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
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

Posting history

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. The position had also been filled by five people who had also served as the Australian opposition leaders with Reid, Fisher, Cook, H.V. Evatt and Alexander Downer. 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 Commissioners

#ImageNameStart of termEnd of termReferences
1Sir George Reid22 January 191010 January 1916[7][8][9]
2Andrew Fisher22 January 191621 April 1921[10]
Malcolm Shepherd (Acting)21 April 192111 November 1921[11]
3Sir Joseph Cook11 November 192110 May 1927[12]
4Sir Granville Ryrie11 May 192710 May 1932[13]
5Stanley Bruce
(Resident Minister until 6 October 1933)
12 September 19326 October 1945
Herbert Vere Evatt (Resident Minister)7 October 1945January 1946
6Jack Beasley
(Resident Minister until 14 August 1946)
January 19462 September 1949[14][15]
Norman Mighell (Acting)2 September 194919 April 1950[16]
7Eric Harrison19 April 195019 April 1951[17]
8Sir Thomas White21 June 195120 June 1956[18]
Sir Eric Harrison25 October 195625 October 1964
9Sir Alexander Downer25 October 1964December 1972
10John ArmstrongDecember 197231 January 1975[19]
11Sir John Bunting1 February 1975March 1977
12Sir Gordon FreethMarch 19771980
13Sir James Plimsoll19801981
14Sir Victor Garland19811983
15Alfred Parsons19831987
16Doug McClelland19871991[20]
17Richard Smith19911994
18Neal BlewettApril 199420 March 1998
19Philip Flood20 March 1998August 2000[21]
20Michael L'EstrangeAugust 2000February 2005
21Richard AlstonFebruary 2005September 2008[22]
22John DauthSeptember 200823 August 2012[23]
23Mike Rann23 August 201231 March 2014[24]
24Alexander Downer31 March 201427 April 2018[25]
25George Brandis3 May 2018-[26][27]

See also

References

  1. "International Maritime Organization (IMO)". Australia Maritime Safety Authority. Australian Government. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. "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 reading

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