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His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd) was sworn in as the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 July 2019.
David Hurley joined the Australian Army in January 1972, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. In a long and distinguished 42-year military career, his service culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force.
He commanded the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment during Operation SOLACE in Somalia in 1993, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. Following promotion to Colonel, he was appointed Chief of Staff, Headquarters 1st Division in June 1994, attending the U.S. Army War College in 1996 and 1997. He commanded the 1st Brigade from 1999-2000 in Darwin, supporting Australian-led operations in East Timor. He was appointed the inaugural Chief of Capability Development Group from 2003-07, Chief of Joint Operations Command in October 2007, and Vice Chief of the Defence Force in July 2008. Promoted to General, he succeeded Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston as Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2011 until his retirement on 30 June 2014. In 2010, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force.
Prior to being sworn in as Governor-General, David Hurley served as the 38th Governor of New South Wales from October 2014 – May 2019.
David Hurley was born in Wollongong, New South Wales on 26 August 1953, the son of Norma and James Hurley. His father was an Illawarra steelworker and his mother worked in a grocery store. He grew up in Port Kembla and attended Port Kembla High School where he completed his Higher School Certificate in 1971. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1975. He is married to Linda with whom he has three children: Caitlin, Marcus and Amelia.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Wollongong in 2013; a Doctor of the University, honoris causa, from the University of New South Wales in 2015; made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in 2016; and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Macquarie University in 2017.
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC
Governor of New South Wales
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC is the 39th Governor of New South Wales, commencing her five year tenure on 2 May 2019.
Prior to her appointment as Governor, Her Excellency enjoyed a long and distinguished law career spanning 43 years, during which time she served as a role model for women in law at both the State and national level.
Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989, in 1993 she was made a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, the first woman to sit exclusively in that Court. In 1996, she achieved the distinction of being the first woman appointed to the New South Wales Court of Appeal and, subsequently, as the first woman to be appointed as its President. She served, on a number of occasions, as Administrator of the Government of the State of New South Wales.
She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List on 26 January 2020 for "eminent service to the people of New South Wales, particularly through leadership roles in the judiciary, and as a mentor of young women lawyers".
Her Excellency has three children - Erin, Lauren and Anthony Sullivan - and is married to Mr. Dennis Wilson, a barrister, mediator, accredited international arbitrator and Adjunct Professor of Law, at Notre Dame University, Sydney.
Her Excellency brings her deep commitment to education, youth leadership, human rights and social justice to the role in service of the people of New South Wales.
Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM
Governor of Queensland
The Governor was born in Sydney in 1963, eldest daughter of Dr David Young and Mrs Lilly Young. After graduating from Medicine at Sydney University in 1986, she commenced her medical career at Westmead Hospital. During that time, she married, had a daughter, Rebecca, and transitioned to Medical Management, completing a Master of Business Administration at Macquarie University.
After her marriage ended, the Governor – with Rebecca – moved to Queensland in 1994 to become Director of Medical Services at the Rockhampton Hospital. In 1999, she relocated to Brisbane to take up the role of Executive Director of Medical Services at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and served on various workforce committees, including as Chair of AMWAC (Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee).
During this time, the Governor met her second husband, Professor Graeme Nimmo. In March 2000, they were married, and in June 2001 welcomed a daughter, Jane.
In August 2005, the Governor was appointed to the role of Chief Health Officer for Queensland, with responsibility for leading the State’s preventative health and public health agendas, including response to public health emergencies. In January 2020, when the COVID-19 virus outbreak was declared a pandemic, the Governor became the State Health Incident Controller.
During her medical career, Dr Young had specialist qualifications as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and as a Fellow by Distinction of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. She was also appointed Fellow of numerous other eminent education and research institutions, has received honorary doctorates from two Queensland Universities, and has received an Australia Day Achievement Medallion, as well as a Public Service Medal.
Her Excellency was sworn-in as the 27th Governor of Queensland on 1 November 2021.
Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC
Governor of South Australia
Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC is a proud sixth-generation South Australian - her mother, the Honourable Jennifer Cashmore AM, was a South Australian parliamentarian and her late father, Ian, was a manager at Hills Industries. Her late step‑father, Stewart Cockburn AM, was a distinguished Walkley award winning journalist.
Her Excellency studied economics at the University of Adelaide, while there becoming the first female captain of the rowing club in its 103 year history, and went on to join the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs in 1985. She worked in Hong Kong during the early years of China’s reform and opening, eventually becoming Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2011-2015.
In 2016, Her Excellency was appointed head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, pursuing Australia’s interests as world powers shifted and the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. She also led the department through a period of cultural change, encouraging more women into senior ranks.
She has also been International Adviser to the Prime Minister and Chief of Staff to the Foreign Minister and Defence Minister.
In June 2021 Her Excellency was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to public administration through the advancement of Australia's diplomatic, trade and cultural interests, particularly with the People's Republic of China and the Indo-Pacific region, to innovative foreign policy development and high level program delivery, and as the 36th Governor appointed in South Australia.
Her Excellency is married to Mr Rod Bunten, a former British diplomat and high school teacher. They have four adult children and a cavoodle, Alfie.
Her Excellency the Honourable Barbara Baker AC
Governor of Tasmania
Tasmania’s 29th Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Barbara Baker AC, was sworn to Office at Government House on Wednesday 16 June 2021.
On 14 June 2021 Her Excellency was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for her eminent service to the people of Tasmania through leading contributions to the law, to the judiciary and to the administration of justice, particularly in the area of family law, to professional legal organisations, and as a mentor and role model for young women.
Her Excellency retired as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on 31 January 2021 after becoming the first Tasmanian woman to be appointed as a Federal Magistrate in 2008. Prior to her appointment as Governor, she practised as a barrister at Burbury Chambers.
Prior to her appointment to the Federal Magistrates Court, Her Excellency worked as a legal practitioner for over 23 years ultimately specialising in family law and relationship matters. Her Excellency was one of the first lawyers to join the Tasmanian Bar, practising exclusively in family law.
Her Excellency graduated from the University of Tasmania with a combined Arts/Law degree in 1980. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 1983. After working as a solicitor at Simmons Wolfhagen and then as a Legal Officer at the Office of the Solicitor General of Tasmania, she joined the law firm of Murdoch Clarke, becoming the first female partner in 1993.
Throughout her career, Her Excellency has held numerous additional responsibilities including serving as:
- member of the Law Council Tasmania (1994 – 1996)
- member of the executive of the Law Council Tasmania (1995 and 1996)
- Chairperson of the Public Relations Committee of the Law Council Tasmania (1994 – 1996)
- member of the organising committee of the National Family Law Conference Hobart (1998)
- law reporter for the Council of Law Reporting (1995 – 1998)
- Chairperson of Legal Aid conferences (1996 – 2000)
- President of the Family Law Practitioners' Association (2002)
- appointee to the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Tasmanian Law Society (2007 – 2008).
Additionally, during her years in private practice and at the Tasmanian Bar, Her Excellency has made significant contribution to the profession and to the Tasmanian Legal Practice Course having:
- mentored junior practitioners and provided professional training and support
- lectured in Family Law Practice and Procedure at the Tasmanian Legal Practice Course
- been involved in professional advice and support of legal practitioners as a member of the judiciary
- presided over moot interim hearings for the Legal Practice Course students; and
- delivered an annual lecture about practice and procedure in the Federal Circuit Court.
Her Excellency is known for her enormous contributions made to the administration of justice, the advancement of specialist advocacy in the family law jurisdiction and the promotion of women at the bar. She is renowned for her firm but fair demeanour and clear and decisive decision-making.
In addition to her successful professional career, Her Excellency's sporting achievements include:
- U 18 Tasmanian State Lawn Tennis Team
- U 18 Tasmanian State Hockey Team
- Australian Women's Hockey Squad
- Tasmanian Indoor Hockey Team Captain
- Named in Australian Indoor Hockey Squad
- Royal Tennis Tasmanian Ladies Singles Champion
- Royal Tennis Australian Amateur Ladies Champion
- Royal Tennis Australian Open Singles Champion
- Royal Tennis Open Doubles Champion
- Member of Australian Royal Tennis Team to play in Holyport, Great Britain.
Her Excellency is married to Distinguished Emeritus Professor Don Chalmers AO FAAL FAHMS, has two daughters and is grandmother to two grandsons. She enjoys reading, the Arts, walking her two border collies and spending time with family and friends.
Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC CVO
Governor of Victoria
On 1 July 2015, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC was sworn in as Victoria’s 29th Governor, the first female in the role.
The Governor was born in Melbourne in 1953, and was educated at St Catherine’s Girls’ School, matriculating in 1969, before attending the University of Melbourne, where she gained the degree of LLB (Hons). In 1975 she was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
In her early years as a lawyer, the Governor practised in commercial litigation and family law as a solicitor at Wisewoulds, later specialising in family law after signing the Roll of Counsel at the Victorian Bar in 1979.
In 1982 she married fellow Victorian barrister, Anthony Howard, and together they took up roles as Crown Counsel, and later Senior Crown Counsel in the Hong Kong Attorney-General’s chambers, where they prosecuted criminal trials.
Soon after returning to Australia in 1985, the Governor was appointed a part-time member of the Small Claims and Residential Tenancies Tribunals, taking her first judicial appointment as a Magistrate in 1986, at the age of 33. In that role, she served in the Children’s Court, Coroners Court and Melbourne Magistrates’ Court where she ultimately headed the Civil division and later the Committal Court.
During her time as a Magistrate, the Governor coordinated a significant criminal case management project, culminating in the Pegasus Report, implemented across the three tiers of courts to help reduce cost and delay in the criminal justice system. In 1994 she was awarded the Percy Baxter Churchill Fellowship to further her study in criminal case management in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In June 1995, the Governor was appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia, where she served for 18 years until July 2013. During that time she chaired or participated in various national projects within and outside the Court in relation to child abuse, family violence, mediation, less adversarial trial procedures and case management, and represented the Family Court on the Commonwealth Family Law Pathways Advisory Group. She was a Board member of the US-based Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a Council member of the Legal Aid Consultative Committee, and a Board member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.
The Governor was actively engaged in the area of judicial education, including as a Director of the National Judicial College of Australia, and as a long-standing faculty member and facilitator of the National Judicial Orientation Program. For many years she helped create and teach judgment writing courses on behalf of the National Judicial College of Australia, the Judicial College of Victoria, and for courts and tribunals throughout Australia.
Outside the law, the Governor was engaged in a broad range of community organisations, including as founding Chair of the Essendon Football Club Women’s Network, President of Middle Park Primary School Council, Vice-President of Wesley College Council, a Board member of Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre, a member of the Royal Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee and the La Trobe University Professional Consultative Council, and a Patron of the Epilepsy Foundation and One Umbrella (food recycling charity).
Immediately before her appointment as Governor, she was President of the Melbourne Festival, Chair of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Victorian Regional Committee and a national Board member of the Trust, a Commissioner of the Australian Football League, a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria, a Board member and former Chair of AFL Sportsready and Artsready, a Board member of the Unicorn Foundation, and a Patron of Sports Connect.
In 2010 the Governor was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to family law and the community.
In 2017 the Governor was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the people of Victoria through leadership roles in the judiciary, to the advancement of economic ties and business relationships, and as a supporter of charitable, sporting and arts organisations
The Governor and her husband have two sons, both of whom have completed Bachelors of Laws and Arts at Monash University.
His Excellency the Honourable Christopher John Dawson AC APM
Governor of Western Australia
His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM was sworn in as the 34th Governor of Western Australia on 15 July 2022.
The Dawson family have been part of the early colonial settlers over five generations of farming and law enforcement. The Governor’s great-great-grandparents arrived in the then Swan River colony in Western Australia in 1830.
Chris Dawson AC APM was educated at Perth Modern School before joining the Western Australia Police Force in 1976, going on to provide 46 years of service in Australian law enforcement.
He served in country and metropolitan positions, criminal investigation, training and senior roles. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2002 saw him awarded the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service.
After 10 years as Deputy Commissioner, he left WA for a national role in Canberra between 2014 to 2017 as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission, amalgamating several agencies into the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. He also served as Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology during this period.
He was appointed Commissioner of the Western Australia Police Force in August 2017, serving until July 2022. During the period of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Commissioner Dawson coordinated the State of Emergency and the Vaccine program.
In the Australia Day Honours List for 2023, Governor Dawson was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to public administration through law enforcement roles, to reconciliation, and as the 34th Governor appointed in Western Australia.
He is married to Darrilyn Dawson, Education Consultant, with two married children and five grandchildren.