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SIR ARTHUR ELIBANK HAVELOCK, GOVERNOR of TASMANIA

The cover has two marks, a larger blue GOVERNOR [Crown] TASMANIA/ 10 JL O2, with a superimposed smaller black HOBART/ H/ JL 10/1902/ TASMANIA addressed to Miss Maude Waller, Post Office, Sandy Bay, Hobart. There is a pencilled manuscript at bottom left hand corner ‘Private Letter, with A.E.H., Governor’s Frank.  The Governor’s Frank is unusual as it has a changeable date incorporated in it   (Figure 1).

The reverse has no postal markings but has a finely printed GOVERNMENT HOUSE without any crest, which is usual with the Governors of other Colonies and States (Figure 2).

The date of July 1902 definitely places Sir Arthur Havelock as the Governor of Tasmania. Sir Arthur Eliabank Havelock was born on May 7 1844 at Bath Somerset, England the third son of Lieutenant-Colonel William Havelock of the 14th Light Dragoons and his wife Caroline Elizabeth, née Chaplin. He was educated at private schools in India and England and in 1860 entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was gazetted ensign in the 32nd Cornwall Light Infantry on 14 January 1862, was promoted lieutenant in 1866 and served as aide-de-camp to the governor of Mauritius in 1873. In 1874-75 he acted as chief civil commissioner of the Seychelles, later becoming colonial secretary and receiver-general of Fiji.

Havelock returned to England in 1876, retired from the army in March 1877 with the rank of captain and joined the colonial service. After two years in the West Indies he returned to the Seychelles as chief civil commissioner and was appointed C.M.G. in 1880. In 1881 he became governor of the West African settlements and consul-general in Liberia where he was engaged in the settlement of the colonial boundaries. Appointed governor of Trinidad and promoted K.C.M.G. in 1884, he became governor of Natal and Zululand in 1885. He returned to Europe in 1889 to join the international anti-slavery commission, was appointed governor of Ceylon the following year and in 1895 governor of Madras. He was promoted G.C.M.G. in 1895, G.C.I.E. in 1896 and G.C.S.I. in 1901 when he left Madras. Because of ill health he refused the governorships of the Straits Settlements and Victoria, but accepted governor of Tasmania.

Sir Arthur arrived in Tasmania on 8 November 1901, but did not complete his 4 year term. He notified the premier W.B. Propsting on 6 January 1904 of his decision to retire and left in April to return to England and settled at Torquay, Devon. He died at Bath on 25 June 1908, six months after the death of his wife, Anne Grace, née Norris whom he had married in August 1871. They were survived by one daughter.

He spent 30 years in a variety of colonial posts and appeared to have been a devoted and hard-working administrator. His years in tropical climates undermined his health and cut short his service in Tasmania to 2½ years, so that he made no significant mark as a governor there. There is considerable confusion about this man for Wikipedia confuses him with another Havelock who died in February 1948 in his 90th year. A picture of Sir Arthur is shown in Figure 3.

I am indebted to the on-line Australian Dictionary of Biography for this paper.

K.C.M.G. Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

G.C.I.E. Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire

G.C.S.I. Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India.


 
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