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Governor of New South Wales
The Governor of New South Wales is the oldest political office of Australia. Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of New South Wales on 7 February 1788. The Colony of New South Wales was the first British settlement in Australia. The first governors had almost autocratic powers due to the distance from and poor communications with Great Britain. In 1824 the New South Wales Legislative Council, Australia's first legislature, was appointed to help the governor.
Between 1850 and 1861, the Governor of New South Wales was also called the Governor-General. All letters between the Australian colonies and the British Government were meant to go through the Governor-General. The other colonies had Lieutenant-Governors. As they became independent, South Australia in 1836, Tasmania January 1855 and Victoria May 1855 replaced their Lieutenant-Governors with Governors. Sir William Denison kept the title of Governor-General until his retirement.
The Governor acts on the advice of the head of the elected government, the Premier of New South Wales. The Governor does have power of the Crown, and has the right to dismiss the Premier. This power was last used in 1932, when Sir Philip Game dismissed Jack Lang.
If the Governor dies, resigns or is absent their duties are carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales.
The Governor of New South Wales used Government House as a home, office and official reception space until 1996. The Governor's office is now in the historic Chief Secretary’s Building at 121 Macquarie Street. In 2011, the Premier of New South Wales, Barry O'Farrell, said that this would change and the governor would move back into Government House.
The first Australian-born Governor of New South Wales (or of any Australian state) was Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott in 1946. All governors since then have been Australian-born except for Gordon Samuels, who was born in the United Kingdom but came to Australia at an early age. Northcott's successor, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward (1957), was the first born in New South Wales.
List of Governors of New South Wales
- NSW Parliament. History of the Legislative Council. Accessed 10 August 2007.
- Twomey, Anne (2006). The chameleon Crown: The Queen and her Australian governors. Sydney: The Federation Press. . http://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=9781862876293.
- Clennell, Andrew (7 October 2011). "Governor Marie Bashir makes a grand return home to Government House". dailytelegraph.com.au. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/governor-marie-bashir-makes-a-grand-return-home-to-government-house/story-e6freuzi-1226160666275. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- The Governor of NSW from the Parliament of NSW website