The Governors-General are in the House
What do a former policeman, a governor of Bombay, a veteran of the Boer War, a decorated Vietnam veteran, and a Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner all have in common? They have all been Governors-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The museum has just opened a new exhibition to celebrate outgoing Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce, and the arrival of her successor, General Sir Peter Cosgrove into the office. The changing of the guard at Government House only takes place very five years or so, and it is appropriate that the museum marks this event by displaying some of its finest Governors-General memorabilia.
Featuring in the display are a bust of the very first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, several bibles used by Richard Casey and signed by several Governors-General, and the army jacket and peaked cap worn by General Michael Jeffery during his time in the army and as both Governor of Western Australia and Governor-General. In the forefront of the display is the museum’s most recent acquisition – the yellow woollen dress suit worn by Dame Quentin Bryce when, as Governor-General, she swore in Julia Gillard as Australia’s first female Prime Minister in June 2010. Text panels explain the role of the Governor-General and how it has changed since 1901.
These objects and more will be on display in the Designing Democracy gallery until September this year.