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List of High Commissioners of Australia to the United Kingdom

The High Commissioner of Australia to the United Kingdom is an officer of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the head of the High Commission of the Commonwealth of Australia to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in London. The position has the rank and status of an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and is currently held by former Attorney-General George Brandis. The High Commissioner also serves as Australia's Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (since 1959),[1] a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum and Australia's Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner.

High Commissioner of Australia to the United Kingdom
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
George Brandis 2017.jpg
Incumbent
George Brandis

since 3 May 2018
StyleHis Excellency
NominatorPrime Minister of Australia
AppointerGovernor General of Australia
Inaugural holderSir George Reid
Formation22 January 1910
WebsiteAustralian High Commission, United Kingdom
Australia House in London, opened by King George V on 3 August 1918.

Contents

Posting historyEdit

From Federation in 1901, the new Commonwealth government arranged to have all federal matters and communications handled by state's Agents-General in London (acting with shared responsibility). Prior to federation, each of the Australian colonies were represented through the Agents-General, the oldest being South Australia from 1856. From 1905 the Agents-General formed a committee to jointly deal with Australian matters but on 20 February 1906, the Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin, announced the establishment of a dedicated Australian office in London, with the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Muirhead Collins, as the new office head.[2] Although some Agents-General have since been abolished, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia continue to be represented by Agents-General.

The High Commission of Australia in London is Australia's oldest diplomatic posting, and was created through the passage of the High Commissioner Act 1909 on 13 December 1909, which established the role as appointed by the Governor-General and defined that they would "act as representative and resident agent of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom, and in that capacity exercise such powers and perform such duties as are conferred upon and assigned to him by the Governor-General [and] carry out such instructions as he receives from the Minister respecting the commercial, financial, and general interests of the Commonwealth and the States in the United Kingdom and elsewhere."[3] With the appointment of Reid as High Commissioner, Collins continued to serve as Official Secretary to the High Commissioner until his retirement in 1917. On 24 July 1913, King George V laid the foundation stone of Australia House, the future site of the Australia mission, which he also officially opened five years later on 3 August 1918.[2]

The High Commissioner Act was amended several times (1937, 1940, 1945, 1952, 1957, 1966) and was repealed by the High Commission (United Kingdom) Act Repeal Act 1973 when Foreign Minister Don Willesee placed the High Commission under the terms of the Public Service Act like all other diplomatic posts.[4] The repeal of the act signified the change in status of the High Commission to one of equality with all other bilateral posts, as Australia's relationship with the United Kingdom had changed.[2] Four of Australia's early prime ministers served terms as High Commissioner after leaving office: Reid, Fisher, Cook and Bruce. Until 1973, every High Commissioner was a former government minister. Since then, a number of senior career diplomats have held the post, although former politicians are still regularly appointed.

From 1975 to 2001, the work of the High Commission was assisted by the Australian Consulate in Manchester. Established on 1 August 1975, the consulate largely dealt with trade and migration matters.[5][6]

High CommissionersEdit

# Image Name Start of term End of term References
1   Sir George Reid 22 January 1910 10 January 1916 [7][8][9]
2   Andrew Fisher 22 January 1916 21 April 1921 [10]
  Malcolm Shepherd (Acting) 21 April 1921 11 November 1921 [11]
3   Sir Joseph Cook 11 November 1921 10 May 1927 [12]
4   Sir Granville Ryrie 11 May 1927 10 May 1932 [13]
5   Stanley Bruce
(Resident Minister until 6 October 1933)
12 September 1932 6 October 1945
  Herbert Vere Evatt (Resident Minister) 7 October 1945 January 1946
6   Jack Beasley
(Resident Minister until 14 August 1946)
January 1946 2 September 1949 [14][15]
Norman Mighell (Acting) 2 September 1949 19 April 1950 [16]
7   Eric Harrison 19 April 1950 19 April 1951 [17]
8   Sir Thomas White 21 June 1951 20 June 1956 [18]
  Sir Eric Harrison 25 October 1956 25 October 1964
9   Sir Alexander Downer 25 October 1964 December 1972
10   John Armstrong December 1972 31 January 1975 [19]
11 Sir John Bunting 1 February 1975 March 1977
12   Sir Gordon Freeth March 1977 1980
13 Sir James Plimsoll 1980 1981
14 Sir Victor Garland 1981 1983
15 Alfred Parsons 1983 1987
16   Doug McClelland 1987 1991 [20]
17 Richard Smith 1991 1994
18   Neal Blewett April 1994 20 March 1998
19   Philip Flood 20 March 1998 August 2000 [21]
20   Michael L'Estrange August 2000 February 2005
21   Richard Alston February 2005 September 2008 [22]
22   John Dauth September 2008 23 August 2012 [23]
23   Mike Rann 23 August 2012 31 March 2014 [24]
24   Alexander Downer 31 March 2014 27 April 2018 [25]
25   George Brandis 3 May 2018 - [26][27]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "International Maritime Organization (IMO)". Australia Maritime Safety Authority. Australian Government. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "CA 241: Australian High Commission, United Kingdom [London]". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ "High Commissioner Act 1909 (No. 22)". Federal Register of Legislation. Australian Government. 13 December 1909. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  4. ^ "High Commissioner (United Kingdom) Act Repeal Act 1973". Federal Register of Legislation. Australian Government. 29 November 1973. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  5. ^ "CA 7354: Australian Consulate, Manchester [United Kingdom]". NAA. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  6. ^ "The wizards of Oz". Manchester Evening News. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  7. ^ "APPOINTMENT OF HIGH COMMISSIONER OF THE COMMONWEALTH". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (5). Australia, Australia. 22 January 1910. p. 48. Retrieved 10 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "HIGH COMMISSIONER". The Sydney Morning Herald (22, 440). New South Wales, Australia. 16 December 1909. p. 6. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "THE HIGH COMMISSIONER". The Sydney Morning Herald (22, 503). New South Wales, Australia. 28 February 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "HIGH COMMISSIONER". The Sydney Morning Herald (24, 276). New South Wales, Australia. 28 October 1915. p. 6. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "THE SECRETARY". The Sydney Morning Herald (25, 900). New South Wales, Australia. 8 January 1921. p. 12. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "HIGH COMMISSIONER". The Sydney Morning Herald (26, 164). New South Wales, Australia. 12 November 1921. p. 13. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR AUSTRALIA". The Sydney Morning Herald (27, 835). New South Wales, Australia. 23 March 1927. p. 16. Retrieved 15 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "EVATT AND BEASLEY FOR LONDON". The Sydney Morning Herald (33, 598). New South Wales, Australia. 29 August 1945. p. 1. Retrieved 10 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "MR. BEASLEY'S MISSION". The Sydney Morning Herald (33, 696). New South Wales, Australia. 21 December 1945. p. 2. Retrieved 10 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ The Foundry trade journal, Vol. 98 (1955)
  17. ^ Macintyre, Stuart: Harrison, Sir Eric John (1892-1974). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University
  18. ^ Rickard, John: White, Sir Thomas Walter (1888-1957). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University
  19. ^ Parliamentary debates, House of Representatives, weekly Hansard, Vol. 104 (1978)
  20. ^ Australian foreign affairs and trade, Vol. 61 (1990)
  21. ^ Downer, Alexander (20 March 1998). "Diplomatic Appointment - High Commissioner to the United Kingdom" (Press release). Australian Government.
  22. ^ Downer, Alexander (17 December 2004). "Diplomatic Appointment - High Commissioner to the United Kingdom" (Press release). Australian Government.
  23. ^ Smith, Stephen (6 August 2008). "Diplomatic Appointment - High Commissioner to United Kingdom". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008.
  24. ^ Carr, Bob (23 August 2012). "High Commissioner to the United Kingdom" (Press release). Australian Government.
  25. ^ Bishop, Julie (31 March 2014). "High Commissioner to the United Kingdom" (Press release). Australian Government.
  26. ^ Bishop, Julie (20 March 2018). "High Commissioner to the United Kingdom" (Press release). Australian Government.
  27. ^ Starick, Paul (16 April 2018). "Achilles injury to George Brandis". Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit