GOVERNORS-GENERAL

Lord Casey
Australia Crest

Born Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey in Brisbane in 1890.

The Caseys moved to Melbourne and young Dick was sent to Melbourne Grammar School thence Melbourne University followed by Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained a degree in mechanical engineering.

Married his wife Maie on June 24th, 1926, in London. Their wealthy families had mixed in the same social group in Melbourne.

Returning to Australia he worked at Mount Morgan gold mine in Queensland where his father was chairman. His father was also president of the Melbourne Club and chairman of the Victoria Racing Club.

At the outbreak of World War 1 he volunteered and served at Gallipoli as aide-de-camp to Major General Sir William Bridges. In fact Casey was standing next to Bridges when Bridges was killed. Casey then served in France and by the end of the war he was a major and had won the Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order.

After the war Casey replaced his father on many company boards after his father had died in 1919 but his career only took off after he joined the public service and Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce, sent him to London in 1924 as a liaison officer between the two countries.

After his marriage, he was recalled to Melbourne and Bruce tried to convince him to enter politics. Casey declined, and he and his wife returned to London.

However, the seed had been planted, and the Caseys returned to Melbourne and he was elected, in 1931, as the National Party's federal member for Corio.

In 1935, Prime Minister Joe Lyons appointed him Treasurer and later Menzies made him Minister for Supply and Development.

In 1940 he was made the first Australian minister to the U.S.A., based in Washington. Casey handled his portfolio admirably and when John Curtin's Labor Party came to power in 1941, it was time to move on.

In 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered him the position of U.K. Minister of State in Cairo with a place in the War Cabinet. Casey accepted.

Churchill then in 1943 appointed Casey as Governor of Bengal, a position similar to Cairo, where he had to keep matters under control while the Japanese were being dealt with.

In 1946 the Caseys returned to Melbourne and Dick then won the seat of Latrobe when the Liberals won in 1949.

He retired in 1960 after several cabinet positions and accepted a life peerage. He was now Baron Casey of Berwick, Victoria, and took his seat in the House of Lords.

In 1965 he was made Governor-General, aged 74, and held this position until 1969 when he and his wife finally retired to their farm in Victoria.

In 1969 he was made Australian of the Year.

In 1974 he was injured in a car crash and never fully recovered. He died on June 17th, 1976. Lady Casey died in 1983.


Copyright © Dinkum Aussies 1999 All Rights Reserved,
feedback to Webmaster