Governors-General Since 1901

The Australian Governor-General is officially appointed by the Queen as Head of State.

In practice, early Governors-General were appointed by the United Kingdom’s Colonial Secretary.

The appointment is now made solely on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister of the day.

Sir Isaac Isaacs was the first Australian-born Governor-General. His appointment by Labor Prime Minister Scullin in 1930 was reluctantly agreed to by King George V who wanted to appoint Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood. This was an important turning point in Australian control over the appointment.

There have been 5 former Australian politicians appointed Governor-General: Isaacs, McKell, Casey, Hasluck and Hayden. Lord Dudley, Lord Stonehaven, Lord Dunrossil and Lord De L’Isle were active in British politics.

High Court judges and senior military officers have also dominated the vice-regal appointment.

Quentin Bryce (2008-14) is the only woman to have held the post.

The Governor-General is now usually offered a 5-year term upon appointment.

Australian Governors-General Since 1901
No. Name Commenced Office Left Office PM at time of appointment
1
John Adrian Louis, Earl of Hopetoun
01 Jan 1901
09 Jan 1903
-
2
Hallam, Baron Tennyson
09 Jan 1903
21 Jan 1904
Barton
3
Henry Stafford, Baron Northcote
21 Jan 1904
09 Sep 1908
Deakin
4
William Humble, Earl of Dudley
09 Sep 1908
03 Jul 1911
Deakin
5
Thomas, Baron Denman
31 Jul 1911
18 May 1914
Fisher
6
Sir Ronald Crauford Munro-Ferguson
18 May 1914
06 Oct 1920
Cook
7
Henry William, Baron Forster of Lepe
06 Oct 1920
08 Oct 1925
Hughes
8
John Lawrence, Baron Stonehaven
08 Oct 1925
22 Jan 1931
Bruce
9
Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs
22 Jan 1931
23 Jan 1936
Scullin
10
Brigadier General Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven, Baron Gowrie
23 Jan 1936
30 Jan 1945
Lyons
11
Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden
30 Jan 1945
11 Mar 1947
Curtin
12
Sir William John McKell
11 Mar 1947
08 May 1953
Chifley
13
Field Marshall Sir William Joseph Slim
08 May 1953
02 Feb 1960
Menzies
14
William Shepherd, Viscount Dunrossil
02 Feb 1960
03 Feb 1961
Died in office
Menzies
15
William Philip, Viscount De L’Isle
03 Aug 1961
22 Sep 1965
Menzies
16
Richard Gardiner, Baron Casey
22 Sep 1965
30 Apr 1969
Menzies
17
Sir Paul Hasluck
30 Apr 1969
11 Jul 1974
Gorton
18
Sir John Robert Kerr
11 Jul 1974
08 Dec 1977
Whitlam
19
Sir Zelman Cowen
08 Dec 1977
29 Jul 1982
Fraser
20
Sir Ninian Martin Stephen
29 Jul 1982
15 Feb 1989
Fraser
21
William George (Bill) Hayden
16 Feb 1989
15 Feb 1996
Hawke
22
Sir William Patrick Deane
16 Feb 1996
28 June 2001
Keating
23
Archbishop Peter Hollingworth
29 June 2001
28 May 2003
Howard
24
Major-General Michael Jeffery
11 Aug 2003
05 Sept 2008
Howard
25
Dame Quentin Bryce
05 Sept 2008
28 Mar 2014
Rudd
26
General Sir Peter Cosgrove
28 Mar 2014
-
Abbott

 

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