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New South Wales - Organisation

Secretary to the Governor (1788 - 1821)

26 Jan 1788
1 Jan 1821
Government Agency
Alternative Names
  • Secretary to the Colony (also known as)

The Secretary to the Governor was a position established when the Colony of New South Wales was founded on 26 January 1788. The Secretary to the Governor was an executive officer appointed by the Governor to complete duties at his discretion. These duties generally related to administration and recordkeeping of the new colony. The office of the Secretary to the Governor ran early New South Wales institutions. On 1 January 1821 the office became known as the Colonial Secretary.


In 1804 Governor King described the duties of the Secretary to the Governor:

The Secretary has custody of all official papers and records belonging to the Colony; transcribes the public dispatches; is charged with marking out all grants, leases and other public colonial instruments; also the care of numerous indents or lists sent with convicts of their terms of conviction and every other official transaction relating to the colony and Government; and is a situation of much responsibility and confidence.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Secretary to the Governor', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016,

Prepared by: Nicola Laurent