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Sir Francis Alexander Newdigate Newdegate 1920-1924

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Alternate image textSir Francis Newdigate Newdegate always said it was his wife who convinced him to take up the position of Governor of WA.

Lady Newdegate visited Perth on her way to England from Tasmania where her husband was Governor, and had been entertained by Governor Ellison-Macartney. She described the place in glowing terms and when Sir Francis was offered the job, he said he "jumped at the chance" simply on his wife's recommendation. Later, he was quoted as saying that "neither of us ever regretted one minute of the time spent here".

Sir Francis was a great huntsman and brought out some fine thoroughbreds from England during his time as Governor. Before his appointment he had been Governor of Tasmania and before that Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Bermuda Islands. In 1921, Sir Francis officially opened the head office of the St John Ambulance Association that was attached to the fire brigade station in Murray Street.

The service had one ambulance. According to newspaper reports on his departure from office, Sir Francis had "shown an earnest desire to make himself familiar with the conditions of life throughout the State". Archbishop Clune said that the Governor had endeared himself to every section and class of the community..."because he seemed to come very closely up to their ideal of what a Governor should be".

Sir Francis said at the time that he was a "thorough believer in Western Australia" and knew well the difficulties the pioneers had to face. He thought it marvellous that so much had been achieved by a population of 330,000 in less than 100 years of settlement. At his civic farewell he told the crowd: "One's first view of Perth is a revelation. You have a magnificent river, unbeatable in any part of the world. The view from King's Park cannot be surpassed anywhere."

Reviewed 2012 - 2013

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