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Richard Gardiner Casey KG GCMG CH

1890 – 1976

Richard Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey of Berwick, Victoria and the City of Westminster KG GCMG CH (1890-1976), politician and statesman, was born in Brisbane and educated in Melbourne and at Cambridge. He worked as a geologist and mining consultant in Queensland, New Guinea and the US before serving in Gallipoli and France during World War I, winning the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order. In 1926 he was appointed Commonwealth Liaison Officer in London. He returned to Australia in 1931 to enter federal parliament as United Australia Party member for the seat of Corio. He chaired the Polar Committee of the Imperial Conference in London in 1937, and when Menzies became Prime Minister in 1939 he was appointed Minister for Supply and Development. In 1940 he opened Australia's first diplomatic legation, in Washington, but soon moved to the UK, where in 1942 Winston Churchill invited him to serve as British Minister of State in Cairo. The following year, he became governor of Bengal. In 1946 the seasoned diplomat returned to Australia and soon took up the seat of Latrobe for the Liberal party. As Minister for External Affairs from 1951 to 1960, he did much to facilitate dialogue between Australia and the emerging Asian nations. At the same time, as Minister in charge of CSIRO, he worked closely with Phillip Law to promote Antarctic exploration and research. Australia's third Antarctic station, Casey, is named in his honour, as is the City of Casey, a municipal area in the south east of Melbourne. Retiring with a life peerage and a seat in the House of Lords, he returned to Australian public life at the age of 74 as governor-general, in which capacity he served from 1965 to 1969, when he was named Australian of the Year.

Updated 2018