Sir Gerald Strickland came from Sizergh Castle in Westmoreland where his family had been settled for more than 800 years.
Born in 1861, he was educated in Birmingham. In 1879, by judgment of the Privy Council, he succeeded to the title and estates of his maternal great-uncle as sixth Count della Catena. He obtained his honours in law at Trinity College in Cambridge and then was called to the Bar of the Inner Temple and practised before the Privy Council.
However, his native country Malta was calling for his services and in 1887 he was chosen on behalf of the country to attend the Colonial Conference. He also was elected a member of the Council of Government of Malta. During that year there was an outbreak of cholera and Sir Gerald organised a cholera committee of which he became chairman. His work against the outbreak earned him the title of Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St George. He occupied the Chief of Secretary to the Government of Malta for 13 years after his appointment in 1889.
Those years were marked by many important reforms including a new system of education, improvements to the island's sanitary system and increased efficiency of the water supply and the police force. He was knighted in 1897 and promoted to Governor of Leeward Islands. Sir Gerald was then appointed Governor of Tasmania in 1904, a post which he apparently held "with great satisfaction to the people of that State". He was promoted to Governor of WA in May 1909 and according to the Cyclopedia of Western Australia had the "unbound respect and goodwill of the whole community".
Sir Gerald's wife, Lady Edeline, also received praise for her charity work, particularly while the couple was in Tasmania where she helped establish a maternity hospital for those who could not afford private nursing. In WA, she became involved in the Home of Peace and was the patroness of the Children's Hospital. She also was interested in the formation of a WA branch of the National Council for Women, which was an institution formed to offer ways of communication between women workers throughout the world.
Governor Strickland was author of a work entitled Correspondence and Remarks on the Constitution of Malta and was a contributor to the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica.
Reviewed 2012 - 2013