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Lieutenant-General John M. Sanderson 2000-2005

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John M. Sanderson

Lieutenant-General John Sanderson returned to his native Western Australia to be sworn in as the State's 29th Governor in August, 2000.

Lieutenant-General Sanderson was born in 1940 in Geraldton and later educated at Bunbury Senior High School in the State's south west. He entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1958 and graduated as a lieutenant into the Royal Australian Engineers in 1961.

Trained and educated as both a military and civil engineer, Lieut-Gen Sanderson spent his early military career in construction and training appointments, with operational deployments to both Borneo and South Vietnam. He commanded engineer units at both squadron and regimental level, and was an instructor at the Australian and British Schools of Military Engineering. He has also been an instructor at the Australian Staff College and the British Army Staff College, Camberley.

After many senior command and staff appointments he was promoted to Major-General in 1989.

In 1991, General Sanderson was seconded to the Secretary of the United Nations to complete planning for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. From February 1992 to October 1993, as a Lieutenant-General, he commanded an international force of 16,000 troops from 34 nations, securing Cambodia and supporting the conduct of an election of a constitutional assembly.

For his work in Cambodia, General Sanderson was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia. His contribution to the bilateral and regional relationships has also been recognised by the United States of America with the award of the Legion of Merit Commander Class.

His nearly four decades of dedicated service culminated in his appointment to the pinnacle of Australian Military service as Chief of the Army in 1995. He had been retired for two years and was living in Canberra when he was approached to become WA's Governor in 2000. He and his wife, Lorraine, have three children.

Reviewed 2012 - 2013


Acknowledgement of Country

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.