Sir Arthur Lawley was appointed WA Governor at the age of 41 in 1901.
He came from an aristocratic family and, as was usual in these circles, he had been destined to join the military profession. He attained the rank of Captain in the 10th (the Prince of Wales' Own Royal) Regiment. In 1885, he married the daughter of Sir Edward Cunard of steamship fame. Seven years later he relinquished his military career for a life in politics and became private secretary to the Duke of Westminster.
His next appointment as secretary to Earl Grey and then deputy-administrator of Matabeleland earned him wide respect. He apparently carried out those duties with great tact and ability and his efforts were rewarded with the appointment as Administrator of Matabeleland in 1897. Then came his appointment as Governor of WA and in this role, too, he became widely popular among "all shades and classes of public opinionably seconded in all his work by his wife Lady Lawley". He was knighted upon his appointment.
On his arrival in WA in 1901, and presenting his credentials in Perth, he set sail to Melbourne where he represented WA at the opening of Federal Parliament. Later, in May, he received Premier Throssell's resignation, the first of a series of political crises to occur during his time in office. Governor Lawley is reputed to have led the State's social life with aplomb. He toured the south west and Lady Lawley identified herself with community welfare issues and organisations. A children's cottage by the sea at Cottesloe today still bears her name.
Mt Lawley was then just undeveloped bushland and reputedly Lady Lawley agreed to a suggestion that it be named after her husband on the condition that no licensed hotels be built in the suburb. On the Declaration of Peace in 1902, he quit the office and was transferred to the important post of Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal.
In 1906, Sir Arthur was appointed Governor of Madras. He died in 1932 at Freiberg in Germany at 71 years of age.
Reviewed 2012 - 2013