State Records Office of WA SROWA

Government of Western Australia, Department for Culture and the Arts.

Series S1182 - DESPATCHES FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO THE GOVERNOR

Identity area

Reference code

AU WA S1182

Title

DESPATCHES FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO THE GOVERNOR

Date(s)

  • 1824-01-01 - (Creation)

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AU WA A617 - GOVERNOR'S ESTABLISHMENT (1828-12-30 -)

Administrative history

The Governor of Western Australia is the personal representative of the sovereign in the State and exercises the powers of the Crown in State Matters. He is the titular head of the Government and performs the official and ceremonial functions attached to the Crown.

The first Governor of Western Australia took office as Lieutenant-Governor, his only authority being a letter of appointment from the Colonial Office dated 30 December 1828. On 14 May 1829, "An Act to provide until the thirty-first day of December 1834 for the Government of His Majesty's Settlement in Western Australia, on the Western coast of New Holland" (10 Geo.IV. No. XXII) received the Royal Assent, but Stirling's Commission as Governor and Commander-in-Chief, with the accompanying Royal Instructions, was not issued until 4 March 1831 and only reached him in Australia at the end of that year.

Although Executive and Legislative Councils were formed at the beginning of 1832 to assist the Governor in the administration of the Colony, the powers of those Councils were restricted. The Governor was subject to the instructions of the Colonial Office and had to report continually, however he was all powerful within the Colony itself. He presided at meetings of both the Executive and Legislative Councils until 1870.

After 1870, by virtue of 33 Vict. No. 13, the Legislative Council became partly elective, and it was presided over by a Speaker. Finally in 1890, Western Australia was granted Responsible Government, and the first Ministry was sworn in on 29 December, 1890.

The last Governor of Western Australia as a Colony was Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Gerard Smith KCMG, whose term of office expired on 29 June 1900 and the first Governor of the State was Captain Sir Arthur Lawley, KCMG, who was sworn in on 1 May 1901.

The first regulations with regard to the conduct of the official business of the Governor's Office were published, with similar regulations for other sections of the Civil Establishment, in August 1834 following the Governor's return from Great Britain.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Despatches have been exchanged between the Governor and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, later the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and later for Commonwealth Relations.
This series of despatches was sent from the Secretary of State to the Governor. The Governor's despatches to the Secretary of State are described at WAS 1166.
As well as replies to the Governor's despatches the series includes instructions to the Governor on matters of policy, alterations in system of administration etc and requests for specific information. They are arranged by number within each year. Some enclosures are included.
These despatches were sent in duplicate and the duplicates are filed as a separate series (WAS 1178) for the period 1834 - 1870. In later years the practice was to file only the original despatch, the duplicate being forwarded to the appropriate department for action.
For indexes to the Despatches see WAS 1181.

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Chronological

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Open

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Open

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1824-01-01 -

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Archivist's note

Range Control Symbol = 1 -
Copies: Microfilm copies of Cons 391, items 18 - 56 are available in the State Records Office

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