Colonial Secretary of Western Australia

The Colonial Secretary of Western Australia was one of the most important and powerful public offices in Western Australia, in the time when Western Australia was a British colony. The Colonial Secretary was the representative of the British Colonial Office in Western Australia, and was usually appointed from Britain. He was responsible for all official correspondence between the colony and the Colonial Office. He was at all times a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council and the Western Australian Executive Council.

After Western Australia gained responsible government in 1890, the office of Colonial Secretary became a ministerial portfolio. The responsibilities of the office changed substantially, and it was no longer such an important role. Colebatch (2004) described the office of Colonial Secretary in 1917 as

responsible for a large number of departments including Aborigines, Public Health, charities and many of the state trading concerns including the State Shipping Service. The position required a great deal of detailed work and would always attract many Parliamentary Questions, but did not allow the minister much scope for initiative or achievement.

Since Western Australia was no longer a British colony after 1901, the office of Colonial Secretary was misnamed after this date. In 1924, the office was renamed to Chief Secretary.

List of Colonial Secretaries of Western Australia

The following is a list of Colonial Secretaries of Western Australia:

Colonial Secretary Period in office
Peter Broun 18281846
George Fletcher Moore (acting) November 18461847
Richard Madden May 18471849
Revett Bland (acting) [1] January 1849March 1850
Thomas Yule (acting) March 1850October 1850
Charles Piesse October 1850March 1851
Thomas Yule (acting) MarchDecember 1851
Thomas Falconer From March 1851 but never arrived in colony
William Ayshford Sanford January 1852July 1855
Frederick Barlee July 185524 November 1875 (on leave from 24 July 1875)
Anthony O'Grady Lefroy (acting) 24 July 187530 August 1877
Roger Goldsworthy [2] 30 August 18777 September 1880
Edric Gifford 2 November 188021 January 1883
Malcolm Fraser 5 January 188328 December 1890
Matthew Smith (acting) 8 December 188518 April 1887
George Shenton 29 December 189011 October 1892
Stephen Parker 11 October 18924 December 1894
John Forrest 4 December 189428 April 1898
George Randell 28 April 189827 May 1901
Frederick Illingworth 27 May21 November 1901
Matthew Moss 21 November23 December 1901
Frederick Illingworth 23 December 190130 June 1902
Walter Kingsmill 1 July 190210 August 1904
George Taylor 10 August 19047 June 1905
John Drew 7 June5 August 1905
Walter Kingsmill 25 August 19057 May 1906
John Connolly 7 May 19067 October 1911
John Drew 7 October 191127 July 1916
Hal Colebatch 27 July 191617 April 1919
Charles Hudson 17 April17 May 1919
John Scaddan 17 May25 June 1919
Frank Broun 25 June 191922 August 1922
Richard Sampson 22 August 192216 April 1924


  1. Robert Henry Pland on page 457 of Hamilton, Margaret (1979) Western Australia : the stamps and postal history : a guide to its philately / compiled ... by the Western Australia Study Group ; edited by Margaret Hamilton ; philatelic editor, Brian Pope. ISBN 0-9596476-0-0 -
  2. Hamilton (1979) has George Braithwaite Phillips acting between 7.9.1880 to 2.11.1880


Further reading

Entry as: Colonial Secretary's Department : list of gentlemen who have held the position of Colonial Secretary for Western Australia from 1890 to 1911. Vol. 1, p. 502
Facsimile edition: (1985) The Cyclopedia of Western Australia : an historical and commercial review : descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations : an epitome of progress Carlisle, W.A : Hesperian Press. ISBN 0-85905-072-6 (set) ISBN 0-85905-074-2 (vol. 2) ISBN 0-85905-073-4 (vol. 1)
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