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John Hutt 1839 - 1846

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John Hutt took over from Sir James Stirling as Governor. He had been the Governor of North Arcott in the Madras Presidency and came from a family famed for its colonisation efforts.

Details about John Hutt's life are scanty but it has been said that he held strong views about colonisation and he was often in conflict with the settlers of the WA colony.

At the time he became Governor, Western Australia was not a very popular place and it is claimed that Hutt ruled in such a way that he "saved the infant settlement from utter disaster, even though eventually he may have erred on the side of over-caution". In fact, Hutt is attributed with keeping up the settlement's moral and living standards in contrast to "...the decay that had afflicted similar communities".

He was apparently gifted with "the truest spirit of liberality and tolerance" and welcomed all "fair criticism of his policy, and the undeviating candour of his opponents gave him no offence".

A liberal in politics, he sought to liberalise the system of government that had been put in place by Stirling. To that end, his efforts earned him the colonists' respect.

He decided to resign his commission as Governor early. According to a writer in the local newspaper of the day, The Swan River News, Hutt had been a good Governor, one who displayed "such a combination of judicious firmness and candour".

The writer expressed regret at his leaving, saying Hutt "never abandoned principle to obtain an ephemeral popularity...We sincerely wish to see the talent, developed and matured on so limited a stage, made available in a wider and more important sphere of action."

Reviewed 2012 - 2013


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The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.