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10 May 1841 Sir George Grey

 10 May 1841   Sir George Grey

George Grey arrived in South Australia on 10 May 1841 to take up his appointment as Governor, replacing George Gawler. He was only 29 years of age.

A few years earlier he had explored the north-west of Western Australia, nearly losing his life in the process. In 1839 he was appointed resident magistrate at King George Sound and was married at Albany in November that year. Only a month after his arrival in Adelaide his five-month old son died.

Grey faced a huge challenge in South Australia as the colony was in dire financial trouble. Gawler's efforts to provide work for the unemployed by embarking on public works and charging the costs to the British Government had met with their refusal to pay the bills. The colony was virtually bankrupt. Grey set about reducing expenditure in all areas and carefully watched every penny spent. Immigration ceased, as did work on public buildings. By 1844 the worst of the crisis was over. Wheat cultivation and farming had increased and the discovery of copper at Kapunda helped to improve the situation. 

In 1845 Grey was appointed Governor of New Zealand. He was knighted in 1848. In 1854 he was appointed Governor of Cape Colony and High Commissioner of South Africa, and in 1861 became Governor of New Zealand for a second time.

Douglas Pike (ed), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, pp. 476-480.

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