Governors of Queensland

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1859
Location: Queensland, Australiamap
Surnames/tags: Queensland governors
Profile manager: Kenneth Evans private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 245 times.



Badge of the Governor of Queensland

On 10th December 1859, Letters Patent issued by Queen Victoria were read to an elated audience, proclaiming Queensland to be a new colony, separate from New South Wales. Sir George Bowen was 'sworn in' as the first governor by Judge Alfred Lutwyche. From that day forward, Queenslanders were in charge of their own affairs. Queen Victoria assented to the creation of a new and separate colony to be called Queen’s Land on 6th June 1859, a day that continues to be celebrated as Queensland Day. The Governor of Queensland is the symbolic head of state of Queensland and represents centuries of constitutional tradition. Since 1859, Governors of Queensland have upheld a fundamental principle—that all people from all walks of life belong to the same community, a parliamentary democracy where government is conducted according to law. The highest purpose of governors is to see to that.

Government House

Gardens Point

The Bowens, Sir George being Queensland's first governor, arrived in Brisbane in December 1859 before accommodation had a chance to be arranged. Initially the family lived in Adelaide House, on Ann Street (now the Deanery of St John's Anglican Cathedral).[1] The first Government House was built at Gardens Point, at the southern end of George Street, next to Parliament House, with the family moving-in in 1862. There had been some controversy regards its construction as Brisbane had then not been decided upon as the colonial capital. The gardens are now part of the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and the house is part of the Queensland University of Technology on that site. There were rooms for 'dancing, drinking of claret, sherry, tea and coffee, the playing of the card game whist, and the drawing room'. In 1909, by the standards of the times, the house was perceived as being too small for the governor's residence, especially as it lacked a ballroom deemed essential for entertaining.

Fernberg House, Paddington, Queensland

The house was donated to the University of Queensland, being established at Gadens Point, [2] and Fernberg House, about four kilometres west of the CBD, was purchased by the Queensland Government and has been Government House Queensland since. The fifteen hectares (37 acres) site is bounded by Fernberg Road, Kaye Street, Baroona Road and Murruba Street, and comprise the main house, ancillary administration, staff and maintenance buildings, and formal gardens, surrounded by native bushland. The principal rooms, in the lower level, of the house are the formal reception, governor's study, investiture room, billiard room, dining room and the kitchen, with the upper level housing the private bedrooms of the governor and several guest bedrooms.[3]

Governors of Queensland


  1. Wikipedia: The Deanery, Brisbane; accessed 19 Sep 2019
  2. Wikipedia: Old Government House, Queensland; accessed 19 Sep 2019
  3. Government House Queensland website; accessed 19 Sep 2019

See also

No. Photo Name Birth-place Spouse Years as Governor No. years Notes
1Sir George Bowen GCMGTaughboyne, County Donegal, IrelandLady Bowen, Contessa Diamantina di Roma1859-18688yrs 1mthencouraged exploration and establishment of a volunteer military force
2Colonel Samuel BlackallDublin, Irelandwidowered twice previously1868-18712yrs 4mthsencouraged agricultural improvements; died in office
3Sir George Phipps GCB GCMG, 2nd Marquess of NormanbyYorkshire, EnglandLady (Laura) Phipps, Marchioness of Normanby1871-18743yrs 3mthscolonial administrator of solid, business-like habits and who understood the complexities of constitutional practice
4Colonel Sir William Cairns KCMGBelfast, Irelandunmarried1875-18772yrs 2mthsshowed a keen interest in education and welcomed botanical and agricultural research
5Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy GCMG CBCultra, County Down, Irelandwidowered1877-18835yrs 10mthsdied enroute home to UK
6Sir Anthony Musgrave GCMGSt John’s, AntiguaLady (Jeanie) Musgrave1883-18884yrs 11mthsresponding to the colony's premier 'annexing' south-eastern New Guinea; died in office
7Field Marshal Sir Henry Norman GCB GCMG CIEFinsbury, Middlesex, EnglandLady (Alice) Norman1889-18956yrs 7mthsmandate to cut government expenditure
8Lord Charles Cochrane-Baillie GCMG GCIE, 2nd Baron LamingtonFinsbury, Middlesex, EnglandLady (Mary) Cochrane-Baillie, Baroness Lamington1895-19015yrs 8mthsworked with the premier to ensure that the role of the governor would not diminish after federation
9Lieutenant General Sir Herbert Chermside GCMG CBWilton, Wiltshire, EnglandLady (Geraldine) Chermside1901-19042yrs 7mthswith Qld in the grip of drought and economic recession he dropped 15% of his salary
10Sir Frederic Thesiger GCSI GCMG GCIE GBE PC, 1st Viscount ChelmsfordBelgrave, London, EnglandLady (Frances) Thesiger1905-19093yrs 6mthsterm was dominated by conflict between the two Houses and the emergence of three evenly-divided parties
11Doctor Sir William MacGregor GCMG CB AMTowie, Aberdeenshire, ScotlandLady (Mary) MacGregor1909-19144yrs 7mthsdevelopment of the University of Queensland and Royal Geographical Society of Queensland
12Major Sir Hamilton John Goold-Adams GCMG CBJamesbrook, County Cork, IrelandLady (Elsie) Goold-Adams1915-19204yrs 11mthsled the way in determining that the landing at Gallipoli should be celebrated on 25th April each year; died en route to UK
13Lieutenant Colonel Sir Matthew Nathan GCMG PCPaddington, London, England-1920-19254yrs 9mthsabolition of Legislative Council by Labor government
14Lieutenant General Sir John Goodwin KCB KCMG DSOKandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)Lady (Lilian) Goodwin1927-19324yrs 9mthstook particular interest in wild-life preservation, the health of Europeans in the tropics, and eye disease
15LT COL Sir Leslie Wilson GCSI GCMG GCIE DSOKensington, Middlesex, EnglandLady (Winifred) Wilson1932-194613yrs 10mthsterm extended due to Second World War
16Lieutenant General Sir John Lavarack KCMG KCVO KBE CB DSOKangaroo Point, QueenslandLady (Sybil) Lavarack1946-195711yrs 2mthsimpressed with his soldierly sense of duty, friendly accessibility and desire to be of service to all people
17Colonel Sir Henry Abel Smith KCMG KStJ KCVO DSOSt George Hanover Square, London, EnglandLady (May) Abel Smith1958-19668yrstravelled extensively throughout the State andd took avid interest in all people
18Justice Sir Alan Mansfield KCMG KCVOGumdale, QueenslandLady (Beryl) Mansfield1966-19726yrsas Chief Justice of Qld had been acting governor on several occasions
19Air Marshal Sir Colin Thomas Hannah KCMG KCVO KBE KStJ CBMenzies, Western AustraliaLady (Patricia) Hannah1972-19775yrsexperienced no-nonsense administrator ... flexibility of mind and ability to mix with people
20Commodore Sir James Ramsay KCMG KCVO CBE DSCHobart, TasmaniaLady (Janet) Ramsay1977-19858yrs 3mthsencouraged others and had the admirable qualities of a first-class naval officer
21Sir Walter Campbell AC QCBurringbar, New South WalesLady (Georgina) Campbell1985-19927yrstenure was one of controversy caused by the governing National Party
22The Honourable Leneen Forde AC DStJOttawa, Ontario, CanadaAngus McDonald1992-19975yrsadvancing the social and economic welfare of Queenslanders, in particular the advancement of women
23Major General Peter Arnison AC CVOLismore, New South WalesBarbara Arnison1997-20036yrs-
24Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVOBrisbane, QueenslandMichael Bryce AM AE2003-20085yrslater appointed 25th Governor General of Australia
25The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC DStJToowoomba, QueenslandStuart McCosker2008-20146yrs-
26The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC KStJ QCBrisbane, QueenslandKaye de Jersey2014-20217yrspreviously Chief Justice of QLD
27The Honourable Doctor Jeannette Young PSM MBA MBBSSydney, New South WalesProfessor Graeme Nimmo2021-continuingpreviously the longest-serving Chief Medical Officer of QLD

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.