Major-General Sir Harry Ord was destined to follow his father, a Captain in the Royal Artillery, into the military profession.
He entered the Royal Military Academy in 1835 and for the next 20 years carved a distinguished career that culminated in the start of his colonial work in 1855 when he was sent as Special Commissioner to the Gold Coast.
In 1857, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Dominica in the West Indies and during the next 10 years held positions throughout the colonies until his appointment as Colonial Governor of the Strait Settlements.
The same year he was knighted and two years later promoted to Major-General. Apparently, so successful were his efforts "especially in regard to the diverse Eastern races", that his tenure was extended and he remained in Singapore until 1873.
Following his resignation, Sir Harry went on leave due to ill health that was attributed to his prolonged residence in tropical climates. He remained unemployed for four years until his appointment in 1877 as Governor of WA. But, it is said, that when he took over the office he simply "marked time" to fulfil the requirements necessary to attract the maximum pension when he retired in 1880.
The Cyclopeida of Western Australia records that as "an administrator during this period of history of the colony he might have done good works, but his admittedly high talents were not conspicuous during this period. Having lived for many years in Asiatic lands he displayed a great desire to introduce Asiatics into the colony, a tendency which was smartly checked."
Further, it says, Sir Harry had "not the slightest effect on the destinies of Western Australia".
He spent his remaining years pursuing his interests in zoological science before dying in Homburg in 1885.