Governors of Queensland

On 10 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. 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 6 June 1859, a day that continues to be celebrated as Queensland Day.

A history bound by principle

The Governor of Queensland is the symbolic head of Queensland and represents centuries of constitutional tradition. Since 1859, Queensland Governors have upheld a fundamental principle—that all people of all parties and 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. 

Sir William MacGregor GCMG CB

The Honourable Sir William MacGregor GCMG CB

2.12.1909 to 16.07.1914

Sir William was the first Governor to reside at Fernberg.  Born in Scotland of humble beginnings, he studied for his medical degree at Glasgow University, before taking a posting to the British colony of Seychelles for the Colonial Service. He was appointed Governor of Queensland following successful postings in Fiji, Lagos and Newfoundland.

Major Sir Hamilton John Goold-Adams GCMG CB

Major the Honourable Sir Hamilton John Goold-Adams GCMG CB

15.03.1915 - 03.02.1920

Sir Hamilton was born in Ireland, pursuing his career with the Royal Scots regiment.   With an initial posting in southern Africa, he fought in the second Boer War, served as Deputy Governor of Orange River colony and High Commissioner of Cyprus, before being appointed Governor of Queensland and serving during the First World War years. It was during Sir Hamilton's term of office that Queensland led the way in determining that the first anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli should be celebrated on April 25 each year.

The Right Honourable Lieutenant Colonel Sir Matthew Nathan GCMG

The Right Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Matthew Nathan GCMG

03.12.1920 - 17.09.1925

Born in London, Sir Matthew graduated from the Royal Military Academy and worked in various overseas locations on major infrastructure projects for the Royal Engineers. Opportunity then came to work with the Colonial Defence Committee, and postings as Acting Governor and Governor to Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast in Africa, Hong Kong and Natal followed, before a return to Britain and a series of senior public service positions. His appointed term as Governor of Queensland coincided with the Roaring Twenties.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Herbert John Goodwin KCB CMG DSO

Lieutenant General the Honourable Sir Thomas Herbert John Chapman Goodwin KCB CMG DSO

13.06.1927 - 07.04.1932

Following the departure of Governor Nathan in 1925, a Lieutenant Governor served for a two-year period until Sir Thomas's appointment as Governor of Queensland in 1927. Born in Sri Lanka, he trained as a medical practitioner, joined the British Army Medical Service and took postings in India, France and the USA. He was Director-General of the Army Medical Services and on retirement from the Army, served as Honorary Surgeon to King George V, before his appointment as Governor of Queensland.

Colonel Sir Leslie Orme Wilson GCMG GCSI GCIE DSO

Colonel the Honourable Sir Leslie Orme Wilson GCMG GCSI GCIE DSO

13.06.1932 - 23.04.1946

Sir Leslie was Queensland's longest serving Governor, for 14 years. Born in England, he had a military background, serving in South Africa, later in Gallipoli and in France, in between a brief posting to Sydney as aide de camp to the Governor of New South Wales, and a return to England when elected to the House of Commons. He served as Governor of Bombay and then returned to England to pursue an interest in tropical medicine, before being appointed as Governor of Queensland.

Lieutenant General Sir John Dudley Lavarack KCMG KCVO KBE CB DSO

Lieutenant General the Honourable Sir John Dudley Lavarack KCMG KCVO KBE CB DSO

01.10.1946 - 04.12.1957

Sir John was the first Australian-born Governor of Queensland. Born in Brisbane, educated at Brisbane Grammar School, he entered the Australian Army, serving in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, before entering the military staff college in England until the commencement of World War I. For his service during World War I, Lavarack was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1918 and the French Croix de Guerre in 1919. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1937. In 1942, following action in the Syria-Lebanon campaign, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). He commanded the First Australian Army until 1944 and headed the Australian Military Mission in Washington until 1946 before taking up his appointment as Queensland Governor.

Colonel Sir Henry Abel Smith KCMG KCVO DSO

Colonel the Honourable Sir Henry Abel Smith KCMG KCVO DSO

18.03.1958 - 18.03.1966

Sir Henry was born in London and educated at the Royal Military Academy before being commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards. He served in World War II, winning the Distinguished Service Order, and retiring as a Colonel in 1950. He served as Acting Colonel of the Corps of Household Cavalry, during which time he was invested with several honors before retiring for a period of seven years and subsequently invited to become Governor of Queensland.

The Honourable Sir Alan James Mansfield KCMG KCVO

The Honourable Sir Alan James Mansfield KCMG KCVO

21.03.1966 - 21.03.1972

Sir Alan was the second Australian-born Governor of Queensland. Originally from Brisbane, he pursued a legal education and career, eventually being appointed as Queensland's Chief Justice. It was in this capacity that Sir Alan was Acting Governor on several occasions, and eventually appointed Governor in his own right in 1966.

Air Marshal Sir Colin Thomas Hannah KCMG KCVO KBE CB

Air Marshal the Honourable Sir Colin Thomas Hannah KCMG KCVO KBE CB

21.03.1972 - 20.03.1977

Born in Western Australia, Sir Colin served in the militia before joining the RAAF in 1935. During World War II he served as Commanding Officer of No. 6 Squadron in the South West Pacific and at the end of the war was leading Western Area Command in Perth. Sir Colin was Senior Air Staff Officer at RAF Far East Air Force Headquarters, Singapore, during the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s. His other post-war appointments included Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from 1961 to 1965 and Air Officer Commanding Operational Command (later Air Command) from 1965 to 1967. In 1970 he was promoted Air Marshal and became Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), the RAAF's senior position, before his appointment as Governor of Queensland.

Commodore Sir James Maxwell Ramsay KCMG KCVO CBE DSC

Commodore the Honourable Sir James Ramsay KCMG KCVO CBE DSC

22.04.1977 - 21.07.1985

Sir James was born in Tasmania, graduating from the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay in 1933. Pursuing a distinguished naval career, Sir James served on British and Australian ships in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans during World War II, retiring from the Navy in 1972. He served as Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia from 1974 until 1977, before his appointment as Governor of Queensland.