Expressions of Interest                          


The Rt. Hon. The Lady Gowrie, nee Zara Eileen Pollok, wife of Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven [B 17109], Photograph, c.1925 [State Library of South Australia]

The Royal Australian Historical Society, at the invitation of Mrs. Hurley, wife of the Governor of New South Wales, invites Expressions of Interest in this project.

Mrs. Hurley is interested in the stories of the women who lived at Government House and has asked the Royal Australian Historical Society to manage the project. The Governors’ Ladies were not always wives: there was the occasional daughter or sister.

We are looking for historians who may be interested in contributing to this project. All NSW Governors will be included, with a chapter on each of their vice-regal women. All chapters will be peer-reviewed. We envisage entries being generally 1,500 to 2,000 words each. Although authors will not be paid, this provides a great opportunity for aspiring or new historians to gain real-world experience.

The careers of the Governors of NSW are well documented, but these women have been overlooked, remaining in the shadows of their husbands. The project aims to record the impact of each of these women, how they managed their role as the Governor’s Lady, as well as any particular contribution to New South Wales. The work will be published on a website and, subject to funding, in a book.

Please send CV noting any particular person/s in which you are interested, together with possible sources, to: Dr Christine Wright, Vice President, Royal Australian Historical Society by 14th February 2017. Enquires by email only please to

Click here to view and download a list of Governors’ Ladies.

Records Series from State Archives and Records NSW Collection


Governor Dudley de Chair, Lady Enid de Chair and Lady de Chair greeting Captain Hart of USS MISSISSIPPI, July 28, 1925 [Australian National Maritime Museum]

The State Archives and Records NSW collection includes three important record series which will be of assistance in researching the State’s Governors in the twentieth century.

NRS 4542 Subject Bundles 1910-81

These mainly consist of files containing correspondence from individuals and organisations, despatches from the Secretary of State, copies of replies from both the Governor’s Private and Official Secretaries, and copies of correspondence and despatches to the Secretary of State, other Governors and officials.

NRS 4543 Correspondence Files 1933-72

This series mostly includes: Governor’s Minutes; correspondence with the Clerk of the Parliaments forwarding copies of acts to be sent to the Secretary of State and copies of despatches to the Secretary of State enclosing these acts; returns of correspondence received and sent; Governor’s speech notes; proposals regarding use of Government House and Admiralty House; papers relating to the swearing-in and departure of Governors from 1936 to 1965, etiquette, precedents and protocol, including “Notes about vice-regal occasions”, country trips, Australia’s 150th Anniversary celebrations and special events such as Commonwealth (formerly Empire) Youth Sunday, and Remembrance Sunday (formerly Armistice Day). There is more information about this series at:

(There is one file much earlier on Proposal re the use of Admiralty House 1902-33)

NRS 4550 Country itinerary files, 1958-64

Each annual file contains a copy of the itinerary of each district visited and for each visit: a list of the Vice Regal party; a summary of the travel arrangements; meal arrangements and a detailed programme which lists each specific location or event and the time each will occur. A file may also contain correspondence concerning special holidays for each visit, rail and air travel arrangements, notes concerning the visit, and copies of background information on the districts to be visited.

Further research into the Governor’s records

Researchers can also use advanced search option on the State Archives and Records NSW Homepage to locate the list of all the record series created by the Governor. Go to: select “Agency” from the “Find entities” pull down list and type in the identifier number 1767. This is the agency number for Governor. Once the results are displayed you can go through the list. Where a series is of interest click on the link to see further details.

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