Richard McGarvie

Richard McGarvie
24th Governor of Victoria
In office
23 April 1992  23 April 1997
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Davis McCaughey
Succeeded by Sir James Gobbo
Personal details
Born Richard Elgin McGarvie
(1926-05-21)21 May 1926
Colac, Victoria
Died 24 May 2003(2003-05-24) (aged 77)
Caulfield, Victoria
Spouse(s) Lesley McGarvie (née Kerr)
Education University of Melbourne
Profession Barrister; Judge
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Royal Australian Navy
Years of service 1944–1946
Rank Able Seaman
Unit HMAS Cerberus
HMAS Arunta
Battles/wars World War II

Richard Elgin McGarvie AC, QC (21 May 1926 – 24 May 2003) was a judge in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the 24th Governor of Victoria from 1992 to 1997.

Early life

He was born and brought up on his parents’ dairy farm at Pomborneit East in Victoria. After finishing first place at Camperdown High School. He entered the Royal Australian Navy in 1944, training at HMAS Cerberus and serving on the destroyer, HMAS Arunta. The Second World War ended before he saw active service. He served with the Occupation Force in Japan and was discharged as an able seaman in 1946.

He joined the Australian Labor Party in 1949 and took a leading role in the dismissal of its Victorian socialist-left dominated Central Executive by bringing about federal intervention.

McGarvie studied law at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1950, winning the Supreme Court Prize for the top honours student of the year. Joining the Victorian Bar in 1952, he became Queen's Counsel, chair of the Victorian Bar Council 1973–1975, Treasurer of Law Council of Australia 1974–1976 and Chancellor of La Trobe University 1981–1992.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria on 1 June 1976, resigning all political affiliations, and served as a judge until 22 April 1992. He was appointed Governor of Victoria from 1992 to 1997.

Constitutional influence

Author of the McGarvie Model, he was an appointed delegate to Constitutional Convention on an Australian Republic in February 1998[1] and initiated the 2001 Corowa conference to find common ground among republicans after the referendum defeat in 1999. He took the unusual position of making contributions to republicanism, without directly supporting the broader republican movement. He promoted his own model and at the 1998 convention successfully demonstrated the provision for two-thirds parliamentary dismissal of a President was unworkable.

See also


  1. Vizard, Steve, Two Weeks in Lilliput: Bear Baiting and Backbiting At the Constitutional Convention (Penguin, 1998, ISBN 0-14-027983-0)
Government offices
Preceded by
Rev Dr Davis McCaughey
Governor of Victoria
Succeeded by
Sir James Gobbo
Academic offices
Preceded by
Reg Smithers
Chancellor of La Trobe University
Succeeded by
Nancy Millis
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