Who was the first governor of Queensland? Answer: Sir George Ferguson Bowen

Queensland Governors - Statehood to Federation

Bowen Blackall Marquis of Normanby Cairns Kennedy Palmer Musgrave Norman Lord Lamington Griffith Chermside Lord Chelmsford MacGregor

The giving of place names is as old as history and widespread in that it exists in every recorded language. Queensland, like the other Australian Colonies, was dissimilar to older countries in the matter of the bestowal of names for the various towns and the many other geographical features. In the long settled older countries, names were evolved from a descriptive entity, a historical incident or a certain feature of geographical aspect by which the place became known.

In Queensland's initial development associated with exploration, the influence of Place naming was rather by a personal system as evinced by the fact that of fourteen seaports, eleven bear names belonging to historic personalities a preponderance seldom reached in any Australian State or English speaking country.

So, as the leading personalities of the Colony, early day Governors were honoured in the naming of diversified features and activities such as bridges, cities, counties, downs, distilleries, hospitals, hospital wards, hotels, lakes, masonic lodges, mountains, parks, ports, rivers, railway stations, roads, streets, suburbs, ships, towns and townships, as evidence of their respected popularity. In several instances, the wife, or a member of a Governor's staff also shared in the honour of having, their names perpetuated.

The respective name links of the Governors only include those with whom historical associations with the Colony (State) of Queensland were bestowed. Queensland was, of course, under the jurisdiction of New South Wales until Separation was effected on 10th December 1859.


Governor of New South Wales from 1 January 1810 to 1 December 1821. Macquarie Street, New Farm and Macquarie Street, St. Lucia, Brisbane. It is a more of a coincidence than perhaps a historical link that J. C. Wickham Queensland's first Government Resident in the Moreton Bay Settlement as it was then known, owned Portion 52 of land (30 acres), the frontage of which is Macquarie Street opposite New Farm Wharf. The land was subdivided in 1885.


Governor of New South Wales from 1 December 1821 to 1 December 1825. The City of Brisbane, now extends over an area of 375 square miles. It has been the capital of Queensland since Separation in 1859.

Brisbane River, 215 miles long and the best commercial river in Australia. Brisbane Street, Brisbane Avenue and Brisbane Corso are the respective names given to thoroughfares in nine of Brisbane suburbs.

The word Brisbane appears as the first part of the business names of over 150 trading firms, manufacturers, societies, institutions ‑and the like which carry on their activities in the City of Brisbane.


Governor of New South Wales from 19 December 1825 to 22 October 1831. Darling Downs, a rich agricultural area of 5,625 square miles discovered by Allan Cunningham on 6 June 1827 and named after Sir Ralph Darling. Dumaresq River (also known as the Severn River) which forms part of the boundary between New South Wales and the area now known as Queensland.

The Dumaresq River was called after the maiden name of Lady Darling, wife of the Governor. Condamine River a headstream of the Darling River, could also be included as Thomas de la Condamine was A.D.C. and Military Secretary to Governor Darling. Condamine township 236 miles west of Brisbane.


Colonel Patrick Lindesay administered the Colony of New South Wales from 22 October 1831 to 2 December 1831. Mount Lindesay, 4,064 feet in height situated in the Macpherson Range, South Queensland. Colonel (afterwards Sir Patrick) Lindesay had previously been stationed in Moreton Bay Settlement as Commanding Officer of the 29th Regiment.


Governor of New South Wales from 24 February 1838 to 11 July 1846. Gipps Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. This street runs from Ann Street to St. Paul's Terrace. Prior to the construction and subsequent opening of the Story Bridge over the Brisbane River in July 1940, Gipps Street was used only for its local residential and business traffic.

However, after the quietude of a century since it was originally surveyed and formed, it has now become a very busy thoroughfare for the traffic from the Story Bridge to and from the north western suburbs of Brisbane.


Sir Maurice Charles O’Connell administered the Colony of Queensland on four occasions viz., from 4 January 1868 to 14 August 1868, from 2 January 1871 to 12 August 1871, from 12 November 1874 to 23 January 1875 and from 14 March 1877 to 10 April 1877. O'Connelltown was an early named suburb of Brisbane. It was bounded by the suburbs of Swan Hill, Windsor Railway Station and the land between the railway line and the upper reaches of Breakfast Creek as the eastern boundary and thence to Bowen Bridge.

The Eildon Post Office could be regarded as the centre. Since 1914, the name has fallen into disuse when the horse drawn omnibuses were superseded by electric trams. O'Connelltown was one of the suburbs on the side destination boards of the omnibuses. The suburb is now absorbed into that of Windsor, an adjoining suburb.

O'Connell County, west of Townsville. O'Connell Street (twice) O'Connell Terrace and O'Connell Place are thoroughfares in four of Brisbane's suburbs. Le Geyt Street in O'Connelltown (opposite Eildon Road) honours the maiden name of Lady O'Connell. She was the daughter of Colonel Philip Le Geyt, Commanding Officer of the 63rd Regiment, Jersey, Channel Islands.


Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy was Governor of New South Wales from 3 August 1846 to 17 January 1855. Fitzroy River, the longest river on the eastern Australian seaboard was named after him; also Fitzroy Downs an expanse of country about twenty miles from the town of Roma. Mary River, which passes through Gympie and Maryborough districts was named after Lady Mary Fitzroy, wife of the Governor. Maryborough, a city 161 miles north of Brisbane was named after the Mary River.


Sir William Thomas Denison was Governor of New South Wales from 20 January 1855 to 22 January 1861. Port Denison is one of the best harbours on the east coast of Australia, and was named after him. The North Queensland town of Bowen is situated on Port Denison. It was Sir William Thomas Denison who signed the proclamation granting Separation to the Colony of Queensland.


Sir George Ferguson Bowen (Bio) was the first Governor of the newly proclaimed State of Queensland from 10 December 1859 to 4 January 1868. Bowen, the North Queensland seaport was named after him. Bowen River a tributary of the Burdekin. Bowen Hills a northern suburb of Brisbane and the railway station of Bowen Hills.

Bowen Bridge which spans Enoggera Creek in the Bowen Bridge suburb. Bowen Park the site of the National Agricultural Society's Showground. Bowen County in the Maryborough district, Gin Gin and Mount Perry district. Bowenville, a township on the western railway 136 miles west of Brisbane. Bowen Downs in the Muttaburra District. Bowen appears as the name for eight thoroughfares in various suburbs of Brisbane.

Countess and Roma Streets in the inner city of Brisbane were named in honour of Lady Diamantina Bowen (bio) wife of the Governor. Lady Bowen before her marriage to Sir George Ferguson Bowen was Countess Diamantina di Roma.

She was a Countess in her own right and her name was inscribed in the Libre d'Or, the record kept of ancient Venetian families. Ithaca, a suburb of Brisbane, was named after Lady Bowen's birthplace - the Island of Ithaca in the Ionian Islands group which were under the Venetian Republic from the year 1396 to 1797.

Roma, a town 318 miles on the railway west of Brisbane, was called after Lady Bowen's maiden surname. Roma was the first town established after Queensland was granted Separation from New South Wales. Diamantina River and Diamantina Lakes are situated in the South West of Queensland.

Lady Bowen Hospital for Women was opened as early as the year 1868 in a small cottage in Margaret Street Brisbane. It moved to a larger building in Ann Street and in the year 1889 opened in a much larger building in Wickham Terrace near the Brisbane Grammar School and Albert Park. In 1938, after the completion of a more modern block at the General Hospital, the activities of the Lady Bowen Hospital were transferred to that building.


Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 14 August 1868 to 2 January 1871. Blackall a town 378 miles west of Rockhampton was named after him. Thetown of Blackall could be regarded, for practical geographical purposes, as the centre of Queensland. Blackall Range which runs for about fifty miles between Brisbane and Cooroy at a distance of approximately twenty miles from the coast.

Blackall Bridge spans Kedron Brook on the Grange Road Brisbane. Blackall Street in which is situated the Brisbane Victoria Military Barracks. Mount Blackall the highest point of the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane. It is in that portion where Colonel Blackall's grave is situated. He was the first person to be buried in that Cemetery. The grave of his longtime friend Sir Maurice O'Connell is only fifteen yards distant. Blackall Terrace situated in the suburb of East Brisbane.

Following the death, of Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall after less than three years in office as Governor, the administration of the Colony of Queensland was taken over by Sir Maurice O'Connell from 2 January 1871 to 12 August 1871 when Governor Blackall's successor in office, the Marquis of Normanby, arrived.


The Marquis of Normanby (George Augustus Constantine Phipps) (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 12 August 1871 to 12 November 1874 held the titles Earl of Mulgrave, Viscount Normanby and Baron Mulgrave of Mulgrave all in the County of York in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and Baron Mulgrave of New Ross in the County of Wexford in the Peerage of Ireland, P.C. Governor and Commander in Chief of the Colony of Queensland and its dependencies.

He was born at Whitby England, near which seaport Captain Cook in his early life, was apprenticed to a Grocer prior to engaging in his illustrious seafaring career. Normanby River in the Cooktown area was named after him. Normanby, an inner city suburb of Brisbane. Normanby, which was the first railway station on the original line to Sandgate after leaving Roma Street.

Normanby Street, Indooroopilly and Normanby Terrace in the suburb of Normanby. Normanby Hotel in Brisbane and the Normanby Hotel in Rockhampton. Normanby Sound in the open entrance to the south part of Goode Island, the south west part of Hammond Island, the west part of Thursday Island and north part of Prince of Wales Island.

Normanby Shire, which since 1948 has now been included in the No. 3 Division Moreton Shire. Normanby Distillery and Normanby Rum. Mulgrave Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane, after the second title of the Marquis of Normanby.

Mulgrave River, Mulgrave Shire in North Queensland and Mulgrave Island near Thursday Island. Russell River in the Babinda district, North Queensland, was named after the maiden name of the wife of the Marquis of Normanby.

Two men, Captain James Cook and the Marquis of Normanby, born a century apart, after having spent their early lives near the small town of Whitby, have their names historically perpetuated in a small adjacent area in North Queensland 14000 mile's from that spot, by the naming of Cooktown and the Normanby and Mulgrave Rivers.


William Wellington Cairns (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 13 January 1875 to 14 March 1877. The major northern city of Cairns was named after him. This town was originally called Thornton after William Thornton the then Collector of Customs in the Colony of Queensland. After the discovery of gold in the Hodgkinson area inland from the township, it was named Dickson in honour of the then Colonial Treasurer. However, when the town was surveyed, it was called after the Governor William Wellington Cairns.

Wellington Road, East Brisbane was formerly called East Boundary Road as it formed the original eastern boundary of early Brisbane township. Ten other thoroughfares in Brisbane are called Wellington. These though derived from the then continuing colonial fascination with the deeds of the Duke of Wellington.

Cairns Shire and Cairns County (in the district of Leichhardt). Cairns Street, East Brisbane is the centre of three adjoining streets bearing the names of Governors Cairns, Blackall and Kennedy, while three other thoroughfares in Brisbane suburbs perpetuate the name of Cairns.


Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 11 April 1877 to 2 May 1883. Arthur Terrace and Kennedy Terrace in the Ithaca and Red Hill suburbs of Brisbane were named after him; also County of Kennedy in the Maranoa District. Georgina River and Georgina County (Boulia district) were named after Governor Kennedy's daughter Georgina Mildred Kennedy.


Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer (Bio) administered the Colony for three periods, viz. from 2 May 1883 to 6 November 1883, from 9 October 1888 to 1 May 1889 and from 15 November 1895 to 9 April 1896. He was also Premier from 1870 to 1874. Palmer River and the township of Palmerville in North Queensland and the Palmer Goldfield were named after him; also the County of Palmer in the Wyandra and Charleville districts. Palmer Street, Windsor, Brisbane, Hunter Street and Palmer Street in the Toowong Suburb, are called after Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer.


Sir Anthony Musgrave (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 6 November 1883 to 9 October 1888. Anthony Street and Musgrave Street are adjoining thoroughfares off Montague Road near Davies Park, West End, Brisbane. Musgrave Street in the Ithaca suburb was changed in 1920 to Tooth Avenue after the Mayor of Ithaca Alderman Leslie H. Tooth. Musgrave Parade Ashgrove was changed to McLean Parade in 1920.

Musgrave Park was formerly called the South Brisbane Recreation Reserve until 1885. Musgrave Road was originally called Waterworks Road from the Normanby Hotel but in 1890 the name was changed to Musgrave Road.

Musgrave Wharf in the South Brisbane reach was opened in 1889. It continued as a busy overseas wharf until 1938 when the shipping activities from this reach were accommodated at Newstead Wharves. The change was partly due to the effect of the building of the Story Bridge.

Musgrave Cold Stores, Stanley Street adjoining the Musgrave Wharf were the main Cold Stores of Brisbane in the 1880's until larger Cold Stores, were built at Hamilton. Port Musgrave on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula about 100 miles from Thursday Island. Musgrave Telegraph Station west of Cooktown. County of Musgrave in the Mitchell district.

Lady Musgrave Lodge was founded in 1885 by Lady Musgrave as an accommodation centre for young women. Lucinda the Queensland Government Steam Yacht of 310 tons was named after Lady Jeannie Lucinda Musgrave, the wife of Sir Anthony Musgrave. The ship's bell and small defence cannon are among the exhibits of the Queensland Historical Society at Newstead House. Lucinda Point in North Queensland was named after the abovementioned steam yacht. Lucinda Street, Woolloongabba and Lucinda Street, Taringa were also named after the second christian name of the Governor's wife.


Field Marshall Sir Henry Wylie Norman (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 1 May 1889 to 31 December 1895. Norman Park a suburb in the eastern part of Brisbane, was named after him; as was Norman Avenue and Norman Crescent as well as Norman Park Railway Station situated in this area. Lady Norman Ward in the Children's Hospital Brisbane. Norman Hotel, Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba, was built in the year 1889. Thirteen thoroughfares in Brisbane bear the name of Norman.


The Right Honourable Lord Lamington (Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Cochrane Baillie) (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 9 April 1896 to 20 June 1901. The Lamington National Park in the Lamington Plateau was named after him. This park is approximately 4,000 feet above sea level and comprises an area of 48,000 acres. It is situated about 50 miles south of Brisbane. Lamington township is in the area abovenamed.

Lamington Bridge which spans the Mary River at Maryborough and the Lamington Hotel situated nearby on the northern bank of the river. County of Lamington east of Normanton in the Burke district. Lady Lamington Women's Hospital was established in 1900 and so continued until 1938 when the activities were transferred to the modern building at the General Hospital.

The Lady Lamington Women's Hospital building, with many additional buildings in the area, is now part of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre. Lamington is the name of four thoroughfares in the suburbs of Brisbane. Mount Lamington in New Guinea is also called after Lord Lamington.

Of more Plebian note, the cake made famous in many a school and organisational fundraising drive, the “lamington,” being a sponge cake, cut into small rectangles and dipped in melted chocolate, then coated with coconut, is derived from a recipe introduced by Lady Lamington and named after her.


Sir Samuel Walker Griffith (Bio) administered the State of Queensland from 21 June 1901 to 24 March 1902. Sir Samuel was one of Australia’s leading jurists and High Court Chief Justices, but had an earlier career as a State politician and party leader.

Cape Griffith, a bold rocky headland 11 miles north of the entrance to the Lockhart River between Cape Direction and Cape Weymouth on Cape York Peninsula. Griffith Street New Farm and Merthyr Road (formerly Racecourse Road) New Farm. Merthyr suburb was also named in honour of the birthplace Merthyr in Wales of Sir Samuel Griffith. County of Griffith in the Kennedy district. North Queensland.


Sir Herbert Chermside (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 24 March 1902 to 10 October 1904. Chermside suburb is located in the north western part of Brisbane between the older suburbs of Lutwyche and Downfall Creek. Four thoroughfares in various suburbs bear the name Chermside.


Lord Chelmsford (Bio) (Frederick John Napier Thesiger) was Governor of Queensland from 20 November 1905 to 26 May 1909. Lord Chelmsford featured in the infamous Zulu Wars of 1879-1880 and his military career never recovered from the disaster at Isandhlwana. Chelmsford Avenue in the suburb of Windsor, Brisbane, is named after him; likewise, Chelmsford County in the Cook district North Queensland.


Sir William Macgregor (Bio) was Governor of Queensland from 2 December 1909 to 16 July 1914. MacGregor Avenue Bardon, was named after him. This avenue leads to Government House and Sir William MacGregor was the first Governor to occupy the newly acquired Government House “Fernberg". The newer suburb of Macgregor near Mt Gravatt, is also named after him.

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