to force his resignation.

Ralph Darling

General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH (1772 – 2 April 1858) was a British Army officer who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. He is popularly described as a tyrant, accused of torturing prisoners and banning theatrical entertainment, but he also built new roads and extended the boundaries of the colony. Local geographical features named after him include the Darling River and Darling Harbour in Sydney.

The controversy of his Australian tenure somewhat obscures his remarkable early career, in which he rose rapidly from obscure origins to high command.

Robert Duff (British politician)

Sir Robert William Duff (8 May 1835 – 15 March 1895), known as Robert William Duff Abercromby until 1862, was a Scottish Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1861 to 1893 and was Governor of New South Wales from 1893 to 1895.

Walter Edward Davidson

Sir Walter Edward Davidson, (20 April 1859 – 15 September 1923) was a colonial Administrator and diplomat. He served periods as Governor of the Seychelles, Governor of Newfoundland and as Governor of New South Wales, where he died in office.

William Denison

Sir William Thomas Denison (3 May 1804 – 19 January 1871) was Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land from 1847 to 1855, Governor of New South Wales from 1855 to 1861, and Governor of Madras from 1861 to 1866.

According to Percival Serle, Denison was a man of high character and a good administrator. In his early days in Tasmania he spoke too frankly about the colonists in communications which he regarded as confidential, and this accentuated the feeling against him as a representative of the colonial office during the anti-transportation and responsible government movements. He showed great interest in the life of the colony, and helped to foster education, science and trade, during the period when Tasmania was developing into a prosperous colony. In New South Wales his task was easier, and he had no difficulty in coping adequately with the problems that arose during the early days of responsible government in Australia.

Governors of New South Wales
Before Federation
After Federation
Political parties


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