List of governors-general of Australia

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Flag of the governor-general of Australia

The governor-general of Australia is the head of the executive branch of the federal government, serving as the representative of the Australian monarch (currently Charles III). The position came into being with the adoption of the new national constitution on 1 January 1901, and has been held by 27 people since then. Governors-general have no fixed term, but have usually served for around five years.

Background[edit]

For the first two decades after federation, governors-general were selected solely by the British government. The monarch was consulted on the decision into the 1930s. The first four governors-general were peers; Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson (appointed 1914) was the first commoner to hold the position, although he was also later elevated to the peerage. In 1920, Billy Hughes became the first prime minister to be consulted over the governor-generalship. Stanley Bruce (1925) and Joseph Lyons (1935) either asked for or were given a list of suitable candidates to choose from.

James Scullin (1930) became the first prime minister of Australia to exercise complete discretion in the appointment; his nomination of Sir Isaac Isaacs made Australia the first Dominion to have a native-born governor-general. In 1945, John Curtin nominated Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, to the post – the first and only royal officeholder. A second Australian (William McKell) was appointed in 1947; he was followed by three more Britons, each chosen by Sir Robert Menzies. Menzies's fourth nomination was Richard Casey, who took office in 1965; he and all subsequent governors-general have been Australian citizens. All states except South Australia and Tasmania have provided at least one appointee. The first female governor-general, Quentin Bryce, took office in 2008.

On 16 December 2018, prime minister Scott Morrison announced that the next governor-general would be General David Hurley, then-governor of New South Wales. To provide continuity through general elections both federally and in New South Wales, Hurley succeeded General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who had planned to retire in March 2019, on 1 July 2019.[1][2]

List of officeholders[edit]

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Monarch
Reign
Prime Minister
Term of office
Took office Left office Time in office
1 John Hope
7th Earl of Hopetoun

KT, GCMG, GCVO, PC
(1860–1908)
1 January
1901
17 July
1902[a]
1 year, 197 days Victoria
(1837–1901)

Edmund Barton
(1901–1903)
Edward VII
(1901–1910)
2 Hallam Tennyson
2nd Baron Tennyson

GCMG, PC
(1852–1928)
9 January
1903
21 January
1904
1 year, 12 days
Alfred Deakin
(1903–1904)
3 Henry Northcote
1st Baron Northcote

GCMG, GCIE, CB
(1846–1911)
21 January
1904
9 September
1908
4 years, 232 days
Chris Watson
(1904)
George Reid
(1904–1905)
Alfred Deakin
(1905–1908)
4 William Ward
2nd Earl of Dudley

GCB, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC
(1867–1932)
9 September
1908
31 July
1911
2 years, 325 days
Andrew Fisher
(1908–1909)
Alfred Deakin
(1909–1910)
Andrew Fisher
(1910–1913)
George V
(1910–1936)
5 Thomas Denman
3rd Baron Denman

GCMG, KCVO, PC
(1874–1954)
31 July
1911
18 May
1914
2 years, 291 days
Joseph Cook
(1913–1914)
6 Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson
GCMG, PC
(1860–1934)
18 May
1914
6 October
1920
6 years, 141 days
Andrew Fisher
(1914–1915)
Billy Hughes
(1915–1923)
7 Henry Forster
1st Baron Forster

GCMG, PC
(1866–1936)
6 October
1920
8 October
1925
5 years, 2 days
Stanley Bruce
(1923–1929)
8 John Baird
1st Baron Stonehaven

GCMG, DSO, PC
(1874–1941)
8 October
1925
2 October
1930[b]
4 years, 359 days
James Scullin
(1929–1932)
9 Sir Isaac Isaacs
GCMG
(1855–1948)
21 January
1931
23 January
1936
5 years, 2 days
Joseph Lyons
(1932–1939)
Edward VIII
(1936)
10 Brigadier-General
Alexander Hore-Ruthven
Baron Gowrie

VC, GCMG, CB, DSO*, PC
(1872–1955)
23 January
1936
30 January
1945
9 years, 7 days
George VI
(1936–1952)
Earle Page
(1939)
Robert Menzies
(1939–1941)
Arthur Fadden
(1941)
John Curtin
(1941–1945)
11 Prince Henry
Duke of Gloucester

KG, KT, KP, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GCStJ, PC, ADC
(1900–1974)
30 January
1945
11 March
1947
2 years, 40 days
Frank Forde
(1945)
Ben Chifley
(1945–1949)
12 Sir William McKell
GCMG, PC
(1891–1985)
11 March
1947
8 May
1953
6 years, 58 days
Robert Menzies
(1949–1966)
Elizabeth II
(1952–2022)
13 Field Marshal
Sir William Slim
KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ
(1891–1970)
8 May
1953
2 February
1960
6 years, 270 days
14 William Morrison
1st Viscount Dunrossil

GCMG, MC, PC, QC
(1893–1961)
2 February
1960
3 February
1961[c]
1 year, 1 day
15 William Sidney
1st Viscount De L'Isle

VC, GCMG, GCVO, PC
(1909–1991)
3 August
1961
7 May
1965
3 years, 277 days
16 Richard Casey
Baron Casey

KG, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, PC
(1890–1976)
7 May
1965
30 April
1969
3 years, 358 days
Harold Holt
(1966–1967)
John McEwen
(1967–1968)
John Gorton
(1968–1971)
17 Sir Paul Hasluck
KG, GCMG, GCVO
(1905–1993)
30 April
1969
11 July
1974
5 years, 72 days
William McMahon
(1971–1972)
Gough Whitlam
(1972–1975)
18 Sir John Kerr
AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC
(1914–1991)
11 July
1974
8 December
1977
3 years, 150 days
Malcolm Fraser
(1975–1983)
19 Sir Zelman Cowen
AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC
(1919–2011)
8 December
1977
29 July
1982
4 years, 233 days
20 Sir Ninian Stephen
AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QC
(1923–2017)
29 July
1982
16 February
1989
6 years, 202 days
Bob Hawke
(1983–1991)
21 Bill Hayden
AC
(1933–2023)
16 February
1989
16 February
1996
7 years
Paul Keating
(1991–1996)
22 Sir William Deane
AC, KBE
(born 1931)
16 February
1996
29 June
2001
5 years, 133 days
John Howard
(1996–2007)
23 Peter Hollingworth
AC, OBE
(born 1935)
29 June
2001
28 May
2003[d]
1 year, 333 days
24 Major General
Michael Jeffery
AC, CVO, MC
(1937–2020)
11 August
2003
5 September
2008
5 years, 25 days
Kevin Rudd
(2007–2010)
25 Dame Quentin Bryce
AD, CVO
(born 1942)
5 September
2008
28 March
2014
5 years, 204 days
Julia Gillard
(2010–2013)
Kevin Rudd
(2013)
Tony Abbott
(2013–2015)
26 General
Sir Peter Cosgrove
AK, CVO, MC
(born 1947)
28 March
2014
1 July
2019
5 years, 95 days
Malcolm Turnbull
(2015–2018)
Scott Morrison
(2018–2022)
27 General
David Hurley
AC, DSC
(born 1953)
1 July
2019
Incumbent 4 years, 244 days
Anthony Albanese
(since 2022)
Charles III
(since 2022)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hopetoun left for England on 17 July 1902. Lord Tennyson, the governor of South Australia, was appointed Administrator of the Government until formally taking over the governor-generalship on 9 January 1903.
  2. ^ Stonehaven left for England on 2 October 1930. Lord Somers, the Governor of Victoria, was appointed Administrator of the Government until Sir Isaac Isaacs took over the governor-generalship on 21 January 1931.
  3. ^ Dunrossil died in office on 3 February 1961. Sir Dallas Brooks, the governor of Victoria, was appointed Administrator of the Government until Lord De L'Isle took over the governor-generalship on 3 August 1961.
  4. ^ Hollingworth resigned on 28 May 2003. Sir Guy Green, the governor of Tasmania, was appointed Administrator of the Government until Michael Jeffery took over the governor-generalship on 11 August 2003.
  1. ^ "Australia's New Governor-General". Prime Minister of Australia. 16 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  2. ^ Karp, Paul; Cox, Lisa (16 December 2018). "David Hurley named next governor general of Australia". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Christopher Cunneen (1983). Kings' Men: Australia's Governors-General from Hopetoun to Isaacs. Allen and Unwin. ISBN 0-86861-238-3.
  • Bill Hayden (1996). Hayden: An Autobiography. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-18769-X. (pp 515, 519, 548)

External links[edit]