Diary of a Labour Man: 1917 - 1945

Full text Prime Minister



On 13th July 1944, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) said -

The Government will tender the Governor-General (Lord Gowrie) a farewell dinner at Parliament House on 17th July, 1944. Members of Parliament and representatives of other countries will be present."

In Parliament. On 17th July, 1944, Mr. Curtin said -

"I am quite certain that honorable members of this House will have thought deeply about that passage in the Speech the Governor-General (Lord Gowrie) made to-day, in which he said, somewhat sadly, that that would be the last occasion upon which he would address the members of this Parliament. I am quite sure that those words not only filled all with a sense of sorrow at an impending parting, but also conjured in our minds a realization of how much the people of Australia owe to the Governor-General, and to Lady Gowrie, for the distinguished services which they have rendered to us, and indeed, may we humbly say, to His Majesty the King, over the period during which they have been associated with the life of this country.

"His Excellency had been in Australia for a brief period some twenty years prior to assuming the office of Governor of the State of South Australia, thus we were not strangers to him, nor was he a stranger to us at that time. Having filled that important office, His Excellency was appointed to a similar office in the State of New South Wales. It will be recalled that he assumed the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth more than eight years ago. The long and gallant military career which he had had before his appointment to those high offices in Australia, gave him experience which specially qualified him for the position which he has had to fill in these times.

“We have found him a man of ripe judgment, mature wisdom, and a rare sense of what was appropriate. I believe it. to be true that my predecessors, in common with my Ministers and myself, have found in him not only the representative of His Majesty, but, more than that, a friend, a counsellor, and a servant of the common weal.

"As His Excellency has said, we shall welcome his successor. That welcome will be warm-hearted. It will, of course, contain all those elements which His Excellency said would form a part of the welcome we would give to His Majesty's brother in assuming so high an office in this country; but it could not be greater than the goodwill that will accompany Lord Gowrie and Lady Gowrie in the many years in which they will have, we hope, an opportunity to derive a sense of not only comfort, but also, we sincerely believe, rejoicing, at having served so well, ice so important a place, at so critical a time. This satisfaction will be accentuated by the knowledge that their successor was a brother of His Majesty the King. These two incidents - the parting and the coming - are combined at the present time. Never previously in the history of Australia has the association of this country and the Motherland been so real, so vital, or so desirable to each, as it is to-day."