List of Governors-General of Australia

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General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the 26th and current 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 Elizabeth II). The position came into being with the adoption of the new national constitution on 1 January 1901, and has been held by 26 people since then. Australian Governors-General have no fixed term, but have usually served for around five years.

For the first two decades after federation, Governors-General of Australia were selected solely by the British Government. The monarch was consulted on the decision into the 1930s, and occasionally, as with Edward VII's choice of Lord Dudley in 1908. The first four Australian Governors-General were titled 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. Alongside 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 although Sir Guy Green, the Governor of Tasmania, was appointed Administrator of the Government from 28 May 2003 until 11 August 2003 after Governor-General Peter Hollingsworth resigned. The first female Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, took office in 2008.

List

No. Portrait Governor-General Term of office Length Monarch(s) Prime Minister(s)
1 Lord Hopetoun 1902.jpg John Hope, Earl of Hopetoun 1 January 1901 17 July 1902[a] 1 year, 197 days Victoria
(1837–1901)
Barton
Edward VII
(1901–1910)
2 Hallam Tennyson.jpg Hallam Tennyson, Baron Tennyson 9 January 1903 21 January 1904 1 year, 12 days
Deakin
3 Lord Northcote.jpg Henry Northcote, Baron Northcote 21 January 1904 9 September 1908 4 years, 232 days
Watson
Reid
Deakin
4 William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley.jpg William Ward, Earl of Dudley 9 September 1908 31 July 1911 2 years, 325 days
Fisher
Deakin
Fisher
George V
(1910–1936)
5 Lord Denman.jpg Thomas Denman, Baron Denman 31 July 1911 18 May 1914 2 years, 291 days
Cook
6 Ronald Munro Ferguson (Barnett-02).jpg Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson 18 May 1914 6 October 1920 6 years, 141 days
Fisher
Hughes
7 Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster circa 1925.jpg Henry Forster, Baron Forster 6 October 1920 8 October 1925 5 years, 2 days
Bruce
8 Ac.stonehaven.jpg John Baird, Baron Stonehaven 8 October 1925 2 October 1930[b] 4 years, 359 days
Scullin
9 Isaac Isaacs 1936.jpg Sir Isaac Isaacs 21 January 1931 23 January 1936 5 years, 2 days
Lyons
Edward VIII
(1936)
10 Lord Gowrie 1936.jpg Alexander Hore-Ruthven, Baron Gowrie 23 January 1936 30 January 1945 9 years, 7 days
George VI
(1936–1952)
Page
Menzies
Fadden
Curtin
11 Dukeofgloucester.jpg Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester 30 January 1945 11 March 1947 2 years, 40 days
Forde
Chifley
12 Williammckell.jpg Sir William McKell 11 March 1947 8 May 1953 6 years, 58 days
Menzies
Elizabeth II
(1952–present)
13 William Slim, 1950.jpg Sir William Slim 8 May 1953 2 February 1960 6 years, 270 days
14 Lord Dunrossil-02.jpg William Morrison, Viscount Dunrossil 2 February 1960 3 February 1961[c] 1 year, 1 day
15 Lord De L'Isle.jpg William Sidney, Viscount De L'Isle 3 August 1961 7 May 1965 3 years, 277 days
16 Richard Casey 1965.jpg Richard Casey, Baron Casey 7 May 1965 30 April 1969 3 years, 358 days
Holt
McEwen
Gorton
17 Paulhasluck.jpg Sir Paul Hasluck 30 April 1969 11 July 1974 5 years, 72 days
McMahon
Whitlam
18 John Kerr 1965.jpg Sir John Kerr 11 July 1974 8 December 1977 3 years, 150 days
Fraser
19 Zelman Cowen.jpg Sir Zelman Cowen 8 December 1977 29 July 1982 4 years, 233 days
20 Sir Ninian Stephen.jpg Sir Ninian Stephen 29 July 1982 16 February 1989 6 years, 202 days
Hawke
21 Bill Hayden on 29.5.1990.jpg Bill Hayden 16 February 1989 16 February 1996 7 years, 0 days
Keating
22 William Deane official portrait.jpg Sir William Deane 16 February 1996 29 June 2001 5 years, 133 days
Howard
23 Dr Peter Hollingworth.jpg Peter Hollingworth 29 June 2001 28 May 2003[d] 1 year, 333 days
24 Jeffery Michael 030238DI-002.jpg Michael Jeffery 11 August 2003 5 September 2008 5 years, 25 days
Rudd
25 Quentin Bryce No.1 (cropped).jpg Dame Quentin Bryce 5 September 2008 28 March 2014 5 years, 204 days
Gillard
Rudd
Abbott
26 Peter Cosgrove 2017 (1) crop.jpg Sir Peter Cosgrove 28 March 2014 Incumbent 4 years, 121 days
Turnbull

See also

Notes

  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.

Further reading

  • 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

  • The Office of the Governor-General
  • The use of the reserve powers
  • A Mirror to the People a 58-minute documentary film on the Office of Governor-General of Australia 1999. Dir: Daryl Dellora. Features Sir William Deane, Sir Zelman Cowen, Sir Ninian Stephen. Special Commendation ATOM Awards.
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